Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hypermarkets with Promotions Budget

The latest controversy regarding bookshops in Malaysia not willing to sell Harry Potter's last book due to the hypermarkets selling it below distributor's price is even mentioned in under the heading "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Interesting.

To my personal opinion, it is a very good economic move by hypermarkets to actually make a loss of about RM5 per book just so that people will swarm the outlets. They will in the end purchase other products of the hypermarket which will easily set-off the 'loss' from selling the book.

Legally, it's totally sound. Ethically, no. Not to me at least. But ethics goes to the back of the alley when it comes to profiting in most business. Unless it affects the business in the future, they will go all out on getting profits at the cost of ethics. In the current case, the hypermarkets have just made good friends with Harry Potter fans in Malaysia, and made enemies with bookshop owners.

However, being in Malaysian and its culture, there will be no public protest or even placards or revenge from the bookshop owners. I bet the CEO of Popular, or Times, or even MPH would just visit Tesco or Carrefour for their next groceries shopping within a week.

However, let's look at the strong capacity of hypermarkets. They are allowed to sell ANYTHING, this means that when one single product suddenly become soooo hot, they can just throw it into the promotions budget and still get a profit from any of the "single product" purchasers' visits.

Should Star Wars suddenly come out with a compendium of all 6 shows with extra footage and it comes hot, hypermarket would just slash about 10% to 20% from distributors price and make a loss which eventually would make good earnings. Heck, just a month ago even motorcycle was sold in the hypermarket competing against motorcycle shops out there.

Sigh, the force is strong in hypermarkets.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Countdown has begun as at 12:00noon today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


At this current juncture, there is an 85% chance that the 'countdown' will begin this Friday. However, the percentage is many times more volatile than the stocks on our KLSE 2nd Board, because this morning it started with 70%.

Happenings throughout the day will decrease or increase it, and actually it increases more than it decreases from these events/happenings. Total idle time will actually decrease it slowly.

As long as it hits 90% by Friday morning, the countdown will begin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HP Live Chat: Review

I'd have to give a thumbs up to HP today. I was browsing websites seeking for notebooks, from Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu, BenQ, Sony, HP, Asus and Twinhead. While looking through HP, I'm a bit disappointed at the non-availability of a search features to shortlist notebooks with the specs that I need.

After looking through three different models (out of about 31 models), a pop-up appeared asking if I would like to have a live chat with a representative to help me out. I clicked yes. The downside is the message below while waiting...

We are experiencing a high volume of chats currently. All representatives are currently assisting other customers. We apologize for any inconvenience. You are number 1 in a queue of 1. Thank you for your patience.

...which came, like, several times. After about 10 minutes or so (I wasn't waiting of course, since the window will flash when someone replies), the chat continued. I'll list my chat session to show the capability of their live chat session to judge for yourself. They even waited for me for several minutes as I was in the loo. :D And I even checked whether I'm talking to a real live person or not. Hehe...

You are connected with HP's Pre-Sales Consulting Chat Service. My name is Lilly. How may I help you today?
Lilly: Hello and welcome. How may I assist you today?
Lilly: Are you with me?
Lilly: Still with me?
Lilly: I have not heard from you for a few minutes. Do you still need me to keep this chat conversation open for you?
you: Hi, I won't take too much of your time. It's difficult that the website don't have a search function to shortlist products. I'm looking for a notebook with Graphic Card at least Geforce 8600M GT or Quadro FX Go 1400 or Radeon X1700/X800XT.
you: Size is not of importanct
Lilly: Glad to help you today
you: importance*
Lilly: May I ask the country you are chatting from?
you: Malaysia
Lilly: Thanks for the information
Lilly: Please hold on for a moment while I check that up for you.
you: Ok. Thanks. Am I talking to a live person or an artificial intelligence?
Lilly: I'm a live person :)
you: Okay, thank you. I'll wait. Just that your replies seem scripted just now.
Lilly: Sure...
Lilly: Will be back with the information required.
Lilly: I'm back....
Lilly: Thanks much for waiting
you: No problem.
Lilly: You can look at the
Lilly: HP Compaq nw9440 Mobile Workstation
Lilly: HP Compaq 8710w Mobile Workstation
you: Can I know which is the cheapest amongst them?
you: Are you able to look that up?

Lilly: These are the models that come with NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M card
Lilly: Let me check on that for you
you: Quadro FX 1600M has higher stats than those I've listed. Thanks for the list. I'll wait for your answer on the price.
Lilly: Thanks much for waiting online
Lilly: The HP Compaq 8710w Mobile Workstation- Models are a bit cheaper than the nw9440 work station models
you: Ok. That's about as much as I need to know. Thanks a lot, Lilly. You made my search simpler.
Lilly: You're most welcome
Lilly: It was a pleasure assisting you.
Lilly: Bye & take care.
you: Bye...
Lilly: :-)

It's good that websites have such a proactive assistance to help users browsing their sites.

Monday, July 16, 2007

One Year

Now that my son is going to turn two years old soon, I've quite upset to note that, by making a quick glance-back in my one year (since July 2006), I'm not proud of what I've achieved. While I'm happy to have a business started-up and quite a generous increment (but not bonus), I find that since I lost the building which I was taking care of, I'm looking for the end of the month for my salary to further improve on my financial health.

Now, while it may seem to be good that I'm lowering debt and increasing investment, the most unhealthy thing is that I totally let go of the 'days' that I'm going through. It may seem nice to think about "12-months pay totals to bla bla, that's good, and furthermore there's increment and bonus", but thinking one year ahead in financial terms, we totally forgot that it also adds a year to our age.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that my days are spent uselessly. Not at all, my weekends are great, and my home time is very very good. But my career hours is totally useless coz' I'm below the "average mood" level at all times since 1st June this year. If this crappy mindset of "looking ahead to better times by earning what I'm earning but being unhappy at work" sets in properly, I'll look behind one day and realise I've lose 5 years of life being rather unhappy 8 hours a work-day. That's BAD!

So, I'm totally ready to release that 8 unhappy hours per day for lesser earning power, but at least my health will be good. At least then looking back 5 years from now, I can see that my 5 years during that 8 hours are healthy. Though I'll live up to my destined 150 years old :D, 5 years is still a lot. That's 3.33 percent of my life being unhealthy during daytimes. So, well, it's time to reset.

Timing has to be perfect though, because once the clock starts, by doing my "Give N Go" letter, I have 3 months of "no leave allowed". Hari Raya is on the 13th-14th Oct, which means it's not easy to take leave during that time while being in the notice period. And also, should a nice building suddenly turns up for me to take care, it's too late.

Anyway, intuition always lead you to the correct direction. Will update again on "Give N Go".

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Victor's Diary: Day 5

Dear Diary,

Is it 9:30pm. I didn't go to school today. I have very high fever whole day and now still lying down writing this. Yesterday I thought my brother wanted to wake me up after I sleep to tell me a secret, but I was wrong. No actually I was right, but something is wrong.

Right before I went to bed, my brother came in and say he's tired and he's going to bed already. Diary, I share a room with my brother. His bed is at one side of the wall and I'm on the other side, so when I turn to my right, I can see him sleeping on his bed. We divide our room with invisible line in the middle of the room to put our things. The room door is at his side of the room, about one meter from feet side of the bed, but facing the wall to my left and not facing his feet when he sleeping.

Anyway, I think after midnight he woke me up. "Victor... pssst.... Victor" he said, so I woke up still groggy. Even the room lights he didn't turn on. So while I still lie down looking at him bend down to talk to me, he tell me not to tell anyone what he going to tell me. He said, if I can remember clearly is "Victor, just remember that when it's suppose to be red, it is actually green." When I ask why he talking nonsense, he repeat again the same thing. I think he must be crazy so I just say "Ok ok, that's all? I want to sleep already." Then he open the door and went out.

I shout at him saying "Hey, where you going?" when the door closed. So, I jumped out of bed to open the door to ask him where he going to late at night. But when I open the door, my brother said "What are you doing!? Sleep-walking ah?" and when I look at his voice direction, he was in his bed. So I ask him how come he go out and come back so fast and so quiet? And he said I'm crazy, or maybe have weird dream, because he's been sleeping all the time.

So I scream running to Papa's room, but no one was in. I remembered, maybe Papa not home yet so I went to living room see Mama just wake up hearing my scream. I ask her if she got see my brother come out of room, but she say no. But she did ask why she hear me open and close door and then few seconds later open again.

After that Mama told me I fainted and in the morning when I woke up I was at hospital, Papa just only got me medicine for high fever. I wake up wrong time also, because right after that doctor inject me saying that it's for my fever. Papa and Mama ask me why I fainted, but when I want to talk about it, I find I got no voice.

Until now my voice not yet return and everytime I want to write message to them saying what's wrong, I remember what happened and I just cannot write to Mama. What if Mama say it's just a dream and then I get more angry and sad she don't believe. Mama just about 10 minute ago say good night to me, Papa not home yet still and my brother sleeping over his friend house tonight because tomorrow is weekend.

I really hope it's nightmare and I don't get it again. I want to sleep at living room with Mama but I think I just sleep here with door open. I hope I can sleep, diary.

Victor - 13th July 2007

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

First of all, a background. I have tried reading Harry Potter books before, and the furthest I went was two chapters. I cannot relate to JK's style of writing and therefore have opted to just watch the show though it may not totally capture the exact story in the book. This is expected coz' Lord Of The Rings really did not follow the book much and added a lot of flair.

Secondly, I'll do a quick review on GSC Cinemas. The reason I managed to catch the show at 11:45pm, on Friday the 13th July 2007 is coz' GSC's website allows me to choose the showtime, where to sit and then pay for my ticket upfront. I reached the cinema at 11:50pm, gave the number to the ticket guy, grabbed the ticket (already paid for) and head to the cinema. No queues, no hassle.

Now for a non-spoiler review with one photo (which would not really spoil it anyway).

The show is darker than previous movies, which I like. Special effects are a lot more smooth this time, very smooth in fact, really very smooth. One very good example is that teleportation through a fireplace thingy which will come up quite a few times in the movie.

Videography is much improved, with cameras capturing panoramic view of earth and sky in one scene, another scene of a neighbourhood (being able to see the road and houses aligned at both sides of the road) and very good camera movement ala similar to running down Saruman's tower in LOTR from the rooftop to the ground as well as cameras reversing from outdoor to indoor through window panes like Panic Room.

As mentioned in interviews, no Quiddich (I don't care how it's spelled) this time around. Less character developments on the 'naughty' boys, but other characters' development went very well such as that of Neville.

I have to complain that two areas of the movies are left hanging, which you will notice by the end of the movie. They involve 'wrong judgment of person' and 'arrow in the arm'.

Superb acting by Alan Rickman (as Snape) as always in all four previous movies as well. His comments are to die for "Getting sentimental, are we?" and "I could vomit." Another superb acting by newcomer Evanna Lynch (as Luna Lovegood). Others actings are just as expected such as Helena Bonham Carter is as good as is expected of her. :D

Lastly, the best scene in the movie, if I could freeze frame, is when they're in the place as in the photo below. However, in this specific freeze frame (that I find really nice), is when the camera gets a shot of all of them with Luna near left-centre looking over her shoulder while others are looking at what's behind her. Nice lighting, nice camera movement and timing in capturing that 3 seconds shot.

That's all. In summary, not a disappointment at all for a grown-up to catch this movie. The duration I suspect is about 2 hours, because while the movie started a little late, I got into my car at 2:15am. Do watch.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Victor's Diary: Day 4

Dear Diary,

It is 9:30pm. Papa came home early today at 6:00pm. I was very happy that I took my test paper that he haven't see yet and showed to him. He patted my head saying that I'm very clever, then he went into his room. But then after dinner, he went out again and now not home yet. I think he really trying to get more money for we all.

At school my friend again ask me for money. I tell him I don't have money, and even if I have money I won't lend him until he give me back my money. He say I'm lying that I have no money, but I really didn't bring any money today because Mama made me my lunch. This morning she woke up early to make me nasi goreng. Then he told me to better bring money tomorrow. If he ask again tomorrow I'm telling teacher. I really starting to be scared of him now.

At dinner I reminded them that we are going out for my birthday present this weekend. Papa promised that we will surely get it this weekend. I hope so. I also told them that there is a boy in my class who like to bully people ask for money for lunch. Papa ask me if I got bullied, but I tell him no. I don't want Papa to get angry with me for lending money in the first place.

My older brother is going to tell me a secret later. When I lie down just now, got paper under my pillow saying "After midnight I'll wake you up, I need to speak to you. Shh... don't tell anybody about this." I wonder why it's so important I must go sleep first then only he's going to wake me up to tell me secret.Did he do something wrong or what? I don't want to get involved if he ask me to handle his problem.

Good night, diary. I tell you tomorrow what my brother going to tell me.

Victor - 12th July 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Victor's Diary: Day 3

Dear Diary,

Now is already 10:16pm. I'm going to sleep already but first I want to talk about what happened today.

Actually, diary, I'm very sad. This morning Papa didn't say anything about my test paper. Maybe he didn't see it last night and this morning so I ask Papa if there is anything nice in the fridge. He went to the fridge, open it and then he say nothing interesting inside. Then he said he's late for work and straight away went to the door. Mama just look at him.

At school I ask my friend back for my money, but he say he don't know what I talking about. I said I lend him 5 ringgit yesterday he say "Where got?". So I told teacher that he don't want to return my money. So when teacher ask him whether he got borrow my money, he say no, and then teacher look at me say next time I don't lend money to anyone. I don't understand why teacher didn't ask him to return my money. I'm so sad. I'm not friending him anymore.

At lunch he come to me again say he want to borrow money but I tell him no, and then he told me that tomorrow he return 10 ringgit instead. But I'm smart now, I tell him tomorrow he surely will say that I didn't borrow him money. He got angry and push me hard to the wall and tell me next time I better be careful. Why he acting like that? His mother didn't give him enough money to eat?

Three more days to going out for my birthday present. So happy I can't wait. Papa is not home yet, again. Mama is going to wait for Papa at the couch again in front of tv tonight. Sometime I don't know why Mama must sleep there. The bed is always more cozy. Anyway, good night diary. I hope tomorrow is good day for me. Today is bad day.

Victor - 11th July 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Victor's Diary: Day 2

Dear Diary,

It is 10:11pm. When I told Mrs Lim that I start writing in the diary she gave me already, she said I should write what time it is when I write. So now I include the time now in my diary.

My test this morning was very good, I got an A+! Teacher gave me three gold star stickers on my test paper I was so proud I brought it home to show papa and mama. I know they will be proud of me. When mama saw it, she say I did a good job. But I waited for papa until 8pm he still haven't come home. Then mama said to eat dinner first, no need to wait for him because he's busy tonight. I eat a lot because very very hungry.

Now I'm going to sleep already, and my test paper I put at the fridge. I hope papa see it when he comes home later. I don't understand why he must always work so late. At least I see him a lot on weekend. Today Tuesday already, can't wait to weekend to get my birthday present.

Oh, one more thing, diary. Today I didn't have lunch, because my class mate ask to borrow five ringgit from me because he forgot his lunch money. I say can only lend him two ringgit, but he say he's very hungry. I must remember to ask him back for money tomorrow.

Victor - 10th July 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Victor's Diary: Day 1

Dear Diary,

I'm so happy my teacher gave you to me as a present. I think eventhough it's late because it's already July, at least I now have my own diary. What to write first, hmm? I think I introduce myself to you so that you know it's me whenever I write in you.

My name is Victor Ng. I'm now evelen years old in Standard 5. My birthday was last week Tuesday, but I didn't get any present yet. Papa wished me only on Wednesday morning, he said he was too busy to notice the date. Mama wished me on Tuesday evening, but she say she not yet buy my present, and promise to get one during weekend. But during the weekend, they went out to wedding sand didn't take me out. But they promise me they will get my present next weekend. I mean, this weekend.

I have one older brother and one younger sister. My brother is in Form 2 and my sister in Standard 3. Both of them also forgot my birthday but I forgot their birthday too, so it's fair and square. I think that's all I write in you today, I need to study for tomorrow morning test. I will write more tomorrow.

Thank you for coming to my life, diary. And thank you Mrs Lim.

Victor - 9th July 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Two months back, I was browsing through a book at my doctor's clinic and I came across a very interesting short four-points article entitled "Questions to ask before we sleep." Seriously I can only remember two questions, I guess the other two was not interesting enough to commit to memory: -

1. What knowledge have I acquired today?
2. What temptations have I resisted today?

Question 1 is quite standard. My wife knows that I stress on learning something new everyday, even a single english word with its meaning and usage is considered knowledge.

Question 2 is interesting. When I browse through the memories of the day, yes, there have been tons of small and huge temptations that comes into your life. Three things that jumps in first in your decision making tree are common sense, moral values/principles and the general effect on you.

It's really sad that the word "Temptation" is generally on a negative vibe. "I'm tempted to eat that creamy cake." "I'm tempted to punch you in the face." These are more often used than "I'm tempted to open a business than working 9-5." And you will never hear anyone waking up in the morning saying "I'm tempted to utilise my entire working hours being 100% effecient." Eeee...

Most of the time, the three factors above would already have decided to stop a temptation, fialing which, a final decision making factor comes in; "lust/passion/want versus impact/consequence", or easier to put it, emotion vs logic, 'heart' vs brain. I know when it comes to food, emotion kick it rather strongly for me! That mayonaisse looks real good, though it's bad for health, I just have to have it!

How about other temptations? If I were to get a 'gift' by choosing one contractor over another, I know the consequence is zero (hardly get caught) but principle will kick it (is the money clean?). If I decide to finish watching a morning show and be late for work (general effect on me, because it's not my principle "to be early to work"), I might face consequence when my boss looks for me. All the four factors in going resisting temptation are inter-twined.

Common sense flies out the window during a rage. If I punch that idiot, I'll be questioned by the police, and a lot of hassle will start, but it's my principle that anyone who insults my family to my face, they will answer for it. Principle flies out the window when emotions/curiousity gets too strong. And as many people have different sets of principles, there are many different sets of opinion whether something is a temptation or just a norm.

Back to the main post, what temptations did I face in the latest waking 18 hours of my life? There's food. There's browsing internet/laze around vs doing work. There's tv/computer vs playing with my son. There are tons, in fact, and we face it over and over again, day in and day out.

But yes, I seriously believe is it good to question oneself that question before bed, because it reinforces decisions made against that temptations into principles, and the temptation will eventually cease to exist. Just like smoking, a norm to some, a temptation to others, and just like a piece of pebble at the roadside (totally no interest) to me. Though I've tried it due to curiousity (temptation ain't it?), I'm just lucky it never end up a daily temptation.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Why The Cheese Is Tasteless

Before I was requested to assist in Research, a certain lady which I'll name her M was looking forward to have someone assisting her. From my understanding, she already has 10 research papers to finish up and with about three research assistant under her, what she really wants is a research writer so that I can perhaps take about 3 of the research papers to unburden her load.

Old habits die hard I guess, she only gave me ONE to take over. To me it's fine, taking over one is not so bad, and so I did, processing all the analysis into proper context in the papers. After two weeks, what really stumped me was the request that "Can you print what you have done?". That was an awkward request, we have a shared folder for her to just check on my work and add in whatever is necessary.

Anyhoo, I printed the 32 pages of work which I handed to her. As expected, due to her busy schedule, she took three working days before coming back to me with her comments. I was expecting a lot of suggestions to improve on the writings or research, or some things to strengthen the context. However, what came back was only 30% suggestion, and 70% sentence construction therapy?! Writing is like cooking, no two cooks are alike in their ways of cooking or presentation, and no two writers express information the same way, albeit it being professional. Two lawyers writing a report on the same matter will have the sentence structure totally different, but having the same information relayed.

Now, since my sentences are bungled to sound the way she wants it to sound, I might as well just bring myself back down to a research assistant and leave all the writings to her. As bold and aloof as I may sound, I really do not belong at research assistant level as I know my competency in delivering this work. Even my CEO do not change my sentencing when I wrote a monthly 2,000 words report to the Landlord of the previous building I was taking care of.

So, well, here we have someone who I was during my college days. Refusal to have a 'different' style of a report which will convey the same professional information. Exactly the way I changed my team mates codings and indentations to be of my style during my computer project days.

What goes around comes around?? I don't know, but it's really tasteless now. Not only do I need to analyse information, but I now have to write sentences according to her style. I can impersonate the actions of at least two colleagues in my office, but to impersonate a writing style is something I cannot do unless I know the person very well.

Music Memory

It's been a month since my cheese was moved, and I nibbling on it daily for the past one month, I can confirm that it's tasteless. Anyway,... since the last few posts are a little weird, I'll dwelve into my past for a short while.

While I'm an avid Hitz.FM listener in the morning, after 10:00am whenever I'm driving, I'll tune in to Hot.FM. Basically, since I'm more prone to enjoy music of the last 80's to mid 90's, that's where I can get to listen to them. While Light N' Easy do play music from that era (wrong word, "from that timespan"), I do wanna listen to rock-and-roll type of music too.

One song came up, "A Whole New World" from Aladdin's soundtrack. Threw me back to my Form 3 year. Music is a core subject in my weekly timetable during the first three years of secondary school, however, it's just because the principal asks it to be so, but there wasn't really any teachings of playing musical instruments and the likes. It's purely just learning of notes, lyrics to some good songs, and err.... sing.

My Form 3 "music exam" takes the cake. We are to choose one out of several songs to sing, and we're to enter the music room in fours, luckily it was an all male quadruplets or all female quadruplets at a time. And yes, that was the song I chose. So, the music teacher will start playing the melody on the piano and I'm suppose to give my best rendition of "A Whole New World". Sigh.....

My grade at the end of the day was a miserable 'C'. :D Comes to show I'll never go far in any music competition or those AF kinda reality show. I shoulda choose something that don't need melody like Rockafeller Skank's "Right about now, the funk soul brother, check it out now, the funk so brother."

Short post, just to keep in record. :) No pun intended.