Friday, January 28, 2011

Sparks for Social Economy.

I promise you, the web will change all things capitalism. It will not be overnight, but there will be a tipping point.

"I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate (the) grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society." - Albert Einstein, Why Socialism?, 1949

Yes, you do have a point Albert. It's 2011. We shall see :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Books: Matsushita Leadership by John P. Kotter.

The last book I read which really made me reflect upon my own management skills and life goals was 'The Honda Myth' by Masaaki Sato. See, there's something about Japanese management (or related) books that implore you to reflect. At least, working in a Japanese environment has taught me that it is not uncommon for the culture to do so especially when something goes awry.

I used to think that Soichiro Honda was one of the most revered person in Japan and it was not just because he built cars. The man built dreams. But Kotter has given me another perspective of what it means to be admirable. In words, actions and thoughts, Konosuke Matsushita is no stranger to this group of islands from Far East.

Born in a comfortable environment, Matsushita went through hell (literally) when his family fell apart before he even reached his teenage years. In a family of 10, he was the last surviving one in his tender years. He had nothing but a savings of a hundred yen. And he created what today we would call, a start up. No one could have guessed that a global electronics giant called Panasonic was once upon a time, an entrepreneurial dream of a boy who literally gained his riches from rags.

Soichiro Honda taught us the challenging spirit - to trudge on, no matter how difficult the task is. Konosuke Matsushita propagated the same. The difference is, Honda probably had equal parts of ups and downs but Matsushita was most of the time, nose-diving to the bottom. Of course, the phoenix always rises from the ash, he overcame most of the challenges as what we witness the state of Panasonic today. But what was immortal was his spirit. His relentless spirit in his belief of humanity and that everything he does, encapsulates that belief. He built a company to serve society, so that everyone could prosper. So that customers could afford electrical goods to have a more comfortable life, so that his employees when trained to produce efficiently could afford more time to enjoy their prosperity. Such noble cause. Such humble spirit.

I'm not sure how much of that philosophy is translated into Panasonic's global working culture today. I certainly hope that that spirit itself has been immortalized even though Konosuke Matsushita is long gone. Here's a poem that the man himself took fancy and it kind of reminded me of some conversations between friends and associates. My peers were worried about hitting the big age 30. Why big age? I have no idea. 30 to me is where the fun starts because one is now in a position to put in use what one has learned for the past 8 working years and in the words of Matsushita, prosper. But they were worried because it's a sign of old age. If 30 was old, then what about 40? And what on earth would we do when we hit 60? Retire from life!? Then what happens to the rest of our lives? Why in our youth, we're so resigned and hurried to grow old? So to everyone who feels that way... here's Matsushita's favourite poem for you:


Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind, it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means the temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living.

In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young. When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty. But as long as your aerials are up, to catch waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.


Cheers to you. To a life of infinite learning.

p/s: Sorry you can't borrow this from Sparks because it belongs to Dentsu :)

Something about old skool type of rendering animation ;)

That just steals the attention. Ironically named The Illusionist.

Yes, I would like to watch this :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The true position of leadership.

"Any person in a position of responsibility should always pay close attention to the problems that are crucial in bringing a certain task... to completion. Examining them in a free or creative frame of mind, he will be able to find a workable answer. At the same time, it is also necessary to approach a project with the conviction that it can be done, and not to waste energy worrying about its difficulty. Truly able people do not let the difficulties get the better of them. This is one of the things that a person in a position of leadership should keep in mind" - Konosuke Matsushita.

Amen, sir!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let Google be my travel guide.

So, I'm gonna do a bit of different travelling this time. I'm gonna let Google decide where I should sleep, eat and play. So the destination's confirmed. Langkawi ;)

So where about in Langkawi? Obviously the first step is to Google the word 'Langkawi'. And then, I'll pick the best ranked (option to pick sponsored links) from the top navigation bar like the ones in Google's page:

So what does Google, my handy travel friend suggest?

Search web: Learn about Langkawi from

Kinda strange that a Japanese page will turn up in my search results. No idea why. But anyway, from the site it beckons us to the top 5 things that we should be doing in Langkawi, which are going up the cable car (been there, done that, not too long ago so don't think wanna do that again), going to the Eagle Square (a giant concrete Eagle... hmm...), going to the night market, going to the Underwater World and going to the Langkawi Legend Park (?).

So after much researching, Google has decided that we should:
1) Go to the night market on Friday at Air Hangat
2) Visit the Underwater World which is supposedly Malaysia's largest aquarium with over 5,000 varieties of marine species. Since I'll be working very closely with WWF this year, I really should equip myself with more knowledge
3) Langkawi Lagenda Park which is supposedly right next to the lifeless Eagle, the place to truly be enlightened on Langkawi's legends and myths. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and I'm hard-pressed to acknowledge Langkawi's unfounded myths as part of our official history. I'm pretty sure I've read about Mahsuri in our history books in school, or did I get that wrong?

Search image: Sleep at the Four Seasons Langkawi (whoa! But dang, that does look tantalizing...)

Done. 'Nuff said. With a place like that, you don't need to go anywhere. Next.

Search video: The beach, the beach, the beach. Spend a lot a lot a lot of time on the beach ;)

Search maps: Watch sunset in Langkawi (and a whole lot of other stuff) as recommended by ChrisJBrunger from YouTube

Oh yeah baby :)

Search news: Le Tour de Langkawi 2011

Too bad we've missed it because the annual bike race will be kicking off tomorrow. So perhaps next time.

Search shopping: Buy a piece of Tanjung Rhu for home
Wow, it's actually for sale in Amazon. I didn't know we could possibly do that. Take really awesome photos of our country, photoshop it a little and introduce it to the world. This 48x72 Tanjung Rhu costs about $124.99 which is approximately RM382.47. I could spend the same amount on an air ticket to see the real thing. At least from where I am now ;)

Search blog: Langkawi is a place with throngs of Japanese and it's nice to see someone trying really hard to practice his English ;) (to buy beer, that is... he he he)

So I commented > 英語を話しますがんばってください。あきらめないでね!
Which really means, [don't give up in speaking English] in REALLY bad Japanese.

Search real-time: I have to stop Google from returning me with all these Japanese feedback! Anyone has any idea to switch it back to English!?

From the above, Twitter Shohei_Ishii says that he's begun his exciting [journey] in Langkawi an hour ago. Brackets mine for contextualizing. Wish he said what he was excited about though... And most of the tweets are either about Japanese getting very excited about/in Langkawi OR about the kickoff race of Le Tour de Langkawi tomorrow. So next search...

Search photos: Jason Chan has got some really nice shots of marine life so I'm assuming the Underwater World should be a good place to go to (okay, now I'm a bit more convinced).

I wanted to comment on his photos, it's nice to be supportive when someone's done a good job but I hate it when Picasa wants me to sign up. Hey, get on with the programme of universal connectivity! Which is Facebook!

Search groups: Langkawi Club Eco Tour which is... ran by a Japanese :P (sigh)

I can't believe that the Japanese are more entrepreneurial than locals. They offer many nature and eco activities for kids and adults but it's quite expensive, RM220 per head (adult). But I'm sure it's good. Japanese quality is always good ;) I think this will be a good back up plan in case we get too bored over the weekend.

And there ladies and gentlemen, we're done searching for today. There. I really don't need to invest in another yellowpages-sized Lonely Planet to go travelling after all. It's amazing what the web can open our eyes to. Seeing the same thing but from a different perspective altogether and in the process, minus the risk because you know it's from someone real who had been there, done that. Good job ;)

Looks like we've got loads of plans now and they're all pretty much user directed. Come the traveling day, we'll see how far off reality is from expectation :)

Up, up and away!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For the love of fashion.

This film makes you think. Think more than fashion, more than what you are wearing, more than what's trendy.

This film makes you think about life, passion and what is it that you really want to do. Makes you want to challenge conformity, want to go back to the root of happiness. Which is doing what you really like and putting your whole heart and soul into it, making sure that you enjoy every single second you pour into that project of yours and then, sit back and watch it come to live. And then start all over again. For the love of life ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BMW builds REAL relationship.

This is how relationships are built between brands and customers ;)

And another... what can I say? It must be true love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Targeting offliners with an online campaign?

Great idea! Just need to iron out the feasibility (knowing clients here who are so hung up about logistics!).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Books: The Budget: How the government is spending OUR money by Teh Chi-Chang.

This is a must have book for ALL citizens of Malaysia. Other than your I.C and driving license, this should be the third document that you should have at all times. Not so much for flashing it to law enforcers but more like a ‘financial bible’ to understand what you have been contributing your taxes (current and future) to.

I am appalled by our government’s indifference and incapability to be accountable for the management of our country’s budget. Running in high deficit for the past 5 years isn’t a laughing matter for any tax-paying citizen. We have done our due, yet we’re not seeing better systems in education, transportation, health and even internal security looking at the soaring crime rates. I recall participating in a friend’s relative’s survey in researching ‘tax payers’ sentiment’ when it comes to paying what they rightfully owe the country. I completed the survey with utmost honesty and mind you, I AM a tax-payer and I did comment on my displeasure on how we’re contributing like good citizens yet whatever the government has planned, does not seem to benefit me nor my family nor my future generation. And from this book which is superbly and most eloquently put together by Teh Chi-Chang (he’s now my local financial hero), I finally could see the light. Well, I saw the light long ago, but now I could finally put it into words based on black and white.

Imagine 10% of us is supporting the country’s 90%. No wonder some of us just got fed up and ran away. I was also appalled to read that 2 million Malaysians who consist of at least 90% bumiputra are living in poverty! The people need to wake up and open their eyes. These pro-bumi policies that have been put together, protected and sworn sovereign by these dudes in UMNO are only benefiting the ex-Menteri Besars and the endless list of Datuks and Datins who need cheaper electricity to light up their multi-million dollar bungalow in Bukit Tunku. What is oblivious to people is the fact that these pro-bumi policies should be benefiting the 2 million bumiputras who are living way below the poverty line. They should be given due opportunities to upskill and earn better wages with subsidies for schooling and basic home necessities such as food, water and electricity. Don’t even talk about non-bumis! Why are we outsourcing jobs in home care-taking to Indonesia and Cambodia when it could be a huge lucrative market for the locals? Local home 'care-takers' (I've something against the word 'maid', apartheid is SO 19th century!) can travel to their employer's home each day from 8 to 7pm, Monday to Friday. Weekends, they can spend with their own family. No one needs to worry about security. Honestly, how some employers 'lock up' their maids 24/7 is not just crazy, it's inhumane. Why no one thought of that?

I beg of you, my dear reader. That if you carry a Malaysian ID, birth certificate and/or passport, then thou shalt know where your money is going to. Now that the can of worms is opened, I wish someone would do something to lead us out of this darkness. The careless handling of the country’s expenditure does not only affect you and I, but it will affect generations and generations of Malaysians thereafter. Therefore, I beg beg beg of you. If the government will not be accountable, you as a citizen can. And if there are a volume of us (regardless of ethnicity, religious and political views) that have had enough of this Monopoly child-play in this country, it will undoubtedly put enough pressure on them to at least, buck up and get smarter. Efficiency is one thing that we’re truly lacking and let’s not wait any longer.

Borrow it from Sparks Open Library Project. Or BETTER, buy it from here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book: How to rescue my delirious heart by b.wing.

I got this wonderful wonderful wonderful book for Christmas and the illustrations are nothing short of heartwarming and to a certain extent, they do steal your pity. The first ‘how do you do?’ that we exchanged was a slightly furry sensation. The book was wrapped with dark crimson velvet.

‘How to rescue my delirious heart’ by b.wing is another child narration of very serious heart-related matters faced by grown-ups. Although it’s difficult for me to compare this to the likes of Oliver Jeffers and legendary Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, but I must applaud the creator for at least bringing it close to home. The main character has a childlike demeanor that must be the representative of our inner being, metaphorically speaking. The child’s perspective sometimes bear strong nuances of how unbearable and cold our world can be but sometimes I feel that the linkage is so subtle that it’s hard to continue substantiating that emotional connection. During these ‘pauses’ in the narration, the words and their meaning somehow lose momentum, and I’m afraid this is the very reason why it is unable to thoroughly capture the audience’s heart as it would have been expected to. But having said that, the job of engagement is relentlessly carried through by pages and pages of visual expression brought to life by crayons, a highly imaginative mind and a delirious heart.

I haven’t got the answer to the rescue but I’ve certainly grown soft towards this gentle being and wanting to protect ‘her heart’ from whatever that may be threatening it. Perhaps you will. And when you do, won’t you rescue mine too?

Borrow it from Sparks Open Library Project.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book: The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.

The Invisible Gorilla checks and rechecks many myths that have been governing our minds. I won’t be as far fetch as to say that they’ve successfully debunked these myths, since the cases which are brought up in this kind of psychological thesis are isolated. Which means, you argue one way, it goes one way. You argue the other way, and you find that it could be a possibility too. But the interesting thought here is that their argument is pretty substantial when it comes to how our misconceptions of various truths about ourselves led us to perhaps make less than accurate decisions. It may not seem like very much of a big deal when it’s menial day-to-day business but take instances from the courtroom, sometimes it may cost a lot more than saying, “Oops, I guess I thought wrong”.

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons both received the Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology in September 2004 “for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it’s all too easy to overlook anything else”. Sometimes we’re too quick to jump the gun, too eager to close the case that we forget about other perspectives and possibilities, and start drawing conclusions based on our own intuition, our own experience, confidence and even memory. But if you realize, take memory as an instance, it is written by ourselves with absolutely no details of how the outcome might be to someone else. When a situation happens, the track involves multiple ‘actors’ and almost always, we’re just one of them. When we record the situation through lenses which are tinted by our own expectations and previous experience, we cannot remain neutral in saving that piece of memory. Which really means that even if the same incident happened to both you and I, there could be a discrepancy between your story and mine simply because we processed the information in different ways which are entirely biased. If there was a shootout on the street, we would have captured totally different images that are sometimes drawn from our own biasness. You see a black guy shooting. I recall clearly it was a white guy. So who’s right and who’s wrong? Memories, like history is written by the winner and in our story, who else but us take the leading actor role? And this is just one of the many ‘illusions’ that we base our everyday decisions and judgments on.

In their words: The Invisible Gorilla is a book about six everyday illusions that profoundly influence our lives: the illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause and potential. These are distorted beliefs we hold about our minds that are not just wrong, but wrong in dangerous ways.

Pick this book up. It’s a must read if you, like me, like them, enjoy Malcolm Gladwell.

But here's a sneak peek on what to expect ;)

Borrow this book from Sparks Open Library Project!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First blog of the year.

Woke up at 9am this morning in the heart of KL, bright-eyed, sunny and fresh :) A definite good start to 2011. And there's nothing more exciting than to look at my 2011 calendar and smile at all the goodies planned for this year. I have no strict resolutions, but I do have a couple of things that are must do.

1) Drive at a lower gear at work this year, balance my pace
2) Okinawa :)
3) London :D
4) Go back to basics - social research, social research, social research. People, people, people
5) Try a Four Seasons - anywhere
6) Build more things at home - anything (okay, less ambitious - make)
7) Venture to another place and this time, without connectivity (this holiday-packed year must be capitalized fully, no?)
8) Convert to Apple-ism
9) Go back to books and writing (nothing I love more but forgot in 2010)

And to people the world over, have a very blessed 2011. If there are two things I wish for myself, my family, friends and you, that will be health and love.