Monday, January 28, 2013

the fashion alphabet

The Alchemist; Paulo Coelho – I love this book. I am currently in page 38 and I’m already falling in love with it :) The Introduction Page itself has already gripped me to my seat. Maybe it’s because in this month of January, due to GOD’s amazing blessings, reading the book further strengthen my beliefs somehow. And I agree, reading this book is like – getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept :)

What’s the secret behind a successful life?
We all need to be aware of our personal calling.
What is a personal calling then? It is GOD’s blessings; it is the path that GOD chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills you with enthusiasm, we are following our Legend. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.
There are 4 obstacles:

First, we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea and as the years accumulated, so too the layers of prejudice, fear & guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our souls as to be invisible. But its still there.

If we have the Courage to disinter our dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle – Love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream (my mom will kill me if i switch to a new job with a lower pay, just because i am bored with my current job & want a change). We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle – Fear – of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse ‘Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway’. We do want it and know that we staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey (was i selfish? what if the lower pay affects my financial freedom? how will my peers look & judge me? will i suffer from my own decision? what if it doesn't work out? what if it got worst, instead of being better?) Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how. Are defeats necessary? Well, necessary or not, they happen. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times. So, why is it important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people? Because, once we have overcome the defeats – and we always do – we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure.

Then comes the fourth obstacle – the Fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we have to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal – when it was only a step away. This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy & conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of GOD, you help the Soul Of The World, and you understand why you are here.

Amazing isn’t it? It’s like GOD wants me to read this book and to understand what life is all about. The meaning of life's ups & downs. The understanding of the process to overcome the challenges. I will follow Santiago; the shepherd boy and see how his quest begin and ends :) 

Riser Combo

Today is the 28 day of January, another 3 more days to go and it will be Goodbye January & Hola February :) The first month of the year is gone. Every year, when this happens...I feel that the time passes by me very fast and I feel that I have not done much. I am just letting the days & time slipping by. However, this year 2013 have evoked a totally new feeling in me.

Thank You GOD, Praise To The Lord, Bless You GOD – for the first time, I have felt that I have achieved more, I have accomplished more, I have more happy thoughts and I have more adventures to experience with. I am certainly looking forward to February where I know that I still can do more and share more. I really want to count my blessings today – these positive energy, the unexpected prorated bonuses, the MTD & YTD results, the Hong Kong trip, the cycling adventure and also the Shelter 101 Project. I felt that I have been blessed with a bountiful harvest, the sense of being able to overcome, that overwhelming, humbling and inspiration feeling.

Ok, so what is this Shelter 101 Project about – I am not going into the details too much because they are just too…personal at the moment. It was something that was supposed to happen a long time ago but affordability was the problem. For the past 2 years, when it was no longer an issue, there were talks about it but never any action has been taken. So for this year, I am determine to take the first step. To track & pursue :) I know that it will be a very long and tedious process but at least the first step have been taken first. Probably, it will even take years to see a fruitful results. At the same time, prayer also helps. When we found the first Shelter this week, even though we have made the decision collectively as a family that the purchase transaction will be called off due to poor maintenance management and close proximity to a nearby smelting plant – I am just so glad that GOD has answered my prayers. It meets the budget, the location & the convenience facilities; which all are of my top criterias. GOD have also given me the wisdom to look into this area as the current area is also giving me legal & status problems. No doubt, it was a major disappointment but it further reinforces how great prayers can be, how magnificent my GOD is in answering my prayers. Fingers crossed that there will be better leads and success in the coming months. Hopefully, nothing will go too wrong. I am sure that something good is coming our way. I am just feeling so blessed this month :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lonely Footsteps

I am watching House: Season 8 :)

So sad, there is no Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and Dr. Remy 'Thirteen' Hadley (Olivia Wilde) :( House was in prison, then out on parole, Foreman was promoted to Cuddy’s old position, House has lost his office (half of it, at least), his team, and Wilson is still mad at him. What he has gained is a new "team" - Dr. Chi Park (Charlyne Yi); a smart, young, timid, very Asian resident & Dr. Jessica Adams (Odette Annable); who volunteers her services to the department while looking for a new career. She is intelligent, brave, rebel, firm, old-money - she's someone in the system who could turn into a potential ally. Will the show still be good? I hope so :) 

Purple Queen

Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam (Taman Pertanian Malaysia) – was a cycling outing day with Baby Sis, Zen & Willy :) We were there early in the morning, there was a light drizzle, however Thank GOD, and thereafter we were blessed with SPECTACULAR weather for the whole day! Sun shining on my shoulders. I feel like my body has been dipped in warm sunshine. We cycle, we maneuver, we rode on that endless path. I enjoy cycling downhill, certainly not up the slopes. Even though it was a very good workout for the thigh & calf mussles. I love the wind breezing through my face, my heart raced in excitement, that exhilarating rush. I can’t even remember when was the last time I ride a bike or was in this reserve jungle. But I felt deeply contented just to experience this adventure for a day. Actually, there is so much to see in the park, there are many small taman-taman scattered around, of course their maintenance is certainly not of world class expectations. It short of excellent quality and standard. I couldn’t understand why Malaysians let inefficiency slide. Why they allow things to happen slowly & ignoring follow-up and proper maintenance care. Well, we stop by to feed a horse, look at the peacocks, turkeys, ducks, tortoise, porcupines and drop by at a water dam. We also visited what was once used to be the highlight attraction of the park – the Rumah Iklim Sederhana Empat Musim (Four Season Temperate House). It was winter and it was freezing cold with white show everywhere. What’s more we were just wearing our ordinary cotton attire. But there is one young family with small children that came fully prepared with their winter clothing – jackets, gloves, scarves & beanie hats. So bersemangat!

We finished everything around 3pm, then we stop by at Klang for a very delicious Bak Kut Teh lunch which is fine :)

sarang K-POP

Last month when I was down in Singapore, on our last night together, we had a great dinner at Clarke Quay. It was a place full of international menus and we had our meal in a Korean Restaurant. The Korean cuisine was good, the laughter we’ve shared was memorable as I was making new friends with Niki (Jennifer Agnes met up with another friend in another restaurant) and building fresh relationships…but what was outstanding during that night was right after 10pm, it was happy hour time. Our plates were cleared off quickly, we were told that if we wanted to stay on, we have to order beers (which Victoria & Niki did) and we were entertained by the restaurant’s imported Korean girl group. I can't remember the group's name. It was something like Candy Girls or Color Girls. Something along that line. So yeah, the restaurant turn into a Korean Bar, the Korean girl group churn out Korean K-Pop songs, dancing on a very small stage, wearing very tight-fitting dresses like they were ready to be ‘openly checked out’. Some are obviously strutting around with body language that shouts – LOOK AT ME, I AM SO HOT! Nonetheless, it was tasteful sexiness. We then notice that there were more male customers than female :) And the girls even sing & dance to the popular 'Gangnam Style' song made popular by Psy in their high heels; which I was very impressed (i never like that song in the first place, even though I have to admit that the social media has propel this song to unimaginable heights, crossing boundaries & colors). Well, the Korean entertainments certainly make you enjoy the simple pleasures of a noisy wine bar. I think the floorboards were vibrating from the noise levels. It was rocking! I have to say that these days, the Koreans are way better dancer & dance choreographer than the Americans.

LAFA & Stella Young

Last year, I help out to organize Stewart’s birthday lunch, however, as I was busy this year, Celtic did the organizing instead. We had a very good lunch together at Kota Kemuning and was busy exchanging our latest stories. On Stewart’s side, apparently the Japanese have yet to reveal their new 2013 direction. The Japanese work culture has started to seep in very slowly where they are very strict with punctuality. Stewart & Felix are now the temporary acting directors for both Team Baz & Team Tex. Victoria have taken up the Toy Buyer position. James’s portfolio have been expanded from doing the financial closing for Team Baz & Team Tex to the whole of the Merchandise Division. I was also shock to hear from Stewart that Jonas have not been able to adapt well so far.

Well, as for me, my mind has already made up. There's really no explanation for it - except to admit. You see, I am very bored with my current job at the moment. My days are pretty busy, there are many things to do every day, but I feel very sien. At the end of the day, I just want to admit to myself that I am not in the mood to do even what I think I love best. However, be rest assured, I will not slack on my job. I have always believed, that as long as I am still sitting on that chair, at that table, sitting in that room, that I am still around, I still have a duty to serve both of the internal & external stakeholders and will not tolerate sloppy job. I think the reason that I am bored is that because I have been in this job since 2005. 8 years altogether. It’s the same challenges, same issues, same problems…only that it involves different scenarios, different people. There had been some rough and challenging moments as well. But thankfully, nothing that breaks the spirit too much. Sometimes, we used back the same tricks, the same explanations, the same excuses, the same solutions. Therefore, I feel myself being very stagant. I discovered that by learning new things, new skills, expanding into different areas, knowledge or industry - it gave my life meaning. That is why, I don’t mind to compromise my future salary a little to do something different, something new. And I also want to try to do something that I always have an interest in but never have the opportunity to do so - Advertising, Branding, Communication, Demand & Supply Forecasting, Journalism, Marketing Management, Media, Trade Marketing, Planner, Research etc.

GOD – you have touched my heart and changed my life. I am humble and grateful to you for being with me on this journey and the people that I have come across with & the people that have shared this journey with me. I know that as I move my life forward, it will be an expedition of challenges and fascinating experiences. I look forward to enjoying more good moments with you GOD and also with my family, my friends, my community. My life is still worth living :) I believe in redemption and second chances. If I don't break away from this shell, I will still be here. If I don't go after what I want, I will never have it. If I don't step forward, I'll always be in the same place.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

His Dark Materials

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong – at the bottom of the peak tower on Hong Kong Island, lays the well known Madame Tussauds Wax Museum which is a part of the renowned chain of wax museums founded by Marie Tussaud of France. It is the first and one of the only two permanent Madame Tussauds museums in Asia, the other being the Shanghai branch, which was opened in 2006. The Hong Kong branch houses nearly 100 wax figures of internationally-known personalities, with Asian figures taking up more than a third of the total, of which sixteen were Hong Kongers. The wax figures are featured in a range of themed settings such as Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions and World Premiere. I took lots of pictures of myself together with these prominent stars from The Beatles to Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Madonna and many more :) Some wax figures did indeed look real & alive, but some are not. I am immediately struck by the incredible technical work and the absolutely amazing creativity, effort & time that goes into the whole process of creating these figures bit by bit.

Alpha & Omega

The Peak – while I was in Hong Kong, the team & I manage to grab a bit of our free time to visit Mount Austin or as the locals call it as The Peak. The mountain is located in the western half of the Hong Kong Island. With an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest mountain on the island but not in the entirety of Hong Kong, an honor which belongs to Tai Mo Shan. It is a major tourist attraction which offers views over Central, Victoria Harbor, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands. The Peak remains an up-market residential area, although residency today is based on wealth. The weather was foggy, thus the pictures are not that clear. I try to adjust the camera settings and the above pictures are the best that I can captured. When we first arrive, the lights of the buildings & skyscrapers were not on yet, we waited till all the lights are lighted up and the view is indeed exciting and exhilarating. Everything was just so new and different! No wonder, people always said that the Hong Kong night view on a very clear day is a very grand sentiment :)

Hearts & Goals

While holidaying in Singapore last month, Victoria, Niki, Jennifer Agnes & myself stayed at the Kam Leng Hotel. Singapore has a special place in my heart. Whenever I go down for a visit, I am often overwhelmed by what Singapore has to offer. As the hotel was just newly renovated, thus the rooms are spacious, sparkly clean, smell fresh, new, bright and very comfortable. No issues. You get what you pay for. It is a heritage hotel (my first time staying in one!) and it’s really brilliant. Kam Leng hotel was first established in 1927 by a mysterious owner whose identity remains unknown till today. It is situated along the busy and colorful Jalan Besar road and is interconnected with the Farrer Park, Boon Keng and Lavender MRT stations. The designs are minimalist, contemporary yet the new management still retains the old charm touches here and there; in its floor tiles, wall tiles, the windows, the lifts, the hotel’s key card, their toiletries packaging, there’s even an old bicycle park inside the hotel, 70's magazines available for reading at the lobby table, and many more. I guess they are trying to weave back some magic, modernity and nostalgia all into one. It’s fascinating that the hotel owners try to input a refreshing take of the old dame of what she used to be and recreate the mood & style by weaving new stories into the experience for its customers :) 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sparks Fly

Liverpool 5 - 0 Norwich City :)
A possible Top 4 finish? 
We seems to be able to beat the weaker teams only. 


When I was in Hong Kong, there was only one and one thing that I wanted to do – which is to eat their famous signature dish - the Stinky Tofu :) However, that mission failed. Stinky Tofu was only available in Mong Kok. I couldn’t find any in Kowloon and Tsim Tsai Tsui area. However, Hong Kong Cantonese food is drop dead superb in taste, texture and smell. Below are some of the food that I manage to tried it out.

(1) Chicken feet
Yes, it looks awful, but once you get over that, what is there not to love about chicken feet? I don’t even eat Chicken Feet back home but I gamely gave it a try because everyone said it’s nice. This Cantonese-style chicken feet is a perfect marriage of thrift and culinary genius. Euphemized as 'phoenix talons' in Chinese, the chicken feet are typically deep fried then stewed in a blackbean sauce. The cartilage softens to a melt-in-the-mouth consistency and great practice is needed to spit out the little bones in that dainty manner perfected by grandmas in dim sum restaurants across town. It’s a wholesome, texturized treat but I don’t think I want to eat it again :) Once is enough.

(2) Wife Cakes
I love the traditional Chinese pastries, their heavy combination of lard and sweet pastes made from various beans and roots; exactly make for easy snacking. Wife cakes have a flaky skin made from pork lard and a firm, chewy filling made with almond paste and winter melon. The combination of the pastry and mellow winter melon sweetness makes them particularly tasty, while their bite size makes them particularly digestible.

(3) Roast Goose
'Siu Ngoh' - the meat is very tender & delicious, but I still prefer the roast duck.

(4) Cha Siu Bau
Barbecued pork stuffed into a bun deserves its very own shout-out here. Because, when we break open a soft white steamed bun and see the glistening mauve filling of diced cha siu with extra barbecue sauce spilling out and sniff the heady perfume of wine, soy, and hints of caramel, we're moved :)

(5) Fishballs
According to the Wikipedia, which sourced from Apple Daily's 2002 report, Hong Kongers eat about 37.5 million fishballs per day. A simple Google Maps search reveals that for every two 7-Elevens you pass by, you’ll find a shop that specializes in this beloved snack. And if you’re really desperate, even 7-Eleven will sell you some. Everyone has their own favorite fishball joint that they swear by. I love the firmness of their fish balls. There are many types of gravy that goes with it and I love the intense curry flavor type.

Yup, I really eat a lot when I was there and eat really well too - sugar, carbs, fatty and oily foods throughout my whole stay there :) Their desserts, dim sum and hawker foods are also very excellent as well.

Live Stupidly, Die Happily

Work Tales – It was a Toys & Games Fair. However, there was a small Stationery Fair participating in it as well. When I heard that the Stationery Fair was a very small event, I inform Leonardo that I did not want to go (i rather be in the office to finished off all of the pending work on hand instead), however Leonardo just ask me to tag along. The Stationery Fair is indeed a very small one. I did not go WOW like how I went WOW when I attended the 2011 Canton Fair. Seriously, stationery is very boring. The only promotion mechanics is to play around with the pack size, different composition in the sets and perhaps color range. It’s not like toys where there are a wide variety of new technologies, new inventions, new functionalities and new discoveries every month. Furniture involves many new designs and colors too. But a pen is just a pen. There is nothing much to see and buy. Malaysians are also brand loyal, they prefer household names of Faber Castell, Stabilo, PaperMate, Staedtler, CBE, 3M etc. If I'm buying, it will be sourcing for big key events like Office Fair, Mini Back To School, College Fair and the year end Back To School. I think for the permanent assortment, we should stick with the local suppliers.  

Then there is the issue with Leonardo. Somehow, we are always on different wavelengths. I find it difficult to tackle Leonardo. I have always share good camaraderie with my former Bosses from Seth to Haakon, Celtic, Rufus, Felix, Stewart, Iron Butterfly, Snow Petrol & Juan Carlos. Not all the time, but I can still bridge the gap, but with Leonardo, it has been very difficult to do so. Looks like, I need to work on how I can relate to Leonardo better. Sometimes, because of this uneasiness between the 2 of us, I tend to stay away. Somehow, I have a feeling that this is because the comparison with Jonas is still on-going and not to mention both of our working styles are very different; where Leonardo disagrees with mine. At times, just to accomodate Leonardo, I compromised myself and at times, the outcome leads me into making more mistakes at work, which Leonardo doesn't like it at all and sees me as being incompetent :( All this put together with the daily work routine - I am just too exhausted to be cheerful.

Jonas is a great buyer and also a great & special personality, but I’m not here to compare myself to Jonas. What Jonas has acheived in G13 is incredible – positive results, contribute enormously to the team, efficient work, meet tight deadlines, so Jonas has a lot of respect here. It's a tough act to follow and emulate. A feat that is hard to repeat. Maybe I will suceed, maybe I won't. I wish Jonas all the best with the new team but there’s no point comparing myself to Jonas. I just want to enjoy my work, it’s not about pressure, it’s about playing a game that I like and that’s what I’m doing. I’m here to help the group and the team as well; it is not about taking the position of someone else. I know that Jonas is the main man. I’ve just come, I will learn from people and I will learn from Jonas’s previous work as well because Jonas’s history is much bigger than mine here. I'm learning more at work these days. I think I'm doing OK but I can be better for sure. I think there’s always the space to grow up and be better. We never reach perfection. I will keep on trying to be better and better and keep growing as an individual. I was lucky enough to have been with the French Team for a few years and I’m delighted that everything’s continuing as normal or even better under the Japanese. I feel happy that the company is being admired and respected for its game and Jonas will make an excellent contribution and helping it to grow even further.

Yes, I have decided that I am going to give myself another 6 months and see how it goes. As Leonardo has saved my life, the most decent thing that I can do to re-pay Leonardo is to finish up all of the 2013 contracts negotiation. If I nail it, it will be perfect. If I don’t nail it, the day will still move along, life will still continue, the world will not end. I am not going to lie or being hypocrite about it. There is always tomorrow. I will ride the rollercoaster, hold still, don’t let go and hopefully everything will be okay :) I am sure that GOD put me here for a reason.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome the Blessings to my Life

Thank You GOD, Praise To The Lord, Bless You GOD! :) 

GOD has been blessing me very richly this month. First, I’ve received my bonuses, Secondly, my 2012 report card was not as worst as I have expected it to be and Thirdly – I get to go to Hong Kong! :) 

I was in Hong Kong from the 7th January till 10th January. I was there to attend the 2013 Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. Hong Kong was a place that I wanted to go last year and it was in my to do list as well. But, in the end, the plan to travel to the former British colony did not materialize. However, the start of 2013 was a great one for me and I get to visit this country. Even though, it was not a holiday trip but a working trip. I am stoked and wowed by this miracle of opportunity creation and this gift from GOD. I am so excited for the next adventure that GOD has plan for me, shepherding me throughout the year of 2013.

It’s winter over there and I think it's gorgeous even though there were many fogs around. Thus, making the pictures capture on the camera are not that clear, bright & sharp. When I was flying there and back to KL, I didn't manage to secure a window seat, thus no aerial view pictures :( I was there with Leonardo and Alice. It’s a high density country with a population of 7 million people. Every where I walk, there are tall buildings and skyscrapers surrounding me. I felt so dwarf in. The streets are also filled with branded concept stores as the people here are also very brand-crazy. The city is packed with a vast array of international brands. The streets, the walkways, the restaurants are so small, cram & narrow and are so congested with so many people. I don't really get to enjoy my food to the maximum in such compact condition. Everyone is walking at a fast speed and is rushing from one place to another. I like their red colour taxi, exactly those that I have watched from the Hong Kong TVB dramas. I still think that Singapore is a more conducive place to stay in and is by far the greenest. I don’t think that I will be able to adapt to such swiftness. I love big skies and wide open spaces :) 

Above The Clouds

Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26th January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland). Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26th January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australia and addresses from the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia. Outdoor concerts, community barbecues, sports competitions, festivals and fireworks are some of the many events presented in communities across Australia.

For this year Australia Day, I want to pay tribute to my Alma Mater – Murdoch University. Every year my Australia Day post will be regarding Perth’s familiar places, sights & sounds. Murdoch University will be a fitting tribute as it was a place that I learnt and developed a lot during the whole studying process, a place that was once inspiring and burning me to plan, organize, develop, write, design, photograph, create, imagine, and dream…of course, that doesn’t happen anymore these days. Now, all is captured and simply stored into little boxes & memories labelled for future use. I was also at a stage where a part of me that wants to keep going, to keep achieving, to keep growing. I also missed my friends, the academic staffs, the campus atmosphere and the campus related activities.

Murdoch University is a public university based in Perth, Western Australia. It began operations as the state's second university in 1973, and accepted its first students in 1975. Its name is taken from Sir Walter Murdoch (1874–1970), the Founding Professor of English and former Chancellor of the University of Western Australia. According to the Times Higher Education Supplement 2012 – 2013, Murdoch University was ranked within the top 301 – 350 universities worldwide. Murdoch University was only one of two universities in Western Australia to be listed in the top 400. The QS World University rankings placed Murdoch University as among the top 401 – 450 universities worldwide in 2012. Murdoch University is also home to over 18,500 students including 3,000 international students from over 100 countries. There are four faculties and fourteen schools at Murdoch University. I was at the Faculty of Law, Business and Information Technology and was a student at the Murdoch Business School; doing my degree in Bachelor Of Commerce with a major in Marketing Management & Management. Murdoch University has three Australian campuses: South Street Campus, Rockingham Campus and Peel Campus. The main campus is on South Street, Perth, in the suburb of Murdoch, near the Kwinana Freeway . The South Street campus is Australia's geographically largest campus at 2.27 square kilometres, large enough to accommodate the veterinary school and its animal stocks—the only such school in Western Australia. Most of the southern part of the university consists of paddocks of livestock, farms and renewable energy facilities. The original group of buildings surround an open court, known as "Bush Court", in the northern part of Murdoch campus, which rises to the highest altitude on campus. Features of the campus include the Chinese Garden and the Joglo Rahayu (Peace Pavilion), a semi-enclosed pavilion near the Education and Humanities. A monument to the ongoing association between Murdoch University and Indonesian academic institutions in Java, it acts as a stage area for the Western Australian Gamelan Orchestra.

I have lots of good memories there :) My second home. I remembered that on the day that I say my goodbye to Bush Court, leaving the South Street Campus – I told myself that I will work with United Nations, travel to exotic places, will not work for money, building communities & nations, touching lives – than Reality hits. The term earning a living emerges. I do not deny that along the way, I have compromise my dreams. But I guess it’s still not too late. I can still fulfill my dreams & ambitions selectively. Thinking back, it doesn’t seem real. It all makes me laugh. I guess in the end, I believe I’m a healthy mish-mash of both worlds (corporate & communal). And I’m glad I’m living in a place where mish-mash is OK :)

To Travel Is To Live – Hans Christian Andersen

Pause. Relax & Unwind.

Universal Studio Singapore – last December (26th, 27th & 28th) I get to go down to Singapore with Victoria; plus hanging out with 2 beautiful strangers Niki & Jennifer Agnes :) Yes, my second road trip with total strangers; again :) The first was to Legoland with Faith, Jane & Cindy. We travel down south; via the NICE executive coach. USS is certainly way better than Legoland. It has a very good mix of rides for the adults and the children. Unlike Legoland, I can say that almost 90% of it is catering for the children. USS’s architecture, buildings, the set-up and the detailed presentation-wise is so much better. The $74 Sing Dollar is certainly worth every penny of it. To make customers manage their time & expectations better, I was impressed that for every rides, they actually installed a waiting time; letting the customer know how long the estimated time that they needed to wait for the rides. As usual, like all theme parks during the peak Christmas season, we spent a lot of our time queuing up but it’s all worth it. There were some rides that I chicken out because they also put up warning signs of what to expect from each rides such as a sudden drop, sudden swirling, jarring & turning. I'm scared that I will die from a heart attack! :) However, among all of the rides, I truly enjoyed the Shrek 4D experience and the Transformers 3D ride. It was awesome yo :) 

We also drop by at the newly open Gardens By The Bay at the Marina Bay Sands, a floral creation theme based on the movie Avatar. When I took in the spectacular view in front of me, I feel so impressed that the government has led Singapore to where it is today. Singapore is really amazing, the city has position itself well as a fashion and shopping paradise but their tourism sector keep on churning new attractions every year to re-brand themselves and to keep international tourist coming in for more and to remain sustainable for the long run.

It was a short trip but it was great times indeed. We also tried many delicious food. Thanks to Victoria who did some homework before hand. We also hang out at the beautiful Clarke Quay at night. Another beautiful night view. Its upmarket, happening, cosmopolitan, plenty of good food & wine around, the place was packed full of very well dressed, after-work business people. It was a beautiful night for sitting on the concrete pedestrian bridge; sipping cold coffee, enjoy a few hours of wild, unbridled laughter & braving the chilly night wind. Without all of this travel & new friends, I couldn’t possibly soak up all of the culture and art and music and food that’s buzzing in my blood right now :)

Barefoot Wine

Another 22 more days to go and we will be celebrating Chinese New Year. This year 2013 is the year of the Snake :( I never like snakes. My least favorite animal. I find that every year, for every major festival; be it CNY, Hari Raya or Deepavali – the atmosphere is getting quieter as the year pass – perhaps many Malaysians now opt for the last minute shopping as they have been program that the retailers; across all board will offer cheaper bargains and more price cuts as the celebration day draws near. Wonder if I get to have Yee Sang this year too; one of the things that I really like about Chinese New Year besides the traditional cookies. Heaps of vegetables are shredded and stacked together. Slices of fresh raw fish goes on top. Scatter ginger and all kinds of pickled delights around. Add a generous dose of sweet sauce, fragrant oil, crispy crackers and ground peanuts. As my grandmother have already passes on late last year, I think this year my family will be celebrating it in KL. This year CNY will be a very, very simple and meaningful affair :)

Reply from 1997

The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown – the first book that I have finished reading for 2013 :) The plot is well pace but at times I find the contents or concepts confusing, I can’t fully grasp with the definition of 33rd Degree Mason, Smithsonian Institution, Noetic Science, Masonic Rituals but I was impressed that there is such a thing as breathable oxygenated liquid. It’s like you are drowning but you are not drowning. No doubt the story line may be hazy to me at times but it’s fun and Dan Brown has a very well balance mix of cultural boundaries in this book – between Christian & Pagan, sacred and secular, ancient and modern – if it is not tastefully done well, it can be extraordinarily messy. The book was still a page-turner, and that Dan Brown is a maze maker who builds a puzzle and then walks you through it. His genius lies in uncovering odd facts and suppressed history, stirring them together into a complicated stew and then saying, What If. I was more entertained by Angels and Demons & The Da Vinci Code though. When it comes to religion & spirituality, it’s all about faith, about believing. The Bible is also a book compilation by people. Written with good intentions for the good of mankind. Like most religious texts around the globe, it contains veiled instructions for harnessing humanity's natural God-like qualities — and is not meant to be interpreted as the commands of an all-powerful deity. This interpretation has been lost amid centuries of scientific skepticism and fundamentalist zealotry. I am sure that when the time is right, its re-discovery will usher in a new era of human enlightenment where humans will lead better, fulfilled, spiritual and happy lives.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Royale Battle

Manchester United beat Liverpool 2 - 1. Thank goodness that substitute Daniel Sturridge managed to pulled one back.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

when diamonds cut diamonds

Soundtrack from Les Misérables - 'I Dreamed A Dream' :)

There was a time when men were kind,
And their voices were soft,
And their words inviting,
There was a time when love was blind,
And the world was a song,
And the song was exciting,
There was a time when it all went wrong...

I dreamed a dream in time gone by,
When hope was high and life, worth living,
I dreamed that love would never die,
I dreamed that God would be forgiving,
Then I was young and unafraid,
And dreams were made and used and wasted,
There was no ransom to be paid,
No song unsung, no wine, untasted.

But the tigers come at night,
With their voices soft as thunder,
As they tear your hope apart,
And they turn your dream to shame.

He slept a summer by my side,
He filled my days with endless wonder...
He took my childhood in his stride,
But he was gone when autumn came!

And still I dream he'll come to me,
That we will live the years together,
But there are dreams that cannot be,
And there are storms we cannot weather!

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living,
So different now from what it seemed...
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed...

What a beautiful song, what a stunning performance. And my heart – oh my heart – stirring & aching when Fantine sang about her life full with hope and then came crashing down.


My first movie of 2013. This movie: Les Misérables must be watched. It’s 100% musical from the beginning to the end. It is based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. Bring tissues – I shed tears, I try to hold them back but in the end I still cried :) It’s a very beautiful & touching movie, very nicely done, the actors & actresses have been amazing, they sing so well & in tune with conviction, the characters were strong & inspiring, the music was structured & the lyrics matches very well with each emotion, with each scene, with each tragedy and with each triumph. I thought that it will be a very boring & heavy movie (as all Oscar nominated movies are) but it was not. You will leave the cinema feeling moved, encourage and exhilarating. The soundtrack is unbeatable. I love those close-up solo performances from each of the main stars. Highlighting their vocal credibility.

Hugh Jackman – if he is nominated, then he truly deserves an Oscar. He can do action, comedy and even musicals. He is truly versatile. He was pretty good in Les Miserables as Jean Valjean.

Russell Crowe – I am surprise that the Gladiator star can sing pretty well. I like his deep husky voice. But I was hoping that Javert could be more expressive; meaner, revengeful instead of being a bit too uptight & stone.

Anne Hathaway – she plays Fantine and she really blows me off. She can sing! And she sings well! I was so in awe of her. The first time I saw her was in 'Princess Diaries' where she played a geeky & awkward teenager. I certainly did not expect that she can carry such a heavy-drama-character-driven-character. I sort of expected that her acting abilities are only limited to tackle comedic roles only, something similar to Jennifer Aniston. She is all so grown up now. Everyone will have to take her seriously after such an astounding performance. Her rendition of the musical’s signature song 'I Dreamed A Dream' was a sterling performance. She gave a very raw, original and a fresh interpretation to it. That scene was perfect and Anne Hathaway did it all in one take. Wow! She seriously nailed it. Bravo to her.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter – they play the Thénardiers couple. They provide the comic relief for the movie. Love their quirky sense of humor.

The boys; Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne) and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit), together with street urchin Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) were a very good surprise talent package as well. They were so inspiring, stirring those patriotism revolution messages in everyone’s heart, ever ready to make their country a better place for their fellow French men even though their fellow Parisians refuse to join in their cause as the students expected. The way they sing for their assault and battle cry was so moving.

The girls; Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and Éponine (Samantha Barks). It’s so easy to fall in love with these 2 characters Both of them are equally good but I prefer the latter better. Cosette struggles to know the past story of her mother and ‘father’. While Eponine struggles with her unrequited love for Marius and she was willing to die for him, willing to love him secretly and willing to give her love away as long as Marius is happy. Sob.

The overall style of the movie was very French and modern. I just love the ending where as Valjean sits dying in a local convent, he perceives the spirit of Fantine appearing to take him to Heaven. Cosette and Marius rush in to bid their final farewell. Valjean hands Cosette his confession of his past life, and the spirits of Fantine and the Bishop guide him to paradise, where he joins the spirits of Enjolras, Éponine, Gavroche, and the other rebels at the barricade.

Mary; Queen of Frocks

Johor Premium Outlet – drop by at JPO on the way back from Legoland last year. First and foremost, I am truly impressed by the government’s initiative to find another economic platform in Johor to churn out businesses for the country besides the crown jewel of Selangor. I can see that the next 5 years will be a very interesting chapter for this state where every sector is booming from the property development (new emerging areas: Nusajaya, Kulaijaya), the financial services, the elite education hub (England's Malborough College & other international schools, colleges and reputable universities establishing their base here), the leisure tourism expansion (Legoland, Sanrio Hello Kitty Theme Park) and many more. We have been very good or not extremly good in planning, so hopefully we can execute this grand master plan well and able to maintain its sustainability to retain that competitive edge in the South East Asia region.

Ok, back to JPO – the vast building is located in the middle of an oil palm estate. I was annoyed the moment we arrive because they charged us RM3 as parking fee. I mean come on – the place is isolated and all of the branded labels are there (making money) and yet they still want to charge us for parking. Some more, it’s only an open space car park with shelter walkway & shelter cover for the cars, unlike a basement fully covered car park. Yes, there are many international brands around but I don’t see their prices as to be that dirt cheap. And the models, I think all of those are from the off-season. I always think that Malaysia is a dumping ground for these foreign brands. All of those old collections that are being sold here with sky-high prices is just to rip off the Malaysian pockets. Anyway, I’m not into brands as well :) I’m an outdoorsy person, rough & tough with a free soul. In the first place, I will not be able to carry them well and it doesn’t look nice on me either :)

Gold Dust

Ole – Ole Bali, Empire Subang >> it was a Christmas Dinner cum get-together with Edward, Snow Petrol, Singrid, Celtic, Stephanie, Tyan, James, Victoria, Mrs. Simon & Theresa. Again, I'm being surrounded with good and happy people. It was an event that took place last month…yes, it needs to be documented…and yes again, I always have this post-dated blog to do :) And guess what: Ole – Ole Bali is also the most frequented eatery outlet that I have patronized for the whole of 2012. That night consists of yummy food + cute moments + catching-up + juicy gossips + giggling over the quirks of the retail industry & routine problems = these are the good things that happen in my life :) I like to walk through my life with people, places, colors, textures, music and food :)

Sunday, January 06, 2013


BRAVE – another animation that tugs at my heart strings. I love the Scottish stunning scenery, the Scottish highlands, the Scottish clans, the Scottish music, the Scottish accent, the Scottish values and the Scottish rich history. Young Princess Merida is the female version of Braveheart’s William Wallace. Ooh…I love those bouncy red curls too. The animation’s strong message is to be brave (which is also a word that I have chosen for 2013. i am ready to do Battle & Be Brave) and change your fate. Merida surmising what she has learned – There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it. I liked that it's a story that begins with a female protagonist who is strong and independent, and it ends with a female protagonist who is strong and independent. And her triplet brothers – Hamish, Harris & Hubert are so adorable :) 

Robot Revolution Front

Astro Boy, The Movie – was watching this animation when I was travelling from KL to Singapore last month in the Nice Executive Coach. I have always love Astro Boy; a robot who loves both humans & robots, bringing equality & peace to planet earth, obedient and saving Metro City from alien life-forms.

But the core message of this first movie is about how Toby becomes Astro Boy and eventually he learns about fitting in and finding his place in the society. And this means a lot to me as well. I have been with G13 for 6 months now. I have adapted for sure. But as in really fitting in, gelling in with everyone and finding my place here – it still needs a lot of work to do. I found it easier to do that when I was with the French. But then again, the both of this workplace were born from different cultures. So for 2013, I am not only going to make new friends but also to spend time to re-connect with the old. It’s bothering me when I realized that 70% of some of my friends are no longer or barely in my life right now because people move on to another stage in their life and suddenly, we got disconnected. Yes, perhaps I am to be blame as well for not keeping in touch more. I will be like Astro, certainly it will takes some time…time is all I have to fit in and to find my place in this social order :) 

Why You? Why Me? Why Not Me?

Random WatsApp conversations with Tommy on New Year’s Eve:

"Heard your are doing well"
"Suppliers love you"
"I will see you in Tesco soon"

I was happy that I manage to catch up with Tommy that day. But with the above statements, I figure out that Tommy is just digging for information :) Or either that, people have been feeding Tommy with the wrong information. As always, I have remain low profile, humble and understanding throughout the entire process. I consider my work life to be so far so good, not really to the great extent. As I have said earlier on, everywhere is the same, there are the same problems, the same issues, the same challenges…it just that it involves different store team, different store locations, different scenarios. About suppliers loving me? I doubt so – perhaps, some may have affection for me (a minority of them) and some hated me (the majority of them). Nonetheless, for me this is strictly a business relationship, I collaborate with them on a win-win situation. I consolidate their resources, I capitalize on their strength, I return back to them what is originally theirs. However, I am not so sure what Tommy meant by the third statement and I didn’t want to probe further either. I feel proud when I find out that the big companies or rivals of my current company want me to be in their teams. Humble. Gratitude. I can truly look at my life right now, look towards the sky and say ‘GOD, you are an amazing GOD and have blessed my life tremendously’. My aim right now is to achieve the ambition of Leonardo and G13 collectively. For sure, there will be frustrations along the way. There will be dilemmas and crossroads in my life that I have to face & I will have to choose whether to go straight, turn left or right or go back :)

terukir di bintang

Welcome Daniel Sturridge to Anfield :)

Luis Suarez is such a gem. Liverpool beat Sunderland 3 - 0 :)

i am resurrection

Thank You GOD, Praise To The LORD, Bless You GOD :)

The year 2012 has ended, and here are the results for my Stationery category.
MTD DEC 2012 >> 1.93% (RM112K)
YTD 2012 >> (-0.25%) (-RM112K)
Miraculously, it was a very slim gap as to compare to 2011. I expected far, far worst. Clearly, I have plenty to be satisfied with :) Ok, don’t compare with the budget, it goes down to the drain. Noted, that this figure is really nothing to shout about, as a matter of fact. It's just that to me, whether it’s a big or a small achievement, it should be acknowledges, shared and celebrated. It was also at a time where my competitors; especially the English was throwing prices (at below cost) for the majority of the items. I stand firm. I was not easily being swayed and follow blindly to throw the prices as well. I did not compromised on my category's profitability. Of course, there is always the big IF. What IF I have markdown the prices to pull in more crowds, would I have been able to acheive a positive YTD then. What’s more 2013 will not be an easy year for me as well. Whatever challenges that falls upon the French since the past 2 years, it’s now appearing very slowly in G13. Everything it’s a cycle. Once something reaches its peak of the life cycle, it will tend to slow down and it needs to revolve and re-invent itself to prevent itself from dropping out from the rat race. This have to end…but when? :) I know that the coming days at work will not be easy as well. I foresee that there will be pressure and frustration for me throughout the 18+/- hours a day. What’s more, the 2013 contract negotiation is already starting.

Sigh…don’t we all feel trapped in our own lives sometimes? Like it’s a high caged life that we live in. Probably one which we have chosen. Or perhaps one we were thrown into. There are so many things that we have no choice over. So many things which is beyond our control. I wonder if we can change things or if we will eventually be given a chance to be what we’ve always wanted to be, live the life we’ve always wanted. It’s never too late?

the trouble of being myself

Thank You GOD, Praise To The LORD, Bless You GOD :)

The 1st of January always feels like a fresh start. A reboot :)
It’s only the first week of the New Year and I’m already receiving one of GOD’s amazing blessings. I’ve got my 13th Month salary; on a prorated basis. Unlike the French, this 13th Month Salary clause was not stated in my Offer Letter. What’s more when the HR Director issued out the memo, it stated that only employees who serve on a full year basis will be entitle for the benefits. I have only served for 6 months. I was worried that I might not be able to get it. More over, I am also very cash-dry at the moment :) Therefore, I am very grateful for this token. I am also very appreciative to Leonardo & Mr. Jan Vet for giving me the confirmation early. I will certainly use this blessing very wisely. The power of belief is enormous :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

...and now, a new story must begin…

The sun has rise.
A new day beckons us.
Today has arrive :)

Everyone judges their happiness, their self-worth, their quality of life based on a number of benchmarks. Their KPIs can range from something that is monetary or on a non-monetary basis. There is no right or wrong. As long as the person is happy with it, satisfies with it, believing in it and feels that it is all worth it – than that is all matters. As for me, I am a free spirit – my KPI is on a non-monetary basis – the number of adventures, experiences, senses & happy thoughts that I have – which is something that I believe is purpose driven and larger than life itself. Last year, I have listed down all of the things that I wanted to do, so let’s time-travel back a little and see what the accomplishments are so far:

(1) Participate in 2 Marathons – woo hoo…I did it. I manage to do 2 marathons; 5KM each in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon & the Desa Park City Run :)

(2) Buy a new bicycle – failed again.

(3) Learn Spanish – this is very bad. I learn 49 new words in 2011. Last year, I only manage to learn 10 new words :) very sucky.

(4) To attend a course (which is outside of my undergraduate studies) for knowledge & skills enhancement purposes – also totally failed.

(5) Travel to Universal Studio in Singapore – yes, finally I manage to make it there. It was awesome. A good closure for 2012. I even drop by at Legoland Malaysia as well :)

(6) Travel to Hong Kong or Macau – failed. Nonetheless, I manage to have a lengthy and enjoyable holiday trip to Kunming, Dali & Lijiang in China :)

(7) Travel to Bali, Indonesia – also tak jadi, but had an island holiday at Pulau Tioman instead. I went for snorkeling too. Whee :)

(8) To read a total of 5 books per year – I did manage to score 3; all of it is from different genres – Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Excellence and The Lost Symbol.

(9) Volunteer for an organization – not yet, but I have make the first step; I have sign myself up with the portal.

(10) Attend a stand-up comedy – this is one of the best highlight of my 2012. I not only attended a stand-up comedy, but also get to experience a comedy theater, a musical comedy theater from both of the local & international production (Cuci The Musical & Shrek The Musical).

Additionally, in 2012 – I also get to try my hands on paintball and attend the 2012 Urbanscapes event :)

2012 was indeed a good year for me :)

Helloooo-ooooo 2013!! Everyone seems to be a bit shocked and traumatized by how quickly the New Year has come around. But for me, this New Year is really, really exciting!! I’m totally ecstatic about all of my plans, dreams and hopes for this year. GOD, with you by my side me – let’s grow and journey together :) Let's make things possible...real :)