Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Joes

I’m a sucker for aerial views :) And every time I am on an airplane, I want a window seat. I’m not shy about it. I’m an adult woman who will be 30 very soon looking like a kid on her first airplane ride whenever the aircraft takes off or lands. You’ll find me with my nose practically pressed against the window, looking out. I love everything about what I see out there. The runway, the city and the mountains…the clouds. Especially the clouds. I love the occasional surprise of beautiful clouds when I lift the window shades in the middle of the flight. Above are the pictures which was captured on my journey from KLIA to Kumming, China last week. Breathtaking and look at how great GOD’s creations are and I am only this tiny speck of dust in this big universe.

Yingze’s Crimes Scene

Excellence – Edited by J. Pincott.

This book was given to me by Iron Butterfly before Iron Butterfly returns back to Singapore. That was back in 2009. Yes, only now I am reading & finishing this book :)

You see, I have a problem with self-help books. I didn’t believe in them. And I saw them as stuff that we all know, but just refused to admit…rather than advice. Unfortunately I read self-help books with a rather difficult attitude. I read without an open mind. I read the books with full intention to challenge its contents. And rarely do I agree with everything that’s said in a book. Perhaps, to a certain degree, I feel judged and categorized when I read self-help material.

However, during my free time while travelling in China last week, I brought this book with me and reading it along the way. After going through some rough patches recently, I realized that I needed some motivation and thinking that this book could perhaps put back some spark into my life and indeed it did.

It taught me about being Ambitious, Communicative, Confident, Creative, Disciplined, Ethical, Flexible, Humble, Incisive, Intuitive, Liked & Loved, Meaningful, Passionate, Patient, Persistent, Proactive, Resilient, Respected, Risk-Taker, Unique and finally Worldly. Moving forward, I hope as I document my journey being the new & youngest Division Manager onboard D33 with the mission of trying to fix back the department – I am able to practice the above core values to help to improve myself and also my team collectively. I would like to resolve to hold more positive emotion in my heart, I want to be calmer, less angry and more gracious as a person :) All Is Well!

A Dud, A Babe & A Latte Boy

3 Idiots – what a wonderful & beautiful movie :) Actually, its an Indian comedy-drama film starring the very talented Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The story begins with Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad "Rancho" (Aamir Khan) who are three engineering students who share a room in the residence of the Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). Farhan is studying engineering to pursue his father's wishes over his own wish — to become a wildlife photographer. Raju is studying to raise his family's fortunes and to get them out of poverty. On the other hand, Rancho studies for his simple passion in machines and devices. Rancho believes that success in studying is not achieved by solely memorizing definitions given by the textbooks or professors, but by understanding and applying the concepts. He believes that one should follow excellence, not success, as success will come itself if excellence is followed.

Of course, like any typical Bollywood movie, there is the romance element embedded into it. But this movie is about 80% of substance and 20% of romance. This movie explores the reality of today’s community attitude towards children, students and the education system. The parents (of course, not all of them) have been pushing their children to attend tuition classes or any additional classes, expecting them & pressuring them to do well in school in order to get good grades and deciding which career path that they should take in order to secure ones’ future of power and financial freedom. In between all that, did the parents ever once ask their children what they want to do? And at another end of the spectrum, the so-called intellectual establishments have been churning graduates like a machine production line. Getting their young charges to follow, obey and memorize facts & figures instead of understanding the process.

And it also reminds me of my country’s education system. We as a community must demand more from our education system. If our national schools eradicate their deficiencies and all were more like Victoria Institution or St. John’s, for instance, Malaysians of all races will be lining up to send their kids to national schools. There would then be no need to waste time on pointless debates about vernacular schools and such. Get the national schools right, let there be Mandarin & Tamil classes be made available and we will be on our way. It’s about providing the people with palatable choices. Have a one session school system. Get rid of the afternoon classes. How can we say in this day and age that we don't have enough schools with classrooms to accommodate pupils in the morning sessions? Afternoon should be saved for games and extracurricular activities. Games, sports and art & culture are crucial to all-round character building. It is on the sports field that we encounter with our first team & national-building and communications experiences. It’s in the drama classes that you get your first creative experience. We need creative people and team players if Malaysia is to prosper in this challenging era of globalization. It will be good if we can have fewer exams. Why do we need so many for? Yes, we must be prudent about this as examinations are a test of accumulated knowledge and lessons picked up throughout the whole year but we must also be wary not to get carried away by relying solely on test after test to evaluate our children. In the classroom, encouragement and fostering of creative thinking must take centre stage and not just memorizing a book. Rote learning will not cut it in this new digital era. We need to create an environment where the creative juices must be allowed to flow freely and experimentation is encouraged.

But this movie also teaches the viewers one thing – at the end of the day, it’s all about attitude. If you have the right attitude and the right values, you will be at the right path. I would not mind if my children didn’t score well in their exams, as long as they have the right attitude, they have good soft skills such as communication skills, are articulate in their ideas or views, initiative, have common sense, determination and people-oriented.

Overall, this movie is purely fantastic. Excellent music score, awesome dance choreography, colorful costumes and a great screenplay with a big heart. ALL IS WELL. I am even using this phrase to assure myself these days :)

The Art Of Getting By

While I was away in China for my holidays last week – Natalie drop me a SMS – Kenny Daglish has been sacked as Liverpool’s Manager! I was shocked. I mean, after all, King Kenny is a legend at Anfield. You don’t sack a legend.

Admittedly, it was a miserable season for the owners, the players, the manager, the sponsors, the supporters & the fans – the REDs didn’t manage to get into the Top 5 of the English Premier League (only finishing eighth; 37 points behind title winners Manchester City), failed to secure a spot for the next season Champions League, squander at the chance to win the FA Cup and some miserable finish at their home games which cause them the crucial points. They only manage to win the Carling Cup by beating Cardiff on penalties.

It is indeed a sad day for everyone. However, I truly felt that King Kenny should be given another season to re-build back the team. 1 season certainly is an insufficient time frame to do so where King Kenny deserves more time. However, I noted that huge investments have been made on the new players and these new players have failed to perform up to the expectations and they have been making very slow progress.

Now the contenders for the vacant job are – Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Martinez, Fabio Capello…who will it be? This is a very hot seat indeed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Gentle Crackdown

This is Liverpool’s new kit for the new season. I don’t really fancy this new red color, I prefer the old one better. The old one resonates vibrancy…this red color is too dark, a little bit creepy, it’s like the MIGHTY REDS have fallen into the darkness :) The club have gone back to the past by replacing their club crest with a Liver Bird Badge. Their new kit features the emblem just like it did during the club’s glory days in the 1970s and 80s. This is the first premier league strip produced by the Warrior Sports, a Boston based company that comes with a 25 million pound a year sponsorship which broke all British records when it was announced last year. I hope that the Reds will do better in their new season.

Claisebrook Cove

I have applied for a position in the above company on May 1st…however; until today I have yet to get any news from them…I guess I didn’t make the cut after all. It was something that I wanted to do – Analyst, Planner, Forecasting, Demand & Supply and perhaps a bit of Trade Marketing as I move along. It’s mostly behind the scenes work which I have been craving for since last year plus I have been feeling tired being in front of the scene. I’m not so sure how the pay structure will be like, but I am sure being the number 1 toy company in the world, the working environment will be downright fun, casual & laid-back. Hey, they even have flexible working hours and they only work 4 and a ½ days.

Lately, I feel that the French environment is no longer conducive for me to stay anymore. There are too many restrictions & limitations. I understand and I also agree to a certain extent that these policies have to be implemented in the first place due to our circumstances that we are in currently. But it is very cramping my style and suppressing me. I have a mild aggressiveness and a little bit of sales oriented in me & when I am not given these platforms, I feel suffocated. In the end, the Outdoor & Luggage Fair which Juan Carlos promises to fight back for us remain futile. Toys fair is extended to next year - 2013. I know that this year I will need to do a very strong balancing between my ideas for the department with the vision that Juan Carlos have. I am not saying that I am wrong, hey - Juan Carlos could even be right. But I strongly believe that in our business module today, we need a strong balance of local suppliers & importations products. We need to identify items that drive in the sales, that delivers the margins and contribute values to the department. Previous accumulated mess and shits must also be cleared and eliminated with courage. We are not in the final stage yet, therefore I do not know what the outcome will be like. Our chances are 50 - 50. I have learned from Iron Butterfly the art of anticipating and I know what the problems that lie ahead are. I believe that every problem have its own solutions, even ignoring it is also a solution in itself. But life is fragile and unpredictable – we should not subject ourselves to such torture – let me get near the bridge of the problems or when I have the free time, I will then figure out the solutions to the problems.

I feel drained and empty and I need to replenish my energy levels. Nearly four years with the French feels like an eternity. Time wears you down and I’m worn down for sure. Perhaps, one day I will come back to manage a Division but I can’t replenish myself if I immediately return as a Buyer right now. This has been the best place possible for me but I am doing what is my duty & responsibility. If I carried on I could have compromised my team as much as myself. I respect them far too much to stagger on just being here. I also notice that I have been very negative too. And I know that this will affect my team emotionally. I have to stop mentioning the word Resigning & Transferring :) I think that sincerely that the next person who will replace me will have greater things to bring that I can’t. The demands are very high, as is the pressure, and the Manager must be strong and have the necessary energy to pass on to the team and inspire them. I need to recover this strength and you can only do that by resting. I need to rest and move away. I’m already a dead person. Whatever Juan Carlos wants me to do now and change a number of times – I already do not have the energy to fight back, to insists on my points, to voice out other ideas, to highlight the pros & cons…instead I just go with the flow, nod my head and just do it. I even give Juan Carlos the green light to go down to our counter-part in Singapore to buy Luggage. I’m a very animated, impromptu person – these days I am just lifeless. That is why I have to find my passion & motivation back. I have decided to leave and now I need to look for opportunities to move forward.

I am looking forward to GOD’s plans for me. Perhaps, the company above will not be a part of me. I have to continue to look and search harder. I'm grateful that the Lord has brought me this far…and for me, this is the moment in my life where I really felt that I needed some time off.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

FA Cup Final
Chelsea 2 - 1 Liverpool :(
Final heartbreak for The Reds.

Gunpowder & Lead

Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel – attended Christine & Maran’s wedding ceremony last night. I hope & pray that in her this second attempt, Christine will have an awesome, blessed and great journey ahead in attaining her fairytale happily-ever-after ending. It was not only a wedding dinner but also a reunion dinner of sorts as current colleagues and ex-colleagues of the French colony mingle around and catching up together. It was a beautiful ceremony that begins in the evening at the East Garden with a Vow Exchange Observance, followed by a cocktail reception and then the dinner. Everyone was stylish. Everywhere I turned, everyone seemed to be wearing something very cool - an amazing scarf, sexy shoes, a funky jacket, a top with a great cut, pretty frocks, elegant dresses. It was so cool to walk through the crowd and look at what people were wearing! I also put on a very bold front by wearing a floral printed dress (from F & F) which I previously never did. Yikes :) It wasn’t quite my style, and I was afraid that I might look like a vase of flowers! But I think I manage to pull it off rather well. The dress is quite comfortable, and I felt completely transformed. I felt like a million bucks and hahaha…it was a very fun feeling too. I guess that’s what fashion is all about – transformation and whole lots of fun wearing it! It’s definitely a dress that will turn heads on :) Right now, I think I’m loving all of the bold colors, ruffles, flowers, spring prettiness and bright colored shoes!

I went with Damian, Trix, Natalie and Karen. It was a great night out. Natalie even got drunk and Trix have to drive us back and we have to make four stops along the way because Natalie has to throw up. As we didn't know where Natalie's house in Klang is, thus Natalie have to sleep over at Damian's place. Natalie was gibberish & was apologizing non-stop. Poor thing :) I greeted and chat-up with all of the people that I know. The laughter, going all crazy, making memories, getting closer…is priceless. To all of my work buddies and life experiences cronies – with every memories made, with every experiences gained – I love you guys more :)