Friday, January 27, 2006

Liang and Deja Voodoo

Liang - 8 oz of Soul

A few days ago, my mate Liang had a video shoot for his debut album '8 oz of Soul'. The track which was chosen was his chart-climbing single 'Show Me Watcha Got', a very groovy amalgamaton of R&B beats, guitar rifts and soul flava!

I really have to hand it to Liang, he is one guy who definitely knows how to eschew the drudgery of corporate life...hahah. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that he was running his own restaurant down at Kemuning, after that he moved on and opened a futsal pitch in Sri Petaling all the while juggling his career as a musician. It sure beats wearing a shirt and a tie everyday to an office don't you think?

This is the man himself, with a cup of his 'miracle singing' juice. Btw he is from Klang and he loves Bak But Teh. Does it show?...hahahah.

In between his day job as a singing instructor, and his live performances in many of KL's trendy nightspots (you can catch him at Alexis Ampang, amongst many others), Liang recently released his first album to pretty good reviews. In shooting his first music video, a few of us were drafted to help him out (I was a keh-leh-feh, on a last minute basis...hahah). My girlfriend was involved in choreographing the dance for the 'basement party' scene, which turned out very well despite the lack of rehearsals.

Alright, there were a few rehearsals. But seriously, you could count them on one bemittened hand. On top we have Liang and the dance crew in their Adidas sponsored garb. Hmmm... Adidas sure seems to be the attire of choice for a whole lot of hip-hop artists. Why doesn't anyone go for 'Asics' or something? What do you mean it's not a cool brand??

Here are somemore photos from that night. I can't wait for the finished video to be out. Hopefully my face can be seen, although I doubt it (we wouldn't want to send the ladies into a frenzy now would we?...heh heh).

(above: Everybody now, Getting Jiggy With It! na naaaa na, nana nahhhh)

(above: Yikes, that dude is pointing some strange looking device at Liang's head!)

(above: This is the real 'Mou-Ying-Keok'. Jet-Li eat yer heart out)

(above: Hey look, there's my car in the background, and there's someone leaning aainst it. Argghhh!)

For those of you who are interested, you can get a copy of Liang's album at most of our local record stores (tower records, power station etc). Here's a video clip to whet your appetite. You can catch strains of the single 'Show Me Watcha Got' playing in the background.

Deja Voodoo Spells

Last night I was at Actor's Studio in Bangsar for the launch of Deja Voodoo Spell's new album. The launch was organised by my friend Francis, the owner of @19 records, the label behind the band. All manner of musicians, press and media people were present.

(above: Actors Studio, pre-performance)

I've never heard of this band before and yesterday was the first time I actually heard them performing live...but they were friggin amazing! At first I thought that they were gonna be another mat-rockish heavy metal band but boy was I surprised. True, their music did pay homage to heavier strains of rock (with their killer drum rifts), but they've managed to fuse it so well with other more progressive elements from a variety of genres such as funk and even blues. The end result is an amalgamation of grooves and beats which anyone could enjoy...well, almost anyone. I am sure my mom would complain that its just too loud...hahahah.

(above: A picture with the band)

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more live performances from this band in the near future! It's so refreshing to hear a band which sounds so much better live. How many times have we come across 'manufactured artists' who sound excellent on CD but crap in real life eh?

(above: They are only a 3-piece band. The string musicians and keyboardist were drafted in just for this night)

(above: The launch consisted of music set-pieces interspersed with short dances and drama skits)

(above: A standing ovation *roar*)

(above: Of course, everyone was dying to stick a digital camera in front of the band's face. Me

Now for HodgePodge....

After watching those talented musicians perform, I couldn't help but develop an itch to resume jam sessions with my band. You remember my band right? Well, I don't blame you if you have no idea what I'm talking about...hahahah. My band hasn't had a single practice session ever since we performed at the 2005 battle of the bands...sighhhh.

Ah well, now looks like a good time to dust off my electric guitar and drum sticks and head off over to Studio Akarkarya. Who knows, in time I might have some audio and video clips for you faithful readers to sample.

I bet you're cringing in your seats now eh...muahahahah


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'm Knackered

I should have listened to the Doctor

I'm totally and utterly knackered. I came down with fever, flu and cough last Friday. It was pretty bad, and my entire Friday was spent bed-ridden coughing up huge globs of phlegm. I even devised a little game to entertain myself. In this game (which I shall call 'the-phlegm-game'), the objective is to cough up as much phlegm as possible in a minute (the greener the better...ahahahah).

Needless to say, I got bored of this 'game' pretty quick.

Of course, my friends will know how much I look forward to the weekends, and no bout of sickness is going to prevent me from fully maximizing every minute of weekend-freedom! Never!! I decided I needed to get fast, pronto. I went to see my neighbourhood doctor and he prescribed me the usual cocktail of antibiotics (ho-hum), cough mixture and weird-looking pills. He also told me to get lots of rest during the weekend, and to not exert myself too much. Say what doctor?

Being the good patient that I am, I ignored his advise. On Saturday I went to a friend's birthday gathering at Cynna Bar, followed by an all-nighter at Velvet. I had a pretty good time though. The crowd was good and the music was definitely to my liking. I went home that night thinking that I had this sickness licked. A triumph of man over microrganisms!..muahahah

Sunday passed by without a hitch, no trace of sickness whatsoever. However, on Monday, the virus began its dastardly assault once again. My head resumed its throbbing and my throat began acting up. Argghh....just when I thought I had it beat!

As I sit at my desk on a Tuesday morning, trying to type this post out amidst a flurry of coughs and wheezes, a very important lesson etched itself into my mind....

'Always listen to the guy holding the stethoscope'

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Malaysian Airlines, a disgrace to Malaysia

This makes me sick

Reading all the recent reports about our beloved airline has left me fuming mad. Mad at the bumbling fools who are running it, mad at the politicians who place national ‘pride’ (yea, pride my big, fat, Greek arse) above economic sense, and last of all, mad because there is nothing much the average person in the streets can do about it other than sit by and watch the company continue to suck our country dry.

I am sure you all remember MAS right? Our country’s dear national airline which, according to some survey, has the best cabin crew (but the worst everything else IMO). In fact, hundreds of years from now, if historians were to look up the word ‘Malaysian Airlines’ in their dictionary (or whatever book it is they refer to), they would most probably come across something like this:-
Ma-lay-sian Air-line (ar|n : MAS ) : 1) an incompetent airline in the 20th and 21st century which succeeded in wasting zillions of tax payers money, while at the same time enriching a certain ‘segment’ of Malaysian society.

Remember 2002?

I remember back in 2002, MAS did something which clearly demonstrates the sort of mindset which besets most of our GLCs. Basically, MAS lost loads of money in 2002, to the tune of RM836 million in the year ended March 2002. Sounds serious right? Not quite to the management of MAS because they could always rely on their sugar-daddy (the Government) to help them out.

In the end, they unveiled this grand-sounding plan called the ‘Widespread Unbundling Exercise’ or WAU for short. Via this plan, MAS effectively dumped all their domestic losses and losses relating to aircraft ownership to Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd, a government linked company (of course, what else?), allowing it to record a paper profit but sadly, not an operational profit.

This reminds me of what happened to me many years ago, when I was a wee little lad. It was during Chinese New Year, and flush with my ang pau collection, I began playing several rounds of blackjack with my uncles. Mind you, I was only like 5 years old then so my blackjack skill basically sucked. In the end, I lost RM1.

Instead of accepting that I sucked, and trying to improve my playing skills, I ran to my little old grandmother wailing and crying. She, being the kind granny that she is, offered to help her oldest grandson by reimbursing me the RM1. So basically, my loss of RM1 was transferred from me to my granny, leaving unchanged the fact that I was a crappy blackjack player.

This is exactly what the WAU exercise is all about. It’s the corporate equivalent of MAS running crying and sobbing to its sympathetic grandmother, ie our dear Government.

Fast forward to 2006

Nothing much has changed since then, MAS is still crappily run and losing money by the bucket loads. In the 2Q of 2005, MAS reported its second straight quarterly loss of RM367 million, bringing its total losses to around a kazillion jiggyllion ringgit.

What WERE the top dogs at MAS doing that resulted in such huge losses?

Ahh my young paedawan, we’re getting to the best part of this whole story.

Executive Perks at MAS

In spite of their terrible performance, MAS saw it fit to lavishly reward its Senior Executives. Rumor has it that MAS approved the spending of almost RM1 million to renovate the office of one of its ‘top guys’. Of course, it doesn’t matter to them right? After all, it’s not their money they are spending, it’s the Governments, and that basically means that it’s the tax-payers money.

Now once you’ve spent like a million bucks to renovate your office, you obviously need some lavish art pieces to go along with it right? You can't just hang any old picture which you've bought at a discount from Central Market. Well, the same dude who renovated his office also spent RM1.5 million on several paintings to hang on his wall so he can stare at it all day instead of doing anything remotely resembling work. Woo hoo, that's a lot of moolah.

You’d think that if your company was bleeding money, you would obviously try to tone down your taste a little. Nope, you wish. The people at MAS see nothing wrong with sucking their company and their country dry. After all, isn’t it their birth right?

Not only that, the word in the grapevine is that the Senior Execs have also been given a pretty sweet deal when it came to cars. According to this hair-brained scheme, MAS will pay, in cash, 75% of the price of any car of their choice for all Senior Execs. The remaining 25% will be loaned to them by MAS. Wow! Not only do you get to sit around the office all day staring at million dollar paintings, now you can roll about in a fancy set of wheels acting like you’ve earned it. What a great place to work! :P Is this what they mean by creating ‘towering malays’?

Wait wait, it gets better. MAS also allows its Senior Execs to have practically unlimited usage of its airplanes (you know, for those super-urgent appointments they have with a holiday resort in the Bahamas). Needless to say, this has been badly abused (why am I not surprised?). There has been word of a senior executive getting free 1st class flights to London for a day trip just to visit a female ‘friend’, and also of a senior exec booking an entire flight to send, get this, some dentistry equipment to a company in Europe which he has private business dealings with. And all this is done using our MONEY!

The papers recently talked about how much MAS was paying one of its CONsultants (it has around 17 ang moh CONsultants). This Ang Moh dude by the named of Chris Andrews was paid RM7,000 a DAY to ‘advise’ MAS on their IT Outsourcing needs. In the end, what this guy basically did was say “Ok, I think you should outsource to IBM”. Such a simple way to earn 7K a day hor. Never mind the fact that MAS’ IT costs grew three-fold after such 'valuable' advice. Chris Andrews was paid RM1.3 million a year for his ‘contributions’ *ahem cough* to MAS. How did he land such a lucrative job? The same way all the incompetent fools in high positions get theirs, through blatant cronyism and string-pulling.

How now brown cow?

The airlines top management announced a few weeks back that they will need RM3 billion ringgit to restructure their operations and to save MAS from extinction. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stated that the government will not bail MAS out, but they will extend any necessary assistance to help the airline to turnaround. Hmmm, doesn’t sound very promising to me. Does that mean that MAS will have another exercise like the one it did in 2002 (WAU)? Or will the government ‘loan’ them more money on extremely favorable (read: no need to pay back) terms?

Seeing as how MAS is still 69% owned by Khazanah, the investment arm of the government, I don’t see how political influences can be pushed aside so that the company can focus on improving itself commercially. The politicians kicked up a HUGE fuss when somebody merely suggested that we bring in a non-bumi to head the company (btw, Singapore is headed by a Malaysian Chinese). They accused people of selling out on their country, of compromising our status as an independent nation and bla bla bla.

If our national pride hinges on associating ourselves with a loss making, corrupt, badly managed, incompetent airline - then I think I’d rather do without it.

Give me prosperity over such farce-like pride anyday.


Whatever it takes to succeed?

From Hero to Zero

It can be tough hitting rock bottom after getting used to being at the top. One moment, you're at the loftiest heights of your profession. People fawn over you in adulation, your industry peers worldwide pay rapt attention whenever you utter a single word, you are the pride and joy of your country.

The next moment, everything has been taken away. You've become a source of shame for your contrymen, a pariah in the very same industry which used to lavish so much praises upon you. Never again will you be accepted, never again can you indulge in the things which made your professional life so rewarding.

It's tough crashing back to earth in such a manner.

Scientific Pariah

With that said, I really do empathize with Hwang Woo-suk, South Korea's previously preeminent scientist in the field of Cloning and Stem Cell Research. He used to be the poster-boy (or man) of South Korea's great leaps and strides in the field of cloning. His great intellect enabled him to trounce his western counter-parts in creating the world's first cloned human embryo and the extraction of stem cells from it, and also in creating the world's first cloned dog - Snuppy.

I remember reading about his achievements not too long ago. Just about every magazine I browsed through contained images of his smiling face, along with write-ups expounding on the unimaginable potential of his discoveries. He brought hope to so many people. Finally, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson need no longer be the bane of human society. A cure seemed to be on hand. It was truly a great achievement.

Sadly, what he will be remembered for will not be the advancements he has made in the field of stem cells and cloning. He will go down in history as the scientist who had it all, and who threw it all away due to a string of falsified research data and ethical breaches.

Nobody knows why he did the things he did. Some say it was due to the pressure of staying at the top. Others say it was due to greed, the human lust for fame and glory. Whatever the reasons were, we can only guess.

Only he will know.

The lesson to be learned

I think we all can learn a thing or two from his story. How many times have we been tempted to compromise on our principles just a little in order get what we want? How many times have we said things such as 'Everyone is doing it', or 'Nobody will get hurt' in order to justify our actions?

Even as I contemplate upon this, in the area of my career and business, I hope and pray that I'l always manage to stand firm. To abide by my principles, of what I truly believe in, in the face of adversity.

After all, as has been proven in the saga of Hwang Woo-suk, a little compromise can bring about a great downfall.

Monday, January 16, 2006

@#$%& the Workshop

She's whole again

My car, which somebody chose to so graciously back-into in my church's parking lot, has finally been repaired. The damages weren't that bad, just a few knocks and scratches, but anyone who knows me will know that I am extremely particular when it comes to my car. Any dent or scratch is enough to send me into a rabid frenzy. For a whole week (that's 7 days, 168 hours, 10080 minutes, 604800 seconds!!...argghhhh!), I've had to put up with driving around in a car with a shattered parking lamp, messed up bumper and misaligned fender. Oh the ignominy of it all!

Practically the whole of last Saturday was spent at home, waiting for the repairs to be finished. The stupid workshop I sent it to, which was a last resort coz my regular workshop was packed to the brim, promised me that it will be done by 4pm. Mind you, I sent my car there like 9 in the friggin morning, so I naturally assumed that 7 hours was sufficient for them to wrap it up.

When I dropped by the workshop later that day at 5pm, lo and behold, there sat my car with its front fender still covered in patches of red plaster, looking like it had just been mauled by a herd of angry beavers. The parking lamp was not replaced yet, and not a speck of paint was sprayed. @&#%@$!! The owner of the workshop apologized and 'assured' me that it will be done by 7pm. Yea rite...and my name's Aunt Betty :P

I called them at 7 pm only to be told that the car will only be done at 8:30 pm. By the time I finally got my car, it was close to 9 pm, a whole stinking 5 hours later than they initially promised. Now you know why I hate dealing with sprayshops.

Sighhh....whatever happened to the quality of our local labor.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Notoriety and Fame (Sort of)

Ma, look at me!

Surprise surprise, my blog was quoted in a article dated January 10th. Check it out here. I'm famous! Woo Hoo! Now if only I can tap upon my newfound...ermm...'fame' to make a quick buck. Anyone care for an autograph? Alright, you can stop pelting me with rotten eggs now.

Whatever happened to people's sense of humour?

Remember my previous post entitled 'Bowling balls and Birthday cakes', the one where I jokingly touched on how nice it would be if we had a 'bulan raya haji' instead of 'hari raya haji'? Well, some people found it fit to take offense over what I said. Geez, some people really have their panties up in a bunch. But then again, isn't it typical of a person (or a people) suffering from low self-esteem to think that everyone is out to 'insult' or to 'get at' them? I am sure you know what I'm referring to. You can read this person's comment here.

No Marriage for Proton and Volkswagen

Sad news indeed

As reported in The Star, Volkswagen has decided to scrap its plans of forming a joint-venture with Proton. In the words of its Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder,

“We had a very specific idea how we wanted to proceed there. Unfortunately the Malaysian government, Khazanah and Proton had different ideas. Therefore, what we wanted in the cooperation with Proton will not materialise"

So there you have it. Proton's best chance of pulling itself out of the rut it's gotten itself into over the past 20 years has now evaporated. It doesn't take much to imagine what sort of conditions the Malaysian government, Khazanah and Proton had in mind with regards to the proposed JV. Their stifling requirements probably entailed the continued support of our country's legion of sub-par vendors, the insistence that bumis hold certain 'key' positions in the new entity and who knows what else.

I heard that Proton's shares fell as much as 20 percent to RM5.10 on this news. Investor confidence is glaringly absent, and for good reason.

I had high hopes for this joint venture. I guess it was all just wishful thinking on my part.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bowling Balls and Birthday Cakes

How nice if instead of 'Hari Raya Haji' we had 'Bulan Raya Haji'....

The good thing about Bulan Raya Haji would be, well, we'll get a month off instead of just a day. Ermmm...right, pretty self explanatory there huh. But seriously, since we're living in a nation where the majority of people are muslims, don't you think we should give them the privilege and recognition they deserve?

Hari Raya Haji is one of the most important days in the year for them, and for them to get just a single day of holiday is a gross insult. I demand justice! I demand equality! I insist that the honorable muslims in Malaysia be given a month off to celebrate Hari Raya Haji! After all, it's only fair *ahem* :)

Malaysia Boleh!

I enjoyed my one day mini-holiday. I seriously think that our government should consider making it a permanenet fixture for our work week. Imagine this, after a nice weekend, people usually face a tough time on Monday trying to get back into the groove of a working week. What better way to help us Malaysians ease into the working rhythm than by letting us have another day off on Tuesday? Just to take the strain off ya' know...hyuk hyuk. After that it'll be another 3 days of work before yet another weekend. I sincerely believe that the result of this would be soaring levels of productivity nation-wide! Now if only the policy makers in our country were reading this....hmmmmm.

Use the Ball to Knock em' Pins

Anyway, back to my Hari Raya Haji holiday. From the title of this post, I guess you guys would already have guessed that I spent yesterday throwing balls down a wooden alley and celebrating a birthday. Well, you would be wrong on both counts. While I did go to the bowling alley in 1 Utama, I was there merely as a spectator. The reason, you see, is coz my bowling sucks. The ball simply refuses to go where I aim it. If I'm lucky, the ball might come into contact with some shiny ivory pins after it's arduous journey down 62 feet of polished wood. If i'm unlucky, which is more often than not, the ball simply lodges itself into one of the side 'longkangs' and proceeds to trundle merrily down the lane. My best score ever was in the region of 120+, but that was a pure fluke. I'll be jumping for joy if I even manage to break the century mark! Due to the above reasons, bowling to me has and always will be more of a spectator sport.

PS: I am able to hold the ball like a pro though. Check out the pic below. Look at the form *phe-weet*, marvelous!

Birthdays, not Birthday

On the second count, you're wrong because there were two birthday celebrations instead of one. One of it was at Q Bar and consisted mainly of boozing, chatting and shuffling. I haven't been to Q Bar in ages, and was surprised to see that the place has added a new 'wing' next to Cafe Flam. Pretty nice looking too if I might add. True, the place was packed with Ah Bengs but the music was pretty good, your usual trance/rave/house combo.

(above: A birthday reenactment of Alfred Hitchcock's classic, Psycho)

(above: I don't look good in hats, that's why I'm not wearing one. Ummm...right)

(above: It's a small world after all. It seems like you can't go anywhere without bumping into friends)

The second birthday was intended to be a surprise for my brudder in arms, Angie Looh. I say 'intended' because, well, the surprise sort of 'tak jadi-ed'. That wasn't because of any lack of effort on Alvin's part however. The fella tried every trick in the book, but in the end he was simply out-witted and out-smarted. Shame on him...hahahhah. The birthday gathering at his house and the fake-decoy 'surprise' dinner the night before were great fun tho, so I guess props to him :)

(above: None of us believe in looking at the camera. It's the new trend in taking photos dammit!)

(above: Birthday girl in the centre, friends all around)

(above: Shades of Michael Jackson's 'Man In the Mirror' here.)

(above: When Alvin is not busy planning surprise birthdays for his girlfriend, he is busy making out with Oxford graduates)

Monday, January 09, 2006


HBO is on a roll

I've been watching the relatively new series from HBO called Deadwood and waddaya know, it's pretty darn good! Amazing, those chaps at HBO are. Not only did they churn out the fabulous Sopranos, now they have Deadwood and Rome as well under their belts. I'm a bona fide HBO-fanatic now I tell ya.

Yee Haw! Smoke Em' Injuns!

The series is set in the wild wild west, when the whiteman was making his mad lemmings-like rush for the gold in the Rocky Mountains. Now before you start having images of Billy Ray Cyrus strumming his 'Don't Tell My Achy-Breaky Heart' in your mind, let me assure you that the country western overtones of this show is thankfully subdued. In fact, it has more of a pioneering, buckaneer-ing feel to it, which is definitely a good thing.

Watching it, you could almost imagine yourself as one of the pioneers, bravely setting foot out into a new world in search of riches and fortune. Ahhh, smell the scent of pine trees in the fresh air! Hear the burbling sound of the nearby creek! Relive your inner Marlboro man ambitions! Bear in mind though that all this will only appeal to guys, girls on the other hand will enjoy the show simply because it has a pretty good storyline. Well, it's their loss...hahah.

You *@&#^@ Deputy Dawg!

As with a lot of other HBO original shows, there is a @*#&@ lot of cursing in this show. Plus some nudity as well, although its not gratuitious in nature. This makes the show unsuitable for those @*#@% kids. To me however, all the @*#&@ bad words which are thrown about add to the overall feel and atmosphere of the show. I mean c'mon, these guys ae *@&#@ miners and gunslingers. The great unwashed. Certainly, minding their *#&@% language would be the least of their #&#%$ concerns.

Doesn't the presence of such swearing influence me in the least bit? I don't believe so. I am still as politically correct and polite as ever. I frown upon the wanton use of swear words as a form of self-expression. And if you don't agree with me, you can go @*&^#@& yourself.

Speaking of Politically Correct

Watching this show however, I wonder how the descendants of the Red Indians will feel if they saw it. After all, this show minorly depicts the Red Indians as pure heathen savages, as mere footnotes in the whiteman's conquest of the west. Maybe the Red Indians will have a more prominent role in the later seasons, I don't know. For now, all they do is appear once in awhile only to have their heads chopped off by the surprisingly physically superior ang moh. Only in the movies eh...heh heh.

Port Dickson, a beach of many colours (mostly the colour of sludge and mud)

Would you want to go on a vacation in Port Dickson?

Quote from a local newspaper, "Port Dickson was once a popular holiday destination but has lost most of its charm". No shit Sherlock, you don't say.

Old people, and I mean really old people, tell me that Port Dickson used to have pristine beaches, and that the sands were a brilliant hue of white and gold. All that is lost on me though. As far back as I can remember, Port Dickson has always been, well, a pretty crappy beach. In fact, the waters in PD are so polluted that you risk severe mutation if you ever tried to take a dip in its waters. Rumour has it that a foreign tourist took a swim in the beaches of PD only to emerge with a third-eye smack dab in the centre of his forehead, and webbed buttocks.

Will the beach ever improve? I doubt it. I mean, short of permanently banning any ships from trawling the Straits of Melaka, I don't see how the the beach can possibly be cleaned up. It would be cool if it could though, then we wouldn't have to travel all the bloody way to the East Cost for crystal clear waters.

Despite all this, I do have good memories of PD though. I've lost count of the number of retreats and camps which I've attended in PD, and all of them have been great fun. Despite the fact that nobody with an ounce of sense would set foot in the waters (thus ruling out any form of water sports whatsoever), we still managed to organize a heap load of activities. Hmmm, on second thought, I take back the statement regarding people not setting foot in the waters. The last time I went to PD, I remember seeing a few lunatics swimming in the sea next to an outlet of a sewage pipe. I wonder where those dudes are now, probably auditioning for a role in X-Men 4 or something.

With this in mind, I sincerely hope that the Association of Hotels Negri Sembilan and its State Government succeed in their efforts to boost the image and appeal of Port Dickson. They've even managed to persuade Hard Rock Cafe to open an outlet there as reported in today's papers, not bad! I guess only time will tell how effective their efforts are. In the meantime, anyone care for a game of spot-the-floating-sewage?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Way To Go Samsung

South Korea's Pride and Joy

I have just read that Samsung Electronics Co topped US$100 billion in market value, one of only four Asian companies to do so. Samsung is now second in size to Vodafone Group PLC among non-US technology stocks and has overtaken Finland's Nokia, Motorola and Japan's Sony. That's a pretty impressive feat for a company which had its humble beginnings as a maker of black and white TVs.

Looking at the list of largest companies in Asia by market capitalization, I wonder when we will see a Malaysian company in it. Currently our best chance lays in Petronas, the largest company in our country although it can be said that Petronas is more 'government' than 'independant'. In my opinion however, government linkages aside, the oil & gas industry might not be sufficiently 'high-growth' in nature (as compared to say, technology) to push Petronas to the upper echelons of Asia's large corporations. There are exceptions though, Exxon Mobil being one of them. Under the stewardship of its ex-CEO Raymond Lee, Exxon grew to become the second largest company in the world after Walmart! Although the surge in oil prices had a lot to do with it, it doesn't detract in any way from the great man's contributions.

Anyway back to the point *ahem*, do we Malaysians have what it takes to create a world class non-government linked company? Perhaps that's a question all Malaysians should think about as we face an increasingly uncertain future.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Dawning Of A New Year

A Time for Reflection

Another year has gone by and yet another lay rolled up before me, yet to be unfurled. I wonder what things are in store for me for the year 2006. Looking back, I would say that 2005 has truly been a good year for me. One of the best I've had for quite some time, God knows I needed it. Of course, there were mistakes made along the way, decisions acted upon which I'd sooner regret. After all, I'm only human.

There were things which I was struggling with for as long as I can remember......

Skeletons in my closet...

Ghosts in my past...

Chains of bondage holding me down...

I can vividly recall the feelings of helplesness, the feeling that I was on a self-destructive path which was spiralling ever so downwards. Never again do I want to set foot on that path, not through my own strength but by His grace and mercy. I am not perfect, and I never will be, but perfection never was and never will be what God desires. These words stuck by me in the closing phases of the year...

"Salvation that died just to set me free"

2005, a year which bequeathed me with such fond memories. I'll definitely miss it.