Saturday, February 27, 2010

Music: Half the World Away by Oasis.

This is one of my favourite favourite favourite songs. Pleasant, easy listening, makes you bop your head. Meaningful but slightly crypted messages. I remember this song because I jumped into the New Zealand sky with it ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Malaysia: Heritage conservation of 'The Heritage Station Hotel of KL'.

This weekend, if you have nothing else better to do, try this: pack a night's worth of clothes and some toiletries, get together with some friends and check in to 'The Heritage Station Hotel of Kuala Lumpur' which is located where else but at the old KL railway station. Spooky it may seem, which is why I recommend you to take as many friends with you as possible, it's definitely a better and more interesting weekend spent than crawling like ants in the malls.

What really took me by surprise is beyond the fact that it's a quaint hotel that speaks so much of our history (think Coliseum Cafe in KL) but I hit one of the links which directed me to a passion-filled blog about a person(s) fight to conserve the heritage and educate the general public on the architect who did it all - A.B. Hubback whom if you don't already know, designed the Panggung Bandaraya and Carcosa Seri Negara as well (not to be mistaken with A.C. Norman who designed the Sultan abdul Samad building as both are famed for their Moorish styles).

Well, if you have Malaysian friends looking for some weekend ideas of if you have non-Malaysian friends looking for travel itineraries, then look no further. Click links above ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Automotive: New CR-V launching soon.

The date is confirmed - 11th March 2010. Sources disclosed that there will be some new first-in-class features that will make us reconsider what we want in an SUV. For families and singles. If you want to be the first to know about these features, you'll have to sign up for the launch announcement on Honda's site.

Discovery: Where is the 'cheating' line?

An anonymous source told me that young girls (aka the 20 something sweet young things) are becoming very materialistic. They get going with guys who have nice cars, fat wallets and are big shots at something, anything. Just how far they 'go', I don't know. No one does I suppose, until we run a sizeable quantitative research to find that out. We were even contemplating to conduct a social experiment - actually going out to 'fish' for these sweet young things. I was extremely curious and excited at that thought. Not the fishing part, but just wanting to understand the motivation behind the hunter and the hunted and everything in between. What do I have to give in exchange for a couple of expensive drinks and/or perhaps a short ride somewhere in some fabulous wheels? And what does the other party get in return from those expensive drinks and what is a couple litres of burnt fuel? A short dipstick around the table, everyone says it's for good clean fun. It's harmless. Or is it? Even if he (or she) is married? Is it still harmless then?

Well, needless to say it was all talk and no action around the table about going fishing the next night. And then. I got 'lucky'. It was a usual night out around TTDI area, the clock strikes 2 and I took leave from a supremely enjoyable company. While walking to my car, I walked past what must be one of the most good looking A4s around. I simply couldn't take my eyes off it. White, brilliant on its own but whomever who owns these wheels must have got really good taste. It has got multi-spoke dark rims, side skirts with a black panel, a sporty front lip spoiler that made the A4 looked extremely handsome and menacing at the same time. While I walked on, my eyes just wouldn't peel off from the car. After some distance, a waiter from the German pub ran up to me and told me that my friends were calling me. I was quite taken aback, if my friends had sent a waiter running after me, then it must be friends whom I owe my life to (or vice versa). So I turned back and followed him. Only to realise, they weren't my friends. There were the two guys who were sitting at the next table from where my company was sitting earlier that night. I thought they got the wrong person, I apologised politely and told them that they've made a mistake. Then Guy 1 asked if he could buy me a drink. I refused politely and said that I don't drink. Then Guy 2 continued if he could buy me a non-alcoholic drink then since he 'noticed' that I was having a juice thing earlier on. Suddenly. Just very suddenly. I got jolted by this great sense of curiosity. The 'fishing' conversation suddenly flashed past me. Here I am. I, was being 'fished'.

And so. I sat down.

My friends (and you, readers) must have been appalled by my decision. Yea. In retrospect, so was I. But anyway, I took a seat and they started making the rounds of superficial questions like living area, working area, working as, etc. Actually, truth be told. I was a lot more curious about them. Then I found out, both are in their late 30s. Friends from childhood. One is in engineering and the other in F&B. They must be feeling some great pressure at work or within their family/peers because they've been bar hopping since 4pm and I swear they spoke in between sighs. One was married, the other I wasn't sure. At some point, I was wondering if one of them owned the A4. I was getting quite bored and that could have become a very interesting conversation piece. But nope, no A4s came up. They went on telling me about their work, and asking questions about me, which honestly, being a rookie in this, I gave one word answers which I'm pretty sure was boring the wits out of them too. Sitting there, I was just wondering. What kind of 'stress' are they under that they would invite a complete stranger who walked off almost a mile away to sit down for a chat, who was not the least intoxicated like them? They seemed to be doing quite well, happily married, stable jobs, earning enough to start drinking at 4 - what could possibly be missing that they need to search for companionship from a total stranger? I would have sat there longer trying to decipher the codes until the dodgy flirtation kicked in. Then whoa! Time for bed. I expressed thanks to them and took leave. They expressed thanks too and let me take leave. And I walked back to my car.

In these fast moving times, times of instant gratification, of needing to get stimulated constantly, of quick fixes, of impatience, of boredom, of everything which leads to us needing more 'excitement' in our lives, we turn to pubs and neighbourhood bars. Not to hook up with someone for the night, but just to 'talk'. So-called harmless flirtation and companionship. What then is the social implication to this in the long run? The erosion of trust in the family (if the family ever finds out)? What is considered ok and what is not? And why the opposite sex? Why a complete stranger? If this was happening in pubs, imagine the cheating scene online? Generation X is the pioneers of web living. Tell me it doesn't happen at least once in their lifetime and I'll show you a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No, I'll show you two. Make it three.

Or maybe. Just maybe. It's really all harmless. You meet new people when you go out, some become good friends, some don't click and some become dangerously friendly. This to me is a very interesting phenomenon. Because we may be witnessing a generation of people who are used to family divorce, separations and arguments during childhood and while growing up. And now we watch them deal with their own relationships to the best they know how and to the societal pressures. Almost everyone cheats, even Tiger Woods. Will partners (men and women) become more lax even if they found out? Is this acceptable to you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Automotive: Video of the man-defying lightning speed shift of DSG ;)


But I do agree, at high-speed straight and mid-speed (approximately 80 to 100km/h) at sharp corners the GTi sticks perfectly well. But anything over 100km/h at corners, this front-wheel drive car tends to understeer a little even with the traction control switched on. Although it's just a little but if you push it somemore, you'll start skidding (so please don't do that until you change the stock tyres then maybe it helps grip a little better). But high-speed and super-high-speed on straight and this thing flies man! FLIES. The DSG is super responsive and extremely quick, stretching beyond the red line with a perfect upshift each time. I'm thinking of 'improving' the understeer a little so that it performs better at curves. Any suggestion?

Can't wait to try launching the car in S-mode without traction control ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Advertising: Honda NSX 1991 commercial.

Not the kind of commercial we will be shooting these days. But for the real fan, you perk up especially at 0:30 and allow the warm gurgle of the NSX gear shifts to lull you to a fantasy of open sky, open road.

Advertising: Audi A3 TDI and The Green Police.

Very refreshing! Imagine if we were all caught and sentenced for causing harm to the environment. I think almost all of us would end up in jail.

Though I personally prefer car ads to be sexier and showing full running images of the vehicle, but this one really caught my attention. Just an unexpected perspective of things.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Discovery: Between destiny and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Knowing one own's future has always been something that's awfully mysterious and intriguing that it's no stopping one to pay another, just to get a bit of foresight of what's to come. Essentially there are two sides to the coin. One - if you know what's gonna hit you, you can avoid it. Two - if you know what's gonna hit you, you'll start reacting in a way that you otherwise wouldn't have, and bang it hits you. The question then becomes, which side of the coin would your subconscious mind subscribes to? It's easy to just say 'I believe that I can avoid it' or 'I don't believe in it' but, subconsciously, do we really? What intrigues me isn't so much of what's to come. It's why do humans want to know the inevitable? Is it impatience? Or is it just 'control'? If this is destined, by any means it will happen. Then why bother? If this isn't destined, then the 'prophet' speaks no more accurately than mathematicians on the subject of probability. Then why bother?

A couple of my friends have been dabbling into this crystal ball business of late. I guess what started as simple curiosity, it got serious when they were completely awed by the accuracy of the 'speaker'. And so, I watch them one by one changing. The one that was prophesied to have no hope in this business started to actively scout for other opportunities. The one that was to be blessed with bountiful change, immediately gained confidence in every pursuit, inevitably increasing productivity. Do you see a pattern forming here? It's exactly like what we do in research. We start with a hypothesis and we form steps to either validate or discredit it. In a simple sense, the end game was already decided. Researchers consciously move towards it while the former subsconsciously fulfils the so-called 'prophesy'. It's neither good nor bad. It's just the way the human mind works. Because I'm about to come to the best part of this story.

I come from a Chinese family and obviously I celebrate Chinese New Year. And for those of you who don't already know, there are 12 animals represented in every year of a 12-year cycle. If you were born in a particular year, then you belong to a specific animal zodiac. To cut the story short, there are general do's and don'ts for each zodiac sign every year. It's a prediction of different areas of your life - business, relationships, health and et cetera. I was told to avoid 'stepping onto someone's toe'. Well, I normally take it with a pinch of salt and within the next 24 hours, it's gone. Well, it was. Until last night when a friend of mine told me that he met a 'guru' of some sort who does prediction based on astrological calculations (which I'm not about to explain here). According to him, the prediction comes in 12 forms representing 12 different areas of your life as well. And in the midst of my excitement to find out what he felt about it, he suddenly got tensed and spoke to me in a very serious manner. Apparently, the 'guru' asked if he has any female friends who were born in the year of Sheep and are working in a fairly high position (italics mine cause trust me, it's not). He thought of me and the warning came forth: I (assuming if it's me the 'guru' is referring to) should avoid taking extreme measures at work because someone will get pissed and (somehow) will set a snare to trap me.


Exactly my reaction. I immediately thought of two people (ha ha! Sorry, couldn't help it). But anyway, my first real reaction was - why do you have to tell me? Yes, because it sounds serious and now we're back to square one. I am quite an extremist to a certain extent (an oxymoron right) especially at work because I don't believe in mediocrity. We can start from mediocrity but we should move along to get to 'good' and proceed to 'great'. So I must be an extremist in this sense because I want to get to 'good' and 'great' and it takes a lot of hardwork and heat. But the consolation side is I'm not thaaaat extreme because I have a fairly realistic timeline from one quarter to one year to three years. So, in short, I'm not very good at staying on a middle ground. And my friend and I have debated too that human kind has reached such extremes in all the different arenas - politics, economics, that we're doomed to explosion. But my contention is, if we have not explored the extremes, we wouldn't have reached the pinnacle of so many inventions and discoveries too. Yea, it's about balance but to ask me to sit still and watch things pass me by... hmm. Get ready a strong rope. You need to strap me down. Really tight.

So anyway, back to the topic of setting up snares and falling into traps. Well, I have to also admit, I got spooked a little. Simply because of the recent turn of events which resonated some truth from this 'prediction'. And in my friend's exact words, translated from Cantonese, I will go through 'life gets killed kind of disaster'. Maybe I should have asked if I were to be killed or me killing someone eventually. Anyway, jokes and blood-spilling event aside. So what am I to do? Honestly, I don't know. Stay low-key at work and practise on my plastic smile I guess. I was contemplating if I should clean up my resume a bit and start sending it out to headhunters and let them know I want 'extraction' by October. Maybe one of the management is reading my blog and maybe this is what will spark the wrath in them which caused them to dig a hole and wait for me to fall in and then sell me off as a slave to the Ishmaelites who would then sell me off again to a Potiphar-like who would then send me to the dungeons for denying his wife-kind advances which will have me making friends with a baker and a butler of which one of them will betray me. But you know what? If you know the entire story, the end game isn't so bad. And in order to rise to greatness, this sort of suffering must come. You know what they say: with suffering comes perseverance, with perseverance comes character, etc etc etc.

I don't know how true the prediction is. Maybe it is. Maybe someone is digging some hole somewhere and waiting for a fat juicy sheep to stumble in for dinner while she was trying to be funny and balance on two feet just to see how far she can go. But maybe it's not. Maybe it's all in our head. Excitement to splice the mundanity of everyday life. But whatever it is, I promise I'll try to keep small and be quiet and smile and walk away from confrontations that are fruitless, polish some shoes, and just go 'baa baa baa, I'm innocent, baa baa baa'. I promise all that. And I'll start emailing out my CV. Because if the agency wants to be mediocre then we obviously are beyond pages. We are in totally different chapters.

Happy Chinese New Year folks!

Oh by the way, just for tickles, I was googling on this subject and found this prophecy posted in 2008:

According to the Turkish Cypriot psychics, Malaysia will have a long war with Turkey and its allies, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Malaysia will be defeated by Turkish forces and the destruction of Penang, Johor Bahru, and Moluccas. Great Britain unables to stop the Turkish invasion of Malaysia. Malaysia will fall in 2010 when Turkish forces captures Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Malaysia becoming a part of Turkey and Turkey will cede Sarawak to Indonesia and they will cede Sabah to the Philippines. Petronas Towers will collapse. Many native Malaysians will be displaced and they will emigrate to the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries to escape genocide in Malaysia under Turkish rule in the future.

Of which a Malaysian replied: crazy pilipino!!!nonsense!!

And then it sparked off a trail of ugly racial remarks from different nationalities. Why believe in something of the future that sparks negativity now?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Movie: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

I want to watch this! Takers?

And Alice in Wonderland. And Shutter Island. Takers, takers? :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Advertising: The year of the Tiger Beer.

How apt. This year is the year of the Tiger. Which means, Tiger Beer owns 2010. Watch the video of their latest innovative consumer engagement in the UK, working with Josef Valentino (one of the youngest project curator for art perhaps?) in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration. Smart thinking on how the brand is capitalizing on culture and tradition ;) (although, there's nothing really traditional about lasers...).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Malaysia: How to renew your passport (the much prepared way).

Follow these steps to ensure minimal frustration and minimize the possibility of you ripping someone apart (officer or not). PRINT THIS:

1) Prepare these items in advanced: One photocopy of your IC (front and back), one passport size photo (blue background), RM300 for a 5-year renewal (recommended because you want to avoid going to the immigration for as long as you can! Also, the machine only accepts RM50 and RM100 so forget about the red notes). Please make sure that you have your MyKad with you and that the chip works. How to make sure it works? I have no idea. Pray hard otherwise you'd have to go apply for a NEW MyKad across the road and you'll need a whooole different procedure).

2) Wake up early, be there at 8am (this is referring to Block I, Immigration Centre at Damansara Heights - landmarks: HSBC, HELP College, Starbucks).

3) Expect to queue for an hour to an hour plus to renew at the kiosk (the kiosk is ONLY FOR RENEWAL for passports with IC chips, please refer to some other blogs for NEW passport application).

4) When you get inside the room with the kiosks, on your right hand side, there are some envelopes. You need to place your OLD passport, the photocopied IC and one passport photo inside. You CANNOT use any other envelopes. Apparently, it's 'urusan baginda'. Sealing is optional but unless you carry a portable glue with you, you probably don't have a choice but just to tuck the cover in neatly.

5) Get back in the queue.

6) When you approach the kiosk, there are a million steps but don't worry, there are instructions on screen but only in English or BM (or if you're really lucky like me, you have a few 'aunties' crowding around you, telling you what to do). If something doesn't work, you'll just have to wave vigorously at the hidden officers and get them to help you (somehow).

7) Insert everything which you need to insert, get the receipt and you can only take a number upstairs at the immigration office AFTER 2 hours from time of payment (collection time as per stated on your receipt so you may now proceed to the nearby mamak or Starbucks to chill or fume).

8) Now this bit depends on your luck. IF you're lucky, you go back after two hours, you get a lucky number from Counter 17 and you wait somemore till you get your thing done. IF you're unlucky, you go back after two hours, you get an answer "Please come back tomorrow" from Counter 17. Which obviously, leaves you no choice but to start ALL OVER again the next day. At least steps 1 to 3 (I was one of the unlucky ones...).

There. What other things you need to know:

1) You can photocopy your stuff and have your passport photo taken by the very efficient Chinese-shop operators just right next door to the immigration office. All done in less than 10 minutes - how ironic right? WHO operates WHAT makes SO much difference. 40cents for photocopy, 12 bucks for passport photo (you get 4 pieces but you only need 1).

2) Bring a magazine, book, iPhone, iPod, iPad, whatever to keep you occupied.

3) Start making friends. I made friends with a guy queuing in front of me which is cool - we started recommending each other travel ideas, which really makes this whole 'passport renewal' thing a little bit more hopeful (I tell myself: When this is done, I can do all those wonderful things...)

4) It's gonna be HOT. Super. So dress comfortably. Your make up and hair gel will melt.

5) To kill the two hours, you can chill at the food stalls, have breakfast, have your Grande Latte or do banking stuff at HSBC. If you have friends working in Ogilvy or JWT, time to rekindle old friendships.

6) If you need free WIFI, there's Starbucks.

So far, that's all. And above all, keep being optimistic and SMILE :) Makes everything goes down better...

Blogger's note: Please share this with as many Malaysians as possible because if we were to become a more efficient country, we need to leverage on the democratization of the internet to the people. We need to depend on US for accurate information sharing (well, this is accurate at point of publishing). You go to the Immigration website, you have noooooo... idea.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hotel: M Hotel, Singapore.

If you're traveling to Singapore, a good place to rest is M Hotel on Anson Road. Located near to Tanjong Pagar MRT station, it's also at close proximity to Orchard area (just a short taxi ride away). Rooms are clean with not much frills and the bed is a little hard but service is really good. Go here to check out more.

Yea, I hate it too when the minibar is located at knee-level :S Why would you expect your customers to bend over everytime they need a drink or have some peanuts?

Advertising: BMW 500,000 fans.

For everything that's worth...

An example of a low budget but strategic and well researched use of online media. You don't see it cheapening the image, do you?

On the other note, when this video was launched, BMW Facebook fan page hasn't reached the 500,000 mark. I guess this was in preparation for that. Or maybe because of this, it brought the number up to the prognosticated mark.

Video: Too many client cooks spoil the creative broth.

Haha. YO CLIENTS. Please watch this.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Travel: おいしい Port View Seafood Village at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

I'm sure there are a lot of really good food places in Sabah but due to time constraint, we only managed to visit one recommended by the very nice PR lady whom we spoke to in Karambunai Resort. What you're seeing here is only one out of the many dishes we ordered. And there were just two of us. I guess that was sufficient, three is a crowd ;)
If you don't know what to order, just go with the flow and ask them to recommend. That's usually how it works in local restaurants. So don't worry too much about not knowing what to order. If you can pay the check, they will feed you well ;)

Find address here.

Video: Evian babies.

Funny but also darn freaky. Really, if you really think about it. And how they crawl up walls and fences.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Music: SOUR '日々の音色' (Hibi no neiro).

Are you an aspiring musician? Need to get yourself noticed but are a little tight in the pockets?

This is one of the most brilliant creative ideas I've seen being put together utilizing almost zero production cost. (as shared by Dentsu Asia Digital Division Conference).

Step 1: Record sample video with YOU telling your fans what you want them to do.

Step 2: Get them to record themselves doing the things you want them to do and send the video back to you.

Step 3: Creative editing.

Step 4: Upload.

Step 5: Snag an award or two.

Movie: The Ghost Writer.

I'm gonna watch this. And that X5 featured too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dentsu: Eco-bags going for free!

One of our latest projects is to help fight global warming ;) The team designed and produced our very own Green Buddies' eco-bag to be given away for free for every RM22 donated to our tree-planting project. We're targeting 27th March which is Earth Hour 2010. So, hey if you're interested in a future where we can all still enjoy Earth, please do not hesitate to contact us. I'll drop off wherever you are (ahem. You do know that this is a huge over claim right?). Nevertheless, please contact us.

Neon yellow print on navy.

Hotel: Nexus Karambunai, Sabah.

Got spending some time in Sabah for work assignment and managed to catch some rest at the Nexus Karambunai Resort. I remember the time when it was first opened and so many raved about it being one of the best and few luxury resorts in Sabah. One thing I must say, it’s H U G E. Comes as no surprised when it’s like a state-size Club Med, fully self-contained with its own Lagoon and Nature Park, common rooms and luxury villas, 18-hole golf course and award winning Borneo Spa (which I later find it hard to believe). It’s easy to lose yourself in this resort, figuratively and literally speaking.

I’ve come to realized that the image of such resorts is usually reflective of the type of tourists that it plays host to. Here, you can expect to see a lot of non-native Asians – Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese. All escaping the winter chill from their home country. And on different seasons, you have Europeans and Middle-Easterners escaping the scorching summer to a more bearable balmy weather. This place caters to couples, friends and families, basically those who travel in a bunch. So during peak seasons, you might as well forget about listening to yourself especially at public areas such as the beach. If you want privacy aside from your room, the Borneo Spa could be one option. Or if really want to do some serious thinking, maybe playing a game of giant chess can help boost some juice. Apply sun block in advanced though.

Comfortable rooms, big for two but amenities are basic. My apprehension with this kind of big resorts has always been maintenance. Luxury doesn’t gel when the towels are fraying and wood is chipping. Obviously, once again, the word luxury is used quite carelessly. So if you’re reading this during your ‘think’ break and will soon go back to the drawing board for your client’s brand strategy coincidentally selling ‘luxury’. PLEASE. Either drop it. Or live up to it.

Would I recommend Nexus Karambunai? Yes. Pack your bags, stay within the confinement of the resort that is bustling with activities which will keep you busy and perhaps hop on the shuttle to have some of the best seafoods in Kota Kinabalu. If you’re alone, then maybe this isn’t the best destination because this is definitely a place for bonding. If you’re feeling spendthrift though, invite some friends and rent one of the amazing beach front Villas and play ‘overnight tycoon’ who owns a private beach holiday home. Even if it’s just for a few nights. Now, this is the bit where luxury fits the bill.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Malaysia: Do we really need to court Malaysians abroad?

Genoa has a medium-sized highly regarded university which is strong in engineering and technology. But most of the its science students leave the region – and the country – once they’ve graduated (85 per cent according to one source). Italy has one of the oldest populations in Europe and Liguria’s is the oldest in Italy.

“This is our chance to keep young Italian talent in Italy and invite those who have gone abroad to come back” says Professor Giuseppe Rasero, chief coordinator of technology park project. “It’s an opportunity for our brain balance.”

Hmm. Sounds familiar isn’t it? I vaguely remember reading an article about the Malaysian government’s realization of the same predicament and wanted to lure Malaysians who are abroad to come home because it finally recognized the serious lack of such talent and experience. And Malaysians who are currently living abroad would rather die than to be home (and called Malaysians). Well, sorry if that sounded harsh. Some, not all (you can be Some, if you’re one of those who are easily offended).

While I do understand the opportunities which lie abroad, I myself, am tempted to take flight. Simply to gain greater experiences in certain professional fields that are arguably way more advanced than this country. The question then becomes, where do you draw that line between going overseas to gain invaluable experience to be able to put them into practice here and just pursuing a fatter paycheck? Cheaper cars? Side-walk cafes? Better weather? Whatever?
Perhaps the government should consider those who have left, gone. And learn from its mistakes for not being able to provide a better or at least a more equal opportunity for all and start afresh with those who are currently still here. They are probably the safest bet right now. Sometimes to be able to make a strategic decision, we not only need to forecast our gains but also know the right time to cut our losses.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book: Malaysia at Random.

This is the book which should replace our history books in school. Honestly, it's not a lot of facts but they're concise and most importantly, holds really interesting facts which do not only educate us a little bit more on our beloved country, but it also makes us retrace our steps right back to our roots of our ancestors. I'm beginning to understand why Malaysia is the way it is. It shouldn't come as an amazement that a lot of us may think we know our country, but not many truly understand the nature of it. Why we are like what we are. I am guilty as charged.

On radio recently, I heard an announcer talking about little known facts about Malaysia, and after reading some blogs, I realised that a lot of us who claim to be the native of this land, are beginning to go through a wave of discovery and realization. We beginning to care about our roots and are becoming curious about this place which we were born and spent almost an entire lifetime in. This is just the beginning of the social wave. I really hope to see this getting bigger and more Malaysians will be inspired to care a little bit more about this country. I think this book, is one of the best ways to start.

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

Friday, February 5, 2010

Music: These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra.

Weekend music. It's just so nice to laze around at home on Sundays, doing nothing. Watching film noir. But I think Sinatra dances funny.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Music: 21 Guns by Green Day ft. Rebecca Naomi Jones.

It's been a long time since someone wrote a song as meaningful as this to stop us on our tracks in the midst of everyday conflict - at home, in the hood or on a global scale. When you have hatred and it prompts you to do something to satiate it, is it all worth it? Don't hurt someone else. I beg of you. Just don't.

Book: Planet Google by Randall Stross.

It's amazing what a passionate belief of being able to change something, no matter how massive and daunting the task may seem, can do to the world. As such is the great story well told by Randall Stross, how Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of a web revolution changed the way we search forever.

What is even more amazing is how much more possibilities were unfolding in my head while reading all 8 insightful chapters which tell behind-the-scenes of Planet Google. This is where the wall comes down, its strategies revealed to only those who are apt to catch.

'Don't be Evil' - the main mantra of Google sounds simple but in reality, so hard to achieve especially when money is involved. It must have inspired many which I am certainly one of them. So much learning can be drawn from Brin and Page's founding of the Google empire in a dorm room right up to the building of Googleplex in Mountain View, California. The dream was founded by two engineers who thought that the world's information can be organized better. When data forms a pattern, it becomes knowledge. The more pattern it forms, the better understanding of a subject can be formed over time over multiple (possibly infinite) perspectives. While Google was only in the business of Search but cross-matching information with other information, with other never-been-thought before format, you have video search, the digitization of the world's publications including ancient text, geospatial information, etc. The possibilities are endless.

How do they become so big? One, is because they were at the right place at the right time. So many start-ups in technoville in Silicon Valley flopped because the ingenious ideas did not manage to survive incubation and be born at the right time. And secondly, because they stood for one thing and one thing only - organisation and provision of information via mathematical equations that can not and will not be tempered by human biasness. And they seek to provide that solution to users over seeking profit. Their growth was organic and based on user-learning continuously even up till today. It wasn't profit and business based. The way they had to fight new wars everytime they introduce a new service seems quite endearing. They're full of innocence, not fully understanding and being restrained by 'copyright' issues put in placed by very adult businesses which protects intellectual properties because it's the lifeline to producers. It takes awhile for Google to come in terms with that and navigate around the problem to the best they know how, while fighting deep seated perceptions by cynics and giants and trying to convince everyone around them that 'dreams can come true, just allow me to show you how!'.

This book is well researched and provides a refreshing angle to Google. For those who thought they knew Google as being the David fighting Goliath, suddenly will realised what a mammoth Google has become through the years. And for those who think Google is playing God and do not fully understand why it does what it does, then this book will provide enlightenment. Google is an idealist brand, its innocence hinges on the hope that Utopia does exist and the very fact that it thinks it can achieve it (and actually strives to achieve it) draws much respect and endearment at the same time. Google, like any other product, brand, tool is a means to an end. What you as a user want, in the end, is entirely up to you.

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The sweetest thing.

Aww. No, seriously. Awww...

Social media: Kill yourself - end your life in your social networks.

There's this site called the 'Web 2.0 Suicide Machine' which helps kill your online self in approximately 52 minutes (compared to if you do-it-yourself? 9 hours and 35 minutes) so that you have your REAL life back. It's quite a funny notion if you ask me. But for someone to actually take that step (well, 2,056 people actually did), social networks must have really bothered them a lot. Again, life is all about balance and too much of a good thing (no matter how efficient and/or productive you think Web 2.0 is, it does not replace your family and friends) is bad.

Watch the promotional video. To be honest? I'm quite tempted to make that jump too. I'm just really curious how it feels, seeing your life wiped out right in front of your eyes. The video is really funny in its best attempt to be sombre about this passing away of your online alterego. Ha ha ha. Okay, you watch the video here while I go check what's up this weekend on my Facebook groups and make sure I get the Tweets out to my mates.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Automotive: Mercedes GP Petronas.

Honestly? Petronas has never looked this good. Seriously, that was a darn good move.

Watch the revealing of this year's car livery:

Please don't mind the purplish sides. Wasn't intentional and am not liking it too.

Dentsu: Hiring Account Planning & Servicing Managers.

We're looking for Managers who are well versed in strategic communication plans as well as being able to develop a business relationship with the client. If you are interested, or if you know someone who's interested, then point them here :)

Caution: Only if you think you can really heck it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Social media: Crowdsourcery Potion 101.

In conjunction with NY Social Media Week:

Some have predicted that crowdsourcing is the future of the marketing, advertising and industrial design industry. The phenomenon, they argue, will accelerate creativity across a larger network. Others, meanwhile, have predicted that it is a passing fad but one that downward pressure on prices on current agency work.

So which is it? Does crowdsourcing represent the beginning of the end of creative organizations? Or does it herald the beginning of something bigger and transformational for those agencies - and for business in general?

Moderator: John Winsor, CEO at Victors & Spoils

Ty Montague (Co-President and Chief Creative Officer, JWT North America)
Michael Lebowitz (Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship)
Saneel Radia, SVP, Alchemist at Denuo
Faris Yakob, EVP Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson New York - Sparks: Whoa, this must be the biggest title I've ever heard!

Wish I could go. Well, you can. RSVP here.