Ramadhan month is here again...which means; yes…fasting for the Muslims community begins; but on a brighter note; Hari Raya is just around the corner! YAY!! There are plenty of things I love about the Ramadhan month; most of them are available at the Ramadhan Food Bazaars! Hahaha, living in Malaysia is awesome! Growing up in a very diverse group of peers; I had the opportunity of learning and understanding the different religions and cultures from a very young age. I used to feel sad for them at recess break during school lunch periods…aww... they don't get to eat!! :( Hahaha, but years later; I get it now; I understand why the Muslims take such pride in their Puasa (fasting). Inspires me to want to fast too! :) But I can’t stand the temptation.
Ramadhan is a time of spiritual reflection and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. During fasting, intercourse is prohibited as well as eating and drinking, one is also encouraged to resist all temptations while you are fasting. Purity of both thoughts and actions is important. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity. There often would be a spread of food for the family and sugary treats after evening prayers at dusk. The 'Buka Puasa' meal begins with the eating of a date, which is also a cultural habit for the Muslims around the world.
Can’t wait to visit the Ramadhan Food Bazaar for the glorious food :)
Work Tales – I am celebrating my first month with G13 this week. How time flies :) I think I am doing pretty all right for now. A lot of re-learn, re-adapt, re-adjust…even though, I am not there yet…still very clumsy & blurrish at times…but I know I will soon. I know it’s very tiring to re-start everything all over again…but this is what living is all about, what change is all about, what learning is all about and I think that I’ve been truly blessed over the past 6 months to be able to start all over again. I thank GOD too for finding back my motivation. I must come out from my past and live for the future. Thinking about the past occasionally is alright, but to think about it too often is not good :) I just want to let myself free and to just enjoy the whole working & living process. Now, it’s all about working hard, working with the right approach, be available, a self-starter, ready to assists, touch the clouds, reach for the stars - towards revenue growth with my team and I am sure it will be another adventure in and of itself :)
The Amazing Spider-Man >> either you like it or you don’t. Unfortunately, I don’t like it :( I am drop dead disappointed with it. I didn’t feel it was entertaining at all. It was slow. SLOW. SLOW. SLOW ALL THE WAY.
This movie is a reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise, portraying the character's origin story and his development into a superhero while still as a high school student. I still prefer the works of Sam Raimi together with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. The first part of this movie was mainly on Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker emotional gravity and wire work stunts anchoring the film before switching to the fantatstic CGI-Spidey or Garfield in the Spidey spandex suit. But I have to say that the supporting cast of Sally Field, Martin Sheen & Denis Leary ground the film really well before the fantasy bit was unleashed. What is perhaps wrong with this movie is the slow tempo, the poor character development of Dr. Curt Connors who played the villain The Lizard and the focus is too heavy on the romance between Peter & Gwen Stacy. I hope that the film makers will do a better one with the sequel.
Work Tales – my first store visit. Leonardo led a team of 4; we took a flight and flew to Alor Setar, then all the way heading up North; stopping at Sungai Petani, Kulim & Bayan Baru. And I love the above aerial view; the journey from the Subang old Airport to the Alor Setar Airport. The Shah Alam & Subang city view is impressive; all of the neat buildings lining up side by side indicatse how far my nation have progress over the years and the padi fields remind me of my country’s original roots where we were born from an agriculture country to an industrialized nation. Plus the coastal view of the South China Sea. And look at the Firefly Airplane with its propeller from the outside. Looks so old school :)
It was a tiring day trip where we move around a lot. I get to see different store format and now my major concern will be the assortment strategies. Seriously, Jonas has set some very good benchmarks and also has made some poor judgments. Jonas has been in this department for 8 years. And I realized that whenever Jonas listed in something new, there was nothing that was out. Thus, a lot of the old assortments is very scattered, accumulated and cannibalizing each other. I rather play on the supplier’s strength. If the supplier's core business is paper, then let the supplier do the paper category then, do not let them jump into pens or writing materials categories. Let’s consolidate the sales of everyone and ensure that all of the suppliers have their own share of the pie as well. I know that Leonardo is very protective of Jonas; saying that it could be discontinue stocks…I agree but isn’t it discontinue stocks needs to be clear from the home bay as well. Then there is also the consignment suppliers…they are too scattered and not being consolidated. Whatever it is, the past is already the past. I don't want to blame Jonas. Anyway, Jonas have more experience then me. Jonas knows better. I have to move forward.
Nonetheless, I will continue to power through. I also need to manage Leonardo’s & everyone expectations of me. I will try to contribute more to the discussions and resolution of issues. This week is already my fourth week and I hoped that I can come into my own, settling down well and dazzle everyone as I enter my fifth week :)
Tioman Island - before I started work with G13 on the 18th June, I went for an island holiday for 4 days :) Again, the first 6 months of this year, I am indeed very blessed because I have 2 vacations to go to.
The island holiday was truly fantastic - an exquisite bay, a crystal clear lagoon, a deserted beach (because it was a low-peak season), strong & steady wind and coral reef rock pools teaming with shells, clams, starfish, crabs, fish, slugs. Every crevice was exploding with colors and movement. The beach was littered with amazing aquatic treasures - broken corals, cute pebbles, sparkling shells and beautiful rocks.
I even went snorkeling :) I can’t swim; even with a life jacket strapping me in, I was still in panic mode, kelam-kabut and grabbing anyone to float on. But later on, as I have learned to relax and the situation was much better and under control. The snorkeling experience was indeed magical…am now contemplating to sign up for swimming classes and later on to take up a scuba-diving license :)
Everything was simple and slow-moving on the island. No frills. Back to basics. We don’t even have water heater. Natural cold water from the highland waterfalls. There were a few things to get used to. No air-condition. No shops. No TV. Just the beach & the sea. Before I left the jetty to return back to Mersing, a part of me felt heavy. I hope that the government will retain the place as it is. No more further developments. To think that perhaps in 10 years time, there might be another 5 star resort, a multitude of visitors, a barren tourist beach, speed boats and all this natural settings could be gone. A mind boggling thought.
Let’s get a good thing started – I have signed up with dogoodvolunteer.com; a portal that matches my interest & skills to the various organizations that are available and in need of additional help one way or the other and also as a means where I can Volunteer. Do Good. Do a little good today, do a little moretomorrow :) Awesome. Actually, I haven’t participated in one yet, but I hope that before the year ends, I will be able to do so. I also think that whoever came out with this match-making idea is absolutely a genius. I too believe that there are many people out there who would like to volunteer their time & energy but do not know where to go, how to approach and who to ask. And this portal has just make things easier for everyone. Volunteers can choose which listed organizations of their choice that they can help.
Sometimes, it’s not about donating money, or to travel to far far away places to help an ethnic minority…as a matter of fact; a simple act - smile or to say hello or thank you to a complete stranger. Let someone with less shopping get into the queue in front of you. A small good deed. A small kind act. It can actually spread happiness around and touches people lives.
I want to give back more. I am not rich materially, but I have so much more in my life. At times, I’ve feel that I’ve totally taken my life for granted. I want to use GOD’s blessings to inspire & to bless others. Although the world today is a cold & dark place but I believe that there is still some good around. There’s so much that we can do to balance the inequality that is happening in our society and to spread some joy & hope so that everyone can have a better life. And I am also sure that this is the best feel good thing to do. It changes your perspective in life as well. At some point you have to look beyond material wealth and personal interest.
Shrek The Musical – this year I have been blessed very tremendously. I get to attend a stand-up comedy, a comedy theater, a musical comedy theater (from a local production) and now a musical comedy theater from an international production. Awesome! :)
The musical was held at Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. I was there together with James. Shrek the musical is based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film that started it all. It has a strong 70-member casts, orchestra and crew. It features 19 all new songs as well as my favorite – Shrek’s cult anthem – I’m A Believer. Still, the most memorable number of the night had to be I Think I Got You Beat. Performed by Shrek & Fiona, the two built a common ground when they unashamedly engaged in a farting & burping competition halfway through the number :) They were such an excellent pair – funny, charming, quick-witted and very entertaining throughout the whole night. There were big laughs, great dancing, breathtaking sets, costumes & scenery. Actually, during that night, for me, the notable performances was Merritt David Janes’s portrayal of Lord Farquaad as the 178cm actor sang and danced with his knees bent throughtout the show. He have some of the best lines too. And also Jeremy Gaston did the witty, fast-talking Donkey justice; serving up some hearty Eddie Murphy-type laughs. Nonetheless, it was the 7.5 meter long dragon puppet that stole the spotlight. Thanks to the British designer Tim Hatley, the elaborate costumes and set designs brought the character to life, adding an element of tangibility that was absent in the movie. The dragon puppet was so enormous that it took 4 people just to maneuver the majestic creature around the stage. Everyone was so loveable and into their characters.
Baby Sis said that it takes 3 weeks to break a bad habit, well…it takes me 3 weeks to break my routine. I dare not say that I have settle in well into G13 environment yet; but I am getting better and I am certainly getting there. Thank You GOD, Praise To The Lord, Bless You GOD – for Leonardo. Leonardo may not have helped me to settle down socially; but in terms of work – Leonardo have certainly help me in many ways. Imagine, it is your Boss who is running the report for you. I am so pai seh. Usually, it is suppose to be the other way around :) Leonardo has been very patient with me and understands my frustrations. I wanted to move faster, but it was Leonardo who asks me to slow it down a little and to take things step by step.
I know that the road ahead of me – challenges are aplenty. Priorities will be Assortment Review, Planogram & Back To School Promotion. I will never be able to match up to Jonas’s 8 years of excellent experience in the Stationery Department; with the Suppliers, with the Store Team and with the Top Management. I don’t think I can even move out from Jonas’s shadow yet. And I don’t want to compete with Jonas either, that is surely the wrong approach. But I know that the stakes are very high because Jonas wants and have to prove to the whole wide world that Jones make the right choice of joining the French, Leonardo was wrong in not siding with Jonas and I have made the wrong move by shifting to G13. Well, whatever it is – me being me – I will just enjoy the whole work process & life :) Why do I need to waste my time to compete with someone who is approaching things from the wrong perspective? Even though…I am very determine to add value & contribute to Leonardo’s division.
Nonetheless, in my quest for success at a professional & personal level - I will continue to plan, to execute the plan, to change the plan when necessary to suit the changing situations. I will continue to read, read and read. Read all the time. Be curious about the world around me. Try to keep up with the latest in technology and business, the latest trends and the geo-political changes too. Never be too proud to learn from others. But on the other hand, do not follow blindly either. I will be wary of making compromises; on my values and beliefs which will be tested every day. I will have a clear conscience in what I do as I have to face the mirror every day. I will not let praises to go to my head nor do criticisms to weigh me down. Whether I have achieved material successes or not, I will live simply and shun extravagance and arrogance. Do not lose all that I have achieved because I was resting on my laurels. What happens when that laurel wilts? I will be humble and reach out to those less fortunate than myself. My success is an obligation and a responsibility to my society & to GOD and it is only when I give back to the society that I am truly successful. Who knows, 5 years down the road – I might say that I want to quit this retailing job and get into people leadership & development :)
Euro Final – Spain vs. Italy. The Spaniard thrashed the Italians with a massive 4 – 0 to retain their European title; the biggest victory margin in a World Cup or Euro Final – and all without a recognized striker. Amazing strategy is being applied there. It was a bluff tactic. It was not a 4-4-2 strategy. More of like a 4-6 formation. Impress that the midfielders are the ones who are doing all of the passing, delivery & hard work. It also proves a point that having a striker is not a necessity. The La Roja made history and deservedly - they have a lot of players who are tried and tested at this level and even though they don't play with a classic striker, they certainly cause their opponents with plenty of problems. Spain have become the first national side to win three major tournaments in the modern era after their Euro 2008 success and World Cup victory two years ago (2010) and have equaled Germany's record of three European titles. What an impressive hattricks :) Starting without a recognized striker because David Villa was unfit for the tournament and Fernando Torres's form has been erratic lately, coach Vicente Del Bosque put his faith in his midfield magicians like Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and the uncompromising Sergio Busquets. Viva Espanyol :)
It was a pity that the Ducth was such a flop this year and another sad episode for the Germans. They were again were just this close to a silverware. Well, such is life.
EURO 2012 – The Euros have come and gone by very quickly this year. I didn’t even have the time to blog about it; especially on the group matches and on each individual country’s performance. As usual, I am a very big fan of the English. Of course, England didn’t win big...as usual. But we cannot blame them as they were plagued with problems after problems. Coach Fabio Capello ditched the team abruptly and was replaced by Roy Hodgson. John Terry was stripped off from his captaincy and the armband was restored back to Steven Gerrard. Injuries on key players and with Wayne Rooney having to face two match suspension. So, overall the public expect that England will be out on their first match. But the team survives and did surprisingly well averagely even though they didn’t reach the semi finals. Its a rebuilding process from now on and I believe that Steven Gerrard is still the heart of the Three Lions. Roar :)