My Thoughts and Reflections on Everything

Basically just my take on life as I see it :)

Make Mine iPad…

I finally did it. I am now a proud owner of iPad 16G wifi/3G version. I spent a bomb on this gadget but I’m happy about my purchase. The stuff that people were talking about the iPad being this and that negative, well I’m very pleased with my iPad and it’s worth the money I paid for.

I’m s0 glad that I opted out from my ‘Patient Malaysian’ stance. :p

I am writing this post using my iPad and I can tell you that it’s the best feeling I’ve ever had since I bought my iPhone 3GS in February this year.

Will be posting more about this as soon as I ‘tire’ with the iPad…

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Sabah joining Malaysia a mistake says Sipaun

RM0 3/8: Former Suhakam vice-chairperson Simon Sipaun says Sabah made a mistake in joining the Federation of Malaysia in 1963./MKINI

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A very strong stand from Tan Sri Simon Sipaun. This is what many of us Sabahans feels but just a handful few of us voices out.

It takes courage to say the truth. I’m learning from this.

Business Reflections 2

2) Balancing Extremities & Good Attitudes

In our organization, there are 2 types of people working inside. There’s the highly educated ones and the lowly educated ones. This is I believe the true reflection of our society. Sadly our state is filled with Form 5 school leavers who opted for early employment. Meanwhile the ones who has the means opted for higher learning and ends up excelling in their chosen fields.

I hold no prejudices against neither my unlearned and learned colleagues. I hope for harmony in the office. However because of these obvious intellectual boundaries I realized that nothing is perfect and professional in Sabah yet. I mean when for instance an executive decision has been made by the top, the lower ranking staff grumbles. Even about petty matters like adding of telephone lines, these guys make quick negative comments saying that the company does not need such extensions. They tend to get emotional over these matters.

My admin and finance heads tells me the need of the extensions and operation and marketing heads tells me otherwise. The latter heads I believe have lost the plot as they saw this as an encumbrance to company cost. I just quietly listened and decided that my admin and finance heads were right because they had the foresight to see that when our business is fully operational, one phone-line will not be enough.

My point being for this drawl? I made a mistake in promoting those 2 guys to department heads despite their low qualifications. No doubt that they are hard-working people but sadly they are also overly emotional and not practical. I always believed in man’s capacity to change and to improve himself. But what happens if that person is complacent and who doesn’t welcome change? I suppose attitude plays a big part in our development in becoming a better and useful human being.

I’m sad to say that they are such a very shallow bunch. Otherwise they would have been great people. But I don’t blame them for their inadequacies. Like many in Sabah, they are victims of our poor state administrative system that does not care enough of the welfare and education of our people.

I see this everyday and I’m no longer optimistic in our country’s pursuit in excellence.

I’ll just do what I can and embrace my role as leader of these 2 extremes of the spectrum.


Business Reflections

I have been so super-busy recently that I haven’t had the time to update my blog. Sometimes there’s simply nothing interesting to write about. At other times the mood for me to write isn’t there.

In this quick post, I like to write about the loneliness of being a leader in a business organization.

1) Don’t Reveal Too Much Of The Company

As leader one has to learn to hold his tongue when discussing secrets of the company. I used to think that by sharing information with the staff (which was by the way a staff of only 2 people), they would understand the company’s status and share the burden. The idea was that we work as a team and we know the full situation together. So I believed in not keeping secrets just like what I done in an NGO. I failed to realize earlier that a business-based company and NGO-based organization were 2 separate disciplines. One revolves around money as the driving factor and the other revolves around communal volunteerism.

The problem that I’ve had before was that I was ready to work for free. While this trait is an asset in an NGO but a liability in an enterprise. In business, it’s all about getting and maintaining steady income for your staff , company overheads and ourselves or else we would end up eating sand for dinner. So basically business is life giving for without money there will be no life.

Anyway my point here is that when we reveal too much information of the business to the staff,they’ll get overly excited about nothing or start thinking that they’re very very important people. Yes even office boys sometimes think this way…

Phase 2 Of An Entrepreneur’s Journey

I’m reaching the end of my 4 1/2 years struggle in building my business centre. After a few more touches, I shall be progressing to Phase 2 of this programme that is the operation side of this particular business.

I cannot say what it is but I can only say that it is an education based business of which everybody needs. I’ll stop at that.

In my reflection of the past 4 years, I realised most importantly is that patience is paramount. Even when the odds are stacked high against you, always remember that those stacks have to fall at some point because nothing lasts forever. Stormy weather don’t last forever, no matter how bleak the situation is, there’s always other ways to solving problems. All we need to do is to be patient and never stop believing in ourselves and God.

I can say that I have matured in this single process. The experiences that I’ve gathered in these past few years are invaluable and has changed and improved me as human being living in God’s creation. I am now well-aware of my surroundings. I learned and finally I’m convinced that the world is grey. Black and white are just concepts and limitations imposed by the past lawmakers of which were necessary at that particular time.

When people say bribing an official is wrong, on whose rule that is a sin? My opinion is that if everybody is doing it then that should be the right thing to do since the law making process is at this moment shaky. For instance, if I need to run some errands, let’s say, at the municipal council, there’s a lot red tapes that we would need to get past through. They would then slap you with a ” your application is not complete, you still need to do this,that and this before I can help you on that, this and that” which is almost an impossible feat to accomplish if one wants to follow through with their procedures of that they themselves have been slack in following. That’s why most business people had no choice but to resort to substantial gifts and promises in order to get their projects done.

The sad thing about this process is that everybody loses. The businessman will reduce the project material’s quality drastically in order to make himself a just nice profit to offset the actual profits that he was initially making and ended losing because his company’s real cut has ended up in some government official’s and politician’s bank account. And because of the government officer’s or politician’s obligation and dependence on the businessman’s sweet favors, this in turn can lead to mediocre performance and sometimes total disregard on their part of the government’s administration. The most capable and qualified contractor will be bypassed simply because he does not or cannot share with this group of people. I suppose that’s why our government administration system is so messed up due to unscrupulous individuals throwing the welfare of the rakyat away in favor of the ever-popular kick-backs.

When a person plays this dirty game, that person will get what he wants quite quickly because he’s willing to share his cake (even though parts of that cake were meant for his partners and workers) with the powers there be. But how long will this practice last? This business practice is the norm in doing a project; everybody has got a cut.

What if you’re dealing with an education based kind of business? Are you gonna make everybody your shareholders and to make money for them, you cut down your quality of teaching for something mediocre? What will the students, their parents and the general public would think? Would these people ever come back to support you?

Personally throughout the years, I’ve been taking a lot of hits. One of the them, a favorite, was ‘ what’s taking you so long? If you want to get something, then just pay them what they want!’  It went on for quite awhile until they finally grew tired of waiting and started leaving me.

I didn’t take too many staff. I only had one and last year I’ve added another. So I got 2 staffs running around doing errands to set up our business. I was working within my budget. No point having a lot of people that just end up becoming deadwoods.

My method is painfully slow because I follow procedures. Nobody can wrong you if you follow proper procedures. There are indeed times when you’d come across situations where-by since you lack certain particular items that you are forced to negotiate amicably with the other party. While following procedure one also has to consider the deplorable state of our government departments’ efficiency. I came across one hard working officer who was let down by his lazy, lazy subordinates. I also discovered the actual working week is 4 days from Monday to Thursday because it is almost impossible to find anybody on Friday because of prayers (even non-Muslim officers are very hard to find) held once a week. Having a lot of holidays also does not help very much as this will damper the working spirit in people. On February we had Chinese New Year, on March we had Easter and on May we have the month long Kaamatan season.

Anyway, if we try to apply the fast and furious KL style on sleepy and laid-back Sabah, these guys would get very upset and won’t speak with you for months. So when doing business just follow the pace of the culture here.

Apple iPad at Centrepoint, KK?

Apple iPad

I was in KK a few days ago when came across a vendor selling Apple iPad for RM2700 per piece. Naturally I was taken aback as I thought the product (unreleased in Malaysia) was only sold at KL’s Low Yat. Again I wrestled with my inner demons on whether to buy Steve Jobs’ latest offering or not.

I then decided not to; you see I download comic books through iPhone’s comiXology and Marvel apps. I fear that once after I buy the iPad, I might not able  to download comics using my current iTunes account as iPad is not yet officially released here in Sabah Malaysia.

So I guess I’ll wait for it to arrive here in 2011, which is my own estimate as Apple has further delayed the iPad’s international release date.

I’ve waited so long for iPhone to released here so I guess I can wait longer for iPad.

By the way does anyone know when Apple is unlocking its iTunes music store in Malaysia?

iPad at Low Yat KL?

Apple's Magical iPad

I was shopping today at Low Yatt building KL’s biggest techno complex. While shopping, I happened upon Apple’s iPad at the shopping complex. It was right in front of me and I noticed that it is rather small of course being slightly less than 10 inches.

I was pretty amused as I know Apple hasn’t yet officially launch the iPad for the international market. Just recently it was announced that the iPad will be launched internationally by end of May instead of end of April as it was previously announced.

Anyway, being curious I went and asked the seller of the price and on whether does it work well with the Malaysian App Store. The price he gave me was RM 2450. He couldn’t understand the second question that I poised at him. I took it as he doesn’t know anything about the iPad’s function let alone tried it out for himself as the box was still wrapped in its sealed up plastic.

I backed off later after that. Even if I was crazy enough to buy the machine, but could’ve it worked here properly in Malaysia? Or do I have to rely on these guys to upgrade the device for me like they did with the iPhone first generation?

Being an Apple enthusiast, of course I would love to own one but not this way. RM 2450 is a hefty price to pay for a device that costs a whole lot more less.

As keen as I am in owning an iPad, I shall wait and when it is available for release here, I would order it via Apple Online Store. I recently ordered an iPod touch via online and there wasn’t any hassle at all. Pretty good huh?

Guess I’ll be patient and wait till the end of May.

Chua Soi Lek Goes For #1

And so the good doctor aims for the top prize in this battle….

RM0 21/3: Dr Chua Soi Lek announced this afternoon that he will be contesting for MCA’s top post next week at its central committee polls./MKINI

Ong Tee Keat To Defend MCA Presidency

The game is afoot…

RM0 16/3: Ex-MCA president Ong Ka Ting has confirmed that he will contest for the post of MCA president at party polls on March 28/MKINI

iPhone 3GS It Is (Of iPhone Or Android? Part 2)

Apple's iPhone 3GSOk it is done. I’m officially an iPhone user. And I’m writing this with the device! I can say I have no regrets switching from the BlackBerry series. Everything is amazing about this phone and I can assure you that I’ll be blogging quite frequently now that I’ve finally gotten hold of the best phone ever. No question about that from me.

Texting with the iPhone is a breeze compared with the BlackBerry Storm. For one, with the iPhone you don’t have to apply too much pressure on the touch screen when typing. I remember having half cramped thumbs after tapping the Storm’s virtual keyboard. I also remember the stress I developed just by doing that!

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It has been since I switched over from the BlackBerry Storm to iPhone. The first week was overwhelming due to the games on it; I just couldn’t stop playing with them. The cheapest games at the iTunes app store are priced at 0.99(USD) cents the highest so far is Final Fantasy 1 & 2 sitting on 9.99 dollars. Now I’ve about 50 apps inside iPhone and they have since helped keeping my sanity intact while I go through the daily rigors of business. I told my friends the significant difference between iPhone and BlackBerry is that the latter’s annoying blinking red light flashes whenever there’s calls or messages. No doubt on BlackBerry’s excellent push e-mail feature but I find it pretty stressful whenever the red light pops up. You can’t turn it off in case you’re wondering. Whereas with iPhone, it’s push e-mail is subdued; i find it almost a minute slower than BlackBerry. However I appreciate the delay and absence of the led light. I notice that I’m more relaxed while working which is actually good for my health.

I find the video features on iPhone to be very stable in comparison to BlackBerry Storm. So far whenever I played movie files on iPhone it never hangs. The Storm hangs most of the time and needs constant rebooting and the loading time will take up to 10 minutes. Whereas iPhone’s reboot time clocks under a minute. To be fair, iPhone’s problem for me so far is the Internet data. Sometimes iPhone gets clogged up that it couldn’t access the net but every reboot it becomes good again.

Actually there’s more to rave about iPhone but I think I’ll stop here at this moment. iPhone is indeed a revolutionary masterpiece and it feels great to own one.

Hmmm, I wonder how’s the iPad coming along…

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