Category Archives: Did you know that?

Win Win

 

I think besides reaching an orgasm/scratching an itch/free falling, one of the best feelings in the world has gotta be.. wait for it.

SOLVING AN ISSUE WITH A WIN-WIN SOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell yeah!

I must sound like such a geek, but I’m sure you had a time when an issue which has been bugging you and is at the back of your mind all the time, just waiting to explode.. and then…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You found a solution!

Not just any solution, but a solution which benefits both you and another party!! That’s just great, it’s like by solving your problem you have solved another problem!

Happy times.

end-Random post-end

 

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Bersih 3.0: There Is Still Hope

I am so proud of every single one of us Malaysians who went for Bersih 3.0, especially those of you who went for rally in Malaysia. You were brave. You fought for your beliefs and rights although you were fully aware of the threats with the likes of tear gas, acid water and possible violence. Bravo!

To those who attended Bersih 3.0 London, well done! Despite the horrible weather, which I understand can be very demotivating, you still made it to the Malaysian High Commission to show your support. There are definitely more people this year compared to the last.

So what’s the fuss all about?

Malaysians have so many reasons to be happy with our country: strategic location in SE Asia, free from major natural disasters, plenty of natural resources, beautiful islands and of course, great food. But ask any Malaysian to name one thing which they are most unhappy about, and 8 out of 10 will mention the government.

This has been happening for many years now. We will complain about the government and how they are inefficient, corrupt and biased. And then we will sit back because there is “nothing we can do about it”, or we expect someone else to clean the s***. I thought that things will never change. I mean, what can one person do to help change how a country works?

And then there was Bersih.

Bersih totally changed my perception ever since I first heard about it in 2011. It is indeed heartwarming to see Malaysians, regardless of race and age, come together to fight for the same purpose. Your presence represents the voice of the people and the fact that we are not happy with how the current government operates.

I think this is a huge stepping stone for us as a nation. Some people are still skeptical about Bersih, but I think it is great! It means that instead of complaining, we are taking action and being proactive about fighting for our rights as a citizen.

Many people are discussing about who was right/ wrong regarding a few violent attacks. It is indeed unfortunate that there were deaths in the supposedly peaceful rally. I am sincerely sad for their families. But I don’t think it should be a police-vs-protesters scenario, because we are ultimately one nation, and it should be more of a police-and-protesters relationship. Let’s not be discouraged or lose our calm, let’s focus on the bigger picture.

Do I think that Bersih will get their demands? I am hopeful. But what I do know for sure is that it will work. Change might not happen tomorrow or the next year, but change will happen, slowly but surely. Bersih also ignites the patriotism within us, and with more public awareness, transparency will have to follow.

Every little action helps. My simple act of sharing the Bersih 3.0 link on Facebook made a few friends aware of the event, and they will then share with their friends, creating a monopoly effect.

I love Malaysia, it is where I grew up after all, a place where I call home. It is like having a partner, sometimes you have to see past the imperfections and appreciate the positives. Of course many things (such as public transportation) can be improved, but this will come as the nation advances.

And from what I can tell from the recent events, there is still hope for Malaysia to be a peaceful multiracial country, a country which is rich and efficient with happy and contented citizens.

United we stand!

FYI:

To quote Wiki, the Bersih’s immediate demands were:

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal voting
3. Use of indelible ink
4. A minimum campaign period of 21 days
5. Free and fair access to mainstream media
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics

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KONY 2012- Do We Believe In Everything We See?

I saw many videos being shared on Facebook about KONY 2012. It didn’t really attract me, but curiosity got to the better of me and I clicked “Play” on the Youtube video yesterday.

First impression: Kudos to this selfless man/oganization who is fighting for peace and justice , I want to donate as well!

I have learnt about Joseph Kony- who he is, the crimes he committed, but what truly awed me about the video was how it fully leveraged on social media marketing (twitter/fb etc) and how it reached out to the public. Firstly, Jason (narrator of video and co-founder of Invisible Children) started telling the story through his son, knowing that people are usually more open and sympathetic when it comes to children. The Q&A with his son was brilliantly played. Secondly, he identified 20 culturemakers and 12 policymakers who has the power to make the different through their influence. Well, if these influencial people are involved and mentioned (which I then realize is totally different from them actively advocating it), that must mean that this is a sincere effort..

Isn’t it?

Then I did some research, and my verdict on KONY 2012: Not sold. Sounds like an Illuminati experience to me!

I thought the Guardian did a very good overall coverage on KONY 2012 which included some criticism, eg the current situation in Uganda (apparently in a much better situation than what was displayed in the video), the total force of LRA (said to be hundreds instead of thousands) etc.

***Read it here***

To get to my point:

This video was shared and viewed over 71 million times on Youtube, but before sharing, how many actually did a background check and researched about the facts presented in the video? It sounds like a noble cause. It certainly look very professional and factual, which made the video somewhat more trustworthy. On second thought, it just seemed so.. made up. I don’t mean to say that Joseph Kony/ children kidnapping doesn’t exist or that Invisible Children Inc is not fighting for a right cause, but there is just something’s fishy about this charity organization.

I have to admit I have not done any extensive research to conclude that this is really a scam (or not), but from what I have read, I’m just not convinced.

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Pub Crawl: 12 Pubs of 2012 in London Bridge

A pub crawl is like pub hopping, ie going to multiple pubs in a day/night and getting a drink or two at each pub. Do you know there are different themes for pub crawls? There is the Monopoly pub crawl (go to the bar at all the landmarks on the monopoly board), Waitangi Day aka Circle Line pub crawl (done by Kiwis in February) and also the 12 pubs of Christmas (according to my Irish colleagues a very Irish thing to do every December).

Maria, my teammate from Dublin missed her 12 pubs of Christmas and couldn’t wait for Dec 2012, so she enthusiastically organized a 12 pubs of 2012 with her friend and kindly invited me along!

Who says you need a reason to drink hey?

The aim is to complete all 12 pubs- we will start at 12pm, have a drink (no more, no less) at each of the 12 designated pubs, stay for a max of 0.5 hours and boom, off you go to the next.  It was all planned very thoroughly, and we were notified the names of our 12 pubs (from Borough to London Bridge) 2 days before. Before 12Po2012 (cool acronym eh), I was to be honest a bit apprehensive as I know my own alcohol tolerance and no way can I last 12 drinks and still be sober. The thought of drinking with the Irish, British and South Africans (all known to be very good drinkers mind you) was slightly intimidating.

But I was worried for nothing. I joined the group at Pub 4 and lasted all the way till Pub 12!! Very proud of myself! It was a very good experience as everyone in the group was open and friendly. It’s hard not to after a couple of drinks I guess 🙂 You can tell that our expressions get more jolly as the day progresses.

Nacho with cheese and jalapeno dip, and chips after a whole lot of drinking is GOD.

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Disclaimer: I only lasted until the end as I drank only at every other pub. That did not stop me from having a splitting headache as I made the grave mistake of mixing my drinks, ie wine-vodka-malibu etc. All I can say is that I am a wiser drinker now.

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Margaret Thatcher aka The Iron Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep is an amazing actress!)with my lovely housemates and their friends over the weekend. What can I say, I was enlightened. It was an educational movie as not only did I find out about Margaret Thatcher, I also learnt a bit the of history of Britain during the 1970s-1990s.

My general knowledge is the total opposite of kick-ass. Prior to this movie, I only knew that MT was a very vocal female politician, and was not favored in the EU due to her strong resistance to join the Euro currency. Having lived in London for 4.5 years, I am ashamed to say that my knowledge of UK’s history extends to that in my high school History syllabus, ie British colonization in the East.

I did read up a bit about her and will redeem myself by listing a few facts about MT which I found interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. MT is still alive. Born in 1925 and won her first Conservative seat at 34 in 1959.
  2. Married a wealthy businessman called Denis Thatcher. She was a chemist after finishing her studies in Oxford University (2nd honors!) and went on to do bar before ending up as a politician.
  3. Longest serving Prime Minister, close to 11 years of service in the 20th century. Won an unprecedented third term as PM but decided to resign after her position was challenged.
  4. Went for vocal lessons to make her voice deeper and more authoritative.
  5. Led the UK to the Falklands War when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. She decided to go to war for that island despite it being claimed as a land with low economic importance at the time. The British Navy eventually gained victory over the islands.
  6. Fought strongly for privatisation, reduced the power of the trade union (despite a huge resistance) and cut government spending during a rough economy climate.

If you are still interested, there is always Wikipedia 😉

 

On a random note, the differences between the UK, Great Britain and England– in maps which is very helpful.

England -> Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) -> UK (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

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Too Busy To Sort Out Your Life? Outsource It!

Like AJ Jacobs! An interesting read, start only if you have the time.

***

It began a month ago. I was midway through The World Is Flat, the best-seller by Tom Friedman. I like Friedman, despite his puzzling decision to wear a mustache. His book is all about how outsourcing to India and China is not just for tech support and carmakers but is poised to transform every industry in America, from law to banking to accounting. CEOs are chopping up projects and sending the lower-end tasks to strangers in cubicles ten time zones away. And it’s only going to snowball; America has not yet begun to outsource.

I don’t have a corporation; I don’t even have an up-to-date business card. I’m a writer and editor working from home, usually in my boxer shorts or, if I’m feeling formal, my penguin-themed pajama bottoms. Then again, I think, why should Fortune 500 firms have all the fun? Why can’t I join in on the biggest business trend of the new century? Why can’t I outsource my low-end tasks? Why can’t I outsource my life?

The next day I e-mail Brickwork, one of the companies Friedman mentions in his book. Brickwork–based in Bangalore, India–offers “remote executive assistants,” mostly to financial firms and health-care companies that want data processed. I explain that I’d like to hire someone to help with Esquire-related tasks–doing research, formatting memos, like that. The company’s CEO, Vivek Kulkarni, responds: “It would be a great pleasure to be talking to a person of your stature.” Already I’m liking this. I’ve never had stature before. In America, I barely command respect from a Bennigan’s maître d’, so it’s nice to know that in India I have stature.

A couple of days later, I get an e-mail from my new “remote executive assistant.”

Dear Jacobs,

My name is Honey K. Balani. I would be assisting you in your editorial and personal job. . . . I would try to adapt myself as per your requirements that would lead to desired satisfaction.

I go out to dinner with my friend Misha, who grew up in India, founded a software firm, and subsequently became nauseatingly rich. I tell him about Operation Outsource. “You should call Your Man in India,” he says. Misha explains that this is a company for Indian businessmen who have moved overseas but who still have parents back in New Delhi or Mumbai. YMII is their overseas concierge service–it buys movie tickets and cell phones and other sundries for the abandoned moms.

Perfect. This could kick my outsourcing up to a new level. I can have a nice, clean division of labor: Honey will take care of my business affairs, and YMII can attend to my personal life–pay my bills, make vacation reservations, buy stuff online. Happily, YMII likes the idea, and just like that the support team at Jacobs Inc. has doubled. And so far, I’m not going broke: I’m paying $1,000 for a month of eight-hour days from Honey (Brickwork gave me a half-off deal) and $400 for a month of four-hour days from Your Man in India.

Honey has completed her first project for me: research on the person Esquire has chosen as the Sexiest Woman Alive. (See page 232.) I’ve been assigned to write a profile of this woman, and I really don’t want to have to slog through all the heavy-breathing fan Web sites about her. When I open Honey’s file, I have this reaction: America is fucked. There are charts. There are section headers. There is a well-organized breakdown of her pets, measurements, and favorite foods (e.g., swordfish). If all Bangalorians are like Honey, I pity Americans about to graduate college. They’re up against a hungry, polite, Excel-proficient Indian army. 

I get an introductory e-mail from my personal-life outsourcer. Her name is Asha. Even though the firm’s called Your Man in India, I’ve been assigned another woman. Hmm. I suspect these outsourcers figure I’m a randy men’s-magazine editor who enjoys bossing around the ladies. I e-mail Asha a list of books I want from BarnesAndNoble.com and a birthday gift I’d like her to buy my wife, Julie–a silicone pot holder. (Romantic, no?) Both go smoothly.

In fact, in the next few days, I outsource a whole mess of online errands to Asha: paying my bills, getting stuff from drugstore.com, finding my son a Tickle Me Elmo. (Actually, the store was out of Tickle Me Elmos, so Asha bought a Chicken Dance Elmo–good decision.) I had her call Cingular to ask about my cell-phone plan. I’m just guessing, but I bet her call was routed from Bangalore to New Jersey and then back to a Cingular employee in Bangalore, which makes me happy for some reason.

Every day Asha attaches an Excel chart listing the status of my many tasks. The system is working–not counting the hitch in the drugstore order: Instead of wax paper, we get wax-strip mustache removers for ladies. My wife is insulted.

It’s the fourth morning of my new, farmed-out life, and when I flip on my computer, my e-mail in-box is already filled with updates from my overseas aides. It’s a strange feeling having people work for you while you sleep. Strange, but great. I’m not wasting time while I drool on my pillow; things are getting done.

As on every morning at 8:30, I get a call from Honey. “Good morning, Jacobs.” Her accent is noticeable but not too thick, Americanized by years of voice training. She’s the single most upbeat person I’ve ever encountered. Whatever soul-deadening chore I give her, she says, “That would indeed be interesting” or “Thank you for bestowing this important task.” I have a feeling that if I asked her to count the number of semicolons in the Senate energy bill, she would be grateful for such a fascinating project.

Every call ends the same way: I thank her, and she replies, “You are always welcome, Jacobs.” I’m starting to like her a lot.

One task for which Honey is thankful is e-mailing my colleagues. I’ve begun to refuse to communicate with them directly. Why should I? Honey can be my buffer from the unpleasant world of office politics. I’ll be aloof and mysterious, like the pope or Mark Burnett. This morning, I ask Honey to pester my boss about an idea I sent him a few days ago: an article on modern gold prospectors.

Mr. Granger,

Jacobs had mailed you about the idea of “gold prospecting.” I am sure you would have received his mail on this. It would be great if you could invest your time and patience on giving thought about his plans. Do revert and let Jacobs know about your suggestions on the same. As you know that your decision would be accepted with utmost respect.

Jacobs is awaiting your response.

Thanking you, Honey Balani

….

***
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Getting Into An Argument? Think Again..

I have learnt a very important lesson today. I want to share it with you, and hope that you find it as useful as I do. If not now, then in the future.

How many of you have disagreed with another person? If you know you are right and the other wrong, would you point it out? Must you? Is it necessary to argue just so that you can prove that you are right?

I argue a lot, I have come to realise. Yes some of you (you know who you are) might have been stating that fact, but the impact is always bigger when one discovers that though reflection and self-realization.

In conjunction with one of my 2012 “wants”  (read more), I am reading a book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. He is simply brilliant.

There is only one way to get the best of an argument- and that is to avoid it.

You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it. And if you win it, you lose it. Why? Suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis (not a sound mind, in case you’re wondering). Then what? You will feel fine. But you have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph.

A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.

If your temper is aroused and you tell em a thing or two, you will have a fine time unloading your feelings. But what about the other person? Will he share your pleasure? Will your belligerent (hostile/aggressive) tone, your hostile attitude make it easy for him to agree with you?

I told you he is brilliant!

Perhaps I feel so strongly because I am guilty of this. And it has cost me my relationship. It’s reassuring though to know that life goes the way you steer it. Yes, I might be argumentative but I want to change. I will definitely not make the same mistake in my next relationship, or in life for that matter.

They say it’s not how nice you can be when things are going right. Everyone can be nice. The test is when things are not going your way. How you react when the going gets tough determines if you are a big person or a little person.

So I have learned today. I want to improve myself, be a better person.

What about you? As my teammates would say, Everyday’s a school day 😉

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5 Stupid Questions Men Ask Women

If you haven’t watched this video, watch it now! Don’t let the length of the video scare you away, if you have been in a relationship then this is worth your 10 minutes. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Connie Podesta did a very honest take on questions women ask men. Although some of the Youtube community do not seem to agree with the questions (from their comments), I have to admit I’m guilty of all of them.

Yes women can be demanding and yearn for a lot of affection, but that is because we are sensitive creatures! Sometimes the opposite gender ask stupid questions too. So here is my take on stupid questions that men ask women. No offense, boys!  Feel free to disagree, it is possibly biased 😉

1) I don’t understand why you are so angry/getting annoyed over this small issue?

She probably told you the reason a hundred times. And you didn’t listen, for the hundredth time.

2) Why do women prefer bad boys?

We don’t. Yes, we may start out with one of them, what’s there not to like about a guy who are good with girls and knows how to make you feel like a princess? He has the ability to charm you with his personality, cool gadgets and friends. But as we mature, we realize that these men will only cause us heartache and pain. So we learn, and we will end up with Mr. Nice Guy in the end. A man with a good heart who is also loyal and patient. Being hot is a bonus and not a necessity. You just have to wait it out.

3) Do you want to know how a multi-port injection system of a car works? It’s so cool!

No.

4) Do you mind if I cancel our planned date as there is a LAN game going on at a mate’s place?

Given the fact that our generation grew up with playstation and gameboy, I am pretty sure that they will enjoy gaming even at the age of 40. Even so, there is no reason skip a date, especially if effort has been put into planning and this is meant to be a bonding thing. Trust me, no girl is going to be happy when you choose to attend a bananafest instead of spending time with her.

5) How was I to know that you actually wanted the xx as your birthday gift?

Pauses and thinks, “No wonder she kept pointing it out everytime we passed by the store! Now I get it!”…. Too late!

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Turkey: A country so rich with history

I went to Turkey on Dec 21st-30th, 2011. There was 17 of us in the tour, and all was family ❤ I can safely say that I have one of the craziest, family members of all times, in a good way of course.

The trip was definitely an eye-opener to me. Turkey is mindblowingly rich with history and culture: it is one of the oldest inhabited area in the world, with the Greeks and the Romans being the earlier settlers in ancient times.

We had a very passionate and patriotic tourguide, Can, who (possibly) overloaded us with information and facts about his country. So here are my top 5 discoveries/ fun facts for you about Turkey:

  1. Location: Geographically, it is 97% Asian and 3% European. It is also not a Middle Eastern country. The capital is Ankara and not Istanbul.
  2. Religion: 99% Muslim, most of them more liberal as they can drink and smoke as they wish. We are also allowed in their mosques.
  3. History: Gained independence as Republic of Turkey in 1923 which was led by Mustafa Kemal aka Attaturk. This marks the end of the reign of the Ottoman Empire and the last Sultan.
  4. Name: Should be pronounced as “Turkiye” (Tur-Kee-Ya) per Turkish language, and not Turkey as in the chicken.
  5. People: You get some really good looking people of European and Asian heritage ie light colored hair and blue eyes , while some others are normal Turkish looking.

What? 😉 Me having a laugh with sis at Cappadocia after our life threatening hot air balloon ride (which I will definitely blog about soon).

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Have You Been Londonised?

This is such a good read, only a Londoner will be able to appreciate this fully. I have got 10/10, what about you?

The 10 signs that you’ve become a Londoner

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