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 :)

A brand new day.

It's been yonkers since I last woke up this early and slept this little. Okay, maybe the latter part doesn't count so much since it was only last week I had a 36-hour equivalent workathon.

Am flying to Singapore today for a regional meeting on sustainability issues and I believe it's something that we really don't need to discuss anymore. Please stop the debate! What we need is action. What we need is our stand as a global network agency. What we need is a strong strategy to change a hundred year old paradigm. What we need are tactics to stimulate this industry. What we need are thought leaders, aggressive doers and compassionate believers. What we need is just a brain, a pair of hands, a belief that things can change, even if a million people tell you it can't and a heart of faith whose words could move mountains.

Well, let's see what we can do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book: The Long Tail, Longer by Chris Anderson.

Chris Anderson is one of my modern day superheroes in business science and economics and this book is a proof of that. Nevermind that he's already the head of Wired ;)

The Long Tail, Longer is essentially an updated version of 'The Long Tail' but a longer version, duh. His acute observation on the dynamics of the internet and how it interferes with consumer behavior is backed by hard data, surely is convincing enough to tell us that human do not behave in a linear way when it comes to consuming data, information and products online. The days of sole pre-selection consumption is over. Don't get me wrong. Pre-selection will always be there because we cannot live online without a physical world but it does bend certain rules of traditional economics and marketing, making it possible to change the game entirely.

This is a must read book for those who love Malcolm Gladwell, those who love Barry Schwartz of 'The Paradox of Choice'. Too many choices in the physical world may not be a good idea as it overwhelms the audience. But online? There is no such thing as 'too many' or 'too much'.