Friday, February 16, 2007

Jakarta Trip - Conclusion

I was back from Jakarta on Wed night, 1 day shorter than planned.

To change my flight, I needed to get it validated in MAS office in the town, and got to pay USd25! I almost thought I couldn't make it, coz my office is 1.5 hour away from MAS office, and my meeting schedule was back-to-back. Luckily someone willing to help me to get it done. Whew!

There are a few things worth noting here.

US Dollar
It is so strange that, all Indonesians don't accept USD note that is folded. Unfortunately all my USD are folded. Luckily someone lend me some USD. Really don't know the reason why.

Look at this. It is my snack box. In our meeting, we can never get hungry, coz food and snack is always provided. But look carefully...

In this snack box, there is a raw green chili-padi. At first, I thought it was dropped into my box accidentally. No! It is to be eaten raw like that, together with the curry puff! :P

There was no signs of flood anywhere. The aftermath also not seen. But on Tuesday, after a whole morning's rain, flood started to build up. Luckily rain stopped in the afternoon. Whew!

I thought the traffic was about the same like KL downtown. But when I was on their so-called 'Highway', I know KL is much better. They highway at any time, is just like our Jalan Kuching at peak hour. Cars can only travel 60km/h at most. Highway only means no traffic lights.

Lots of shopping malls, and lots of them are high-end like our KLCC. And there are also a lot of poor people selling stuff on the road, risking their lifes in between traffics (like Manila). It really shows the gap of rich & poor is so huge.

Well, in fact, this is not my first trip. But my last trip was just too short and in much hurry that I didn't have the chance to observe and see the city. I will still need to go there again. I'm just not sure whether I should stay in Crowne Plaza again, given my bad experience this time. Maybe I should go back to Mulia Hotel then...

Challenges of Advertising

Recently I've attended a Brand & Communication Workshop in KL. Learnt quite a lot about advertising and promotions.

Advertising is becoming more and more challenging. And of course, as a result, advertisers are getting more and more creative.

One of the very interesting advertising activity (or so called consumer-engaging-activity) that I've heard was from New Zealand Tourism.

As we all know, blog is a phenomenon getting more and more popular nowadays. Some famous bloggers has great influences on consumers/visitors. NZ Tourism wanted to get more China tourists. They engaged with a famour China blogger.

They invited this blogger to visit NZ for free, from air ticket to accommodations, all expenses paid.

What the blogger needed to do was just to blog about the trip. This was exactly what that blogger love doing.

Immediately, after he posted the detail about his trip, a lot of Chinese admired the place and number of visitors increased significantly!

Now, blog advertising is going into another new dimension... Envy that blogger. :P

My Dream Place

Since childhood, I've been dreaming to go to these 3 places: New Zealand, Egypt, and Rome.

I managed to visit New Zealand 2 years ago. The trip wasn't satisfactory, coz the trip wasn't the way that I wanted it to be. I won't consider my first dream fulfilled. I will definitely want to revisit the place in the future.

Egypt is really influenced by a comic I've read long time ago - The Nil's Daughter. It is an antient city with a lot of mystery. I know the weather can be unbearably hot, but I will still want to go. The only concern I have is the terrorist activities. I hope the things I want to see won't be destroyed before my visit!

As for Rome, again influenced by comics too. But then, I admire the place for its ancient ruins and historic background. Last year, there were discussions of having our business team meeting in Rome, and I was excited for a while. Of course, due to cost and budget issue, we didn't make it. Hope we can make it some other time!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jakarta Trip - Finally

Ya, I'm in Jakarta now. Yesterday was sunny, I was happy, thing was much better than expected, things all looked normal.

This morning, just as I was leaving the hotel, my colleague called. It was flooded. Yes, it was raining in the morning, and immediately there are pockets of areas flooded.

Everywhere jammed.

But luckily the rain stopped in the afternoon. Anyway, I am cutting my trip shorter by a day. Will be going home sooner. Whew! I hope I can catch my flight on time!

Originally though I'd have to spend the Valentine's alone here. Now, with the latest development, I can at least be at home by midnight. Better than alone here, though I might be eating instant noodle for tomorrow's dinner. :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Upcoming Trips

Looks like yesterday was my last day in the office until mid March!

From Monday onwards, I will be either traveling, away for meeting in downtown KL, or on leave/holiday!

My boss just called this morning, telling me that I need to go to US for another global team meeting. I really hope that it doesn't clash with my sister's wedding. This would be too unfair for me, if I am penalised for not able to attend.

Anyway, talking about US trip, it reminds me of my last NYC trip. I've just stumbled upon this New York real estate site that also offers short term New York furnished housing for those who do not want to stay in hotel (aka corporate housing).

They also have a very good NYC Neighborhood guide that travelers may find interesting and useful.

Had I found this site earlier, I wouldn't have spent so much time and effort trying to plan our last NYC trip!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ah Beng's Letter to Ah Lian

Just for a laugh, got this in an email:

Dear Ah Lian,

Thanks you for your letter. Wrong time no see you. How everything? For me, I am quiet find. You say in your letter your taukeh soh want you to chain your look? Somemore you must wear kick kok soo, hope you can wok properly. You know, Ah Kau Kia working in a soft where company now. Last week, he take I, Muthu & few of his friend to May Nonut to eat barger. After that he take we all go to kalah ok. Muthu sing and sing no stop until the sky bright.

Next week, my father mother going to sellerbread 20 years annie wear sari. My father mother going to give a fist to all the kampong people. So you must come with your hole family. I only hope one day we no need to write and send letter to you and to me. Better I e-meow you, you e-meow me. I will ketchup with you soon. And when you got time, please few free tocall me. Goo bye.....

Worm regard,

Ah Beng

Parking Car on Slopes (Updated)

I would like to apologise for making a mistake in the previous post.

Actually, there are a slight difference between parking on a slope with car facing upwards or downwards.

If your car is parked facing downwards, steer the wheel to go TOWARDS the curbs.

If you car is parked facing upwards, steer the wheel to go AWAY of the curbs (i.e. towards traffics).

This is because in the case of upward facing, if the car slides down (i.e. reverses), the front wheel will meet the curbs first and stop the car. It takes longer for the rear wheel to reach the curb without hiting into the car behind you. That's the reason for the difference. I've confirmed with the safety driving experts in my office. Sorry for the mistake in my previous post.

Magnetic Hotel Key Cards

There was a circulation lately, that the hotel key cards contain guests' personal information including credit card details. In that circulation, it asks all hotel guests not to return the key cards, and destroy it at home.

Recently my office also received this circulation. After the security department researched further, it is confirmed that it is a hoax. You may want to read the detail here.

However, as pointed out in the site, though all major hotels do not practise encoding these sensitive information on the hotel key cards as it is not necessary, the point to ponder is:


Therefore, to reduce the risk, if I am not staying in major hotels, I would destroy the keys at home. What about you?

Jakarta Trip

I am very worried of the scheduled Jakarta business trip. The flood is still very bad, and I've received warning of water bound deceases. Water is not even safe for brushing teeth.

But business still goes on, so my meeting is still on.

I have to make a call by today or latest tomorrow whether I am going there or not. After the last incident with my boss, I dare not to even show hesitants. Headache...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Desperately Seeking Love Online

In the latest issue of the Synovate's InFact story, I found something quite interesting.

Twenty nine percent of the French and 21 percent of Filipinos have used the internet to find love, but over one third of people who aren't online daters believe only "desperate people" use the internet to look for love, according to a recent global study by market research firm Synovate.

French ranked no.1 in the list does not surprise me. However, I find it quite amazing to see an Asian country ranked no.2 there!

These are the countries surveyed in the study: Brazil, France, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Romania and the United States.

Singapore ranks the lowest of all with only 4% ever used the internate to find love. I think this probably is an underclaim. My childhood friend actually found her Singaporean husband through the internet, and she is now living in Singapore. Her husband is quite a traditional guy, but still the Internet hit him, so I guess the rate could be a lot higher than the 4%.

In fact, there are some good quality and free online dating sites available. The features are as a good as any paid dating site yet it is really 100% free. No credit card is ever required. If you are one of those seeking love online, why don't you pay a visit there?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Change Cell Phone

My Nokia cell phone is already giving me problems lately. At first, the loud speaker is not loud enough. It is also not clear. I often have to put it very near to my ears to be able to hear the conversation and to ask the other parties to repeat. I need to use the loud speaker very often during extended teleconference, which can sometimes take up to 2 hours to complete. Without a good loud speaker, it is very difficult for me!

Then, just before my Manila trip, my Nokia cell phone's loud speaker suddenly turned up okay, but the handset speaker became very soft that I can hardly hear anything at all. As a temporary solution, I have to turn on the loud speaker, and tune down the volume, to be able to carry out conversation in public (I can't be carrying on conversation with loud speaker in public, isn't it?).

My employer is actually subsidising RM800 every 2 years for cell phone or accessory purchase. But mine is not due yet. Another 4 months to go. I just don't know how to use this phone for another 4 months.

I've decided to get a new one soon, and to claim it much later - my boss said okay anyway (after she borrowed mine once in Manila)!

I'm now stuck with the appropriate phone model to buy. Unlike in many other countries, Malaysia's carrier doesn't give free phones like Cingular, TMobile, etc. There are so many free Cingular phones available online. Some are completely free, some have to pay a small amount, and will be free after a mail-in rebate. I am really drooling on those offered packages.

I'm not sure what my budget can afford, but I'm contemplating to get a Sony Ericsson. My considerations are easy - clear and loud speaker, to be used in my telecons. :)

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Locked in KL International Airport

Since returning to work last year, nearly everything has some incidents.

In my last trip to Bangkok, when I flew back, something hillarious happened. After landed in KLIA, when all of us rushed up the escalator to the arrival floor, we found that we were trapped behind a locked door.

More and more people jammed up behind the door, and the escalator kept sending more people. The small room soon was packed with travelers. The escalator is one-way, so we couldn't go anywhere else.

Some passengers knocked the glass door, hopefully the passed by security guards could notice us. Well, they did, but they just nodded and walked away (??!!). As it was late at night, the airport was quite empty and quiet, no other people noticed us. Everyone was upset and angry.

Finally, a young boy, about 9 or 10 years, saw us while he was licking his ice cream. His jaw dropped, eye widely opened, and then started laughing - as if looking at a bunch of idiots in a zoo.
And the laugh somehow infected all of us. We started to find this funny and all laughing out loud. Ya, now we are the animals in a cage for you to watch and laugh. (isn't it better than angry feeling?)

Of course, finally the door was opened and we left the claustrophobic room. Well, an experience that we can talk about, not bad!