Sunday, July 15, 2007

just finished an unexpected good read

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

my dad passed this book to me, citing "it's a good book" (yes, men are not meant to be very descriptive... gotta get used to it)

I looked at the cover, and a passing thought, " my dad? fiction? thought he was more into autobiographies". Seldom do I pick up a novel, most often you will see me lingering along the "Management, Self-Help, How-to" aisle...

anyway, this is a must pick up, the emotions are very well captured by the author and he takes the reader on a very emotional ride. One quote which I liked very much, "a man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer".

On a side note, I guess times when we actually do feel guilt, in a way, it is a good thing as it only confirms that we have some good in us....? :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hanoi rocks!

was in Hanoi, Vietnam for a short biz trip, short flight from Kuala Lumpur and managed to have half a Sunday to walk the old quarters of the city centre. The last time I was here with two of my buddies on a back-packing-sort-of-trip (it was our aim to meet at least once a year somewhere in the world). 2004 was Hanoi and we had a tremendously good time; rented mopeds, bumped into little parks tucked somewhere in the outer ring of the city, sipped strong sweet coffee, climb hills, played cards with a local boy, got conned by a bunch of farmers, fell off the bike, hunted for the best "pho" in town, checked out the local clubs, got 3 massages in a day......and many other memories we'll fondly reminisce about when we do meet again.

Book a trip to Hanoi, get a map, guide book, rent a bike, cruise the city, talk to the locals, have coffee, eat by the street, check out the local night scenes and have a blast!

Hanoi city centre by night. Locals tend to circle the roundabout here in the evening; taken from a restaurant just at the corner of a block overlooking the lake and inter-section of the main streets. One of the photos shows part of a building being renovated, in 04' we were just sitting there by the road side having Hanoi Beer watching riders whizz by.

Souvenir for USD 1 & 2004, We love Hanoi.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

today's dose

saw a picture posted by a buddy on her msn, passed me the link...
stickgal cartoons - pretty entertaining

here's a sample, I watched this over the weekend...

thanks couz for sharing the Starcraft II launch! delicious. I'll prob need to purchase a whole new system just to play this game... computers used to be cheaper when my father would just pay for it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

unlearning is learning

When we touch a kettle of hot water for the first time, we burn our little fingers, and from then on, we learn not to touch it again. We get a little "smarter" and we tap it to check if it's hot or cold instead.When we eat ice-cream for the first time, we like it, and we don't need to be encouraged to give it another lick the next time.

As we grow, we learn what to do, and what not to do. We go through knocks and bumps, and we learn to avoid them. Our good and bad experiences mould us to what we are today, how we perceive our surroundings (events, people, behaviour, etc.). We see and react to the world through "moulded" lenses, we understand it the way we have experienced it. We put up certain barriers so that we don't burn our little fingers again. Experience taught us to do so.

Sometimes, these barriers that we have placed restricts us from changing, or to see and understand from the other person's point of view, to learn new things, or even to love again. We're afraid that by doing the same thing, we'll burn our little fingers again. That would be stupid, right?

I believe in order to learn, to change, to be a better human being, we have to first learn to unlearn. Stop for a moment, forgive ourselves for the mistake that we've made, and give "it" a chance again. I once read, "Wisdom is between Stimulus and Response". For example, we've learnt that, when someone barks at us, we react defensively immediately, never admitting fault and barking back. Applying "wisdom" would be to give ourselves a moment to think and understand why this person is barking at us, and to choose a better response. It is not about the other person winning here, the other person does not win by you choosing not to respond as aggressively..., just appropriately.It's not an easy task, but it can be made a habit. As I believe, "all that is easy were once difficult".

Learn to unlearn something today, and experience something different. See if it suits you better....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

malaysian traffic 10 years back and now

Perhaps a good judgement of how a country has progressed can simply be observed by how the country people behave on the road. Following is a list of the things that have not changed for the past 10 years.....
  1. any lane can be the fast and slow lane
  2. indicating only when you feel like it; urm, what is meaning - indicate?
  3. when a roundabout is partially clogged, break all rules
  4. yellow line means park
  5. merging lane means go faster and see who has more guts
  6. courtesy? it's all about survivor of the fittest
  7. in the parking lot, arrow facing me means go straight
  8. bad traffic? keep changing lane till you're ahead
  9. bad traffic? motorcyclist can go in any direction
  10. i'm 90, record holder of the malaysian oldest driver on the road; my license is valid for 10 years; let's publish this in our national daily

What if it is not the drivers' fault? We have to adapt to the conditions in order to survive! Let's observe then the road/transport conditions that have not changed for the last 10 years.....

  1. pot holes to keep you alert while on the road
  2. traffic lights are for aesthetics, it's okay if the green or red light don't work
  3. the "green man" sign does not need to coordinate with the "red" light
  4. road signs can be placed anywhere and possibly as far as possible from the destination and as we get closer; do not place any more signs
  5. place bus stops where the pile of rubbish is
  6. entry/exit lanes can be built on the left and right; preferably in the alternating pattern and as close as possible
  7. make either gigantic speed bumps or mini ant hills
  8. draw yellow and white lines to mark the lanes, make sure they overlap
  9. built the roads; analyse the traffic after; make changes where necessary
  10. tar the road; dig holes and lay pipes; cover the holes only

can you think of more? feel free!

Friday, June 01, 2007

books that challenged me to rethink,recreate & explore

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Reading the title may give some the perception that the book is to teach one to learn to manage time, execute, and accomplish things. Yes, in a way it is, but it is largely not.
It gives a very philosophical approach and very wide focus to understand and deal with the many challenges that life has to offer. Some sort of a guide book on how to draw a map for yourself.

It must be read with an open mind, a book not to be read just once, but to referred to from time to time; to re-adjust our internal compass. Also not a book to be read from beginning to end within a month; instead to be digested with patience and appreciating the depth and breadth Stephen Covey has to offer.

One of the books that would make the world a better place to live in. You can get it off from almost every bookstore, also 2nd hand copies as it has been in circulation for a very long time already.

Conversation by Theodore Zeldin
No, it does not teach you to be a great conversationalist!
Not a book on how to be interesting..... in fact, it is not a self-help or personal development sort of book. I stumbled upon this gem on Amazon when I purchased another book by T.Zeldin, "An
Intimate History of Humanity

The subject of the book is about "Conversation" itself, the history of conversation and how it has evolved over time. He encourages us all to go on this adventure of "social intercourse". Its got these little funny paintings as well that he drew himself and is supposed to arouse the reader to discuss/talk about the topic of the drawing. It didn't work on me. Still a book to read once in awhile; it has little pieces of beautiful quotes hidden in the paragraphs.

One of my favourite reminders, on the topic of relationship; couples have forgotten to talk about love.

The book will remind you of the wonders of conversation and to go have a drink or two with your lover/buddies/family/colleagues to loosen your tongues and embark on a talking adventure! Quote by Paulo Coelho

Thursday, May 31, 2007

mergers, acquisitions and raw emotions

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)... i'm sitting in one (merger).
The company which I left a year ago, also is experiencing one (acquisition).
With globalisation, the dynamics of communication is changing, competition is driving businesses to reposition, acquire, merge or go bust.

Businesses exist for two reasons, emotional and profits.
Emotional - the need to add value/contribute to something
Profits - for the business to sustain and grow (the main cause of M&As)

Okay, i'm not going to share my thoughts on why businesses need to change their business models and so forth.... but more about how the change would affect the people

Imagine this,

You may be in the phase of your career where there is going to be an uptake after building a few years of solid foundation, you may have just gotten married too, paying off some debts for the wedding and honeymoon, servicing your mortgage of your newly-wed home.....
At the office, you have your career development plan all mapped out for you, frequent dialogues with your boss, set your SMART objectives......

You arrive at the office as usual, after lunch, everyone receives an e-mail, "we are proud to announce that the Board of Directors have agreed to handover XXX to her new parent, ZZZ...."
The phones start ringing, people start scrambling, all sorts of chit-chats along corridors/breakout areas, the topic of this "new company" will be the topic for lunch for months to come.....

A few weeks go by, your boss either gets replaced in the new business model, or is assigned to another department, you are told to report to him and to do business as usual, but your boss cannot commit to you any longer about your next step..... basically, nobody can promise you anything. Loyalty, years of service... no leveraging here.

You start to imagine the worst or not, people around you start to imagine the worst or not, more speculation, more negative energy, some positive energy, some excitement, some fear.... this is what uncertainty invokes in us, human beings. Your debts, your career, your family, your house, your holiday, basically all the plans you have... are more or less hanging now, just like the development plan you have discussed about at the beginning of the year.

How are you going to deal with this very real scenario?