Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gym Class Heros

I'm one of those people who love to sit by the window in an aircraft. I love the clouds and landscape when it’s a day flight. And I love looking at the city lights when it’s a night flight. The pictures above were taken on my flight back from Guangzhou, China to KL. I was in China for a week to attend the 110th Canton Fair with Juan Carlos, Azreen, Snow Petrol & Victoria.

Let my life be one of this simplicity, cleanliness and honesty. And fortune will be at my doorstep :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

a Gentleman's game played by Brutes

Manchester City beat Manchester United 6 – 1.
This is what it calls Money vs Experiences. MU suffered their worst and most embarrassing home defeat ever in the Premier League history of 85 years at Old Trafford.

a Brute's game played by Gentleman

New Zealand beat France 8 – 7 at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland :) The All Blacks lifted the World Cup for the second time after a gap of 24 years since 1987. Some credits must be given to the French as well as they have been very impressive too since day 1; having been written off by everyone but themselves.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

super bad

I came across this fun quiz called Webify Me on Baby Sis’s blog last night. It is a simple 20 questions quiz about an individual online habits and once answered, it will create a custom mosaic of your web life. You then are allowed to click on each item of your mosaic to reveal the pop-up descriptions for a more in-depth look of your web habits.

Here are the breakdowns of what some of the item in my mosaic represents:

Dinosaur Toy – Internet Explorer! You sure are. Glad you’re here, checking out Mozilla Firefox. We hope this means you’ll give a new browser a try. Here’s a completely unrelated totem, in the meantime.

Mahjong – you make your own luck, for you know fortune favors the fun loving! To you a day without a quick game is a day wasted. Life’s too short to sulk, when you bear the colorful mark of the Player. (you’re also possibly a Chinese or a grandmother)

Spork – Is there anything more versatile, efficient and useful than a spork? The very word is a model of multitasking efficiency. It shows you like to handle lots of things at once, and take big bites. Chew well!

Harmonica – you’ve earned the harmonica, a silver badge of self-expression. You take life’s lemons and turn them into melodious, slightly buzzy lemonade.

USB Drive – technology lives to serve, and you like your information portable, pocketable and sharable. That’s how data becomes action, and gadgets become essentials.

Carabiner – you have drawn the mark of the connection; active, strong, and reliable. That’s you. People count on you to keep grounded at all times, even up in the air.

Friendship Pin – the Friendship Pin – an unbreakable bond between you and your BFF. It shows you are loyal, willing to wear your love on your sleeve (or sneaker).

Bandage – the adhesive bandage – mark of the Healer. You seek the perfection of the human form, or at least one less headache.

Sunglasses – your future is bright!

Bookmark – as easy as clapping on a light, its what you’ve been waiting for – the one-click bookmark. Don’t you have enough to do without having to suffer the indignity of multiple clicks?

Sketchbook – entire worlds can be captured within a little sketchbook, worlds both real and imagined. You use many different tools to communicate your vision. Traveler.

Pop Magazine – why, look at you. Clearly, you bear the mark of The Fierce. You know what’s hot, but rock your own style, and can dance on that fine line that separates dandy from dowdy.

Houston, we have a little problem here

Tin Min drop da’ bomb.
Rufus drop da’bomb.
October is the month where I bade my farewell to this 2 gentleman :( They were simply amazing to be with. Full of fun and laughter. I swear we almost couldn’t get enough of each other. The only sad thing I felt was that Rufus left the company as a bitter man. Rufus & Juan Carlos cannot see eye-to-eye with each other on many issues. Both of them just cannot agree with each other working styles and business directions. It have come to an extent where Juan Carlos don't even trust Rufus with the business. They have a very complicated and difficult moments together but I guess that these things happen in the corporate world where there is a lack of chemistry & understanding between the boss & the employee...and that at certain moments, regardless of the talent that you have, it is your time to leave the company or leave the industry overall and life still goes on.

Now, there is only Stewart & myself left in Team Baz. There was this moment where I felt so lonely...when Rufus walk out of that door. Everyone have left. There are so many newbies around, majority of them coming from the English.

It also reinforce to me that everyone is replaceable, it is important to do an honest work everyday and to be a better individual.

It was a wakeup call for me to be a better person at work and also in life. Because what goes around comes around. I realized that I have always been judgmental and opinionated. I was self righteous and in many many occasions, I thought I knew it all. How many times have I been quick to say someone was a retard...or an idiot...or an asshole...or an irritant...or a bitch...or brainless in my heart silently? Did I always stop to consider if those criticisms were fair? Did I ever stop and look at myself and see how I was being rude and nasty instead? Now that I’m in a more matured position, I don’t want to be that way anymore. I don’t want to be so high hard on people and on quick to jump to critical and so unforgiving...and I don’t want to behave like I know it all anymore. Well, at least not all the time :) Being in a leadership position is difficult and I want to assume the responsibilities gracefully. And to me, it starts first in our attitude...then in behaviour...and lastly in appearance. Being gracious, kind and tolerant is eventually what I hope for. I would hate to be cranky and angry all the time. It's a huge challenge to remain compose all the time while devising ways for the whole team to acknowledge, to buy into, to believe in and to accept my business visions, business strategies, business plans, business ideas & business solutions. It is even tougher to rally them around, to bring out the best in them and to get them to work collectively as an efficient system.

So yeah, their departure was a blessing in disguise. It makes me want to be a better person, to keep on improving & fine-tuning myself.

today is no fairytale

Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester United :(
We were just this closed to get that crucial 3 points at Anfield…and that pea; that Mexican Pea Javier Hernandez have to equalize at the 81st minute. The only good thing that emerge from the game was seeing Captain Steven Gerrard is back to his level best and even managed to scored a goal :) Liverpool is now fifth at the table with 14 points.

Ayu & Tampan

New Zealand booked their place in the Rugby World Cup finals on home soil with a dominant 20 - 6 win against Australia at Eden Park :( I will support the All Blacks to beat the French in the finals.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs's Stanford Commencement Address:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle".

"Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart".

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary".

This is yet another reminder to me that we must follow our hearts and live our lives well. We have to stop chasing things that are trivial and live the lives that we want, do the things that we want to do and love all the people in our lives that matter to us.

Live Louder Than Life

Now that I'm a woman, and because I have already given it my all in everything that I do, I tend to shift my focus somewhere else these days. I can decide that I want to have a more balance life. I can be the person that I want to be and to dedicate myself to my interest and future. But trips like this (Bangkok business trip) still nourishes me because it opens up my world. I get to travel, I get to see the culture, the people lifestyle & values, I can experience it all and more importantly I get to learn & love all over again. Everything that I see, I touch, I taste, and I experience, everyone that I meet, I get to know and learn from, shapes me into who I am. For the future. I love that my ambition, my brains, my passion, my energy, my independence, my excitement for life is still in me. I learn something new in every country that I have visited. Here in Bangkok – I had to tell myself to never complain about my own work & life after that. It was a very humbling moment. Compared to them, I have such an easy life. I don’t have to do backbreaking work to survive, my living environment is so much more comfortable compare to them…and I must always remind myself what a lucky bugger that I am. GOD, I hope I never stop traveling as much as I can till the day I die.

While I was there, I get to be alone with my thoughts - I’ve been thinking so much more about my life as well. I am thinking about my life like – how I want to live it, what I want to do. This time it was also more on… where do I think we go after life ends here? Personally, I think we become bright stars of blue light, floating amongst other blue stars. All are equal. Or perhaps, Saint Peter’s Heavenly Gates does exist.

Then it made me think of my current life here. Now. And all the things that I want to change or make it happen. I want to spend more time with my family & friends. I want to travel to every corner of the earth that I possibly can. I want to go back to school (if possible). I want to build something that I can be proud of. I want to dispel any negativity that corrupts my mind. I want to stop complaining. People may think that traveling is a whimsical way to spend money but I strongly feel it feeds my soul and inspiration, which in turn, feeds other areas of my life that need it to strive – like my career, outlook on life and relationships :)

my sun & shield

People and suppliers are very curious & surprise that I didn’t take over Celtic’s place after Celtic has left. The reason that I didn’t want to step into the Division Manager position is because I am not ready yet. The reason that I didn’t want to take up Celtic’s portfolio is because I didn’t want to compete with Celtic, I want to move away from Celtic’s shadow, I want to develop my own niche in the retail market and also knowing that, since Celtic is so close with these suppliers…it will be a disadvantage for me to be in this business. These suppliers have been with Celtic since day 1…since the M13 days. That's why they are very close. I know for sure that whatever I do here, every single move that I make…the suppliers will bound to report back to Celtic. Even if the suppliers are ethical enough on not to share sensitive information with Celtic, but knowing Celtic very well...Celtic will get the answers one way or the other. This is because Celtic knows our inside operations too well and Celtic have already build a strong bond & trust with these suppliers, thus already created a very significant impact on them. And, we as human beings will have favoritism and this is where Celtic will gain because the supplier will tend to side Celtic. Even Mrs. Simon was smart enough on not to enter Celtic’s territory. Initially, Mrs. Simon was supposed to take over Celtic’s portfolio…but I guess after seeing how the suppliers tend to be in Celtic’s comfort zone…dictate that we must follow Celtic's old way of doing things...Mrs. Simon decline the is going to be a very heavy task to get the suppliers support…it’s like moving mountains and it is a very time consuming process. Even the newcomer; Azreen who replace Celtic already find it difficult in her first week here. I foresee that the only trick to get out of this mud hole is to work with the suppliers that Celtic is not align with.

I am not here to replace Celtic and I would be wrong to try that. Celtic was the best player in Team Baz and one of the top buyers in today’s hypermarket retail industry. I have no aim to become that. My target is simply to try to reach my highest level as an individual and to help the team. If I try to be equal to or be better than Celtic, I would be confusing myself. We’re different personalities with a different style. I must find my own way to do well for the team. The pressure and comparison is definitely there for sure. It’s in our human nature to compare and to critic. I just don’t want to be a Trainee Division Manager with the big title but an empty shell in it. However – knowing myself very well - if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I'm at peace with whatever the plan is. People said I’ve changed much. Well, here’s the truth – I grew up. I stopped letting people push me around all the time. I learned that you can’t always be happy. I accepted reality.

'A man is happy so long he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him' - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sector 4

It was a fantastic business trip altogether. I truly Thank GOD for giving me this golden opportunity for being able to travel with Juan Carlos to Bangkok. It really opens up my eyes and my mind. We met up with 4 very big & fantastic suppliers in Thailand; we have meetings with them, we share business ideas & experiences with them, we exchange our economic, political & social views with them, we negotiate contracts terms with them, we visited their showrooms & factories, we get detailed inside informations on what our Malaysian competitors are currently up to :) we even went to do market survey together with them at Tesco Lotus Extra, Big C and HomePro.

Tesco Lotus Extra has just got a make-over recently and it looks fabulous. For the first time, I see a hypermarket where the non-food section takes up 75% of the floor space and the remaining 25% of the selling floor goes to the food section. See, how it already differs from the Malaysian market business model. Their fashion label F & F is such a huge brand name over there. It was like a shop-in-a-shop concept. In the non-food sections, every category has their own different display assets and standees which makes all of the products look very outstanding. When it comes to the Furniture Department, Thai customers profile is so much different from Malaysian customers. They pay more attention to quality, hence the Thai market promotes more on solid wood items and their knock-down furnitures are at least 2 inches in thickness. While here in Malaysia, in order to sell at a particular price point - I have to cut down the thickness to half an inch. Very embarass isn't it? In the Stationary Department, there is a section dedicated just for office supplies only. In the VCD/DVD sections – they have a good selections on blu-ray disc titles, documentaries, Korean pop culture, cartoons etc. The Children section was even more beautiful, they have these cartoon brand name pop-ups to indicate that this element is for Mickey Mouse toys, this element is for Barbie toys, this element is for Ben 10 toys etc. I really like this new look. I am sure that the English in Malaysia will implement this new concept very soon. Meanwhile, Big C was more like the French here before they start the revamping session and created the new Bazaar seasonal Alley. I like that they too are selling mattresses and they even have special assets for it to display & also the big furnitures. I guess as people evolve, with more spending power, with a higher standard of living expectations, people are always going to want newness in everything, just like they want new pop stars & fashions every day.

There is so much of walking around, meeting with people, looking at retail shops, taking photos, taking down notes etc. I have learned and gained so much, in terms of business, cultural, consumer behavior etc :) I even underestimated my competitors here. They are no longer doing regional sourcing - the latest trend is that they deal directly with the manaufacturers, bypassing the local trading companies, hence they are getting very sharp pricing for their items. Well, everyone seems to be travelling somewhere for work these days, and I never get to go. This is one opportunity where I’d be able to rub shoulders with others and see what they’re up to (people in my industry). I’d like that very much. But I also count myself very lucky because Stewart could not make it for this long trip due to family commitments and Celtic is no longer around. I wish I had more of these chances when I was younger, when I was building up my career. When you're young - 25 or 27 - you have the energy and drive. That's the time to work as hard as you can. I think I am very rusty now :)

Burning Flame

Juan Carlos brought me to 2 very interesting place to eat for dinner during our business trip in Bangkok:

Bistro M – it is an international, upbeat & trendy bistro in downtown Bangkok, hidden well inside of Marriott Executive Apartments in Sukhumvit Park. This gem served breakfast, lunch & dinner with a mouth-watering menu crafted of Thai & International delicacies. I have a bowl of steam rice that goes with the excellent stir-fry lamb with basil leaves and crème bulle for dessert. The food was very expensive but the portions were big, more than enough actually. If you ask me. The service was EXCELLENT there. We got so much of attention and explanation from the staff. Very fun & friendly people. It’s one of the most sophisticated restaurants that I’ve ever been to. It’s a really nice experience. You see; I love fussy, expensive food in posh restaurants (fine dining style), but I’m also perfectly happy with plain old chicken rice or a kebab by the side of the road. I'm a foodie :) The bistro has a very cool modern art and expensive feel to it. The bistro’s atmosphere was a quirky combination of fancy + hippy elegance blend in altogether. I was COMPLETELY FLOORED by it’s amazing sense of design – great shape. Great proportions. Great colours. Great lightings. Nice use of symmetry.

Seafood Market & Restaurant - it's a fish market + restaurant :) Another famous eatery in Bangkok. They have a very nice & interesting concept here. Customers can push their trolley and they can go from aisle to aisle to select whatever seafood that they want to eat. There are so many varieties of fish, prawns, crabs, lobsters, clams, shells...anything that can swim to choose from. They even have a vegetable, fruits, wine & liquor and bread section. Once you have finished buying the food that you want to eat, you can then proceed to the cashier counter to pay for the food. Then, you can inform the staffs on how you would like your food to be cook and they will do the rest. You can request for fried, steam, bbq, grill, roast, eaten raw etc. What makes this reataurant so different from the rest that I have been to is that it very clean and it has a wider selection to choose from. Decor is to the minimal but the atmosphere is totally very relaxing. Very beach & outdoor feel to it.

I ate a lot of good food in Bangkok, I am not sure by now how many kilos I have pile on already :)

Go Forth

Refresh @ 24 Spa & Massage – this is one of the biggest and luxurious spa in the heart of Bangkok city. The location is so convenient that you can just simply hop from any shopping centers into this spa. They offers an extension range of massages, body scrubs, body wraps, bath therapies, traditional Thai herbal body steam and facials. Before being posted to Malaysia at the begining of this year, Juan Carlos was residing in Bangkok for 8 months...therefore, for this trip, I was very fortunate because Juan Carlos knows the place very well and even brought me to eat some very good Thai food. Even this spa is one of Juan Carlos favorite hang out space with his family.

Since I have been standing & walking all day long, non-stop – I decided to reward myself by having a go for the 90minutes foot massage. Their massage therapist have guided me through the most sensual massage with the use of their pure and natural aromatic products. After the massage, I woke up feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. I can even feel the perfect balance of my body & soul :) And these massage therapist really treats you like a Queen. I don't even have to lift a finger to do anything. I was being pampered to the max. They even go to the extreme by helping me to remove my shoes & socks. I guess this is because it is indeed hard to make a living in Bangkok where the economic climate is in slow gear and they are being surrounded by very tough competition because there are so many massage parlours in every street. They are all hard workers who have to work hard to earn a decent living. While we are like fat cash cows to them :)

5 days of war

Dine @ 7 - it is a sparkling modern coffee shop in Majestic Grande Hotel. This is where I have my breakfast every morning with Juan Carlos, overlooking the pool area on the open-air terrace. Having breakfast by the swimming pool every morning is a breath of fresh air :) I can even see the JW Marriott Hotel which is our opposite neighbor. Lavish buffets are presented for breakfast with a wide selection of International, Thai & Asian dishes. Every morning, I will help myself with their rich varieties of ham, sausages, bacons, pastries, cakes, cereals...anything that I don't get to eat back home because my mummy says that all of those hams, sausages & bacons are processed meat, thus they are very unhealthy :) and fruits…they served the most freshest & juiciest fruits ever – mangos, kiwis, dragon fruits, oranges, apples, grapes etc. Every morning, it is a routine where I will eat till my heart & stomach are content while my Boss eats very little while making morning phone calls back to the office to make sure that the daily operations are in order :)

The Pink Promise

Majestic Grande, Sukhumvit, Bangkok – I wish I was there for a good holiday, nope…instead I was there for a business trip together with Juan Carlos and we stayed in this stylish boutique hotel for 3 whole nights. This hotel comes with 251 rooms and is located in the heart of Bangkok truly lives up to its given name. The Majestic Grande enjoys a convenient central location; it is close to all of the major embassies, banks, shopping & entertainment districts, it has easy access to the ultra modern Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS Skytrain) which is linked to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT Underground) system, it is also well-link to Sukhumvit Road, Rama IV Roads and onto the elevated highway networks.

I like how the hotel’s exterior and interior architecture & designs which combines Thai contemporary décor and state-of-the-art modern technology with a warmth & comfort of hospitality which is uniquely Thai. My room 2106 was a Grande Superior (28sq.m.) room. I have a king-size bed (which is kind of too big for me) and a 29” TV :) The floorings are made of a rich tropical hardwood and polished granite. I have a panoramic view of the city. Also, there is this medium-size executive professional practical writing desk and the bathroom is lavishly appointed and beautifully equipped.

I must admit, I’ve never stayed in such a large and luxurious room before…some more alone…all by myself :) I was terrified and thrilled at the same time. At first, I gingerly crept around, thinking eeek!, and didn’t dare to touch anything. Then I decided to JUST GET OVER IT YINGZE – and had a nice hot shower, sit on the couch, with my big fluffy pajamas, feet up, watching football matches & movies that are available. The only thing that was missing was eating a fine dinner brought up to me by the excellent room service. Sigh, then on Thursday; it was time for me to say goodbye and go back to KL. Home sweet home. I came back to a relaxed and happy household in Shah Alam - and it felt so good :) I missed my bed and my bolster :) I’m always glad to be home again.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Brilliant Legacy

I hope that when I go into the office on next week Monday morning – the traffic situation is already back to normal. What a shock that I faced when for the first time, there was a massive traffic jam starting from the Glenmarie exit, all the way to SS16 Subang. I hope by Monday that the police have already clear out and open up the road for a smoother flow. It's really annoying to be stuck in a jam when going to work in the morning and coming back from work late in the evening. Seriously, I really hate jam. Thank GOD, I worked nearby. I would have gone nutty if my work place were in PJ, Damansara, Cheras, KL or anywhere else that is far and jam. On the first day, when the incident happens...the traffic were so bad, it was just standing still...Victoria, Ling & myself decide to chill out at Skewers with cranberry juice & tiramisu until the traffic flows got better.

The damage to the Empire Shopping Gallery is really bad. Some said it was like an earthquake which hit the building…I say it look more like ala terrorist attack. But actually the source of the blast was from a gas pipe leak from a restaurant in one of the basement premises which cause the blast at 3.45am. Nearly the entire stretch of the front portion of the newly-built mall was blown out, damaging a number of cafes, restaurants and clothing stores including Tangs & Starbucks Coffee. Many tenants were badly affected by it and the 1 year old shopping mall is temporarily shut down until further notice. And 1 interesting finding that emerge from this incident was that the building was only given a temporary CF (Certificate of Fitness). However, the Mall Management stated that the damage was extensive, with 5 floors being affected but strongly asserted that the building’s structure is still intact. I really like this mall, it has a very good mixture of food & beverage tennants and a very good selection of branded clothing stores. No doubt, the space is small, thus limiting the number of assortments that it can carry, but nonetheless, the basics are there. The one thing that I dislike about Empire is its parking space. I find it small, crampy, confusing and a lot of pillars in between.

Nonetheless, Thank GOD – the explosion did not happen during the day time…the injury count would have been much higher and more serious if the explosion did occurred during business hours. I used to go there during weekdays for lunch and leisurely meal during the weekends. I could have…die…you know. Life is fragile and so scarily short.