Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Dear GOD,

As 2013 draws to an end today, and we will be ushering in another new year of 2014 tonight - I would like to write u a letter. A praying, confession and self-expressive letter; as a matter of fact.

I pray that first and foremost, that you will strip off my Bitterness. GOD, you have no idea how bitter I was this year regarding the Shelter 101 Project. I have never felt so bitter and disappointed like this before. It was such a major blow for me personally. I was just this close to the finish line and you have to spoil everything for me. But Pastor Sean gave the church's congregation a very powerful sermon on last week Sunday morning. Thus, as time goes by, bit by bit I am learning to let it go. It has not been easy as it was an area or topic in my life that I’ve struggle with. I feel that time is not on my side. I feel my Mama Ham deserves so much more. She is already 60 years old this year. I want her to spend her golden years in a better environment. I don't want her to wait anymore longer. I want her to enjoy more. GOD, you are in the Healing & Prospering business. You want to Heal, Bless and Prosper your children. Once we are taken care of, be it our needs or wants, you will use us as a blessing to others and to build the kingdom of GOD. I understand this concept now. Use us and through us. I should not limit to what you can do. You can and you will do more for me…can I have a little bit more then for 2014? :)

GOD, every year towards the end of the year – I will always write that I will try to do this, I will try to do that, I will armor myself for the challenges ahead, I will try to be a better person, I will improve myself on this…blah…blah…blah…this year – I am going back to the basics, I am coming back down to earth. GOD, you are an Awesome GOD, an Amazing GOD, a Good GOD, you have provide for my family every day, you have blessed my family consistently, you fill up my cup and you are such a real joy giver. You are strong, I am weak. I am putting all of my burdens, my bitterness, my troubles, my problems on the table and I want to trade them off with your blessings for me. I want to align myself to you GOD so I will be in the right position to receive your many blessings :) Please continue to be the center of my life, continue to rain down on me with your thoughts, ideas, concepts, visions & philosophies on how to make me to be a better person – more positive, more hopeful, more giving, more peaceful, more joyful, more passionate, more forgiving, more humble, more grateful, more genuine, more sincere, more resourceful, more business acumen-oriented, more street-smart, more intelligent, more wiser, more compassionate, more loving, more think-outside-of the box, more thoughtful, more helpful, more faithful, more believing & thrusting in YOU, more relax – wah…I also ask for a lot of MOREs; greedy me :) than the year before. Use me to touch the people, to build communities and to build nations.

2014 – is going to be like an epic year for me – epic in terms of the challenges, problems, troubles & people that I will face along the way and I am very sure that I will tumble many times along the way as well. GOD, if I do – please help me to pick myself up again. Please give me your GOD-like strength, courage, and love to face the obstacles. Please, don't let 2013 be a repeat. As I look back to 2013, it’s still all a blur to me. Finally, I am here. At the end of the 365 days. I’m absolutely happy that I have made it. I failed big time. Work and on the personal front. On a scale from 1 – 10, I give it a 2. It was so tiring for me. I feel so exhausted. I collapse and I could barely stand up again. And the most frustration part is that - I have no answers to all of the whys. It didn’t turn out exactly as I have hoped. Of course, there were also a few unexpected delights along the way as well. 2013 was a growing up process for me where I have learned so much about myself. It was a real thinking process for me. I make mistakes defensively, I lost easy passes, late & slow in the decisions-making processes, thinking late, finished things off too ridiculously, mis-manage people & situations…but, whether I realized it or not, it was a character-building process for me throughout the entire year. I hope that I emerge better after this. It has been such a long marathon-like run for me and while I am grateful for what I have achieved, what I have not achieved yet…I do feel sore all over too. But come 2014 tomorrow – I know that I also have to jump right back into the fast paced, hectic way of life. I am going to make every day in 2014 count, more fulfilled and making connections with people from my past, present and future :)

GOD – you are going to be my corner man, you will pack my parachute – Thank You for everything. I have always said – to be where I am today, to have what I have today – it’s a MIRACLE. THANK YOU GOD, PRAISE TO THE LORD, BLESS YOU GOD! I am one lucky rascal. GLORY TO GOD.

Blessed 2014, Let’s Get to the Finish Line,
- the underdog, rascal, misfit J___ -


Chelsea down Liverpool 2 – 1 :(

We lost 2 games in a row. It shows that we are still not in the big boys club yet. We can’t beat Manchester City & Chelsea – that’s bad. The boys took the lead but still outclassed in the end. We have drop to the fifth position now. The margin loss is still not that bad. It was not 5 - 0 or 6 - 0. We are edging closer to the top but a loss is still a loss in football terms :(

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Thank You GOD, Praise To The LORD, Bless You GOD – all of a sudden, I have received a sms from Emerson, whether I would like to explore new prospects with The English. It is so unexpected to receive such an invitation as the year draws to an end. It really stopped me in my tracks. I did not imagine, with my age and position, I still have people offering me a job. It is so rare these days. Some more, I didn’t have a very strong year. I have no sucess stories to tell for 2013. I literally screw up the entire department. I am sure everyone in the market has heard about my failures. Everyone in the office is gossipping behind my back. I could not even beat my last year own sales figures. I am not even talking about out-performing Jonas's benchmark of 2010 or 2011. GOD, I feel so blessed & humble. Like there was a second chance in my life, a beacon of hope. Emerson is the one who is currently replacing Tommy at The English. Tommy has taken an 8 months sabbatical leave and went to the states. One of my supplier have mention to me that Tommy is already back in Malaysia, but keeping a very low profile as Tommy didn’t want anybody to know about it. It is also very unsure whether Tommy will get back the old job or not. Apparently, Emerson is a good friend of Miguel and it was Miguel who invited Emerson to join the team when Tommy left. I ask Emerson (via sms) is it for a position in the Stationery Department, Emerson said yes and also perhaps for the Toys Department; depending on my strength. I did not share this with Celtic; instead I went directly to Stewart this time around. According to Stewart's sources, Lexie has been promoted, however; after being promoted, Lexie is not doing that well either, perhaps Lexie is not ready for such a promotion yet and also that there is a possibility that Lexie cannot handle the complexity of the office politics over there…Lexie is also on the lookout for new jobs outside as well. On the other hand, as Emerson have been out from the market for quite some time and thus, needed to seek out a very strong buyer to help out.

Sigh…nonetheless…I have already decline Emerson’s offer the very next day. I am only curious on how Emerson got my number – from the suppliers? Juan Valentine? Miguel? Danny? Rodrigo? Ping? Atticus? GOD, I don’t want a buyer’s job anymore. How come, it’s always the buying job? Is there no other route that I can it take from here?

Smith Street, which runs parallel to Brunswick Street

Every year, the church will organize its yearly Children Christmas Party and this year is no exception either. Baby Sis will always be in charge for the games and the art & craft session. Then, mana tahu – this year, Baby Sis have to work and FFK me and I have to take the lead. Seriously, I hate doing such stuffs but I still have to do it with a very heavy heart :( Yes, I know, I need to put in more heart & soul into it, volunteer with enthusiasm and with an open heart. I guess the reluctance in me is because I know that I am not good enough and am afraid that it will turn up disasterly. I never have that confidence somehow.

So, instead of playing 2 games – I cut it short and play one game of charades instead :) This year, for the art & craft part – the children will need to do a hanging reindeer deco ornament made out from felt. It was quite hilarious as it was quite messy due to the usage of glue. The children have to stick the ice cream sticks together, stick the felt, the ears, the nose, the boogey eyes, the poms-poms as the nose and string it altogether. OK, it didn’t look much like a reindeer in the end, more like a fox/cow…hahaha, well; at least the children enjoyed themselves. Its a wrap :)

Trotters Cafe on Lygon Street

Hamleys is now open in KL. Its first flagship store is in 1U, the first in South East Asia :) It is a London based toy store with its tagline of - The Finest Toys In The World. It is also the oldest toy shop in the world. Actually, I still prefer the American Toys'R’us. However, what excites about Hamleys is that they have kiosk for customers to try out the toys or for the Hamleys ambassadors to demonstrate to the customers on how a new toy is being played; and all this is part of the store’s layout. It’s actually very good for the customers; both young & adult to have a feel for a particular toy before making a particular purchase. But the downside to it is that the toys are very pricey! Gasp…

Centre Place

Liverpool 1 – 2 Manchester City :(
Sigh…the team is still not there yet. However, credits must be given to manager Brendan Rodgers who manage to turn the team around. For sure, The Reds are in a much better place this time around compare to the last season. At least, we manage to collect points by beating the lower-rank clubs. Now, we have drop to the fourth position. We have one more game with Chelsea before the year ends, another highly anticipating and challenging game ahead of the Kops. This is the most intense closely-fought EPL ever. Come on Reds! YNWA!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

the Monday morning feeling

Merry Christmas 2013
Just feeling so BLESSED right now :)
If there is one thing that I hope to learn from my time spent this year, it would be to be as grateful and gracious as possible, and to be always in a good mood :)


I think Ursula is playing mind games with me…she have; either intentionally or unintentionally stirred in me the anticipation that she will be coming in to the office either on Monday or Tuesday to follow-up with me on work matters before I goes on leave. But she didn’t turn up. Paige also gave me the impression that Ursula will be back in the office early as well. As Ursula is rather a very sensitive creature…I hope that I didn’t get into the wrong footing. Ursula is the type – if is she likes it, she likes it…if she doesn’t likes it, she doesn’t likes it. She is also very favoritism as well. She have 2 girls, but she love her youngest. Even in her office room, in her facebook profile, in her watsapp profile - the youngest daughter will be feature more prominently. Well, that means I will not be seeing Ursula for the whole of 17 days :) And I yet to figure out – where do I fit in?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Success 365

Liverpool overcame Cardiff City 3 – 1 :)
Indeed, it’s a wonderful result…but to really know and understand the team’s footing – we got to see how they perform in their next 2 crucial matches where they will come face to face with titans Manchester City and Chelsea. Come On REDS! YNWA!

f.c.u.k your way to success

Ursula is currently on holiday, she is skiing somewhere in South Korea right now.
Then, on Wednesday, I’ve received a surprise watsapp message from her:
Hi J___!!
Miss me or not?
OMG...miss her? I am not going to let her to enter into my zone for sure. This is getting too close for comfort :)
Then, Ursula proceeds to ask me on how was my Christmas clearance update…the monthly buying income, the CNY preparations – of course I updated her ASAP. She’s either a workaholic or just can’t seem to let things go. Nonetheless, I am both surprise and touch of her concern. And I also know that Ursula have her minions to update her on what I have been up to once she gets back :) Fortunately, I still can hold my fort while Ursula is away. Nothing that I can’t handle. Thank You GOD, Praise To The LORD, Bless You GOD for that :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

VH1 StoryTeller

5-Star Liverpool :)
Liverpool routed Tottenham 5 – 0 :)
Suarez captain his team for the first time to this major win and then cause the Toffees’s manager Andre Villa Boas to be sacked.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Veronica Mars

Yes! Ursula is on leave. Will only be back on the 26th. However, I will be on leave when she gets back, all the way to New Year :) Ok, so I admit that I was childish on her last day. I was upset at first because Barry was chasing me over regarding the Christmas Trees. This Barry only knows how to chase but don’t know how to provide any solutions. Then, this Ursula was like trying to pujuk me asking me why, what happened, today is Friday (took my dialogue pula this woman)…then ask me to give The General some Christmas Decos as The General will not be heading back to Scotland and will be spending Christmas in Malaysia instead. Ask me to sapu The General. I’m no apple polisher but because Ursula asks me to do it, therefore I have to do it. I also left Ursula’s room when Barry walks in. I know it’s showing disrespect to Barry but I was angry at that time and when you have nothing good to say, better don’t say anything at all. I may say something wrong and it may backfire on me. As Ursula was about to leave for her holiday, I don’t know what got into me – I was blabbing to her that I will give The General some of the Christmas Decos, all of the APCs have been submitted, when she comes back, if she needs to access anything on my desktop, the password is on my desk, I will follow up on the books indicators visuals, if there is anything urgent, I will watsapp her, other than that, I will just email her and lastly I just wish Ursula a very Merry Christmas :) The end. Now, while Ursula is away...will I get bullied? Will I be able to synchronize with Gerrard, Shawn and Christy?

raw, honest and innocent in many ways

I know that I’m such a goofball…but I am also very sincere, an eternal optimist and weird :) I really like that and am proud of it forever :) What happens was…Ursula & I was meeting up with one of our indent suppliers. We have a great idea going - we are looking at primary school collections, secondary school collections and office or modern or contemporary collections. We want a power wing display concept because it will be easier for the store team to do the display and it will be easy to attract our customers, allow the customers to see the items easily and to grab the items more conveniently. Things that can be display at the power wing will be pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, glue sticks, blades/cutters, post it notes, correction tapes, small dispenser tapes, small stapler + bullet, pencil cases, small stationeries basically etc. Then items such as PP ring files, expanding files, file cases, mesh bags, notebooks (A4, A5) can be display in the bins. This time around, we are looking at less skus (currently there are just too many skus until the store cannot display everything out), more volume, more focus and more key drivers. We are planning to buy for the 2014 Mini BTS and year end BTS. So, Ursula was explaining to the supplier that for the primary collections – blue & pink will be the color for gender segregation. When it comes to pre-teens – they will prefer black or white. Then, when it comes to a BIG KID (like me) – we will prefer present-day colors. Ursula called me a BIG KID :( Like I’m so childish. In front of the supplier. OMG. What was she thinking? Perhaps, hinting me to change my way?

After that, yeah, I was a bit merajuk – I didn’t talk to her much that day :) Usually, when I drop by at Ursula’s room, I will go through many things with her. That day, I just left the APC on her desk and left. Then, after signing the APC, Ursula returns them back to me, came over to my room, trying to make small talks but tak jadi because I tak layan her. Let's say that I celebrate oddness :)


I finally saw Jonas in a flesh. Attended a dinner in Klang to celebrate Madam Yap’s retirement (after 19 years with G13). Both Lee Nee & Jonas was invited to attend. However, Lee Nee could not make it but Jonas was there. We sat at separate tables. Nope, there was no formal introduction, there was no hands shaking, there was no conversations being made, there was no chance for a face-to-face acknowledgment. I thought I will feel something. But surprisingly, I didn't feel anything at all. Alice was Jonas bestie and they sat together that night.

The awkward picture here was when Marcus, Barry & Leonardo sat together in the same row and Ursula's seating was separated by another colleague. Then, Ursula was surprise that I ride together with Baldwin & Barry in Marcus’s car. Totally unexpected :) Then, I also notice that there was less interaction between Leonardo & Jonas that night. Hmmm...Celtic did mention that Leonardo might still be upset with Jonas. Jonas did not discuss the intention to leave with Leonardo...instead, Jonas just submit the resignation letter. When the resignation letter have been submitted, there is no turning back in G13.

The HollyWood Reporter

I am speechless.

Ursula and I are starting on the books project. As there are existing stores that will be refurbish soon…we have decided to bring in the books. So, we were discussing on the department layout and the flow. As the pens family is one of the top families in the stationery category after the Paper & Files portfolio, I would like to have the pens in the positive flow. However, Ursula is of a different opinion. To her, books are a growing category, they have better margins, the stocks are under consignment basis, let’s put them in the positive flow too. But due to certain constraints, I have to choose between the books or the pens. Then Ursula says, when we walk into any MPH or Popular bookstores, the books are always in the front section, the stationeries are being display at the back – so she declare that she wins. OMG! I was just standing there – stunned with her remarks. Hello...we are in a Hyper Format, not in a Book Store Format. It's altogether a very different ball game. Noted that if customers wants a pen, they know where to look for it. But...we need to always display our core business. Look at The English, their writing instruments is always in the positive facing. Oh well...

Le Marche De Noel

Who are Ursula’s spies? Let’s call them The Minions :) I think...I suspect...its Mimi & Saleha. I could be wrong. It’s a wild guess. I saw Mimi in Ursula's room on an early Monday morning. Probably to update Ursula on what had took place on Friday when she was not around where the team celebrated The General's birthday. Recently, Ursula sponsors a new microwave for the MAs as they wanted a halal microwave to heat up their food. Ursula really knows how to ambil their hati. As a matter of fact, among all of the SCMs, Ursula has the closes rapport with them. That’s because Ursula always ask them to run reports of the other departments for her to kepo and analyze what other people are doing. And Ursula also admits to me that she is a bit sensitive. She admitted to me when we were running through on how to update The General (via email) regarding the books status. I wanted to put the statement ‘as per your request’ because it was The General who initiates this project but then Ursula commented that she didn’t want The General to have the opportunity to remark her back in a sarcasm way and she will then be very sensitive and misinterpret it in the wrong way. Sigh…

Bonfire Heart

These past few days – Ursula and I seems to have coordinate our working clothes colors pretty well. When Ursula wears a white jacket, I was wearing a white bottom. My top was black and when we stand together, it kinds of contrast quite well. Looks like the white indicates the goodness while the black represents the badness :) Then, on Friday, Ursula was wearing a black & white combination. The both of us was wearing white bottoms. Coincidence again. Hahaha…

think like a man

OMG – I bump into Ursula in 1U. Second coincidence of the week. I was in the car with Baby Sis, looking for a parking while Ursula is already walking heading towards the mall. Uugh...I don't know why I am feeling very embarassed...or was it ashamed...

Sleeper Cell

OMG – Ursula and I were wearing the same colors the other day – black & dark chocolate top. What a coincidence. Ursula was the first to notice it but I denied it because my tones were lighter. Then, Barry came into Ursula’s room and say that we are wearing the same colors too and that I was already following Ursula’s fashion sense. I say NO. I don’t know whether if I have offended Ursula or not by saying that. I just didn’t know on how to manage the situation then. I don’t want people to say that I am polishing Ursula’s shoes or terikut-ikut with Ursula’s way of doing things or being Ursula’s pet. Before I can sort out whether Ursula is good or bad - I do not wish to have any alliances with her yet.


The other Friday was The General’s birthday. Ursula was on leave on that day too. Sigh…Ursula really have no fate with The General. So what happens was…Marcus bought a cake from Secret Recipe and a birthday card from Memory Lane…Marcus decides to trick The General that Marcus wants to see The General in the meeting room to discuss something important…I was given a secret mission…to bring in the cake to the meeting room & to present it to The General while the fellow colleagues will follow from behind and sing the Happy Birthday song together. All in all, the mission success basically. I didn’t trip and drop the cake :) Leonardo & Marcus also took the opportunity to polish The General’s shoes – Leonardo presented The General with a huge Teddy Bear and Marcus got The General some sweets and ties. Meaning there were gifts representing their department but there was no representation from Ursula’s department. If Ursula found out about this, I won’t be surprise that she will be very sakit hati about it. She lost the opportunity to impress and to shine.

earn it square

Press Ad – Double A A4 Paper – Mydin: RM9.90, Tesco: RM9.90, GIANT: RM9.89. Yup, we won the price war :) Ursula has her air muka intact. Initially, I wanted to sell at RM10.99. But then Ursula said that we should sell at the price that our competitors are selling. Then, Ursula gave me an idea that we should drop the price by 1 cent cheaper – just to look at how our competitors will re-act, to test the market and also to see how the department margin will be compromised further. It will do no harm to go down on the margin over the weekend if we can gain back the sales. Ursula has also been experimenting with a lot of items as well. I guess, I should be more open, more receptive and more adventurous. I’m holding myself back too much. I need to develop and grow other items into potential key drivers as well. After the Double A Press Ad incident, The English no longer start to advertise their stationeries items on Friday, instead they are going for a Saturday or Sunday Press Ad to counter re-act on my Friday (till Sunday) Press Ad. I am not sure whether our strategy and pricing have impacted The English or was it just a pure case of coincidence.

Nonetheless, I find that the overall stationery department in the market is not healthy and sustainable. Practically, all of the modern trade retailers have to throw away prices or gain a slightly lower margin to push up their sales. Credits have to go back to Tommy for making The English’s a paper destination. Meanwhile, I still have a very long way to go. Thank You GOD, Praise To The LORD, Bless You GOD that I manage to close November on a positive note. But for this month, it looks very far-fetch. I’ve got a feeling that it’s even worst than last year. The market is so slow and looks unresponsive. My suppliers say that the sales will only peak up after the Christmas holidays…sigh…I think it will be too late by that time. I don’t think that 6 days can generate that sufficient amount of sales value to beat LFL last year. Then, whatever sales that are being capture in January, will be locked in for 2014. Sigh :(

On another hand, Celtic’s had an indent storage box advertise @ RM11.99. Tesco: RM11.90. Celtic says that Leonardo lost face. First and foremost, Celtic wants to drop the price further but Leonardo refuses after consulting Marcus. Then the supplier guarantees both Marcus & Leonardo that only G13 will have the stocks, no one else will have it…mana tahu…The English have it too. Leonardo actually snaps the Press Ad picture for Celtic. Hmm…Leonardo also never that kan cheong with the Stationery Department before.


R.I.P – Nelson Mandela

He is one of the world’s most revered statesmen. The former president and freedom fighter led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi racial democracy. It was interesting to note that Mr. Mandela have actually visited Malaysia three times back in 1990, 1993 and 1997. He have the opportunity to taste our national fruit; durian while touring a FELDA land scheme at Serting Hilir in Negri Sembilan, was granted an audience with the then Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Azlan Shah at the Istana Negara, addressed the nation at a public rally at Stadium Merdeka, toured the Proton Saga production plant, the Sultan Salahuddin Mosque in Shah Alam and was even a guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the Barisan National. Mandela is truly an international patriot, a world class leader who is an icon for all of the world, regardless of creed, country or continent. His legacy is truly amazing.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

BIG Appetite in a small world

I seriously don’t know how a work-related conversation with Ursula can lead to this:

Ursula asks me to analyze Pietro & Alice sales, stock value and margin figures. What they are doing well. What they are not doing well. Why their sales goes up? Does their current stock value justify their sales? Why is their weekend margin drop? Actually, I sense that Ursula wants me to spy on them :) OK…if I take this positively, actually, I am learning on what type of strategies that they are applying for their respective portfolio.

Then, Ursula touches on Celtic. Ursula was spot on! Celtic used to have two assistants. After the re-structuring excercise, Celtic no longer has the extra pair of hands to help her out. Celtic is very egoistic. Celtic is too proud to ask for help. Celtic is suffering because of it. Celtic is slacking on the job. Celtic is not pushing the department sales like before. The stocks are not in, previously it will conquer the whole store selling floor, buying income is also down. Leonardo is not Celtic’s favored superior. I remembered during the transaction period, the first few weeks – Celtic complains Leonardo the most. Celtic and I have shared many Directors and Managers who govern us before, from our M13 days to the recent French administration – Celtic have criticize and grumble on Leonardo’s attitude, leadership and common sense the most compare to the rest of the superiors that we used to have. Celtic only listens and buy into Marcus’s instructions. Imagine…Ursula analyze all of this based on the sales figures – which measure the buyer’s performance. I pretend to be impressed again. Ursula wayang again – maybe to a certain extent, it’s true, but I think the actual fact is that Ursula has spies in the office that collects back information for her. Who is he? Or who is she? Or who are they? Ursula also has a very sharp eye at observing people, so I am not surprise if Ursula just scrutinizes people's expressions, body language and the tone of the voice. Now I am wondering, is there a possibility that my room or phone is also being bugged. Nonetheless, I know that trust is being built here. I told Ursula that this conversation is between the two of us and I also gave a gesture of zipping my mouth. Ursula also mentions that she hears that I share everything with Celtic. I just commented that it was an impression that everybody has that I shared with Celtic everything and Celtic shares with me everything. I will use my wisdom to filter on what needs to be said. One thing for sure – I left Ursula’s room knowing that I am being watched. No wonder, at times when I get close or laugh out loud with Barry, Marcus or Leonardo – Ursula doesn’t seem to quite like it or either way, maybe she is jealous :)

Ursula also gave me a very important feedback loop. I actually pursue this feedback. I told her since she is so clever to analyze Celtic based on the figures, than I am really curious on how she analyzes the person who is behind the stationery’s figures :) Ursula commented that when I conversing with people, I need not talk so fast, I just need to listen, digest it and come back to it later. Don’t fix everything so quickly. Noted. I am also aware of this problem. And I will try to improvise on it. Ursula also commented that I am actually a very smart person. Hahaha…I know where I stand. Ursula wayang only…I have to re-start, re-group and go again. Talking is a wonderful release. Once you have the spotlight, it is easy to keep going. Silence is your enemy and it needs to be filled. But ask yourself, why am I talking? Perhaps other people have something to add. What is their experience? What can you learn from them? If your mind & voice don’t quiet down, you will never get the answers to these questions. This is what Ursula has pointed out earlier on to me. That I don’t know how to ask questions and draw answers to grow my business. A conversation is like a tennis game. Hit the ball over the net, pause, the other person hits it back. Hopefully with a little spin, an edge, sharpness, a bit of humor or wisdom. Every so often, something completely new will happen. Hit it, they hit it back and forth. Ideas get stimulated, perspective change. I read somewhere that as a general rule, if there are 2 people, each person should do 50% of the talking. But if someone dominates 100% of the conversation, something isn’t right. If you’re the 100%, just stop it. Wait. Maybe something interesting will fill the silence. Don’t be afraid of the silence. It gives you time to stop and consider, to absorb. Let your brain filter what your ears have heard. Look around the room and see the people you are with. What do their faces tell you? What did they hear when you spoke? If the silence doesn’t end, ask questions. Imagine you’re interviewing them. What just happened in their life? Find out what it’s like to be them. Ask for a story, for their experience. Draw them out, listen to what they say and respond accordingly. It’s hard work, all this listening. It demands all your attention. Listen to the people around you, with your ears and your eyes. You will be amazed of what you hear. It was a gem discovering this :) A career is a marathon indeed.

Again, Ursula asks me whether I want to swap department or not. I told her honestly that I buy all of her answers, logic and rationality when it comes to work, but not this one. She also briefs me that we will have a new team member soon. The second re-structuring is already happening where Barry will no longer be park under The General but under Mr. Horton. I don’t want to think too much about the future in G13. I prefer to think more about the present. When the present is good, when you are happy and motivated to do things well, then you are less worried about the future. In my head, I always think that I can improve. My ambition is always to be better. Perhaps I can reach a level that is hard to beat, but I always think that I can improve in everything; provided with a good mentor with a good guidance. I learn something new from Ursula every day. She is no different from Iron Butterfly, Rufus, Stewart…they share the same philosophy – where they want their teams to take control of the business, by keeping possession and to dominate the game.

Eureka Skydeck

Recently, due to the department having extra funding, The General decides to have a makan-makan session before the year ends. So, the team had a dinner at this Tupai-Tupai Restaurant in Section 13. Ursula did ask me whether I am going or not. I replied that I will go with Celtic. I didn’t ask Ursula back whether she will be in attendance or not. So, it was a big surprise to me that Ursula didn’t turn up. Ursula loves to social, she loves the spotlight, so I was stun that she did not appear for the dinner. She was very well-dressed that day too. She wore a lovely, sexy black dress with a nice leather/cotton jacket (from H&M). Like she was ready to party. I have a suspicious feeling that Ursula purposely didn’t want to go for the dinner; hoping that The General will pujuk her to go, but…mana tahu…The General didn’t. If this scenario did happen – Ursula should be very well aware by now on where she stands. Of course, Barry, Marcus & Leonardo were there. The food was fantastic. Lots of camaraderie going on among the team members; which was great and what keeps us together :)

Now, besides Ursula, another group of people that was missing that night was the Ordering Team MAs. Hmm…did Ursula did something? Ursula told me, that at times, it’s ok to belanja them a meal or two for their hard work & effort. But the actual reason is because I know that Ursula will ask them to do more than their job requirement. There was this one time where Ursula asked one of the MAs (in front of me) to run a report on Alice’s Teddy Bears sales & stock value report. Ursula wasn’t happy that The General decides to advertise the Teddy Bears in Ursula’s Auto/DIY leaflet page which makes her items looks smaller. Ursula wants to see what is so great about the Teddy Bears sales that needs to occupy such a big space. I told Ursula it is because that the Teddy Bears were committed by The General, The General believes that the Teddy Bears will sells very well, thus the priority will supersede the rest. If I am interpreting correctly, Ursula also joins them for Kutu Money. Celtic also mentions that at times Ursula will ask her branded suppliers to sponsor some gifts for her staffs. Suddenly, I feel that I know too much…this is not going to be a good thing…

Shop Sui

LADYBUG – this is the children books supplier that gave me a very big headache the other day. I remembered, during my job interview with Leonardo – Leonardo asked me whether I know this supplier or not. I said yes, I heard of this supplier before, gave a lot of problems to all of the buyers, this supplier is also very famous for bringing up issues to the highest level of all (when the problems cannot be solved at the buyers level). I was very curious on why Leonardo asks me such a question. Rupa-rupanya, it is because Leonardo cannot handle and control this supplier. Now, I am very impressed. Within half an hour – Ursula have settle the problem which Leonardo cannot or refuse to. Ursula uses logic and rationality.

(1) Ursula starts off the email by acknowledging that we need to help this supplier to push up the sales. If GHKD Stationery sales is rank number 1 and this supplier’s sales in GHKD is rank at number 15, thus this indicates that there is potential sales opportunity that the supplier have miss out. See, how this Ursula uses the figures to identify business opportunities...see the types of reports that she runs to get a clearer picture.

(2) Ursula also proposes to do in-house promotion for 2 weeks on children activities books, cook book etc. Or flat price books (1 price point per bin) at the cashier check-out bins. Or weekend sales (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) on old magazines / books. Of course, these are subject to store's space availability, the stores will have to provide the bins and suggest to work on 5 – 8 outlets each time.

Seriously, knowing that the stores are having space constraint at the moment, I know that these are not feasible – but at least Ursula (she also wayang-lah) knows how to pacify the supplier, willing to talk and communicate and understand the supplier’s views. Unlike Leonardo, who brushes everything off. Like Celtic said, if I also know how to play the game correctly, plus with Ursula’s voice at the store level – this department can be saved. And I may have an easier life. It is better being in Ursula’s good shoes than in her blacklisted list.


Ursula’s mood swings has been fluctuating up and down very drastically these days. Like the share prices on the Bursa Board :) I try not to disturb her, unless I really have a big problem that I can’t handle or solve. Usually, it is Ursula who will find me – via phone or drop by at my room. Sometimes, in her email correspondence to me, there is no Hi or Dear. I also manage to take a peek that Ursula is still continuing doing Christy’s work and when Ursula wants to request for reports for both of the Stationery & Auto/DIY department from one of the MAs, she will cc a copy to me but not to Christy. Weird. Is she still controlling Christy’s work? Ursula told me (the other day) that she has spoken to Christy; things are getting better and smoother. She told Christy not to pusing anymore, don’t care if Christy needs to work on Saturday or Sunday to meet the deadlines. Hmm...I think the matter is not just about meeting deadlines…certainly not that simple, I think that the issue which involves both of them, there is more to it than meets the eye.

I think Ursula’s angin is also being affected by how The General treats her or what have The General says to her on a daily basis. On the surface, I also do notice that The General favors Marcus & Leonardo more because The General always drop by in their rooms and say very loudly – Hi Beautiful, Good Morning Beautiful. Ursula doesn’t get that. I am sure deep down inside, Ursula doesn’t feel good about it. Ursula will feel that she is being discriminated, not being trusted with, there will be too many processes to get an approval and too many unnecessary obstacles. A lot of needless hindrance, I would say. At times, it is really difficult to read Ursula. She is very complicated and thinks way too much and far ahead. I am also not sure why The General behaves in such a way either. Is it because that The General has heard that Ursula used to be Mr. Jan Vet’s pet? Where did Ursula went wrong? Did The General heard (like me) too many negative stories about Ursula – which some are true and some are not? Ursula knows very well on how to play this game. She is wiser, more experience, she realize what situation she is in; earlier than me. She knows who are her friends and enemies are. She just got to play it well. Or else, she won’t ask me which is more important – being hardworking, loyal, accommodating…I think Ursula tried many ways but her plans just got backfired instead. I think whatever Ursula tries to do, it just doesn't please or make The General happy.

And I think The General sees me as the weakest link, thus pulls me out from Leonardo’s team and park me under Ursula :( I can’t say that my 14 months (from June 2012 – August 2013) was being played out the way I wanted it to be, but I am very proud of my journey thus far. My career has given me the opportunity to see the world, meet some cool folks and do what I love in the process – minus some sparks and dedication. As you grow up, things get a little bit harder. When you’re 23 – you can make your little mistakes. People will say that I am still learning the game but when you’re 31 – you’ve got to be at your highest level. Expectations are always really high and I think when you look at your seniors – they can be a little bit tougher. That’s when your character comes out – you just have to keep going and work harder.

Degraves Street

Liverpool 4 – 1 West Ham :)
I think Liverpool is really lucky. Yes, their games are getting better, but they are still not there yet. The reason that they are second in the EPL table today is because the top clubs are playing miserably. Manchester United lost to Newcastle, Manchester City has a draw and Chelsea was down too.

Game On or Game Over

Liverpool re-bounces back by beating Norwich City 5 – 1 :)
Suarez saves the day.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Jade Rabbit on the way to Moon

This is so interesting…Ursula told me that she have been sounded by The General that she herself has been blocking all of Christy’s communication. I can see that Ursula wasn’t very pleased with this comment. Now, the intriguing part is this – how did The General knew about this (if it’s true). Did Christy back stab Ursula? Was it that the suppliers or the store team keep on receiving email correspondence from Ursula and not from Christy? Did Ursula keep on representing the Auto/DIY too much that The General notices that something was amiss? Most importantly, was Ursula testing me? (whether I blurted out anything to the outsiders). Taking note that I did mention to Celtic and did Celtic mention every single piece of information back to Marcus & Leonardo and they in turn back stab Ursula in front of The General? Sigh, looks like the current situation that I am in is very complicated. I have to be mindful from now on. This could be a trap!

Full Circle

The other day, not sure what was Ursula’s actual or real intentions was. All of a sudden, she mentions, that perhaps - Leonardo cannot get me to perform in my Stationery Portfolio, thus giving more priorities to Alice’s category. Because, by right and with facts & figures, my department is bigger that Alice’s. I don’t blame Leonardo. I blame myself for everything. I did such a sloppy job, my overall sales mix contribution dropped drastically, I did worst compare to Jonas's time, I just cannot click with Leonardo, I cannot even get through to Leonardo…so, if I were Leonardo, it is a very natural human reaction to divert somewhere else.

Then, Ursula criticizes Leonardo (adding more salt & vinegar to the situation) for going very drastically on Madeleine’s mark down clearance items. Ursula question why Leonardo did not went through such an exercise with my Christmas items. Ursula’s logic is also true…Madeleine’s household items are evergreen. There is no seasonal cycle to it. The stocks don’t have to be drastically marked down. It can be sold all year long. The mark downs can be done stage by stage to keep the margins healthy. However, my Christmas stocks are different. It can only be sold once a year. Once the 25th December is over, that’s it. All of the Christmas stocks have to be packed and kept at the storage area. Have to wait for the following year to re-sell again.

I don’t know whether Ursula is trying to get me mad or to feel indifferent towards Leonardo, Alice and Celtic. Trying to put ideas into my head and get me isolated from them. If it is…then, she is really evil :)

Swift. Strike. Goal.

Hull stuns Liverpool with a shock 3 – 1 win :(
Quality was lacking, there were just too many individual mistakes (shaking head). Wasted!

Synthetic Soul

Cis, I was not around on last week Friday and this Ursula went ahead and had an internal department meeting with Shawn, Gerrard & Christy; without me. Why can’t she have the meeting on Thursday when I was around or on Monday when I was back in the office? Fine…I know that I am her anak tiri – I am very well aware of my status in the office :) People can see that I have been benched and are being park under the reserves section. I am very much immune to criticism right now. I used to read a lot into situations like this, into pressure points when I was first starting out in G13, but not anymore. I am very indifferent :)

I don’t denied that Ursula gave me very good ideas, showed me a different way to work – a way of working which was more global – tactical, technical, physical, psychological. And under pressure situations, Ursula is a level above everyone else. I don’t think I’ve copied Ursula’s style. I’m very different, quiet. I can be quite reserved, definitely not a shouter like her. Hopefully, I can keep on improving and doing a lot better as well.