Sunday, April 29, 2012


Norwich 0 - 3 Liverpool
Thank You Luis Suarez for the hattrick :)

Watership Down

The Avengers, MBO Subang Parade – met up with Natalie on Friday night and we went & watched The Avengers :) Two thumbs up! It was AWESOME! The movie has heart, heroism and humour all in abundance.

It has a team of ultimate superheroes (a super soldier, a genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist-with-a-flying-armour, a scientist that turns into a giant green rage monster, an Asgardian God of Thunder, a master archer & a very beautiful master spy), it contains rapid fire one liners, funny dialogue, fast pace, great action, stunning visual effects, iconic homages to the comic, an Asgardian angst, sardonic Stark wit, Fury attitude and many more. What I simply love about the director and his team is that they manage to give every one of the superheroes a chance to shine in the movie. Each superhero plays a vital part in the entire movie and no one is there to just make up the numbers or to be a cannon fodder like the X-Men movies use to treat their lesser-known characters. Of course when you have all of the super heroes around together at one point of time, their egos & strong personalities gets too big and they eventually clash as expected.

I find Captain America, Hawkeye, Fury, Black Widow & Thor were so-so, they are actually quite lacking in terms of personality & style. Of course, Captain America was charming, sweet & old-fashion but he doens't really  stand out as in really representing the true hero of America in championing patriotism. Hawkeye was skillfull but lacks the character to step up and contribute more to the team. I wish Black Widow have more fight scenes and some love development in the future with Captain America. As for Thor...cartoonish, very stone.
However, I love Tony Stark who plays Iron Man – he is is stylish, cocky, sarcastic and he steals most of the best lines in the show. But the real comic genius in the movie is surprisingly, is the Hulk. Yes, he’s the green mean machine. He’s angry and surprisingly funny too. Mark Ruffalo’s version of Bruce Banner is probably the best version so far. Toning down the angst and anxiety that was so prevalent in Eric Bana & Edward Norton’s version and making him a lot more calmer and Zen-like which makes for an even greater contrast when he finally lets ‘the other guy’ out. I also like Loki – deliciously evil, a formidable character that delivers both class and unruliness.

here's to the...

Here's to the crazy ones,
The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers,
The round pegs in the square holes,
The one who see things differently,
They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the statue quo,
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them,
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them,
Because they change things,
They push the human race forward,
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius,
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.

-The Crazy Ones: Craig Tanimoto-

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Bell Jar

Shangri-La Hotel, KL - Today is my Small Ham’s Graduation Day :) I am so happy for my Baby Sis. My little girl is not so little anymore and her wings are solidifying and she will be soaring in her own space very soon.

Seeing her graduating bring back fond memories of my own graduation day in 2005 back at Singapore. I sit and make myself remember it all. Then I pause and wonder. When I received my scroll on that particular day, I was the girl with so much of confidence, so much of bravery, looking forward to all of my adventures ahead. Then reality begins to paint a totally different picture. But right now, I would like to have that confidence and courage back. To stop fearing, hesitating and procrastinating. I want to feel and live life to the full. I had began tiring out a little lately and putting the things that I wanted to do in my 2012 Bucket List on hold. None of that for now…I'm fully charged up and ready to take things from the beginning again. Hahaha :) I'M PUMPED!!! I've realized making decisions with a clear mind always makes me more confident with execution. Now I just need a magic wand which can clears my mind. Being sustainably happy isn’t about the next car, the new house, a Prada bag or the new iPad. It’s about enjoying the small pleasures that occur in my life every day. I am going back to my Murdoch roots which are to continue to be dignified, gracious, continue to seek knowledge & experiences, humility, to contribute & to inspire the community, to better our nation :)

It feels like a blessing was bestowed on me right after the rough week which I had earlier. *happy, happy*

Such Is Life

It was another exhausting week for me…and miserable too :( Well, we have finished the planograming for our Subang store. Thank You GOD, Praise To The Lord, Bless You GOD. We also have a walkabout with Juan Carlos, together with his Boss; the Merchandise Director. The Merchandise Director didn’t go into the details too deeply by walking from one element to another element to inspect the assortments like how we used to practice previously, this time around, perhaps due to the time constraint, he just have a glance through of each of the department and I got hentam very badly :( I was bashed from the beginning till the end…from the right to the left. In front of everyone. The worst hit was the Luggage Deparmtnet, claiming that the designs are brutally ugly & very outdated. The Merchandise Director wanted something fresh, trendy, contemporary, striking and sporty. I didn’t study fashion, I don’t follow trend but to me these collections were not that bad either, it was acceptable and a sales generator. Well, everyone is entitle to their own opinion and print designs are always a bit tricky because they are a very subjective matter. Some people may prefer these designs to other designs. Since the Merchandise Director have issue such a comment, I guess we just have to work on how to improve the collections further. And we are being challenge to bring in new brands of Luggage such as Hush Puppies and Slazenger to add value to the category. Next, it was the Toys section. The Merchandise Director wanted Thomas & Friends. Thomas & Friends is not that popular in Malaysia. Slowly, it’s being phased out even though the cartoon is still being aired on the Astro Channel. Last year December, The English have a Christmas catalogue and they didn’t even advertise Thomas & Friends toys even though their stores still carry the physical stocks. Even our Japanese counterpart only features a small quarter of the page, the rest of the pages in their last year Christmas catalogue were emphasizing the other brands. Based on my observation, the Merchandise Director is from the upper class of the society, sending his children to International Schools, therefore I doubt whether he have a pulse on the society in general. And I also begin to find Juan Carlos is totally contradicting with his strategies. It is making me very confuse. Am I a hypermarket format or a departmental store concept? I am asked to fix the department but no resources were given. Extra pages of the catalogue were given to the Team Tex because they are overstock but not to drive sales. I have been told to retain and improve supplier’s support but yet Juan Carlos still insists to buy from GSA. I feel like I am being used. I am here not to fix the department to bring it back on track but to implement the changes as per Juan Carlos's request. If this trend continue to be like this…I will lose my supplier’s support, I will also lose my grip & foothold in the industry. I will be totally finished. I am trying to break out from all of this…but sadly I can’t even secure a new job. Of course the Rocket Internet has called me for the second time (which i am very thankful of) and an offer from another Supplier…which is not my cup of tea. I know what I want but why it is so hard to find the right one. And at the end of the week…I feel like slumping down on the floor and sulk for the whole day.

But I also find that this learning process is very useful. It promotes concentration, determination, adaptation, change and discipline. If it had been easy, then I’m not so sure that I would have learnt the lessons that failure teaches me. Twists always make things more interesting, yes? I think my failure scars are like battle wounds - beautiful, in a way. They show what I’ve been through and how strong I am for coming out of it.

So, Yingze – Keep Going. Be brave to leave your Comfort Zone and go anywhere in the world to claim your future.

"We also need to accept and embrace the concept of failure, not because failure is a good thing but because it’s a natural part of the path of progress. If you’re failing, at least that means you’re trying — not remaining on the outside of the arena, looking in. And we need to learn to deal with our inner critics, who are so adept at shutting us down when we dare to try" - UnKnown

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Catastrophic History Of You & Me

The Reds are heading back to Wembley :)
Liverpool 2 - 1 Everton

Behind The Beautiful Forever

Work Tales – my team & I have already finished our Subang store Planograming. We were in the store for the whole week and we are really drop dead tired. For me, it was all a chore and a duty. I didn’t have a good time. The truth is that there are several moments in a day where I really feel like throwing in the towel and give everything up. There's nearly no time to breathe! But I really thank GOD for both William & Henry, the 2 helpers and the other helpers from the other stores who came to help to chip in occasionally. I think William & Henry will be able to man this ship sooner than later. I am very proud of them. Both of them have demonstrated their independence, reliability, responsibility and confidence. I am so grateful to have such a killer team to work with.

I think the planogram is completed…however I have brief my team that as long as Juan Carlos have not validated these planograms…there will be changes until Juan Carlos are finally satisfied with them. I am not sure whether we did a good job or not…because towards the end, I just feel so exhausted that I want to quickly finish the whole set-up. And I know that as long as there is no validation, my stocks will continue to flood the CEVA warehouse because these imports new arrival are only release for both of the Subang & Mid Valley stores only. Now everyone in the Logistics Department is complaining of my department overstocks. Stewart also mention that we may need to work on the Tropicana store as well…I want to pengsan already. Aargh…enough is enough. I am beginning to wear off. I am also absolutely very tired in chasing & doing something that have no solutions & conclusions in sight.

My rift and disputes with Juan Carlos have also continue to be deepened & widened lately :) Juan Carlos told me that one of my priorities when I come back to D33 is to fix the department and to get back the suppliers confidence. And then, out of the blue, our CEO decides to cancel off the Outdoor & Luggage Fair in May, and replacing it with a Clearance Fair instead. I know that I have reacted very angrily. I am not angry. I am very upset. I am disappointed. And it’s very pity that when we have a nice collections of new camping items and luggages, we were not given the exposure to showcase them to our customers and to highlight them to our competitors and most importantly to shout out to the market that we are back in business. I am not so sure how the sales will be like and I dare not commit & over-promise that we can get extra RM100k each from both of the fairs, but I know for sure that it will be able to help LFL progression for that week. And the worst part is that we have make quantity bookings & commitment with our local suppliers. How are we going to explain & inform them that both of the fairs have been cancel. Our credibility is already very shitty in the market at the moment and with such cancelations…the supplier for sure will no longer have the confidence and assurance with us. We are contradicting ourselves. My team has been working our socks off to help to fix D33 and we were not given the necessary resources & tools to do it…and in the end everybody only knows how to point their fingers at us; saying that we are not doing a good job, we have not proved anything and we certainly have not achieved anything. Screw expectations. Its like Juan Carlos is giving us rotten apples to sell in the market. The Luggage Fair can be extended to another date but not for the Outdoor Fair. May is the school mid-term holidays, the peak season and if we do it at a later date, it doesn’t serve the purpose anymore because all of the customers have already bought the necessities from our competitors already. Juan Carlos promised to fight for it. Promises are very different from setting goals, voicing out your intent, and trying your best. Promises have a different weight and effect on those who make them, and those who believe in them.

Next are the GSA repeat orders. We have a problem here. We are not growing. We are not opening new stores. Our newly open stores have become sick stores. It is overcrowded. I have consolidated all of the suppliers and it’s still overcrowded. Having another player makes its worst. I am not rejecting the GSA altogether but finding the right mix of balance between GSA and local suppliers. For the football category, let GSA handle the color assortments and the local suppliers can do the basic range. Same concept for the basketball portfolio. Not all things can use the GSA platform. Only certain categories will benefit from it. For example, the household items, chairs, stationeries etc. D33 is a Leisure category, we are a Need Department not a Want Department. Our items rotation is not that fast, thus it is not necessary to keep unnecessary stocks in our warehouse. If we want to go all the way with GSA, it’s also not a problem but the local suppliers trading terms have to be converted to percentage base and a reduction in the fixed guarantee which is something that cannot be amended. I am very fed-up and sien already. I am not afraid to walk this path alone. Sometimes, the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do :) 

Nonetheless, me being me…I will still work and collect my paycheque every month. I need to be in gainful employment if I am to be able to do my duty for my family. I admit that I have this sudden urge & conclusion to quit because I just FELT in my heart that this is something that I wanted and needed to do for myself. Yes, it’s a career but at the end of the day, it is also only just a job, a work, a task…it is the life that I am leading that gives me a sense of life and priorities. It didn’t change me as an employee but probably as an individual. As a matter of fact, I am more relaxed than before, previously, I would burst, now I look at things differently…with more distance…seeing the positive than the negative. In work, you win sometimes and you lose sometimes – but at the end of the day, it’s still work…so it’s important to respect it and enjoy it. I will always be thankful for Juan Carlos for the opportunities and this French platform – it is here where I was made, where my character was forged and where I learnt a lot about the business & its technicality.

This weekend, I just want to stretch my legs, try to get some good rest during the day and some stillness. Every new day is another chance to change your life. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my 20s is appreciating the small doses of happy moments in my life and magnifying them. It’s why I write this blog. I jot down every good moments, experiences and loving thoughts. Of course, the once-in-a-while rant too. I try to brush aside the unhappiness, frustrations and struggles in life. In the process, I can feel contented, fulfilled and grateful. And years from now, when I read my blog, I will remember that I was happy. And not angry, bitter, sour and sore :)

Exit 8 Big Top Mall & Video Arcade

Last week was Snow Petrol’s last week with us. We had a very good farewell lunch together at TGIF, Subang Parade :) For sure I will miss Snow Petrol greatly and I will always be grateful to Snow Petrol.

Once upon a time, when I was having a difficult time in juggling the Leisure (Bicycle, Camping, Sports & Nautism) portfolio and D34 altogether, Snow Petrol came to my rescue and transfers me to do D31 Furniture, promoted me to Senior Category Manager and adjust my salary scale upwards. Of course at that point of time, Patrick was leaving…but Snow Petrol could have put anyone into that position. Snow Petrol opens the door for me and gave me that opportunity.

Snow Petrol is a very determined person. When Snow Petrol sets her mind to a task, Snow Petrol will finish it till the very end. Snow Petrol will go all the way and not look back. It doesn’t take much for Snow Petrol to launch into something new or exciting. But once Snow Petrol made up her mind about something, it’s close to impossible to change her mind. Snow Petrol is also not easily to be swayed to any other sides. Snow Petrol is also a very much more of a leader type, than a follower. And unafraid to speak out her mind and engage with her people. Which is something I [somewhat] admire about her. Just like Celtic, Snow Petrol loved the company and the people here, but it was literally impossible to make a difference at this moment of time. Snow Petrol will always have my best wishes :)

Monday, April 02, 2012

An Angel Is Waiting

Newcastle 2 - 0 Liverpool :(
There goes our season. We went from bad to worse. 6 defeats in the last seven league games, since the begining of March. This loss consigns the Reds to the eigth place in the league, with seven more games to play. A top four finish is nearly impossible at this point of time and we will certainly miss the Champions League again.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Ten Thousand Talents

Hello April :)

Oh my gosh…how times flies. March has been a very busy month for me. My March major priorities that eventually spill over to this month April would be my D33 Assortment Review, 2012 Contract Negotiation, Subang Re-planograming & Mid Valley Mars Re-launching. Sometimes I ponder whether I have made the right decision in going back to D33 and staying put with the French. But seriously, until now…I have yet to have the answers to the question. On some certain days, I feel like I have made the right choice…and at certain moments, I feel truly regret. No matter how much I hate this job, at the end of the day, I will still do my best and give my all. That’s my principle. As long as I am still in this position, whenever any tasks that falls on to my desk, I will continue to do the job to the best of my ability. I will continue to be hardworking, always giving my 100%. I have always believed that the destination or the outcome is not that important because my chances are 50 – 50. If it’s good – cool! If it’s not – let’s move on, fine tune or improvise it along the way. What matters most is the journey, the process that will shapes and moulds me as a person.

D33 Assortment Review – as I have done Leisure before, this will be little bit easier for me. But I feel really bad that I have let William doing it independently for the Luggage Category while I have been guiding Henry most of the time. As Henry is pretty new to this, I have been spending more time with Henry until Henry is ready to run the unit by itself. Toys was a major headache for me. Not sure if I have got it right. Seriously, I hate doing Toys. I love all of the cartoons & movies, but when it comes to the Toys, it just doesn't excite me. I just don't go Wow. I'm an outdoor person but I lack passion when it comes to these miniature stuffs. I also don’t have much time in looking into every detail which I wish I could and I must as a Division Manager but I have to learn to trust both William & Henry to use their own wisdom in filtering and making the best choices for our department. And I will use this assignment to judge them whether they are independent, self-reliant, self-sufficient and self-sustainable.

2012 Contract Negotiation – I am way way behind schedule. And I don’t even have the confidence in closing them this month either. When the Top Management took the drastic decision to compact the whole layout, they didn’t take this into their consideration. And now I have to clean up this shitty mess. Not to mention, for the first time ever – I don’t even have an ace card on the negotiating table.

Subang Re-planograming – a lot of my experienced Division Managers & Sales Managers have left, therefore, the current team is raw, inexperience and not sure what to do. They don’t even know how to maintain the elements. They just simply chuck the stocks anywhere they like. So I am very frustrated that whenever my team finishes doing a planogram, the next day the whole element will be in a mess again. Last time, I used to complain that our HQ has a very tedious internal process but we have a very strong operational support that knows how to push the sales, manage the stocks well, maintain the planograms well…but now, it’s like terbalik…we have greatly simplify our own internal procedure, but our store team people are so sucky :( So, we are back to square one.

Mid Valley Mars Re-launching – I have been in the store for the whole day, twice a week for 2 weeks in a row now. Slaving around, being hands-on. I have my own ideas, Juan Carlos have his own ideas. And we have been very critical of each other, exchanging heated arguments all week long. I even told Juan Carlos that I am very doubtful of his ideas, very skeptical whether it will work or not. However, when I put myself in Juan Carlos shoes, I understand his concerns, his problems and his stress. We have brought in a lot of our GSA items and those items have to be highlighted. So I have decided not to be too defensive, I have decided to open my mind, open my heart, open my soul to embrace Juan Carlos ideas. In the first place, Juan Carlos like me is because I am open to new ideas, can accept new changes and is more responsive. In the end, for the final outcome, our chances are 50 – 50. But I have to say that Team Tex did a great job. They have new assets which makes it so outstanding, even better than the Grocery & Fresh Divisions. The assets really attract the customers to walk in to look at the merchandise. But they have the advantage is that they don’t have to deal with their existing stocks. Their consignment suppliers have collected back their stocks and now they have new merchandise from GSA, SCR and Massive which makes their display process easier. I am sure that their sales progression will be positive. 

The above events have been my March shattering lows plus I have to change a car clutch after 14 months which cost a bomb, went shopping twice & actually came home empty-handed and supplier payment reimbursement issues. But I also have my March blissful highs. I knew when it was time to work and when it’s time to celebrate. I watched a comedy theater and a musical comedy theater. And I have also got my bonus. Thank You God, Praise To The Lord, Bless You God – it was way better than last year :)

This month has been an incredibly fortunate and fulfilling one despite all of the busyness. I’ve had my fair share of pain, struggles, stress, frustrations and disappointments. But being where I am today, it has added a new dimension to my lives that I would never have had if I were somewhere else. For that alone, I give thanks to GOD.

So, Yingze – Keep Going :) The year is still young. I have always loved the start of a new year. New beginnings and plenty of hope for the days ahead. One can always hope and dream at the start. At 30 years old, you simply know what life is all about. I am happy to continue with my journey through time.

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize” – Thich Nhat Hanh.