Friday, August 16, 2013

Quality-of-life Index.

Just read about The Economist's Quality-of-life Index and it's scored based on these criteria:

"The survey uses nine quality of life factors to determine a nation's score.[1] They are listed below including the indicators used to represent these factors:

Health: Life expectancy at birth (in years). Source: US Census Bureau
Family life: Divorce rate (per 1,000 population), converted into index of 1 (lowest divorce rates) to 5 (highest). Sources: UN; Euromonitor
Community life: Variable taking value 1 if country has either high rate of church attendance or trade-union membership; zero otherwise. Source: World Values Survey
Material well being: GDP per person, at PPP in $. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Political stability and security: Political stability and security ratings. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Climate and geography: Latitude, to distinguish between warmer and colder climates. Source: CIA World Factbook
Job security: Unemployment rate (%.) Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Political freedom: Average of indexes of political and civil liberties. Scale of 1 (completely free) to 7 (unfree). Source: Freedom House
Gender equality: Measured using ratio of average male and female earnings. Source: UNDP Human Development Report"

Wikipedia

Good to know.  Last I checked in 2005, Malaysia is ranked 36.  But with all these political fiasco, rampant corruption and crime and latest gun shooting incidents, how do you think we are scoring?  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From government controlled currency to branded economy.

If loyalty is essentially a currency to the brand, then maybe it’s time to rethink if money is absolutely the only currency for consumers to purchase products.



There is a restaurant which you could eat at even if you don't money.  You could pay by helping out in the restaurant - cleaning, washing, serving - where the currency that matters is your time.

Our ancestors might have gotten it right long time ago, bartering could be a viable option before money was centralized by federal governments.  And if the accumulation of money and domination of wealth by 1% of the world population is creating a lopsided economy and tonnes of other social problems, then wouldn't it make sense for the other 99% to start consider creating their own micro-economy, especially in countries which are hard hit by poverty?  So what is so bad about exchanging some cabbage for a free ride to work?  Or like Nike - some sweat for new kicks?  Or cleaning for rice?

I call this innovative economy - where brands are as big as some governments, this idea is really not so far-fetched after all.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The best city in the world.

A liveable city has low crime rates, decent weather, good education, superb healthcare, reliable transport and an airport with a host of international destination. It’s the sort of place where you can be gay or Muslim, or gay and Muslim, and no one cares. Its art galleries open late and museums are free. It takes recycling seriously and encourages independent shops.

Monocle - Steve Bloomfield & Michael Booth

I cannot agree more.

At least it provides the fundamental basics of a safe and thriving community for us to consider when choosing where to live, or how to live.  Or even, dare I add, how to plan for a liveable city.

Hello.  I'm back :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Marketing evolution.

Price is competition

Packaging is competition

Promotion, well, is in a way, competition

Distribution is definitely competition

But Purpose... the new P.  That's outside of competition.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to hire the right person when you have too many candidates?

Okay.  Scenario.  You wanna hire an Account Manager - so it would be someone who's got some level of leadership, a team player, able to decipher complicated tasks from the Account Director which usually comes in the form of a Morse Code and break it into understandable tasks where they and the Account Executive can work on, able to put things together and get it organised and present it back to their boss.

There are 5 candidates.  All Senior Account Executives with similar agency experience and operational skills.  But what you need are 'invisible' skills and they are usually not stated in resumes or extravagantly exaggerated otherwise.

And your enemy is time.  You need this guy like yesterday and interviewing all 5 means you'll have to drown in your own team planning incompetency together with all of your other projects at hand.

So what do you do?

Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Easy peasy.  Get all 5.  Put them into a room with a two-way mirror (if your agency doesn't have this crazy surveillance room, then a spy camera would do).  You might want to inform them of the camera, in case they found out they didn't get the job, you might get sued to Timbuktu.  So as I was saying, get all 5 of them.  Put them into this room which you can observe them remotely and give them a 30 minutes to an hour task.  Give them a problem of which all 5 will have to agree on a common solution.  Tell them they're free to do whatever they want and you'll be back in an hour to 'hear out the solution'.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Now sit back, relax and evaluate.

All 5 people, and everyone knows only 1 will get the job.  So there is some kind of tension already in the group.  So observe who is the natural leader in the group, who opposes with facts and who without facts, who are the followers, who are the 'whatevers', who are the limelight grabbers, who are the thinkers, who are the idea jotters, who are the yes people, who are the mavericks, who are the smartypants and who are the actual smart ones.

There.

I think you have an ideal candidate in mind already.

;)

Sparks' Open Library Project: Veronika decides to die - Paulo Coelho

"Madness is the inability to communicate your ideas.  It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you, but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there."

"We’ve all felt that"


"And all of us, one way or another, are mad."

Sparks' Open Library Project: Veronika decides to die - Paulo Coelho: We should have been a little madder.  I thought I was mad enough. But maybe in my search of madness, I’ve drawn walls so high, my madnes...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Where did the RM7 billion go?

The government announced in February (specifically, quoting the International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed) that there will be a 'further reduction in prices' with a gradual phasing out of import duty on CBUs from Japan and Australia over the next 3 years.

Ahem.

I heard that many Japanese makes are already enjoying the 0% import duty as CBUs are mainly from Thailand and Thailand is under the Asean FTA.  CBUs directly from Japan is minimal quantity and not to mention, Australian makes are negligible.  So there you go, a little 'sweet' from the government pre-GE which if you really do the math, is NOT a sweet at all.  Would you buy an Australian make at this point in time?  Wait... can you even see a Holden on the road?  At all?  -_-" And get this, what's really hurting our wallet is the excise duty.

The thing that really caught my attention though was, excise duties contribute about RM7 billion a year to the government's pocket, which is essentially about 4% of total federal government revenue of RM208 billion.

As a concerned citizen, I'm just curious, where and how did we spend this RM7 billion?  Each year?

If I was the Ministry, maybe I'd use the 7 billion to:

1) Trim my ministry head count but to those who stay, they are properly and competitively compensated - not a fat cheque reserved for the upper few
2) Build the industry, building world-class competitive young talents in the automotive business to ensure a sustainability in a thriving industry
3) Encourage open source R&D as a step to making Malaysia a SEA hub for all-things automotive tech
4) Donate to Road Works so that we have better roads
5) Making road safety a compulsory quick subject in school that doesn't need to take an entire year or 12 years as a matter of fact, for students to 'study' -_-

Of course I don't have an inkling of an idea on how to run a ministry.  I just thought some practical measurable visions could work as a binding beacon for everyone to follow.

7 billion.

Sigh.

Oh well.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to break rules.

As if we, human beings, need any lesson for this.  It's in our nature to break rules anyway.

But when it comes to creating memorable, impactful, unique ads, one very practical way of doing so is to list down words that are category predictable - buzz words, words, taglines, copylines, visuals, graphics, designs, colours, mnemonics, contexts, stories.  And then tell the story without using any of the words that you've written.  Challenge, don't cheat.

Happy breaking em' rules ;)

Datuk datuk, datin datin.

Been flipping The Edge and came across cover stories.  These people with their photos taken on the page, who obviously are the 'talking heads' of their organisations.  Sometimes they come with a title and sometimes they don't (but most of the time they do).  Got me thinking.  Or questioning in fact, how much calibre do these people have?  Cause I've met a few (obviously not enough to warrant a proper qualitative) but some that I really question the information they provide and trends they spot.  If they are who they claim to be, then the most immediate result would be how the company runs, the products or services that are put out, the marketing that goes with it and most importantly, the people behind who make all these happen.  Just so Datuk so and so and Datin so and so can say something on The Edge's cover story.

Just wondering.  No harm done.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The first CSR you can adopt in an advertising agency.

Everyone has been calling me to ask if I have any planners to recommend.  Well, here's my answer:

1) If the planner works with me then HELL NO, you can't have them!
2) If the planner doesn't work with me and I'm hiring, then BACK OFF.
3) If the planner doesn't work with me and I don't want to hire, you can have them but at your own risk.

So. There you go.

The lack of talents in the industry is so great that seriously, to all you agency owners and managers - do us all a favour to create a win-win situation in 3 to 5 years time.  Let us all hire fresh grads and commit to train them.  So that in a couple of years time, we can exchange them and there will be a fresh flow of new ideas in our stagnating blood stream.  The situation is a stuffed sewage and is in code red now.  I know it's a hassle to train especially if you're bogged down with day-to-day stuff, but is there any other solution to avoid all of us getting into a salary war?  A bloody lose-lose situation?  And you and I know that, that doesn't help building skills and careers either.  If planners' rate grows double to the ability to do the job, then what do you think will become of the quality of work we will be producing by mid-decade?  

So.  There you go.

I'm in.  First, I've signed up to be a mentor to fellow RMIT soon-to-grad students who might be interested in planning.  And next, I'll be looking out for a freshie.  So if you're interested and know someone who's interested to be trained by sticks and stones, apply here today.  Now, how about you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When bribery is considered a good thing.

This video broke my heart.  I remember watching a documentary years ago on how North Koreans make harrowing escapes from their country - some survived, some not so lucky.  Watch for full story:



Couple of things that I learned:

1) To be thankful for where I am today, with what I have and who I have with.  It is by sheer stroke of luck that we're born into families and countries of ours today.

2) There is a good side to 'bribery' after all.  Because the world is grey - where we're not governed by the same morals, sometimes we could use that to our advantage for good.  I can't tell whether this should be propagated.  It's a tough one.  But this isn't about getting jobs or things done, these are lives we're talking about.

3) When we thought the concentration camps nightmare for Jews is over, we have to think again.  It's not over until every individual's rights and equality is respected and honoured.  North Korea is an example of what could possibly be happening to many in Africa, South America, Europe, South East Asia, etc.

Sigh.  When I was young, I was afraid of ghosts.  As I grew older, I'm more afraid of humans.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Searching dreams: From peer pressure to social pressure.

Remember those times when you did something really stupid because your friends challenged you to or because they were doing the exact same stupid things?  Well, now that's what we call... peer pressure.

In today's post, we will examine exactly how bad and not bad is peer pressure and in today's world of growing self-awareness and autonomy in making decisions (especially when you have aged), do people still succumb to peer pressure?

I mean... if you really think about it, isn't the underlying current that's driving this 'I can do the same if not better' mentality, what we call; competition?  I want you to pause for a moment and think about everything that's been happening in your life.  Maybe for the past couple of hours, days, months, even years.  What did you do that was purely self-motivated with no external pressure from anywhere else?  A higher paying job, the wedding of the year, a sexier car, a bigger house, a more exciting trip, anything.

Now picture someone who's vowed to focus his entire being on just one thing, which is to perform a speech in the much watched social TV called TED.  Versus his peers who are probably slugging away behind daily routines, trying to climb the next rung of the conventional corporate ladder.  All sounds fine and dandy to you and perhaps to a certain extent you would even feel a slight disdain towards the fellow's peers because they weren't like him.  They weren't doing something that was remotely ground shaking and as important that could benefit the whole world by sharing it on TED.  Or perhaps your perspective has been stained solely by the less attractive aphorism of which I've used to describe them.  But whatever it is, bear in mind... it is the person's immediate society that has planted in him the idea that TED, was the place to speak if you have anything that's worthy to be heard.  Because everyone important (or not) is tuned in to TED.  What's the difference between this person and his friends, you say?  Frame of competition.  Nevertheless, still competition.  We're still referring to external pressures - whether from peers or society, whether in the form of highly lauded brands or life events, we might be really setting goals that are not really our own.  But what society thinks we should do or is good to do.

So whether it is speaking in TED or toasting in your dream wedding or bragging about your new ride, we are at the end of the day, still at the mercy of the approval others.  Since there's no choice, we might as well make it count :) Do something that makes you happy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Is media and advertising really THAT evil?

Read an article from a 100% independent and 100% KL magazine.

Madam writer of a certain piece felt that it was media (women's magazines to be specific) and advertising (us to be specific) that have been encouraging extreme dieting and waif-like figures to even those women who don't need it, "Fashionable advertising plays the same role, only a lot meaner.  Androgynous models gaze smugly at you from beneath their fringes as you anxiously finger your own haircut, look down at your fat skinny-jean clad claves and question whether there is such a thing as the 'hipster gene' which you don't possess and never will".

When I was still in ad school, I remember this subject which remains an ever debatable topic till today: Do media shape society or the other way round?  It's much like the chicken and egg story.  There's really no one side to it.  My best shot at the answer was: Media and society affect one another indefinitely; sitting on opposite ends of the same continuum tied together by an invisible rod, there is little question that when one is spun upwards, the other follows.  Likewise, when one spiral downwards, the other can not not follow.  Can't explain it like Einstein, but that's the basic law.

So you see.  The point that I'm getting from Madam writer, is that her female peers have this 'desire' which she felt was instilled by 'media', 'to shrink their bodies - to lose a few points, to drop a dress size, to fit into that long-forgotten pair of jeans hanging in the back of (their) wardrobe.  Even the women (she knows) who are into exercising will talk about it as a hobby... and express their fervent hope that they will lose weight doing it.  This obsession with weight loss is downright gloomy, especially since (she is) under the impression that these women are all of normal weight to begin with'.  When society loses positivity, confidence and acceptance of itself, it sees all things bleak.  Blame creeps in.  It's media's fault, advertiser's fault, capitalism's fault, well, everyone's fault.  It's a fault party, hooray!  To be honest, a lot of companies haven't been the most scrupulous ones, but to put the entire blame on something else because she isn't satisfied of herself - whether psychologically or physically, is really taking the 'wayyyy too easy' exit out.  If society, or to be specific - our children - have been brought up with the courage to accept themselves and others (peers who looked and behaved different), then no ads in this world could tell them that they are not enough.  Seriously, they are untouchable.  No ads.  None.  Zilch.

There's an underlying message here with all these blaming.  The root of the problem only occurs only when we wash our hands from a cause of event.  Upward or downward spiral, you have a choice to decide.  You have a choice to decide if you really absolutely need that cookie.  You have a choice to decide if you really absolutely need that bag.  You have a choice to decide f*ck this shit, you wanna be healthy and you're gonna run 10 miles each day (and build them muscles!!!).  You have a choice to decide, you wanna look like Adele and so who cares what the world thinks?  The choice has always been with you.  Not media.

There's a saying in Chinese; You'll never be able to force a cow to lower its head, if it isn't thirsty in the first place.  Which loosely translates to; Takes two hands to clap.  C'mon on.  Stop blaming and own some.  If that pair of jeans don't fit you anymore, get new ones and over it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Would you put your life out on the line for money?

Something that intrigued me recently - what motivates people in a social norm setting (doing something that has nothing to do with monetary value) and in a market norm setting (doing something that has everything to do with monetary value).  Our job almost always falls into the latter category, although sometimes it's muddled by management - social norm requirements from employees in a market norm situation.

But the question which popped into my head was, what about law enforcers?  This is a highly grey area. Surely a job which requires you to risk your life be entirely about the money?  How much are you paid for your life?

Look at the police ranking in Malaysia, below from Wikipedia:


According to Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, there was a scheme, effective Jan 1 2009, that would adjust the police salaries at the quantum of three annual salary increments.  Which means, an Inspector now earns a salary of RM2,060.28 compared to RM1,423.50 previously while their maximum salary of RM3,710.66 is increased to RM4,962.39.  An Assistant Superintendent of Police received a new salary of RM2,130, which is an increase of RM69.72 compared to RM2,060.28 previously while the maximum salary is now at RM5,170.53 compared to RM4,962.39 previously.  Now let me make a comparison to an industry renown for lack of staff benefits, low pay and long working hours - ADVERTISING.  According to Firebrand, an entry-level Account Executive (fresh grad) now should earn a neat RM2,000 of which upon promotion to a Senior AE level (which roughly requires an average of 2 year working experience with consistent performance), they will be earning at least RM2,500 up to RM3,500.

Am I the only one who sees how our human resource system for law enforcers is flawed?

Assuming an SPM graduate / undergrad / cadet school grad who for some unknown reason is extremely passionate about protecting civilian security of his nation joins the police force at a Constable (PC) level, what do you think his salary starts from?  IF an Inspector (7 ranks above) was earning RM2,000?  And you ask what are the police doing in alleviating crime rates?  What do you think?  What would you do?  Would you put your life in the line of fire for RM2,000?  Even if you are okay, what about your family?  Who's gonna take care of your children?  Your parents?  Your spouse?

The above paints me a picture of an ideal police in Malaysia: You are single, on fire for the country and her people and injustice that you're willing to risk everything including the livelihood of your family (if you have one) for whatever amount the government has allocated as your measly monthly salary for decades unchanged.  A true national hero that will never question the authority or his career rights.

To those who indeed lost their lives in protecting the sovereignty of the country, you are indeed a hero.  No question.  But to those who are less than willing to go the extra mile, I understand your plight.  And to those who misuse their power, I also understand.  Because this system is greatly flawed.  Please do not misconstrue my understanding of the situation as a personal agreement.  Only by awareness we can then identify effective solutions to the problem.

So.  If I were to build my own police force as in like SIMCity, I would overhaul the entire HR strategy.  While the police serves under market norm, but their motivation must stem from a social conscience.  Money in this case is both important and unimportant.  A sound salary plan accompanied by social motivation is perhaps the best balance to ensure minimally an 'effective' police force.  The problem with the current situation is, they are entirely taken for granted, expected to serve at minimal wage.  If we were to plug the holes that are depleting the government funds, surely there's enough to ensure sustainable and progressive wage to our officers?

Agree?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The evolution of Man: What CAN we become?

Once upon a time, shortly after the completion of our social research on eco awareness, The Green Chronicles, we propagated that producers/manufacturers should not stop their consumer purchase cycle at 'consumption' but at 'disposal'.  When it is put into their mandatory action list, I am very sure it will drastically change the way products are planned and launched (think cameras, think smartphones).  If manufacturers are responsible for products at the disposal stage, then we will have better quality products with longer 'usage' life and a more sustainable eco-system of consumption.

While I shopped at H&M last weekend, that's one brand which recently launched a global awareness campaign on their sustainable recycling strategy.  Simple: Bring in your old clothes and trade for discounts for new ones.  Old clothes will then be recycled into materials which will be used in manufacturing new ones.  This practice now has a label and it's called EPR - Extended Producer Responsibility.  The whole point is not to mindlessly put new stuff into this world - we need to seriously consider how to 'delete' them from our system.  There.  Are.  Just.  Too.  Much.  Stuff.  In.  This.  World.  Seriously.

Now, you may not think much about this tiny little extended marketing program, but assuming the best that ALL manufacturers in this world were put in place to ensure sustainability in their product life cycle; then the first most immediate visible impact would be: NO LANDFILL.  This world will have no more landfill.  If you can't think of a way to dispose and/or recycle your products sustainably then you can't produce.  Period.  Simple as that.  Imagine, a world with no landfill.  NO LANDFILL.  No more rubbish dumps in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that spans for kilometers in diameter.

Watch the video below to get the picture.

p/s: If you're reading this and are in the business of production, please, I beg of you, consider this epic insight.  As starters, I'll even volunteer my time to discuss possibilities if you need an additional thinking buddy (consultation thereafter is chargeable though, ha ha ha).  Well I'm serious, really, think about it.



Obviously, I'm not the only one propagating.  More reading: You see Garbage, I see Value: Let's make the recycling business a no-brainer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The dating evolution.

Read today: Singles are giving up on lone dates, instead opt for group dates.

Reason?

HE - Jackson, 35, feels that men have it especially hard.  So far this year he's already been on seven dates and right after this interview he's off to Date Number Eight.  Last year alone he met over 45 women, none of which met his exacting standards.  He says, "Hopefully it's lucky number eight.  I'm looking for a specific type of woman and so far she doesn't seem to exist.  All the ones I met were too loud, too arrogant and put too much stock in what I earn".  Jackson is a successful businessman, has a list of requirements that the woman he eventually plans to marry needs to fulfil, which includes a love for reptiles (he has two snake pets), an ability to cook and an appreciation of vintage cars.  He continues, "When I was younger, dating was all about fun and getting together at the end of the night but now as I'm getting older, I find myself mentally ticking boxes every time I meet someone new.  The things I've wanted have changed so much; I'm actively looking for a woman to marry and I don't necessarily want someone who will jump in bed with me after the first date. I'm tired of wining and dining lah, that's why (tonight's) date is more of a group thing.  In fact, I'm really hoping that she gets on with my friends because that way they can find out all these things for me.  I am bored of auditioning". 

My humble opinion for um, Jackson: If you think she doesn't seem to exist.  Well,  Hmm.  Maybe she doesn't?  Because if she does, you'd be dating her right now?  Well of course, unless you didn't meet her exacting standards, then...  But hey, don't lose hope.  You seemed to be very clear with who you want, how about running national ads (in 3 languages)?  This could save you (and your friends') time from 'auditioning' :)

SHE - Davina and best friend, Cheryl, both 29, are romantics at heart and still expect to be wooed with dinner and drinks, preferably at an expensive restaurant.  Davina says, "I don't want to meet your friends the first time we go out.  What's the point of meeting your clique right in the beginning?  I'm not spending enough time with the person I'm meant to be getting to know".  Cheryl concurs, "How can you take care of me when you're with your friends?  I want someone to pay attention to me on a date, not be worrying about what his friends think of me.  After all, it's him that I'm going out with and not his pals.  What they think about me shouldn't really count."

Jackson, meet Davina and Cheryl, meet Jackson!  My humblest opinion for Davina and Cheryl (which I'm sure are fictional names replaced by the very kind writer): How about trying something new like... thinking for your date for once?  Or like... footing the bill?  In a preferably expensive restaurant?  I'm pretty sure that'll get him to start paying attention ;)

I'm really not sure if these articles are true.  Or these people 'featured' in this kind of entertainment piece are real.  I mean, seriously?  Listen to yourself, you three selfish purts! You make it sound as though you're some almighty majesty and because you did your rounds, you self-escalated in game levels and now everyone's a minion for you!  Well, go any higher and you'll never find anyone down-to-earth there for sure.

What happened to this generation of daters?  What happened to chivalry and being plain old kind and caring?  Whatever happened to mutual respect?   Have we merely descended into a murky pool of 'position' applicants with 'boxes to tick' and then judged by our 'eagerness' in an expensive environment?  You've. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

Listen.  If you really wanna get a date, get hitched, get knocked up, geez, get a new job, get whatever! Just be a good person and treat your date with a lot of respect and care.  Even if it's not reciprocated.  Simple and timeless.  Why?  Because we're really way bigger than that and I have to agree with Jackson (credit there, Jacko!), we're wayyyyyy above wine and dine.  How you treat your date doesn't show who they are.  It shows who you are.

*Italics - copied word for word from TimeoutKL, page 90.

**This is my puny attempt to post a commercial entertainment piece by shamelessly riding on the back of established writers from TimeoutKL, which I thought was a nice break from my political rants and many failed attempts to overthrow establishments.  If you have found this article to be offensive, then my deepest apologies - it's a joke, masqueraded in honesty.  But if you have found this article to be offensive, and you happened to be Jackson, Davina and/or Cheryl, comment here and I'll remove the article immediately.  Promise :) Or if you're from TimeoutKL, um.  This blogpost will self destruct in the next 60 seconds...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

World citizen.

Wow, it's been awhile!  Happy new year y'all!

To the title of this post, what sparked my thoughts was a dire (future inevitable) problem of Singapore.  A country where its population, the key resource to a healthy social economic climate, could be dwindling in the near future. Already the locals aren't very happy with the government's decision to import foreign workers to fill up vacancies - you watched Singaporean football team in action?  Or Singaporeans in the Olympics?  Well, um.  Sorry to break your heart, but they aren't exactly Singaporean.

Anyway, back to my contention point.  So citizens are against importing 'foreign workers' and government in dilemma because citizens are not producing little citizens enough and/or quick enough.  I guess the real implication here, is the very real possibility for a country to lose its identity once overcrowded by foreigners over nationals.  In the case of Dubai where locals make up only 2% of the population, it is hardly a destination that's culturally rich.  This sense of identity is the very same cause for many wars - whose land does this belong to?  And for those who reside in this land - whose moral codes and conducts should they follow?  Ask any Malaysians and you get mixed response.

But think about this for one second.  What if we treat a 'country' like any other 'product' or 'brand' where we understand the importance of keeping fundamental values but at the same time keeping up with the evolution of people's needs?  Does Singapore need to be all Chinese Singaporeans?  Will the fundamental values of governing parties and constitution change if let say Australians are now the new Singaporeans?  How much does one attach their identity to a country?  If we all believe in the same thing, wouldn't that makes us in some ways, many forbid, the same nationality?  Because we invest the same interest in a certain political party and agree on the same constitution of a certain governed area?

Being born in one part of the world and not another, and then given a certain identity is to me no more than a practical logistic reason for crowd-control and to some extent, exert 'fairness'.  Otherwise, it's pure luck.  An Indian boy born in India or in the UK still has Indian blood running in him.  But his opportunity and what he believes thereafter, differs widely.  And clearly, he has no say in that.  Well, not until he decides to risk a boatride to a better life elsewhere.

Now what if... what if we loosen our grip on formality and for once, view the situation from the perspective of humanity?  Is a country not just a geographical divide of what's mine and what's yours?  True human rights include the right to create equal opportunity for yourself like everyone else.  But what if the grass is really greener on the other side?  Face it, getting to the other side is at the end of the day, a luxury reserved for those who can afford it.  There's no getting to the other side for billions and billions of other people.  And that's the truth.  Why let geographical circumstances decide the fate of humanity?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Good Samaritan Shop.: "Little Flight" bookmark.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: "Little Flight" bookmark.: Handmade Size: 20-25cm length Price: RM10.90 The perfect simple gift for a book lover. Email for purchase! ...