Friday, 28 November 2008

Rambling Out of Boredom

This morning has been SO ... boring that I'm banging this post out of boredom, and so that the minutes till lunch will fly by. So bear with me cause it's gonna be just ramblings.

  • My friend Raymond Hee is stranded at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok because of the problem there. This is his chance to become like Tom Hanks in Terminal Man. Raymond, comments please when you get back ...

  • I'm gonna have nasi kerabu for lunch today. There's this market opposite my office that sells one of the best nasi kerabu I've tasted. The market is exactly like a pasar malam (night market) selling food and all. But since it operates in the daytime and only on Fridays, I call it pasar siang (day market). Imagine a pasar siang in the middle of the city! I'm so gonna blog about it soon, and the nasi kerabu as well.

  • I might wanna go to the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas to get tickets for The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Symphony Orchestra from 19 - 21 December 2008. But I still can't decide whether to go for the Friday evening or Sunday matinee show.

  • I'm working on an Evening Talk for employees this Wednesday. Topic: Empowering the Disabled. Unfortunately only 2 people have signed up! That's right .. only 2 out of the hundreds of staff in the company! Must think of a contingency plan after lunch ... Otherwise the poor sight impaired folks from Brickfields will have no people to give massages to.

  • Exactly one month from today I'll be in Luang Prabang! Can't bloody wait for it!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Lazy Sunday ...

Here I am surfing the internet on a Sunday morning when my mum asked me to follow her to a lunch at a church friend's house. The family's second child received Holy Communion this morning and they are celebrating the occasion with family and friends.

I woke up at 11.00am this morning, had tosai and tea, read the papers, gave directions (via phone) to a friend who got lost in Klang town, but still haven't washed my face or bathe.

I can't seem to pull myself to do anything else because I'm SO ... lazy ...

But now I need to wash my face, put on a bra (I don't wear a bra when I'm at home), slap on sunblock and powder and drag myself to the lunch which is a 5-minute walk from my house.

And I'm still full with the tosai and tea ... so how to eat some more at the lunch?

Suddenly I realise I still have 5 more articles to complete for the kid's project, and the deadline is tomorrow!

Friday, 21 November 2008

More Freelance Work

Recently I received another writing project that will take up most of my free time till February next year.

I need to write 82 articles on various careers, each article about 350 - 500 words. Target audience: kids between 9 - 13 years old.

Apart from my 82 articles, there are a few other writers working concurrently on other career articles. All the articles will be compiled into a book and distributed at a fair in March next year. More on that in this blog when the book is out.

This will be the first time I'm writing for kids and I keep reminding myself that the language has to be simple. The Editor had also told me that the articles have to be "chatty and informative". This is sometimes easier said than done - Try explaining what an Actuary does in simple language.

So if you're wondering why my blog entries have dwindled in number recently, it's because of this new project. In fact, when I agreed to do the 82 articles, I've signed away my afterwork activities - Aloha, Hard Rock Cafe and the movies, at least till February ...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Why Do I Blog

Because blogging equals to writing and writing is something I do rather well.

Because I want to share my knowledge and experiences, and hopefully learn much more in return.

Because I want to improve my wordsmith touch.

Because I want to make new friends.

Because the workload in my current employment is not so heavy, and I want to kill time rather than idle my office hours away.

Because blogging is an avenue for my relatives and friends to know what I'm up to.

Because I want to earn pocket money (still working on it); and most importantly,

Because my previous employer refused to confirm me; she said my writing sucks. And now I want to tell her, "Go to hell! This is me at my writing best!"

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Why I Won't Do An MBA

There was once I asked my god daughter if she was interested in doing an MBA. She said "definitely not". She came to that decision after having close encounters with an MBA grad whose realm of knowledge consists of handbags, handbags and only handbags.

I used to have a deep yearning to study for an MBA. I thought having an MBA would open career opportunities for me. I also bought books on MBA and spoke to many MBA students to learn from their experiences.

As I grew older, my interest in doing an MBA started to lapse. This is because of my own experiences with many MBA graduates who did not live up to their name of MBA grad.

I personally know of MBA grads holding senior positions in big corporations who:

  • Thinks that a Six Sigma Black Belt is a martial arts qualification.

  • Argues that in accounting, if the actual amount spent is higher than the amount budgetted, it would be a positive (+) sign instead of a negative (-) sign. OMG!!!

  • Have never heard of Blue Ocean Strategy.

  • Is in-charge of Corporate Social Responsibility but doesn't know what's 'OKU'.

  • Consistently copies what other departments and companies are doing in related areas of work.

  • Speaks like an uneducated person.
(I could go on and on ... but it would only embarass MBA grads everywhere.)

I wonder what did they learn in the 2 years or so studyng for their MBA. Did they use the time to play marbles?

On the other hand I personally know of many non-MBA graduates who have made a mark for themselves in the corporate world without having an MBA tucked under their belt. They are intelligent, well read and matured in their thoughts and actions. Kind of reminds me of the movie Good Will Hunting (look below for a brilliant dialogue from the movie about acquiring knowledge without having formal education).

I'm not saying that doing an MBA is a bad thing and that all MBA graduates are ignorant. It all depends on how the student uses the opportunity to learn as much as possible and make him/herself a more knowledgeable and better person during their MBA studies.

And more importantly to always keep abreast with current affairs by reading, reading and reading after graduating. Learning is something you do from womb to tomb.

At this point in life, I feel that it's not having an MBA that matters, but how interested I am in acquiring knowledge. And I can do all that through many avenues like reading, surfing the internet, attending courses, exchanging ideas with friends, etc.

But also at the end of the day, to climb the corporate ladder, it's not what you know, but who you know that counts.

Brilliant Dialogue from Good Will Hunting

Chuckie: All right, are we gonna have a problem?

Clark: There's no problem. I was just hoping you could give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the early colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War the economic modalities, especially of the southern colonies could most aptly be characterized as agrarian pre-capitalist and...

Will: [interrupting] Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just got finished some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison prob’ly, you’re gonna be convinced of that until next month when you get to James Lemon, then you’re gonna be talkin’ about how the economies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were entrepreneurial and capitalist back in 1740. That's gonna last until next year, you’re gonna be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood, talkin’ about you know, the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.

Clark: [taken aback] Well, as a matter of fact, I won't, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of--

Will: ..."Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth..." You got that from "Work in Essex County," Page 98, right? Yeah I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us- you have any thoughts of- of your own on this matter? Or do - is that your thing, you come into a bar, you read some obscure passage and then you pretend - you pawn it off as your own - your own idea just to impress some girls? Embarrass my friend?
[Clark is stunned]

Will: See the sad thing about a guy like you, is in about 50 years you’re gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don't do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin’ education you coulda' got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.

Clark: Yeah, but I will have a degree, and you'll be serving my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.

Will: [smiles] Yeah, maybe. But at least I won't be unoriginal.

Monday, 10 November 2008

233rd United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Last Saturday Lady Patsy and I attended the 233rd United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the JW Marriot in Bukit Bintang. The ball was hosted by the Marine Security Guard Detachment of the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

After watching lots of NCIS and A Few Good Men, we're finally gonna see the men in uniform in the flesh!

Our preparation for the ball started in the afternoon when Lady Patsy met up with me at the YMCA in Brickfields after my French class. We then drove back to my apartment to get dressed up. But before that we stopped at Sonali's to get matching bangles and earrings for Lady Patsy's blue lengha.

By the time we reached my apartment, some bloody driver had parked their car in my lot. I complained to Security and they clamped the car. But before that, I sent my 'love' to the driver on a piece of paper and stuck it on to the windscreen. The message read: "Please don't park here anymore, stupid!" That was me being nice, I could have used more 'colourful' words ...

Cocktails began at 6.00pm and dinner at 7.00pm. By the time we did our hair and make-up, it was already 8.00pm!!!

I was hoping they would follow Malaysian timing, but these are military guys, so I guess they would be military precised in their timing.

By the time we got to the Marriot, the second course was about to be served. This means we missed the salad and the opening ceremony which was some flag procession, I heard.

But before we could enter the ballroom, we had to pass through a metal detector like the ones at the airport. Expect this at most events that involves the Americans, what more a Marine ball!

Luckily they didn't ask us to remove our shoes, otherwise I would have been pretty pissed having to tie my shoes back and already late for the ball.

Red and white wine supplied by the Embassy ran out during the second course. Only beer was available throughout the night. So those who wanted more wine had to purchase from the hotel. What a rip-off for those who paid to attend the ball!

After the last course was served, most of the guests started hitting the dance floor. After dancing for a bit, we went to snap pics outside the Grand Ballroom.

Lovely ice sculpture.

L to R: Lady Patsy, Tini Sharman and I.

This is GySgt Shaun Washausen. He is the Detachment Commander of the Marines in Kuala Lumpur. I think he looks like Robbie Williams.

Cpl Juan Machuca and I.

There were two of this on each table, and I took two sets home as souvenir.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Rest in Peace - Michael Crichton

As the world celebrates the first African-American President, I am sadden by the demise of one of my favourite author - Michael Crichton.

He passed away on November 4 at the age of 66, after a battle with cancer.

Even since reading Rising Sun, Crichton's work has never failed to fascinate me with his use of simple language and his vivid imagination. His ability to churn out stories that gripped my attention makes me want to read all his work.

My fav Michael Crichton books are:
  • Rising Sun
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Lost World
  • The Andromeda Strain
  • Congo
Michael, the world will miss your literary genius. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Profile of an Internet Dating Conman

I was having dinner with a friend today and the topic of internet dating scams came up. We exchanged notes and here are some pointers on how to identify an internet dating conman.

  • A huge majority of these conmen come from Nigeria.
  • He usually poses as a single parent with a young daughter/son, has a good job and is a Caucasian from either the United States or United Kingdom. His wife would have died in a car crash or some illness.
  • Inconsistent information. There was this guy I was corresponding with who referred to his kid as a 'he' and sometimes as a 'she'. Unless his child is gay, I don't think a parent could mix up the sex of his child.
  • Notice how he always talks about other things (like declaring his deep love for you) but never talks about himself. This is because there's nothing to talk about himself, his whole life is a lie.
  • When you ask for his pic, he'll email you someone else's pic - usually a Caucasian guy's and claim that's him. One give-away is the pics will be blur, which means he would have gleaned it from cyberspace.
  • He will declare his deep love for you by the third email, latest. Can a person fall in love with someone so fast without even knowing you? I can't, for sure.
  • He'll want to fly all the way to your country to visit you very early in the relationship.
  • When he gives you his number, check and see if the country code is +234 (Nigeria's country code). Some of these cheats are not too bright and won't expect the girl to check on the country code. But girls are smarter these days.

Now you might be thinking what are the motives of these conmen. Why do they go through all the trouble to pose as somebody else?

Well, the main motive is usually to cheat the potential victim off her hard earned money. And he'll usually do this by convincing the girl he's in a dire situation like stranded in a foreign country while on his way to visit the girl and needs money badly.

Well, I hope these pointers will come in handy in case an email from a hunky male Caucasian suddenly drops into your mailbox.

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