Monday, April 30, 2012

Alas, what makes Malaysia, Malaysia?

Truly truly truly, it has to be this!

I really thought Malaysians couldn't care less. Being there, yes I saw a lot of people. But hell, I didn't know it was THIS MANY PEOPLE. We've studied in history, iconic leaders who had to wrestle independence back for the people. Against the Japanese, against the British, whomever. But who would have known? Today, it is MALAYSIANS themselves who are fighting for independence of election against these so-called leaders? If this is not called beautiful, I seriously don't know what is. F*ckyeah Malaysians unite! (Sorry, too excites). But yeah, don't EVA forget that spirit in our everyday life k :) We can change. One step at a time. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

What kind of Malaysian are you?

Malaysians are really, the most colourful bunch of truly Asians that I'm really proud of.  If my newsfeed had a colour, it would be yellow and it's been ongoing up till now.  Been reading a lot of people's opinion about what happened.  Been watching a lot of videos on people's action during the protest.  And here's my humble summary of what type of Malaysians are there :) This is... a hypothetical truth and purely my personal opinion.  Please don't shoot.  The 'x' button is at the corner right, in case you need to reach out for it!

1) The political hijackers: Opportunists who sidetrack the participants to other causes (e.g voting for them) by taking advantage of the high spirits.  The strategy is to sell, "If you don't want BN, means you want XYZ".  Mixing people's motivation to create a new logic.  Smart-nya.

2) The chant leader: Comprehends the facts about the cause and understand why they are there for.  They lead in songs and war-cries to lift and maintain the spirit of the people during the protest.  May or may not be neutral in their political stance but they are definitely cause focused.

3) The hardcore 'blind' protester type: Almost the jihad kind without a cause.  Look for every opportunity to cari gaduh with the authorities.  Must have been rejected many times to be an extra in movie shoots.

4) The neutral type: Participates because of a single reason (e.g need electoral reforms), and understand basic supporting facts (e.g why need electoral reforms) but not the iceberg details.  Basically peaceful.  Not there to be a hero, but there to support others to make a point.  Usually quite level-headed and prefer to not scuffle (e.g peaceful come, peaceful go).

5) The tourist type: Participates because it's a one in a lifetime national event.  May have initially gone for the cause, but got sidetracked by the carnival-ish atmosphere.  But when things turn ugly, they go home with a lot of photos and suddenly remember why they were angry in the first place.

6) The accidental hero: Their instinct is to get people out of trouble because they are wise enough to know some of them will get into serious trouble.  They sometimes appear in photographs helping others to get to safety.  But there are many unsung ones too.  Those who helped indirectly, feeding and giving refuge to teargassed protesters in their shop, letting down the shutters to keep them safe.  Whoa~ gooseys! x

7) The PERKA... 'buat-kacau' infiltrators: 'nuff said.

8) The samseng police: Police who feels a snowballed oppression (may come from the government but he cannot identify the source anymore).  So when protesters taunt them, they feel the need to 'teach them a lesson' and to show the citizens, who's the boss.  So they group up and beat em' like a boss.

9) The neutral police: He doesn't have a choice but to uphold the orders of his superior.  He doesn't agree nor disagree with the protests but generally prefers things to be kept in order.  Therefore he doesn't respond nor react to taunters.

10) The undercover police 1: He pretends to be one of the protesters and creates a drama to give the authorities a reason to do a 'Die Hard' (minus the explosion) clamp down.

11) The undercover police 2: Actually, he really wants to be a protester, wearing his yellow spirit under his uniform.  He looks at the situation and tries to be strong.  He feels the spirit of the people yet he cannot defy the orders that came with his FRU uniform.  Normally, these type will sit and start questioning themselves, post-event.  Amazed by what happened and what he saw today.

12) The citizen journalist: They take themselves as independent media recording the event from their perspectives.  But without training and experience, they easily misunderstand the situation without further investigation, taking only what they see as proof of events.  Objective contexts are usually absent from most of their reporting causing bias.  But they are the strongest advocates of the event.

13) The independent media versus mainstream media: 'nuff said.  They only see what their own medium aims to report.  No matter what happened, there will always be two sides to a story pro their own beliefs.

14) The convenient Malaysian: Fairly oblivious to what's happening in KL.  Continues their shopping spree in 1U, Mid Valley, staying out of KL because there are 'road blocks'.  Curse when it's jammed and blame the protesters, oblivious to the fact that LDP is jammed every day at every hour.

15) The outposters: Malaysians who are in other countries, sat down and chat with other Malaysians to give their home country support.  They may or may not realize their fellow citizens are running for their lives, while they meet new friends and set new 'makan-makan' appointments should there be a next gathering.

16) The quiet supporters: Secretly, they want to be there but due to unforeseen circumstances (or whatever circumstances), they can't.  Normally, they have at least one or two close friends who are participating.  They are generally affected by the turn of events, providing encouragement to those who participated, secretly promising to themselves, I WILL BE THERE NEXT YEAR DAMNIT!

17) The commentators: Those who were not there and experienced nothing but share their opinion based on photographs and for/against write-ups online.  Usually after one or two monumental artefact then they will fly into judgement.  Read: No.12 + No. 17 = Pretty potent.

18) The I'm-greater-than-you-oh-who-are-stupid: Those who did not participate but are greatly inconvenient (e.g my FB feeds are all about Bersih, you guys are getting in between me and my other content you know!) by what happened.  So they start calling protesters and all who support the event, names.  Oblivious to the fact that what the participants fight for, also benefit them.

19) The born again Malaysian: They transformed and became REAL Malaysians post-event.  Because they finally experienced first hand a united spirit and kindness extended by other races (albeit living in this country all their lives).  Their birthright and nationality renewed and now they want to fight even more for their country.

20) The VIPs: Political figure, NGO figure, celebs, someone's daughter, someone's son, whatever.  They are a spirit-booster to the protesters.  When they turn up, they heighten the spirit of the people.  They may be with the crowd but somehow always have an exit planned (that no one knows).

And finally...

21) The blur nut: "What happened last weekend?  Haaa, got meh~"


22) The I'm-not-a-Malaysian-anymore Malaysian: "I'm a ___________" (e.g Londoner, New Yorker, Australian, whatever).

So which one are you?  Not part of the list?  Then let me know, I'll add on.

(Don't lar angry, joke joke aje...)

The moral of the story is... there are many kinds of us and it's okay to be who you are, so long your conscience is clean and you stick to your guns, instead of poking it at other Malaysians who simply fall into a different category.  No?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What does it feel the day after BERSIH?

It feels strange.  Surreal.  Unreal.  Almost like a dream.  Like you're not sure if it really happened.  And you're not sure what exactly happened.  And you're not sure if it happened at all!  Until you fire up your computer and read about all the sweet and bitter stories about what really happened.

I won't go into detail of my experience yesterday.  If I have to sum it up in one sentence, then it would be 'a carnival on elm street'.  A peaceful protest turned sour because of whatever whatever whatever happened (and still no one can be sure).  It turned nightmarish when innocent citizens 'dikepong' (surrounded) within the area with tear bombs, exit points sealed.  To the police strategist - I'm not sure what was the brief but your objective in retrospect sure looks iffy and your strategy a mess unless you're telling me that the intention was to punish the citizens and smoke em' like rats so that they either sit down to 'enjoy' the gas (because the old ones can't run anymore) or run, scurry or even jump from high places as your form of enjoyment.  Oh well.  You'll be screwed fo sho' if we were to do a PDCA :Pp

As a result, I now can proudly say that I was one of the FRUs smoked rats :D the tear gas, as my fellow yellow bellow friend rightly put it, was no pussy gas as he thought it was before.  YA MAN.  It really stings.  Imagine we're not even in direct inhalation, forget 'tearing', your entire breathing system burns.  Thereafter, panic comes from your inability to breathe especially if you're a newbie.  I started panicking a) after realizing that the burning sensation is growing and b) there seem to be tear bombs everywhere - at the back and in front of us - where to go now? But luckily a good Samaritan who owns a bookstore (, let us into his shop on the 1st floor in one of the buildings.  And we were safe.  And there were a lot of good Samaritans trying to be helpful but you'll be surprised, everyone was VERY calm.  Looked bit wet and uncomfortable, bit worried but generally CALM.  Wow, amazing isn't it? :) The strength I never knew we had :)

After all the John Woo drama, I reached home safely (thank God and thank you all who prayed for us) and even went out for dinner.  I must have been really animated during dinner, like I just watched a Hollywood piece at the cinema earlier that afternoon.  Well, I hope at least I was entertaining :)

And then I went home.  Suddenly, very exhausted and very sleepy.  My eyes were still bit stinging, perhaps remnants to remind me that it was very real.  And I woke up today, recharged and reading all the perspectives of everyone who was there.  I saw this, no it wasn't true, I saw this, yes it's true, no I saw this, it's not true, yes I saw this, etc etc etc.  All are wonderful stories and all are worthy because all are true (plus minus the real context, at least it was truly what the person saw).  But it doesn't matter, does it?  The aftermath of Bersih isn't a blame game.  We went for it, means we were prepared for things to turn ugly and we even expected stupidity to surface itself in many stupid forms that can cost a life.  And that's just what it is.  I heard there are deaths and I'm truly truly truly sorry to hear that.  As well as to those who are hurt.  Don't give up the fight.  Yesterday was just the second phase.  There will be third, fourth, fifth and perhaps many more.  But we will be smarter next time.  Because none of them is as clever as all of us right?  Right :)

So I'm gonna leave you with my favourite pics from yesterday's rally.  Only two in fact (maybe I'll add on later if I come across more) but the meaning is monumental.  The protesters yesterday truly cover ALL WALKS of Malaysian life - every shade, size, tongue and faith.  We became friends because we have the same want for a 'clean election, clean government'.  But what in fact united us was when we protected each other, placing ourselves second to this new friend whom we just met.  Now, THAT is worth going to BERSIH for again and again and again and again.  Hey, we could even make that an annual tourism event like the Mardi Gras except it can get Hollywoodish!  Our very own national street event :) Anyway, so here are the pictures and a very well produced video (somehow, things are just more dramatic when you add a soundtrack :) Enjoy and keep protecting, keep uniting and keep on fighting x

A member of the public lies on the road in order to stop the police truck from spraying the chemical-laced water on the Bersih 3.0 participants. Picture from @Michael The II (Source: FB)

Can't find the source for this one.  But the image is self-explanatory #winning

And this one kinda gives you an idea what it felt like to be there (music makes more drama, so you may take it a notch down :))

Bersih 3.0 Same Day Edit by lumierasia

Oh and one more thing.  Some of my friends thought Bersih was a total waste of time and the people are being used by the opposition as pawns, causing unnecessary chaos (and roadblocks and traffic jam) in the country and worse, the problem of massive litter the day after.  Well, point taken.  Maybe.  Sorry about the litter though (I kept mine in my bag by the way).  We will do better in cleaning up and looking harder for a rubbish bin while running away from water cannons and tear gas next time we get smoked ok? :)

But anyway, a serious question popped up in my head: What happens when half of us want to move forward and the other half is contented with where we are.  Then what will happen to us, as one?  How do we deal with that?  Surely surely surely, if the electoral commission reforms AS A RESULT of these protesters, o-stay-home-and-comment-on-others YOU must also benefit?  But did the protesters care who benefits and who doesn't?  Did they not stand up to fight for all Malaysians?  Heck, I went for my children and I don't even have children!

Truly truly, that's a very important question that needs to be considered by our thinkers.  Hmm.  Really, think about it and share ;)

Recommended Bersih 3.0 Reads:

Marina Mahathir's POV
Lim Kit Siang's POV
The chronicle of yesterday's event from Malaysia Chronicle (time stamped)
On the importance of this fight by the Malaysian Insider

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What will win us a revolution?

Prayer.  And faith.

Well, here it is again. The famous infamous Bersih rally. Last year, I was saddened because I couldn't make it there but this year, I have no excuse. I will be there with my fellow Malaysians of every shade, size and tongue. For those of you who know me, don't worry. I promise to take good care of myself and finally, this is where all those years of learning to be street smart and independent will be put into a test. I know you have heard and seen horrid stuff about what happened last year. To be honest, I'm nervous too. Unlike many truly courageous ones and those whose spirit is stirred by the PR hype, I'm truly nervous because in reality we really don't know what can happen, whether maliciously planned or due to someone's stupidity and we all know what stupid can cost us now, don't we?

 I'm not going for any political parties and my vote remains neutral. I don't even have a Bersih T-shirt because I don't buy commercialization. I go because I have had enough of BS. I can understand why my parents' generation is sceptical and dead worried because they've seen some pretty bad stuff. As a result, they've been bullied into silence, consent and worse, coercion. While we just sit here, generation after generation, watching every country overtakes us in every area of development.  I have had enough. My unborn children, my 4-year old nephew, my cousins and friends' children and their children will NOT go through the same medieval era. They will not be bullied into silence, fear and such crippling attitude. They will grow up in an environment that is empowering, progressive, competitive and most importantly, FAIR. And they will grow up right here in their own motherland and not someone else's country.

Maybe after tomorrow, things may return to normal but truly you must have witnessed some change from the last year's event? We are NOT at the same spot if you care to know. For one, Malaysians now have a voice. The opposition now has a voice. And that shift albeit small to some, is the most important thing. Wisdom tells us overnight success takes place 25 years later. The question is, do we want to give up now?

Change on a national level goes by an inch. You will not wake up the next day and see reformed governance. Will you give up the fight then? Then let me ask you a question. Have you ever tried kicking a bad habit? Quit smoking, quit biting your nails, quit being impatient, quit being critical, quit anything. Did you decide to quit and wake up the next day having really quit it? Was it not an uphill struggle that took some time before you finally claim victory? Exactly.  Then what more on a national level?

So before the big day, I'd like to make a small request. No, not that I will ask you to participate. No, stay safe at home but be vigilant on social media and help channel accurate information to those who need it and to those that will hold the authorities accountable for breaking peace. And most importantly, pray.

Pray that the Prince of Peace will go with us that we march in goodwill instead of anger.  Our spirit is fired up but our mind is calm. Pray that God will provide special mercy and protection to all Malaysians who are finally showing that they care and love their country. Pray for grace  for the authorities and that they will remain neutral and helpful instead of responding in arrogance under any circumstances. Pray for change to happen and our demand for fairness, equality and electoral cleanliness to be granted. Pray for God's wisdom and righteousness and not men's in response to each other. Pray for unity amongst the people and amongst the authorities.  Pray for non-violence.


There will come a day where we will give up this uphill battle and return to a duct-taped silence. But tomorrow is not the day.

And to all fellow yellow marchers, keep safe, look out for one another, bring peace and I will see you in the Independence Square to reclaim our birthright freedom in our own nation.

Jobs in Dentsu Utama, updated 26/04/12.

(Last update on 26th April 2012)

If any of the following hits a note with you (or someone you know), please direct enquiries here.

1) Account Director: To oversee our key Electronics account, handling a team of Senior Account Manager, 2 Account Managers, a Senior Account Executive and an Account Executive.  Obsessive constructive leadership is absolutely necessary.  People prone to emotional breakdowns need not apply.

2) Senior Account Manager: To handle our 2-wheeler account with primary focus to expand.  Driven and enjoys travelling.  Being able to converse in local dialect automatically adds 10-points to your score.  People who know how to drink and socialize but can't do sh*t need not apply.

3) Account Manager:   To handle three reasonably-sized accounts: Pharmaceutical, Automotive-related industry and FMCG/alcohol. Someone who has experience in a media agency is preferred.  With knowledge and experience in PR (I mean the discipline, not drinks with clients) adds 10-points to your score.  Driven to expand current business.  People who say they know media but don't know how GRPs are calculated need not apply.

4) Senior Account Executive: To work on women and baby products, working closely with a shared Senior Account Manager and a dedicated Senior Account Executive to manage the client and be apt to business growth opportunities.  Preferably female for obvious reasons (but hey if you think you can hack it but are born a bloke, why not).  People who are attention-deficit and always need to be recognised for menial work done, need not apply.

5) Associate Planning Director: 2nd in line to the Planning Director.  To assist in overseeing the planning department when the Planning Director is away and handle a telco account independently.  Looking for someone who has a good track record in either winning new business and/or expanding existing accounts.  Leadership is commendable.  Needs to be adept in research methodologies and practices.  People who hold two titles; one their actual position and the other called something like 'Strategist' need not apply.

6) Senior Planner/Senior Planning Manager: To primarily manage our automotive account (both 4 and 2 wheeler) and assist in other small accounts as well as pitches.  Needs to be adept in marketing and research.  People who want to experiment with planning because they dislike being a suit, need not apply (and refer to number (5)).

6) Planning Intern: Coordinator for the planning department, assist in research and basically a management trainee.  Strawberry-generation mindset (poke, bruise, cry) need not apply.  By the way, if I have to talk to your parents, I will.  Trust me.

7) Digital Media Marketer: To market creative concepts in the digitalsphere with adept knowledge in (minimally) GA, online media channels, KPI-setting and ROI measurement.  Able to produce digital-translation of integrated campaigns is a major plus point.  People who can only plan and can't execute (or vice versa) need not apply.

8) Mid-heavy weight creative: Art + Senior Copywriter + Designer (team of three) to work with a dedicated planner of similar weight.  Primary role is to push the creative envelope, producing strategically sound integrated campaigns for an Electronics account.  People who cannot ideate and try to cover up by using vavavoom execution, need not apply.

9) Mid-weight creative team: Art + Copy + Designer (team of three) to work with a dedicated planner of similar weight.  Primary role is to push the creative envelope, producing strategically sound integrated campaigns for an Automotive account.  Primadonnas need not apply.

10) Content strategist and writer: To plan and write for publication and engagement (both printed and digital).  Huge opportunity to grow in content creation.  Copywriters whose sizzle fizzles after 3 lines, need not apply.

People with 10 years experience in 10 different agencies, need not apply.

To an awesome year!

p/s: Sorry, I just realized this is on social global media.  This Dentsu is Dentsu Utama, Malaysia (an integrated advertising agency).  Not to be mistaken for another country, an auditing and finance firm and/or a certain spark plug manufacturer.

What looks even better than a Victorinox Swiss Army Original?

The Original Chronograph of course ;)

Just saw this today and thought of sharing the media release with you guys :)

In conjunction with the launch, an exclusive Victorinox Swiss Army iPhone case will be given away for every purchase of either Original Collection (Chronograph or Non-Chronograph Version).

Valid at authorized retail stores as stated below:
Watch Zone Pavilion, Watch Zone Tropicana City Mall, Watch Zone Tebrau City, Watch Zone Queensbay Mall, Time Galaxy Sunway Pyramid, Watchshoppe 1-Utama, Watchshoppe Mid Valley Megamall, Watchshoppe Sunway Pyramid, Watchshoppe Gurney Plaza, Yee Wah Hing Bangsar Shopping Centre.

FYI price: Chronograph @ RM1,495 and Non-Chronograph @ RM1,099

Happy shopping! ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Really. Seriously. Honestly, what do planners do?

When people ask me what I do in advertising, everyone gets it if I were to say 'Client Servicing' or 'Copywriter' or 'Art Director' or 'Media' or 'Production'.  Most often than not, I just get a blank look when I say 'Planner'.  No one knows what we do.  Heck, even some within our own office don't know what we do.  While some people bitch about Servicing as being the 'high-class' messenger, we are infamously known as the 'expert' Powerpoint writer.

It's total bullshit.

What I do is I PLAN.  I solve problems.  Any problems.  Period.  Full stop.  You have a problem?  You come to me.  I give you a solution.  And that solution has a plan.  It consists of an idea that has a concise strategy to help you get out of your rut hole (Point A) and into dreamland (Point B).  Wherever your Point A is, wherever your Point B is.  It doesn't matter.  Sometimes, we can give you an even bigger plan and suggest the third point.  Point A to Point B to Point C to Point Whatever.  Till you say stop.  Small planners, small journey.  Big planners, big journey.  Simple as that.

There's no job in planning.  Planning is living.  If you're a good problem solver in life, you're a good problem solver at work.  Problems are problems, big or small.  What a planner lives on, he or she feeds back into their work.  So, there's no 9 to 5 job, it's a round-the-clock work because a planner is perpetually living, breathing and most importantly learning.  What a planner learns is oxygen (amazingly well put by fellow planner, Heidi Heckemer) to the agency.  The oxygen that's needed for the ultimate first spark of light (yes, pun intended).  Without that oxygen, there's nothing.

I'm not a workaholic.  I might seem like I'm thinking all the time.  That's because I enjoy learning.  You can't learn if you're not thinking, no? (that's why our education system failed so terribly).  So people may mistaken me as a workaholic.  Well, yea.  Whatever.

In reality, there's no such thing as a 'junior' planner.  Or planning manager, or director, or chief planner.  A planner is a planner.  You're either a planner or you're not.  A good planner or you're not.  Levels don't define how good you are, it just defines how old you are (defers maybe only in some exceptional cases).  But I guess, it's a way for management to safeguard the planning lineage in agencies.  Therefore, they need to photocopy the planning director into many little planners so that they can make more money.  Makes perfect economic sense and I'm not complaining.  But I think planning directors are just highly misunderstood.  That's all I'm saying.  I'm not interested in intellectual masturbation with C-executives.  I'm here to solve problems.  Directorship sets a diplomatic restrain on you, that's all (say that, don't say that, say that, don't say that).  It's no biggie.  Don't like?  Leave.  Be a planning nomad :) (that's my dream job actually.  And now that I've mentioned it, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU READ THAT TERM HERE FIRST.  TQVM).

I have a confession.  I have trouble following rules or systems to be specific.  I can't work in a cookie cutter.  I can't live in a pigeon-hole.  That makes me unstable and that always gets me into trouble.

BIG SMILE.  Sorry, can't help it.  Learning is a dotted-life (credit Steve Jobs).  Hold that thought!  Did you just imagine some black dots on a straight line?  Whether horizontal or vertical?  Hmm.  You know what dalmatians are?  Well, that's what I'm talking about.  Sporadic dots (who says it must always be a line!).  I get suffocated, unhappy, bordering depression if I'm locked within 4-walls.  Not 4 physical walls (I don't really care about physicality) but my light gets dimmer if I'm tied down by systems.  Linear methods.  You must do this and this and this because it's this and this and this.  You must be in by 9am.  I don't really care what time I come to work but to sit in the jam for 2 hours simply don't make any common sense to me.  I defy inefficient systems.  So.  I don't come in to work at 9.  As long as I'm in when I'm needed then problem solved.  You get me now?  Yea, planning nomad.

I get suffocated if I can't travel.  If I can't go and see the world, talk to people and consume their culture, I shrink.  Some people don't.  They retain their original size.  But I will shrink.  I don't why it happens, but it happens.  I'm not sure if it's gonna work as well if you tell me to 'grow up', cause trust me, I told myself that gazillion times before.  But it doesn't work.  On the contrary.  Every time I travel, my mind grows.  It stretches itself so much to carry the excitement back to my team.  My excitement literally bursts out from me.  I wanted to share with them what I saw, who I met, what I did because I have all these great ideas that would make for great problem-solutions.  Without getting out there, my sight dims.  And I will lose the love for my work.  The love for solving problems.  The love for learning.  The love for living.

That's what I do.

That's what a planner does.

And now, I'm gonna share with you a really simple but profound slideshow from Heidi, another planning nomad.  And right after this.  I'm gonna share the link with my bosses.  It feels like these are the words which I've always wanted to tell them but never knew how.  Well, now that a planner has expertly put it into a Powerpoint, I should just click 'send'.  PTL for Slideshare.  Enjoice :)

planning, creativity & planning for creative campaigns

View more presentations from Heidi Hackemer

Monday, April 23, 2012

Would you still solve the problem, if there were no rewards to it?

Not sure if this is considered profound material to you but it is illuminating to me.

""When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity," he wrote.  Rewards can deliver a short-term boost - just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours.  But the effect wears off - and worse, can reduce a person's longer-term motivation to continue the project." - Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive (The surprising truth about what motivates us).

In the history of 'work', management has conditioned its workforce to believe that it is commendable to reward good behaviour and punish the bad ones (no, scrape that.  I meant in the history of 'civilization' - think about it, it is pervasive!  Home, school, any organisation in fact!).  We've been accustomed to calculate our own returns of time/resource/skill investment in the form of money.  Of course, we are all earning a salary and will never lift a single finger for anything less than what we are valued for in the market.  But when we consider the motivation to 'grow', it feels really strange to me that somewhere in the history of 'work', management has somehow resorted to dangling big fat chunky carrots in front of the employee so as to encourage him to perform higher, subsequently growing the company in a sum of collective efforts.

Who's the donkey now?
I mean... really.  Think about it.  This is your own personal growth measured and materialized by the work you produce.  But you need someone, to sit on top of you to entice you to do something that at the end of the day belongs entirely to you and which experience will benefit you forever.  Hmm... peculiar, no?  Keep the aforementioned scenario in your mind.  Keep it there.  Close your eyes if you need to visualize.  Now, tell me if that doesn't feel like we're all androids living in a told and do, win and lose system?  That we've been conditioned and manipulated to perk up and salivate at the sound of a reward and in return, we do whatever we've been 'programmed' to do.  Tell me it is not so?

Unfortunately, we're locked in this strange vicious cycle because the industry is receiving graduates from an education system which bedrock is exactly the 'carrot and stick' rule.  And the worse part is, now we know... cash is like steroids.  You give a booster, you get a boost in high performance.  But when you remove the booster, the grave danger is, the said performance does not return to its 'normal' level.  It swings below the norm and greatly demotivates the individual in pursuing the work even if he had found joy in doing so previously without the reward.  It's not in the conscious mind to even comprehend the situation that we've evolved into (trust me, neither can the management because chances are, they are the alumni of this system).  So no one is aware of this.  No one is aware that our annual increment, bonuses, incentives might actually be doing more harm to our quality of work, performance, interest, and ultimately life.  And we've been questioning to no avail till today, why is society chasing for cash, sacrificing everything that might be deemed meaningful in their life?  And surprisingly especially the mid-upper and not the low income earners?  What is the meaning of life?  Where is the balance of work?  What are we doing to ourselves?  Have you questioned yourself that before?

Every time we take the carrot, we unconsciously erode our precious curiosity and the purity of our interest in the subject.  Every time we take a bribe to do something, we unconsciously place more importance and value in the reward instead of the joy and satisfaction in discovering the solution.  Both ways get you to do the same place - solving the problem, completing the task.  But the question is... which is more important to you?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What happens when doctors are so c*cksure of themselves?

Let me share with you a story of a Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher who practised medicine circa 190 CE.  He concluded that all human beings have 4 temperament of personality that are strongly linked to the four major fluids contained in the body (blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm).  Now yes, that's really kinda gross but he was convinced that our personality type is dominated by the most dominant presence of one of the 4 fluids.  So if you have too much blood, you could be warm-hearted, cheerful, optimistic and confident with the occasional potential to be too selfish.  The general belief is that if you're too selfish, you could be treated by either cutting down on red meat or... making small cuts into the veins to release some blood.  Yup.  Not funny, but that's how they rolled before.  The aforementioned physician/surgeon is known as Claudius Galenus.  Fastforward a thousand years in the 1500s, an Italian physician found more than 200 errors in Galen's practice.

You know where I'm getting at right?

When you read the last few sentences, did the word 'ridiculous' come to your mind?  Why in our time, right here right now, we almost automatically question the treatment of 'punctuating our veins' to help us become less selfish?  So how can we be so confident with current treatments?  That we might ridicule ourselves a century later?

If Darwin's theory was true, then our bodies are constantly still fighting and adapting against current elements to survive.  While there are many discoveries that have been made and proven true (for example, the exact location of everyone's heart) but a lot of diseases or new illnesses (physical or mental) are surfacing  now that we cannot be too sure if we've made the right diagnosis.  What is really definitive then?  Well, the general truth is that we stop learning when things are definitive anyway.  So... with all due respect to our medical team - doctors, nurses, medic assistants, psychiatrists, therapists, etc - I think the idea is to never stop learning, never stop being critical of our own experiences and findings.  If debunking a myth 1500 years later is possible, then let's keep our options open.  And I salute you who never gave up questioning :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Which is my favourite part of China?

Here goes my pictorial journey.  Hope it will inspire you as much as it did for me in putting them together :)

#Beijing #Guilin

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What is love?

Love cannot be owned, it cannot be grasp. Love is an invisible force that transcends time, space and physical being. Love has got no face so if you're struggling with attachment, remove the faces from love.

Love is queer. The more forceful you are in trying to grasp it, hold on to it or make sense out of it, it will slowly dissipate. It starts to suffocate every time you tighten your grip and dies a very slow death. But love wants to love you back. Therefore it needs to fight against you to survive. So that one day you will finally, truly accept it as it is and not as you wish it to be.

When you feel like love is leaving you, you instinctively clench on to it. It cannot breathe and it will die. Love is freedom therefore for it to survive, it needs to be free. To feel safe, to grow and to take shape on its own, at its own pace. Be still. For the more you struggle, the more it eludes you. A vicious cycle that will leave you feeling unloved, unworthy and undefined which is never the intention of love. Love is pure and love casts out all fear and insecurity.

Love heals. Can you sit next to love, not touching each other and enjoy a silent conversation? Can you not expect love to say something you want to hear? Can you not expect love to take a certain form of how you've always envisioned love to be? Can you simply sit there in silence and be in the presence of each other? Can you just feel its invisible embrace but bear the disappointment when you open your eyes, you see nothing? Can you brave the physical absence and not ask for more than what love is prepared to give you at any given stage of its maturity?

Can you let love, love you back in its own time? Love is shy, it makes hearts fluster, blushes cheeks and causes sweaty palms. Love is like a child. It is innocent and takes time to warm up and embrace you. And when it does, you know you are truly loved.

Can you not define love, not talk to it, not expect from it, but just be grateful that it's there and enjoy its presence?

For if you can, then you have truly surrendered to love and found everlasting peace.

Please read and share a solution!

The Good Samaritan Shop.: How can we be better helpers?: Hey y'all, I've been away on a 1-week sabbatical (yea, oxymoron.  1 week is not  sabbatical!) and now I'm back.  I caught up with a frien...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What did the media say about us?

Dentsu Bags Creative For Lumix And Viera

By: Malati Siniah, Malaysia
Published: 3 hours 49 min ago
Malaysia - Following a 2-week 5-way pitch, Dentsu Utama, the local office of Dentsu Network has won the strategy and creative duties for Panasonic's digital camera range Lumix and its television range Viera.
The pitching process was to determine the best agency to integrate both brands with innovative solutions. However, Panasonic was not necessarily looking to award the same agency to handle both of the accounts.
Dentsu Utama has begun work on both accounts and expects to kick off its first campaign soon.
Last year, Dentsu Utama was appointed to manage the corporate communication for Panasonic's Eco and Energy business and corporate sponsorship for the Olympics 2012 campaign.
Commenting on the agency's latest win, Hideo Katakura, vice president of Dentsu Utama said: "We are elated to move to the next level of business partnership with Panasonic. In order to meet our client's overall business objectives, we need to have an aerial view of the corporate strategy as well as an insightful vision for all of its brands,"
Last month, Panasonic kicked off an integrated campaign introducing new range of its Lumix digital cameras targeted at women. It also recently invested RM15 million to market its newly launched Smart VIERA TV.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

What did China teach me?

I remember the last time I spent two weeks in Shanghai, while it was time well spent with my dear friend, I absolutely abhorred the thought of working let alone, living in China.  Fast forward 6 years, here I am again, finding quiet time in Beijing.  I'm not sure if China has matured or I have grown up, the same idea doesn't seem so loathsome anymore.

To begin with, the people of Republic of China are not as ill-mannered as they have been branded before.  I would even go as far as to say their hospitality has grown leaps and bounds and trust me, they have a hell lot better service than Malaysia!  Even in terms of cleanliness, well yeah you should be careful of spit bombs on the streets or the occasional toddler relieving himself on the pathway under the watchful eye of his grandma, otherwise I see a much better maintained city (way better than Kuala Lumpur).  Have you ever seen any cleaner hard at work, picking up after irresponsible citizens in public areas in KL?  I've not.  Or I've not for at least a very long time.  But such scene is not uncommon in the streets, subway stations, tourism spots of Beijing.  The capital's growing appetite for modernity has also pushed the boundaries for innovation and creative thinking.  The apparent manifestation is showcased in 798 district - a warehouse cum train station area that I can only imagine to be dilapidated before but now an amazing transformation of all things art - ideas, food, fashion, knick knacks.  Even Tokyo needs to be careful because the dragon didn't just awaken but is hungry for attention.  Imagine the same experience at half the price of what it would cost in Yen.  Not to mention variety, coming from a market which size can gobble up any nation.

The only unfortunate thing during my trip was getting my stomach upset mid-holiday.  I must have been over adventurous in satisfying my culinary curiosity (though I really can't figure what).  But generally, I enjoyed Beijing cuisine a lot - think Peking duck (how can you not) and Chinese dumplings (wawsome!  My favourite!) - the best part is, the quality of food reflects its value.  So there, seriously what's not to love in Beijing?

The only downside to living here; there goes all your Western-based, English-primary online content.  Goodbye Google, Facebook, Twitter and hello QQ, Baidu and Weibo.  With 1.3 billion market to serve, China is smart to hedge itself against the invasion of digital capitalism.  I suppose China, in that sense, will never truly unite with the world.  With such a huge growing market, you can imagine the money that's rolling in the advertising and communication production business, bearing in mind a huge chunk that's yet to be tapped.  O dear Najib, I think I know where your 'brain' has 'drained' to.

I've also had the opportunity to make a short trip to Guilin (southern China, nearer to Guangzhou, where the weather is kinder).  Although less developed, it's booming in its tourism industry.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to this little place of majestic mountains and pristine waters.  China's domestic tourism alone not only sustains Guilin's economy but accelerates it as well.  In Guilin, many live a hand-to-mouth life which is not to be mistaken as poverty.  Their homes may be bare and simple but the children are always happy.  There's no need for Toys R Us.  We stayed in HOMA (Hotel of Modern Art, Guilin) which is set in a 300 acres outdoor art park and I seriously would vote them as one of the best small hotels that provides the best service in the world.  I've had the opportunity to indulge in a few luxury boutique resorts previously, one of the most memorable ones was Huka Lodge in New Zealand where the experience was impeccable and world-class.  But HOMA is really something else.  We had our own personal 'butler-ess' and her name was Judy.  She made arrangements for almost everything and made sure we were well taken care.  She even stayed up waiting for us at night after a day of adventure!  The one thing that you absolutely have to watch in Guilin is the Impression Water Show directed by famed Zhang Yimou.  Here's a snapshot of what to expect, but seriously, a water stage on the Li River with Guilin's picturesque mountains as backdrop?  You don't even know what to expect until you see it for yourself!

And last but not least, my dear friend who put up with my week-long silly antics despite her busy schedule.  She's been influencing me to join Beijing's workforce (strongly).  To be honest, 6 years ago when I returned home from China, I almost kissed the ground of KLIA in gratitude.  Last night, it was different.  I admire China.  I remember the world laughed at her for her so-called backward mannerisms, and the West took awhile to admit that she's a force to be reckoned with.  Today, I have a new found respect for her people - well yea, the spit-in-throat gurgling sound is not very pleasant to my aural senses but, when you take a foreign culture with a pinch of salt and see beyond the negativity, you find a whole new world of optimism.  Who knows, one day, if fate doesn't lead me somewhere else, she may lead me back there.  And this time, I may be ready for that embrace.