Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1998 vs 2008 Economy

1998 we were hard hit by the Economy and Financial Crisis. Is similar storm heading our shore 10 years later? Let us do some comparison :

1) 98 - Ringgit Depreciated ; 08 - Ringgit Appreciated
2) 98 - Low Foreign Reserves USD22b ; 08 - High Foreign Reserves USD126b
3) 98 - High NPL ; 08 - Low NPL
4) 98 - High Interest Rate ; 08 - Low Interest Interest Rate
5) 98 - FDI Flight out of Asia ; 08 - FDI is still Flowing into Asia
6) 98 - Strong Financial Market in US ; 08 - Faltering Financial Market in US
7) 98 - Low Commodity Prices ; 08 - High Commodity Prices

Based on above, look like a different storm is brewing! Anyway since cost of living is skyrocketing from the effect of the inflation, just hang in there to ride the storm. Hope it is a short ride and the Storm Riders to step out unscathed or better still capitalise on it. ''When there is chaos, there is opportunity''. "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going''.

Perhaps the only similarity between both years - there is a high profile sodomy saga and what a coincidence the same Tom, Dick and Harry is / are implicated!

1998 was the end of my bachelorhood ; 2008 want to become Robin Hood?

pic - storm or no storm, this Storm Rider had packed up all the troubles!


So You Think You Can Dance

video video video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slideshow of Jo Ven #1

Toxic Leader

Learned a new definition courtesy of June issue of Accountant Today.

Toxic leader is defined as someone who is motivated by self interest, has an apparent lack of concern and negatively affects organizational climate. They glory in turf protection, fighting and controlling rather than uplifting followers. They often are destructive leaders who focus on visible short term accomplishments and succeed by tearing others down. They often take hasty decisions and can change directions suddenly without any apparent rationale.

Wow! What a timing especially in current political shambles. So many candidates in the running for the Toxic Leader of the year award.

Let me relate this to a study by the Gallup Organization. Over a million employees and 80,000 managers were surveyed. A book called First Break All The Rules was published. It came up with this finding: If you're losing good people, look to their immediate supervisor. More than any other single reason, he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he's the reason why they quit, taking their knowledge, experience and contacts with them. Often, straight to the competition.

"People leave managers not companies," write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. "So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people - in the form of better pay and better perks - in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue." If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers. Are they driving people away?

Beyond a point, an employee's primary need has less to do with money and more to do with how he's treated and how valued he feels. Much of this depends directly on the immediate manager. And yet, bad bosses seem to happen to good people everywhere. A Fortune magazine survey that nearly 75 per cent of employees have suffered at the hands of difficult superiors. You can leave one job to find - you guessed it, another wolf in a pin-stripe suit in the next one.

Of all the workplace stressors, a bad boss is possibly the worst, directly impacting the emotional health and productivity of employees.

So are you a bad leader at home, in the workplace, in your community? If yes, start the detoxification process now!

pic - future leaders!

Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Spot a Future Politician

Recently a telemarketer tried to sell an English course/program to my wife. After the initial introduction, the musketeer was getting uncomfortable and asked if they could converse in mother tongue! Huh? My wife could not wait to relate this story to me.

Aiyah! how la to sell if Malaysian English also cannot speak! Die la like that!

Trust me, this musketeer will graduate to become a politician puppeteer! Read on.

Our Tourism Minister launched Visit Malaysia Year programs after programs and lectured the citizens to take inbound holiday - Cuti-cuti Malaysia but would be seen holidaying everywhere except on our own shore!

Our Education Minister kept changing the education policies and charged that the policies are to create better leaders but would enroll his children in private and international schools.

Our Health Minister boasted that we have one of the best infrastructure with many brilliant specialists but would quietly go for his check up and operation overseas.

Now 1 plus 1 = 2, go figure out why I rate this chap a future politician!

pic - another politician in the making. For a start, he is learning how to pose as an orator and how to salivate!

3 F Words

We are living in interesting times. In addition to the crazy political situation, many are having sleepless nights worrying about these 3 F words.

Fuel. Close to 2 months after the 41% increase, the whole supply chain is bleeding. Statistic is out - we are experiencing the highest inflation rate of 7.7% for nearly 3 decades. And it is rising! What are the reactions of the ordinary folks? Fewer cars and more motorcycles and public transports on the road. More home cooked meals! This led us to the second F word.

Food. In addition to pricier food due to higher cost of materials, there is the scarcity issue. Businessmen prefer to develop real property in the prime land and to plant cash crops in the agriculture land. How are we to survive? For a start, eat moderately! Don't over indulge, don't waste food! Eat to live.

Finance. The above higher cost of living factors are burning holes in our pockets. The global credit crunch and faltering confidence in the financial market, have caused our investment money to shrink! More bad news is expected when the interest rate is heading north! What to do? Start re-allocating the investment and budgeting the expenses. Defer nice to have spending! Ride out the storm! We can still continue to have Fun but don't be a 'Fool'!

pic - dad said times are bad. No $$ to buy me a shirt. Anyone wants to trade my duckie book with a clean shirt of any size?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

China, India & America

According to a recent US Network World report, a survey of Indian high tech graduates revealed that vast majority would rather remain in India than relocate to US, to pursue career opportunities. US is no longer the place to be for the high flying executives! Asia is the rising star, the home to some of the globe most dynamic economies. India and China, please stand up!

Even though the rise in rupee against USD has dented the margins of Indian firms, the analysts predicted that a US slowdown could translate into more outsourcing works to India. The last slowdown in 2001-02 proved benefical for Indian firms.

Meanwhile in China, there are hundreds of millions of people for whom modern technology and products are not yet a reality. they are the engine of growth for China economy for the next 30 years. The success over the next 3 decades will depend on those determined to go beyond the large cities and into the parts of the country where the majority of China 1.3 billion people live.

So why are we hanging around here? Perhaps the taste of nasi lemak and Penang laksa is more appealing than the dough!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cash Converters

Cash Converters is a global second hand goods franchise outlet. We visited the nearest outlet, next to Ampang Point and was impressed with the wide range of quality second hand goods at bargain prices.

On the second visit, just to 'try out the system' brought 2 items and sold them for RM20. Sold a set of unused dinner plates for RM15 and a baby warmer for RM5. Aha! these sales will not make us a millionaire but at least we found an 'avenue' or infrastructure to conduct our very own 'jumble sales' or 'clearance sales'. Most of us are 'guilty' of hoarding some stuffs in the store with the thought of using them once the existing ones are broken or to use them during special occasions. By the time we realised we had such items somewhere out there, these items were either no longer useful or 'out of fashion' or we simply outgrown them. Good example is the music CD collection. How many of you were big fans of New Kids on the Block, Tommy Page, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson in the 80s and now do not want anything to do with them!! He!He!He!

So the convenience way is to convert them into cash! Wasteful just to throw them away! Well, at least you did your part in 'recycling'. Who knows you might make their days - those who still love their 80 music and still having those posters in their rooms!

Another popular item is the electrical goods. Yeah, only Original CDs, no pirated copies!

pic - No you can't get this good looking car there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Funniest First Date

This story was told during Jay Leno Show.

2 adults went on a first date, a skiing trip. The outing was fun. As they were driving home, slowly due to the heavy snow, the lady felt the effect of that extra latte. She could hold no more and had to stop there and then to pee!


S
he quickly crawled out beside the car and yanked her pants. She rested her butt against the rear fender to steady herself in the deep snow. Her date stood on the side of the car watching for traffic and
refrained from peeking. Woooo.. All she could think about was the relief and had no time to be embarrassed. Upon finishing however, she became aware of another sensation. Alamak!

S
he discovered her buttocks were firmly glued against the fender. Oh!oh! Horrified and yet aware of the humour of the moment, she answered her date's concerns about "what is taking so long" with a reply that indeed, she was "freezing her butt off" and in need of some assistance!

He came around as she tried to cover herself with her sweater. He burst out laughing. She too, got the giggles. When they finally managed to compose themselves, they assessed her dilemma. Both agreed it would take something hot to free her from the grip of the icy metal!

Thinking about what had gotten her into the predicament in the first
p
lace, both realized that there was only one way to get her free. It was his turn to pee! Yes he pee her butt off the fender. This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off.

Tongue Twister

1) She sells seashells by the seashore.

2) A sailor went to sea to see, what he could see. And all he could see was sea, sea, sea.

3) Sounding by sound is a sound method of sounding sounds.

4) If you understand, say "understand". If you don't understand, say "don't understand". But if you understand and say "don't understand". How do I understand that you understand? Understand!

5) I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.

6) Purple Paper People, Purple Paper People, Purple Paper People.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Organ For Sale

Demand is more than supply. The stakeholders are going ‘alternative’ to persuade organ donation. Taipei city government offers free funerals for cadaveric organ donors. Professor of Surgery Emeritus at Cambridge University, Sir Roy Calne suggested commercialization to drum up support as the donation rates have not risen in 10 years.

Financial reward is a ‘dirty word’ in organ donation. The pro group said it is not a bribe, just a token for the generosity. Other suggestion was to accord hospital care system for the immediate family members. In the local context, how about a Datukship for a real hero whose organs save lives! Dato Organ or Dato Transplant!

Statistically, there are 2,600 new patients who are diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure each year. More than 16,000 patients are on dialysis programs. The organ procurement rate still hovers at 1.31 per one million population (Spain has the highest recorded donor rate in the world at 35.1 per million population.)

What other ways to market organ donation? The Thai Red Cross placed advertisements in cinemas and on prime time television to reach out to the masses. Thai celebrities who carry donor cards became ambassadors of the cause and there were soap operas about organ donation.

So how can you play a role? Make a choice. Talk to your family members about your choice so that your choice would be respected. Spread the word: organ donation saves lives.

pic - not this musical organ! but your kidneys, liver, eyes and all the body parts!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Poverty After Retirement

According to an EPF survey - the average EPF contributor would have exhausted 70% of his retirement savings benefits from the fund in just 10 years. The recent survey on retirees found that at 65 years, many had exhausted all their funds and depend on their children for support for the rest of their remaining years.

If this is true, many Malaysians may face poverty in their old age. With the decline in the extended family support system and increasing life expectancy, concerns are being raised about the implications of old age security. Values are slowly eroding as some children choose not to take care of their parents although they can afford to do so!

Sad but true! Don't fret, there are still hope. Never too late. Let us start building our pipelines.

Career Crossroad

When do you know if it is time to move on to another job?

Some are reluctant to change jobs. They prefer to stick to the same, old routines - the comfort zone - than risk facing the unknown.

Ask yourself and your boss the following questions when you are in the crossroad:

  • What are the goals and objectives of the organisation?
  • Are you given the chance to grow and have a career path? Does the company have a strategy to keep good people? Do they care?
  • Does the company encourage you to learn and multi-skill so that you are motivated?
  • Are you happy with the environment? Are you happy to go to work? Are you constantly motivated by your superiors? Are they good role models? Are you being appreciated?
  • Are you living in a comfort zone that prevent you from getting to the next level? Have you planned your career path? Have you discussed this with your superiors?

    If you are good, apply for other positions and see if any of the successful organisations shortlist you for interviews. The corporate world is always ready and willing to hire good employees.

    In the opinion of business etiquette experts, enterprising employees have to manage their own career development. They call this process “self-managed development”.

  • Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Preparing For Approaching Death

    Hospice offers a comprehensive program of care to patients facing life threatening illnesses. It emphasizes palliative rather than curative treatment; quality rather than quantity of life. The dying is comforted. Care plan, emotional, spiritual and practical supports are given based on patient's wishes and needs. Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It neither hastens nor postpones death. It provides a caring community so that patient and family members can attain the necessary preparation for a death that is satisfactory to them.

    The dying has a variety of physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs. The nature of dying is unique . The goal of the hospice team is to be sensitive and responsive to the special requirements of each patient.

    There are 2 established centre in Klang Valley. Kasih Hospice (www.kasih-hospice.org) and Hospis Malaysia (www.hospismalaysia.org). Both provide services free of charge. They are funded through contributions by the families of patients, donations and corporate pledges. How can we contribute? We can contribute our time or money. Join in their activities. Be a volunteer and be humbled by the experiences.

    Tarak cakap tak serupa bikin. I 'signed up' as a volunteer recently and have visited the oncology ward at GH twice. (1st Sunday of the month for 2 hours). Just lent our ears to the patients. Majorities were not from KL and needed shoulders to cry on. On the last visit, an elderly uncle, who was just a few beds away returned to the Maker, surrounded by his children! RIP!

    pic - mummy package not included!

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    US Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis

    Towards the end of last year, the term sub-prime mortgage debuted in our news reports. We uttered the term 'macam expert' but how many really know the real meaning? Here, I would like to share a good write-up from BBC. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7073131.stm).

    The US sub-prime mortgage crisis has lead to plunging property prices, a slowdown in the US economy, and billions in losses by banks. It stems from a fundamental change in the way mortgages are funded.

    THE NEW MODEL OF MORTGAGE LENDING
    How it went wrong
    flow chart

    Traditionally, banks have financed their mortgage lending through the deposits they receive from their customers. This has limited the amount of mortgage lending they could do. In recent years, banks have moved to a new model where they sell on the mortgages to the bond markets. This has made it much easier to fund additional borrowing. But it has also led to abuses as banks no longer have the incentive to check carefully the mortgages they issued.

    In the past five years, the private sector has dramatically expanded its role in the mortgage bond market, which had previously been dominated by government-sponsored agencies like Freddie Mac. They specialised in new types of mortgages, such as sub-prime lending to borrowers with poor credit histories and weak documentation of income, who were shunned by the "prime" lenders like Freddie Mac.


    The business proved extremely profitable for the banks, which earned a fee for each mortgage they sold on. They urged mortgage brokers to sell more and more of these mortgages.

    For many years, Cleveland was the sub-prime capital of America. It was a poor, working class city, hit hard by the decline of manufacturing and sharply divided along racial lines. Mortgage brokers focused their efforts by selling sub-prime mortgages in working class black areas where many people had achieved home ownership.

    They told them that they could get cash by refinancing their homes, but often neglected to properly explain that the new sub-prime mortgages would "reset" after 2 years at double the interest rate. The result was a wave of repossessions that had a dramatic effect on house prices, reversing the housing boom of the last few years and causing the first national decline in house prices since the 1930s. There is a glut of four million unsold homes that is depressing prices, as builders have also been forced to lower prices to get rid of unsold properties.

    It triggered down to broader economy with builders going out of business, bankers cutting back on credit etc.

    So can start debating with the politicians which I doubt have a clue on the matter!

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Massive Jam and Meeting

    The Home Minister apologised for the massive jams due to the police roadblocks but reiterated that the operations were undertaken in the interest of public security. Huh? What were my damages? Managed to use alternative roads in the morning but many were not so lucky who were stuck for few hours. Scheduled 2 meetings, 1 in each half of the day. The morning session was delayed till noon but as some participants managed to turn up on time, spent the whole morning babysitting them! (What else, talked politics and did some cursing!).

    According to Heera Consultancy, problem of excessive meetings has become one of the most mismanaged management function in most organizations. In a survey done by MCI, US :

    a) around 11 million meetings occur in the US each day
    b) most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings per month and over 50% of these meeting times were wasted!

    c) 91% admitted to daydreaming and 39% admitted to dozing off during meetings!

    Sounded familiar - Leadership by example set by you know who!

    Among the reasons listed for the unproductive meetings were :

    a) Ritual meeting - Force to attend, don't know the agenda or do not care!
    b) Weak chairman - not able to control the meeting
    c) Meeting culture - call for meeting for any problem arises

    Some recommended measures to ensure effective meetings :

    a) Is it necessary? Maybe the issue could be resolved via a phone call!
    b) Set a time limit and stick to it
    c) Get only the right and necessary people - 3 who can contribute rather than 30 who are there for the sake of being there!

    Happy Meeting!



    Friday, July 11, 2008

    No Service Tax

    Customs announced that restaurants earning less than RM3mil annually and are not operating from hotels no longer need to charge their customers 5% service tax. (effective July 1).

    Do we go back to these restaurants and ask for refund? Moving forward, how do differentiate them ; who is eligible to collect and who is not? The worrying part is most will continue to collect from the customers but may not remit the money to the Customs!

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/11/nation/21798459&sec=nation

    pic - oink!oink!oink! golek

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Investors Not Swayed By Politics

    We are having a laugh. Another foot in the mouth act by DPM. "The global economic outlook and not the current local political scenario may be causing investors to think twice about coming to Malaysia."

    So, what's new? Self denial again and again! Talk to the real people. The men on the streets. Listen and not just hear. Don't just listen to what it's pleasant to the ears. Undeniably the truth hurts.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/9/nation/21774757&sec=nation

    Zeti - Inflation > 6%

    Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz expects the consumer price inflation to exceed 6% in June, following the adjustment in petrol prices by 40.6% and diesel prices by 63.3%.

    “While domestic inflation is expected to remain elevated for the remaining part of this year and early next year, it is expected to moderate in the second half of 2009.” She added the inflationary pressure was also from increase in electricity tariffs on July 1, with tariffs by up to 18% for households and an average of 26% for some commercial and industry users.

    How do we cope? Money in bank will be effectively losing its real values, with return of around 3%. Cost of lending is predicted to be higher with the anticipated increase in BLR (currently 6.75%), thus investment in property will be costlier. Market is in bearish mood. Should we be a contrarion - go and pick up some good bargains? Maybe we are not, we are the wise one practising the theory buy low sell high, instead of following the herd mentality of buy high sell low. What say you - the investment guru out there?

    http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/9/business/20080709134238&sec=business

    Top 10 Worst Song Lyrics

    Here is the Top 10 Worst Song Lyrics ever, according to a poll conducted by magpiemusic.com:

    1. I’m serious as cancer, when I say rhythm is a dancer – Rhythm Is A Dancer, SNAP!

    2. I don’t want to see a ghost, it’s a sight that I fear the most, I’d rather have a piece of toast, watch the evening news – Life, DES’REE

    3. Is that yo ass, or yo mama half reindeer? – Shake Ya Tailfeather, NELLY, P DIDDY & MURPHY LEE

    4. He was a boy, she was a girl. Can I make it any more obvious? – Sk8er Boi, AVRIL LAVIGNE

    5. I love you like a fat kid love cake – 21 Questions, 50 CENT

    6. Time is like a clock in my heart – Time (Clock Of The Heart), CULTURE CLUB

    7. You got a Prada bag with a lotta stuff in it – Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, WILL SMITH

    8. Lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains – Whenever, Wherever, SHAKIRA

    9. She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck – Thong Song, SISQO

    10. Only time will tell if we stand the test of time – Why Can’t This Be Love, VAN HALEN

    Yo man, I ain't no young anymore, but some of the songs were indeed from my era! Your top 10 choices? Lemon Tree? Tarzan Boy?

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Kiss My #^%

    Latest huh-hah is on the showing of boxer shorts incident by the singer of Carburetor Dung in Sunday Protes rally. Big deal? You decide based on the photo.

    I had the chance to attend one of the underground music gig at The Piccadilly during the early 90s which featured Carburetor Dung, Butterfingers, OAG and many others. Fuel, roti canai and nasi lemak were much cheaper then. So no baring of any flesh but just purely baring of music creativity. Great fun and no untoward incident.

    According to the band, it's part of their act to bare their #^% (with the boxer shorts on la!) when they performed Mari Menyanyi Menjilat for the past 5 years. As the song condemned the rampant corruption, it was an act to signal ' kiss my #^%'.

    Someone advisers could perhaps get them to do a statutory declaration claiming wardrobe malfuncion? Duress at Protes!

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    The African Attraction

    METRO AHAD front-paged a report about African men said to possess “better qualities” which local women find very attractive. Among the qualities appreciated by local Malay women who have dated the men were their smooth sweet talk, gentlemanly demeanour, open-mindedness and patience.

    Wow wow wow. Is this is gonna be the next time bomb? Only 2 weeks back, a lady friend had commented that it's a fact that local women had been charmed by the African lads, especially in the campuses. (suddenly can't think of other words -'charmed'. Aiyah blogger's block! Anyone that can help?) There were fights reported too with the local lads.

    Personally, nothing against them. No good to stereotype. The ladies have to judge themselves and make their own decisions. Perhaps it's true that 'Love is Blind'. If that's the case, hope for a good ending - And they live happily ever after.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/7/nation/21754179&sec=nation

    pic - we could, set the night to music!

    Sex, Lies and Videotape

    The plot is getting thicker. The supporting casts are grabbing their equal shares of the limelight. Will it be a happy ending or a cliffhanger? World renowned producers and directors are making a beeline to our shore. Negotiations are ongoing and multi millionaire $$$ are being offered for the right to adapt these sandiwara! There are enough scripts to make more than 10 movies. Tarantino, Coppola, Ang Lee, Jackie Chan, N.Shamalyan and representatives from Pixar Animations (some characters were like cartoons) were spotted in Putrajaya and Segambut.

    Some titles have been mooted. Brokeback Dsara Hill, Pulp Non Fiction, Godfather in law, Very Fatal Attraction, Three Musketeers, Crouching Saiful, Hidden Bala, Bom & Gincu, Gabra!
    1 title that they were interested but could not salvage any contents was Robin Hood.

    Even soundtracks have been identified. In the opening scene, Shaggy's 'Mr LOVER! Lover! Mr BOMB-astic! will be played! Other singers that will be featured are Elton John, George Michael Jimmy Somerville and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Jailhouse Rock! will be played during the closing credit.

    Anyone interested in reprising Jessica Rabbit in the spoof - Who Framed RPK Rabbit, kindly audition inside! Keeping our fingers cross that a real life Batman or Cicakman will appear to save the country!

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Inglatera

    Immediately after the end of the Euro 2008, proud English media proclaimed joy that the 3 Lions missed the boat. Blessing in disguise. Spare the blushes. Ha! Ha! They admitted the football was breathtaking. The overrated and overpaid Poms would be out of place. No running in circle, no chasing shadows. Even the referees were enjoying themselves without being chased and abused by the usual suspects! Less off-field antics too. No WAGs drama and no hooligans rampage.

    Fans that are reading may disagree. No prob, let do a run-down vs Spain line up. In the goalie department, no way the calamity and overweight could provide safer hands. Defence - the absent minded who forgot to pee and cry baby referee harasser would probably warmed the bench. Midfield - Names like Downing and Huddlestone do not breed confidence. Striker - cry of " Torres! Villa!" would send shivers to the opposition! Compare to cry of "Crouch! Ouch! Defoe! Fold!".

    Ok la. If they play 4-5-1 instead of the above 4-4-2, maybe Stevie G would make it to the team. He could feed Torres! Disagree? Feel free to comment! No need to use Statutory Declaration.

    pic - the legendary Pele, has no problem walking into any team as he is still the best player. He just found the time machine and consumed lots of tempe. The lady is his agent, not the missus!

    No Shopping Day

    Don't go shopping on 16 July. FOMCA urged us, the consumers, to think of our spending patterns and about their values in relation to the importance given to family and friends.

    In the article, it stated “The time for cheaper fuel and foodstuff is over. Malaysians need to re-examine their lifestyle and make changes to the way they live to adapt to global challenges like increasing fuel prices,”

    Some of the suggested positive measures :

    · Packing lunches at home and having them at the office;

    · Having more meals at home and eating out less;

    · Reducing electricity consumption, such as reducing the amount of time the air-conditioner is switched on;

    · Planning travel in advance;

    · Using public transport more often;

    · Buying only when necessary, and evaluating the needs versus the wants;

    · Using energy-efficient equipment, like a front-loading washing machine rather than a top-loading one

    So my friends, let us give it a try. Reduce and Recycle. Ladies, shop till you drop these few days, then sob till you pop on 16 July.

    http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/7/4/central/21733211&sec=central

    top pic - this is how 16 July gonna look like
    bottom pic -choices of public transport - definitely not in KL!

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Retrenched, Laid-off, Downsized, Outsourced

    It is the survival of the fittest, more so in today's stagflation environment. Businessmen have to be innovative and embrace the Blue Ocean. Only the creative and innovative plus resourcefulness stand a good chance to survive!

    It was reported yesterday that a factory closed overnight in Penang, leaving close to 1,000 workforce in a lurch. 1,000 breadwinners who need to feed the family members. It is a real issue. The bread and butter issue. Is this part of the occupational hazard? Loyalty and dedication do not count. It is a dog eats dog world. It is a business entity not charitable body. Period.

    Nothing new as many friends had similar experiences. However, most were lucky as they were compensated and re-joined the employment market pretty soon. Some took the opportunity to be enterpreneur. During the uncertainty, obviously there would be anxious moments. Not sure if there is any compensation. If yes, is the quantum enough to cover the expenses until the next paycheque etc. This is the downside of active income! No work, no pay!

    That make the concept of passive income attractive. No work, got pay! Isn't it marvellous? All of us can build this stream of income. For a start, check your bank balances. How is the excess fund performing? Probably earning peanuts and the real winners are the bankers. How about getting the excess fund to work harder! Start reading and exploring. Maybe dabble into the stock market. Lots of attractive pick-me-up in current situation. Many stocks that are below their intrinsic value. Or paying downpayment to own a property. Rent it out and get the tenant to service the bank loan! Diversify! The return benchmark should be higher than the inflation rate! It might not make you a millionaire but at the very minimal it should lead you to some form of financial security / freedom.

    Too heavy for you to comprehend? Never Mind. Smell Like Teen Spirit. Live & Let Live. Just take the grunge, ooph, plunge. It is never too early or too late!

    Political drama can take a backseat, for a moment. (Latest statutory declaration - getting more explosive - pun intended).

    Back to the Penang case, look like there is a happy ending after all. Other factories are keen to hire these breadwinners! Bravo.
    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/3/nation/21725654&sec=nation

    pic top - covered active income earners!
    pic bottom - thumb up passive income earner!

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    The Killing Fields


    Khmer Rouge, the rogues, the heinous bunch of radicals who destroyed Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The genocide resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution (Total population of around 7 million). The Killing Fields were a number of sites where large numbers of people were killed and buried.

    The executed were buried in mass graves. In order to save ammunition, the executions were often carried out using hammers, axe, spades or bamboo sticks. Some victims were required to dig their own graves. The soldiers who carried out the executions were mostly young men or women from peasant families. (Brainwashed into killing even own flesh and blood)

    They arrested and killed everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Meaning if we were to live there and then, we won't be here blogging and reading! Crazy, make no sense.

    Why am I so worked up? Like you and me, it happened long time ago, not in my backyard, so could not be bothered until I had the chance to step foot there. Stories from the locals, the guides, museum visit, it seemed every household had at least a fatality! Crazy, make no sense.

    In today's news, 1 of the leaders was being tried. Many had died without facing justice. This is not the point. The point is this type of genocide should not be repeated but alas, we had seen many copycats such as witnessed in Bosnia, Rwanda, Acheh etc. Just hope that's the end!

    The 1984 film adaption "The Killing Field" won 3 Oscars! Check it out.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/2/apworld/20080702125904&sec=apworld

    top pic - stupa housing skeletons, on The Killing Field

    bottom pic - outside the Genocide Museum (former school converted as torture centre - now d museum) after the tour - looked very shaken in my beloved LFC away jersey.

    Contentment Is A Bliss

    India. Cambodia. Just to name 2 countries that you should visit for a change. Health warning -might not be suitable for the faint-hearted! Unless you are a hardened traveller or war veteran, chances are you will be moved by some of the happenings.

    In Mumbai, the haves and have-nots are in a totally different world even though they are in the same city. Many migrants from the rural areas ventured into the city to seek greener pasture. Some would make it, while some would live hand to mouth. Few scenes moved me. One was this girl, who was slightly older than my girl, came over to our car, which stopped at the traffic light, in a slight drizzle. She was asking for some 'dough'. Hey, why was she not in school! (This remind me of the alleged child labours that are rampant in these countries).

    Another scene, this family was practically living under a highway flyover. A naked toddler was seen running around, probably growing up labelling that dangerous area as his playground while the mom was busy preparing some food.

    Just pray that they will be the next rag to riches stories. The next Bollywood diva and superstar cricketer respectively. There are many more humbling encounters that should make us ashamed of our 'lifestyle' and wastage attitude. Things that we took for granted and thought the world owed us a living! Wake up fellow human beings. Be content. When feeling down and out, remind ourselves 'at least we are still alive' to rectify ourselves and the only way is up. Bring ourselves out of the depression and count on fellow family members and friends.

    Wow, so serious. A lighter note. Why do they change Bombay to Mumbai? It was politically incorrect to Bom d Bay post 911 but sounded cuter to Mum d Bai. He!he! Was it original? Anyway thousand apologies if it offended anyone.

    pic - not the naked toddler la. Captured in cambodia few years back. The tongkang was 'home' and 'playground'. The kids looked so contented, waving at us. So stop complaining about low water pressure, blackout, hot weather etc.

    Me Myself & I

    Me blog survived month 1.

    There was an interesting article on The Star, Monday highlighting the needs to juggle 2 jobs to make ends meet in Klang Valley. I am all for it if, only if, one could handle it 'well' and there is no conflict in term of competing products. Hats off to these minorities for being enterprising. Kudos to them for making full use of time and working hard in their prime years. Boo to the majorities who love to stay glued to the idiot box and bed or sip latte in the cafe.

    It is even better if one does something that one is passionate about. In my teen years, I always dream about being a part time tour guide, bringing tourists to visit places especially eco-tourism, doing things like camping, hiking and caving. Other real life examples of the services being offered by friends are as photographer, sports coach, tutor, insurance agent, unit trust consultant, will writer, hawker and last but not least MLM 'irritator'. There is no shame as long as it is a legal trade and does not cause harm. Of course there will be sacrifices. All in all it is hard earned money!

    A quote from the article “The extra money is definitely making my lifestyle more sustainable because having extra stable income every month makes it easier for us to plan our financial paths. Having extra cash always helps because you never know what will happen next,”

    Me, myself and I is joining the bandwagon to build pipeline, to earn passive income, to share knowledge, to plan for retirement and to save for children education. Wanna join the ride?


    Photo courtesy of HoeYin the semi pro photographer. Me hand in the photo. Anyone interested in his services or me as limbs model, can enquire inside.

    p.s. next article will reveal me leg!

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    Welcome to the Jungle - Headlines

    'Appetite for Destruction'. This is the funniest of the lot. Even funnier than the comic strip. MIC in a quandary. It quoted that it is rare for leaders in MIC to resign. The usual way to disconnect with the party is through expulsion. I did laugh out loud! The writer who happened to be from the same community, did not sound sarcastic but was just stating the fact. 'Right Next Door to Hell'.
    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/1/nation/21702079&sec=nation

    'Use Your Illusion'. This is not funny but puzzling. Dad of 18 to wed 4th wife. Why or why these ladies were happy to share their hubby? This chap is an odd job worker and yet could afford to wed many wives. The wives are the breadwinners. According to a lady colleague, this type of guy possesses 'charm'. By the same measure and formula, that would entitle us for #ahem# number of partners! 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'.
    http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/1/nation/21702644&sec=nation

    'The Spaghetti Incident'. This is sad but true. Of all places, it happened in France. Soldiers used live bullets instead of blanks in drill and injured 17 in the watching crowd. Ouch! Taking a cue from their past their prime aka aging footballers. Couldn't shoot straight. Or maybe just wanna get rid of the old stocks in order to buy new bullets. 'Don't Cry'.

    GnR "Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty"