Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Relations dan Kawasan2 yang Sewaktu dengannya...

Last Tuesday I chaired a Media Relations Conference 2009 at Istana Hotel Kuala Lumpur. About 30 delegates from Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. A good set of speakers and attendees. Corporate media (corp communications, PR et al) people, media consultants, ex and existing print media people were also present. More of scanning the current industry scenario and how 'new media' (facebook, twitter, blogs etc etc) is impacting the industry and the A&P expenditure.

Some interesting notes presented by some industry expert, was that, globally there has been an observable increase in online above and below the line expenditure in online (new media) rather than in print of traditional media like TV for instance. Most advanced countries are registering above 20% mark while malaysia apparently, is still below the 1.4% mark.

Another interesting data that was disclosed at the conference was that, more than 87% of the malaysian chinese population read their own vernacular newspapers! Less than 10% read NST or Star, only those english-educated). Interesting information for strategists and planners...

As usual I try to manage the conference according to the time schedule except for the last paper of the day...I told him he got 25 minutes but he actually overshot his time by one hour 15 minutes. I didn't have the heart to stop him cos I saw the delegates were like sooo attentive to what the fella was sharing and he enticed them to ask for more with his case studies (wink) bugger... while at the same time angling for some business hahaha. He was selling his skill and expertise yes, but I must acknowledge the fact that he is good. I enjoyed every one of the presenters and their presentations. I was also updating my own knowledge bank, if you like..

Have a great weekend folks!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

who says management accountants are a boring lot?

Last monday july 13, I was invited to the opening ceremony of CIMA or short for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, World Conference 2009. The previous being held in Sri lanka. You may ask 'what the hell are you doing with CIMA?'
Well, I have been involved with CIMA since the days when Ben Morais (who is retired now) was divisional director. I was invited to give a short lecture to the staff then, somewhat a combination of indirect motivation (sort of hehe) some new information or new perspectives or ways of looking at things, if you like, from an outsider rather than from the divisional director. I was deputy chairman, MEG (Malaysia Employer Group, a committee specially set up by CIMA to encourage employer relations and forge links for purposes of training, attachments oh well, more so to enhance employability of CIMA graduates).
Somehow rather when a new divisional director took over, his or her focus was elsewhere and the MEG 's role was very much down played, which I understand perfectly. I do however continue to maintain close links with CIMA Malaysia. In fact a few years ago I was invited to give an inaugural lecture series in strategic management at the KL Renaissance Hotel.
Enuf of that, lets get back to this world conference. There were 600 delegates where 20% constitute those from other CIMA centres globally. Looking at a glance, it would appear that there is no recession as far as training, conferences et al are concerned, right? (wink) Hey, look again...these guys are CIMA grads and mostly are CFOs, Finance Directors, MDs or CEOS....the buck stops at their feet ok?...hahaha. They decide if you can use the budget or otherwise (evil wink). So, your guess, as always haha, is as good as mine.
Having said that, I think Sopiah Suid, the current divisional director did a marvellous job putting up the great show in these really trying times. She had great support from tourism malaysia, among others. Have a great weekend ya all....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Durians & 1Malaysia did u say? hehehe

Let's talk about 'durian eat-all-u-can' from RM10 at SS2 Petaling Jaya for a change haha. I had my regular chow yang foot reflexo just now and then some 'nasi kandar' at Pelita, bangsar and then remembered about the annual durian ritual (king of fruits) extravaganza.

A few people have commented that I am 'full of myself'' when I write my blog or facebook or twit (ouch!). But tonite, no..I am full of durians! hahaha.
Look at them enjoying the durians! Families in droves, of all races, malaysian spirit at its best. There's a terrible jam out there at SS2 rite now. They close at 2 am, the fiesta I mean. Perhaps this should be an important 1Malaysia activity (heheh) which I think and my fren David and his frens think as well too...rather than the boring (full of insincere faces heheh) morning senamrobik hehe...jeng3x

Sorry KakTeh, if you are reading this, I know you love to have it with pulut and ice-cream but the last time I saw you, you had a really bad hayfever. Hope its over by now. Do guard yourself and your family members against swine flu ya? Cos the UK prediction/projection (from timesonline) is 65000 deaths from swine flu in the UK and 50% of them would be children. But I read somewhere too, that people get all ga ga ga and wear masks in panic over swine flu but refuses to wear condoms when they know that there are more than one million AIDS cases globally hehehe...sounds rather oxymoronic, isn't it? (evil wink).

Uish, doesn't the durian looks really enticing huh? It does not only look inviting but it tastes oh my god! hahaha. Good strategy these guys. They open a lousy one first then give you a really great fingerlicking gud one on the second round....but then again, eh much can you eat ah long? Some people really can, but me? naaah by the second one , I would had given up. Lost my touch although, like most malaysians, we all love the lulian...heheheh.
David (see last foto below) and his frens gave me permission to capture them on my blackberry bold and also permitted me to upload it on my blog tonight. There you are guys hahaha. Hey good to catch up with you David. We met on several occasions years ago while I was doing my masters and while we were on the special komuter train ride with the late Tan Sri Selvarajah (Chairman of KTMB) when the service was launched by KTMB (Malayan Railways) way back in 1995. I had just joined KTMB as director of the training school then at Sentul.

The durian (pronounced /ˈdʊəriən/)[1] is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family[2][3] (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae[3]). Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market. (from wikipedia)

edited saturday july 18th:

someone just texted me additional info which I thought would be a shame not to share (wink) ...that a truly authentic way for describing the flesh of durian by Alfed Russel Wallace - a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds...

Friday, July 10, 2009

a promising oasis, or a treacherous mirage II, knightsbridge, London...

UPDATED, posted on saturday July 18th, 2009, some new fotos emailed from London...

Original Posting:

I spoke at the recent 3rd International Takaful Summit 2009 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, London. Since MRC Malaysia's role is to contain cost of claims for both conventional insurance and takaful industry in Malaysia, I thought it would be most appropriate and perhaps timely too that we share the malaysian experience of how we did it and explore possibilities of it (the model) being replicated in other jurisdictions and market.
I chose the topic 'Motor Takaful: A Promising Oasis or a Treacherous Mirage: a Malaysian Case Study'. It was not easy to get the attention of delegates (about 350 registered, from Africa, Europe and the Middle East) especially when the presentation was slotted right after lunch! The trick was to wake them up, and woke them up I certainly did! hahaha. Well, the 'Diehard 4' thirty seconds trailer videoclip did the trick actually (wink).
Some random photos above. I will upload the great ones later when they are sent over to me from London. Majid (CEO Labuan Re), your foto is up there, Ismail Mahbob (CEO, MNRB Re) your foto pon ada lar. Jason Moseley, COO of THATCHAM (our UK partner) took time off his busy schedule just to hear me speak and gave their support. Thanks Jason. Thank you Eric (PTS CEO) and Yvonne Gumb (THATCHAM) for manning the exhibit stand.

of Oscar Wilde and Lilie langtry...

When I was googling for a hotel to stay, at this year's 3rd International Takaful Summit at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, London, I came across this interesting 100 year old hotel just 2 minutes walk from The Jumeirah. I still had this 'phobia' when we stayed at The Langham Hotel, during the Inaugural Takaful Summit in 2007...
The frontpage of (The Cadogan Hotel) website attracted me: "The luxury London hotel off Sloane Square. The finest British hospitality awaits you at the Cadogan Hotel. London's Cadogan Hotel is a prestigious Knightsbridge address; an SW1 hotel off London's Sloane Square that weaves contemporary styling with classic Edwardian decadence. At The Cadogan Hotel, history comes alive. Consider Room 118, scene of the arrest of Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright. Or consider the Edward VII Suite, renamed to celebrate the future King of England's liaisons with his close friend, the actress Lillie Langtry. Today, you too will be seduced, by our neighbours Gucci, Tiffany, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, by the 24-hour pulse of the West End. Experience comfortable elegance in the hotel's spacious guestrooms and luxurious suites, all in a superbly refurbished central London hotel... with just the right touch of historic intrigue. Exception Dining offers in Knightbridge's Langtry's Restaurant. Only in london - a truly unique one off experience - a stay in Oscar Wilde's room at the Cadogan Hotel."
When I checked-in the morning of June 29, 2009.. I told the chappie at the reception desk that, whatever you do, please do not put me in room 118, the room that Oscar Wilde was arrested. An elegant lady (not too sure if she was Welsh, Irish, Scottish or English) tall, slightly blondish (rambut karer aah) looking a bit Scandinavian, oh well, Viking, is more like it haha...was also just about to check-out. Smiled, turned to me and said: "oh? I was in room 118 last night and I had wished Oscar Wilde had visited me...but he didn't". The hotel was spooky alright but I quickly got adjusted and it turned out quite alright afterall. There were other malaysians too I found out the next morning. Mostly venture capitalists and investment bankers who were on a roadshow and some attending the Sukuk Summit at Radisson Portman( I suspect).

No. I did not patronise any of the branded upmarket outlets. Didn't have time to even peek into Harvey Nichols (where Londoners shop anyway) and Harrods? A definite no-no...cos I really don't want to be seen carrying a Harrod's plastic bag walking around like spoilt rich arab tourists haha. Or to localise it..looking like a makcik (auntie) from Padang Piol or Manek Urai first time in London hahaha ( forgive me, no offense intended). Beside the paid for, great hearty English breakfast every morning at Lilie Langtry's...I would take the cab (if its sweltering hot) or the tube (if the temperature was bearable) to Queensboro Terrace for the usual 'tribal' meals (hehe) where you would more often than not, bump into your countrymen you may or may not like (heheh). I was just wondering, oh well, perhaps my own conspiracy to why Oscar Wilde was arrested. It seemed he was arrested for being drunk but did you know that Lilie langtry was not just Oscar Wilde's girlfriend? she was also Prince Albert's girlfriend (so the story goes, it seems.hehe). Your guest is probably as good as mine?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

of coffee and alzheimers...

The Brits may be known for their enthusiasm for drinking afternoon tea but for millions of office workers in modern Britain apparently, the dominant ritual has become one of morning coffee. They persuade one of their number to go down to a cafe and return with a cardboard carrier stuffed with polystyrene cups containing multiple coffees, carefully noting demands for Lattes, Cappuccinos and Skinny Americanos. We don't 'tapao' coffee as much here at home in Malaysia. A couple of days ago when I was in London, coffee drinking was boosted by an experiment on mice in Florida which suggested drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse Alzheimer's. But the news has come too late to save Coffee Republic. The firm, with 187 outlets, has gone into administration. Some of its loss making branches face closure and the accountants (known for coming onto the field after the battle has ended to count the dead and bayonet the injured) have come in to run it.

It should be good news for aunt Gloria Simmonds who is 74. I made the right decision taking time off to visit her at Faversham. Her alzheimer is advancing although she appears perfectly normal. I was worried she would not recognise me over the phone. The neighbours, Vicki and Simon at the lovely quiant little Hamlet just outside Faversham, were so nice to let me into their home and made me coffee while I waited for Gloria and Sherry to be back from Canterbury...

Slow-roast Rump of English lamb...

The House of Lords (also known as House of peers for ceremonial purposes) is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is also commonly referred to as "the Lords". Parliament comprises the Sovereign, the House of Commons (which is the lower house of Parliament and referred to as "the Commons"), and the Lords. Membership of the House of Lords was once a right of birth to hereditary peers, but following a series of reforms these now only form a portion of the membership. As of July 2009[update] the House of Lords has 740 members, 94 more than the 646 seat House of Commons.[1][2] The House of Lords, like the House of Commons, assembles in the Palace of Westminster. The full, formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. (from wikipedia).
I was in London recently to speak at the 3rd International takaful Summit at Knightsbridge. One of the highlights of the summit was the dinner reception at the House of Lords. I shall not write alot about it. The wiki info above I suppose, is enough to enlighten the dark. I have been invited 3 times to have a meal there, the first two was from Lord Kenneth O Morgan (Lord of Aberdyfi) former Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth that alas, never happened. So I thought I shall not miss this opportunity for a third time. I bumped by chance, into Kak Teh choc-a-blog, at MSD canteen at Queensboro Terrace and she commented (complained was more like it) that my blog was too I am lost for words...