Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good Lighting Brings Good Chi

At the hairdresser's the other day, I picked up the latest copy of Lilian Too's magazine. Though I did not have the chance to finish the entire magazine, I managed to read a few good articles about dreams and beliefs, 2009 being a good year for Rabbit people, apartment-living, what to do for Period 8 (for twenty years after Feb 4, 2004) to improve your life, health and wealth and a few others. Also, 2009 is a year of weak earth and strong water. Should we expect more landslides and such?

Some people do not believe in feng shui but I believe there is truth in this science. Just don't go overboard. This again is subjective. Everything in moderation, I say. By the way, lighting plays an important role in feng shui. A space must be adequately lit to invite good chi. Now you know.

Live Green - No Air-conditioning?

December is known to be a wet month here being the monsoon season. People of the east coast of the peninsula are usually prepared in the event of floods. Year-end exams are sometimes moved forward to accommodate this situation. Club Med which is located on the east coast is closed this time of the year beginning end of September and will stay closed until February or March.

Being a tropical country, Malaysia sees only rain and sunshine though we get the occasional electrical storms and strong winds. After the rain yesterday, it is good to see the sun out today. However, these days, it is not wise to go out into the sun with no protection. I use an umbrella going under the sun. A little protection goes a long way, don't you think? And in this weather, I hate to think of sitting in a car with an air-conditioning unit with a broken down a/c compressor. God forbid!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Frolics - What Kind of Soup Are You?

I love soups, especially those that are in the stockpot simmering for hours over a low or medium fire. This is how Chinese soups are normally prepared though these days, canned soups have become quick fix-it replacements. If soups tell who we are, then what soup are you?

HappySurfer Is Miso Soup

You are worldly and well traveled. You have lived a lot of life, and you know there is a lot more to see!

You are very interested in new experiences, especially new literary and cultural experiences.

You have a refined palate and love many exotic tastes. You get used to "acquired tastes" fairly easily.

For you, soup doesn't have to be a meal. You can appreciate a simple soup any time.

Other Fun Quizzes

Is Your Insurance Policy Bought Online?

Fuel prices have come down so much, yet prices of goods and services are still high and no sign of price reduction anywhere in sight. With inflation on the rise and a recession at hand, everyone is finding ways and means of cutting costs in everyday living.

The other day, a colleague was lamenting about the insurance rates and was thinking about switching insurance schemes. She checked out some term life insurance rates online and was wondering whether it is a good idea to buy insurance online. The thing is, over here, insurance agents go the extra mile for their clients.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Is Golf Your Game?

I am not a golfer and know practically next to nothing where golf is concerned. When I was at a golf sports shop the other day, I was amazed at the range of equipment and accessories available relating to the game of golf.

The items that caught my attention most were the golf bags. They came in various brands, textures, colors, shapes and sizes. You might be wondering what I was doing there. A colleague wanted to pick up something for his golf game this weekend, but don't ask me what it was.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Wishes for Christmas...

My Dear Friends...



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Samsung LCD Monitor

The world of technology has indeed made tremendous improvements in our life. From the microwave oven in the kitchen, to the new tv in the hall, to the home theatre and sound system for entertainment, to communication and a whole load of others.

From the days of black and white PC monitors, we now have much more sophisticated monitors and I am happy with my Samsung wide-screen lcd monitor with its soft curves, rich piano black finish, clear acrylic accent bars and integrated cable housings.

There Is No Business Like Food Business

With the economic downturn, business is getting competitive. Every one is out to get you to part with your money. I was in Wangsa Maju the other evening and noticed the row of new shops. There certainly is no shortage of restaurants or eateries for the residents around that area and every single one was packed which you can see as you pass by as the restaurants are along the main road. Vehicles parked on both sides of the road narrow it down to one lane.

Not only was the place crowded, the shop signages are equally so. They all make up an interesting fusion of shapes, sizes and colors. I am not sure if I saw any digital signage though.

Shopping at Supermarkets and Hypermarkets

Tesco Malaysia has recently been awarded Best Hypermarket or something like that. Supermarkets and hypermarkets here have in a big way affected the small sundry shops run on single or two shoplots.

Many like me prefer to shop in supermarkets and hypermarkets for several reasons, a couple of which are, the wide variety of items and turnover being higher, items are more fresh. The one single issue that bugs me shopping in a bigger concern is the queue at checkout counters. That is why I normally pay an hour or so before closing time so as to avoid the queue. God forbid should there be a power failure. Their barcode scanners and cash registers won't work.

Have You Laughed Today?

I like funny. I like humour. But you already know that. (Which reminds me, I have not been posting jokes lately.) I have been told that I could tell jokes with a straight face. Yeah, and most of them are not for kids. Oops! I am bad!

Laughter is good. Laughter is the best medicine - a little cliched but research has shown that laughter can make an ill person well or at least feel better physically. Laughing makes use of less facial muscles than frowning. Did you know that?

It is not difficult to make yourself and others smile or laugh. You don't even have to crack a joke or talk. These funny t shirts can just do the trick. They would surely bring out a chuckle or two wherever you go.

Is Warren Buffett Insane?

Catchy title, eh? I came across this interesting article from The Motley Fool. If you recall, I posted about Warren Buffett's call to buy American stocks awhile back. That sure was a bold prediction and with banks failing, credit markets deadlocked, unemployment skyrocketing, you would think Warren Buffett must really be insane.

On the other hand, this is Warren Buffett, and he's made these sorts of predictions before.

Talk about buying shares, I wonder if online trading is a better option than the regular way of calling up your stock-broker. What do you think?

Be Careful With Your Money

Good morning, All.

Here's a heads-up to whoever has a Maybank account with ATM access. Some of you might already know about this. This warning came from someone in Credit Risk Management.

All MAYBANK Account Holders

Whoever has the Maybank account number with ATM card, please be careful when withdrawing money through ATM machine,

1. For the first time when you enter the right pin number, a message 'invalid pin number' pops up.

2. Then, when you enter your pin number for the second time, a message 'invalid pin number, please call this number 'xxx-xxxx' pops up.

3. If you call this number, you will lose all your money.

NOTE: if you encounter the above matter, please DO NOT call the number. One of my friends just lost RM700.00 on last Sunday and Maybank checked his last transaction was on that day itself even though he did not withdraw any money. Please forward this to your friends.

How awful this is happening. There goes the crib bedding. Oops! I was thinking that RM700.00 would have got a friend's baby some lovely crib bedding she has been eyeing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Favorite Shopping Tote-bag

If you have been to Ikea, (who hasn't!) you would have noticed the huge yellow totes they have at the entrance and at strategic locations in the store. I love those - a brilliant idea!

On my recent outing there, I noticed these same bags are available for sale in the store. Woh! I was delighted so I picked up one. Just one, too many becomes clutter. These are in blue, not yellow though. Still, they are great for shopping when plastic bags will no longer be issued at check-out counters. Such spaciousness. They remind me of a laundry hamper.

Paint My Love

Art has always fascinated me, especially paintings. I remember during an art class assignment on batik painting, a classmate crushed up her piece and tossed it into the waste-basket. You might think it was a bad piece. On the contrary, I thought it was a brilliant piece of work for someone so young, looking back. But before I could rescue it, another classmate made a dash for it.

Did you know that art crime is big business? It is now the fourth largest international crime, after drug dealing, gun running and money laundering and is estimated to be worth between $1.5 - $6bn (£1- £4bn) annually.

This is Rembrandt's self-portrait from 1630 (image courtesy of It was recovered by an art detective or an Art Crime expert, in a hotel room in Copenhagen. Painted on copper, the size of a paperback book, it is worth tens of millions of pounds. It was stolen from The National Museum of Sweden in one of the most daring art heists of modern times.

Art comes in many forms. Sculpturing is one of them. There is the common wood and ceramic sculpture, even sand sculpture and ice sculpture. What about lard sculpture? Take a look at this award-winning lard sculpture of Buddha in Hampshire, England.

US has a lot of troops overseas, helping to keep peace. Xerox has set up a "Let's Say Thanks" program providing Americans the opportunity to show appreciation to members of the armed forces overseas by way of sending them a free printed postcard. These postcards are drawings, art pieces done by children.

And there are more cards here..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Need A Lawyer?

With the economy at what it is today, I read recently that even lawyers in the US are advertising their services. In reality, every business needs some form of advertising and marketing to get the business noticed. Some spend millions, others on a smaller, cheaper scale.

When it comes to smaller and cheaper scale, the method that comes to mind is by way of distributing company promotional products to spread the word. We get goodie bags at functions often stuffed with a few of these - coffee mugs, toys, key-chains, key-tags, notebooks and notepads, stationery-holders, coasters, t-shirts, caps, decals, torchlights, vehicle sunshades, purses and wallets, towels, scarves, totebags, perfume, beauty and skincare products, beverage sachets, the ubiquitous pens, you name it. The list is endless and consumers in turn get reminded of the services available. Oh yes, this method does work too.

Year-end and Christmas Shopping

Shopping malls are busy places during weekends. Not being able to get a parking space at One Utama last week, I decided to leave after going around the lot three times and on different floors too.

Besides the Malaysia Mega Sale in Aug-Sep of each year, the year-end sale is also a good time to pick up items at a discount. The year-end sale augurs well for parents who have school-going children as this is a good time to pick up school uniforms, shoes and socks, stationery and schoolbags and other school-related paraphernalia.

Though the malls may be crowded, it cannot be as bad as the crowd in the U.S. on Black Friday where shoppers wait in line long before the doors open, some as early as three or four in the morning.

Shopping on Cyber Monday however, would be less hectic as shopping is done online in the comfort of one's home or office, though the Internet would be clogged with shoppers looking for a good bargain shopping for Christmas. Still, it sure beats being physically caught in a traffic jam of both vehicles and people.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Frolics - What's Your Spiritual Number?

Numbers play a major part in our world though at face value, they are nothing more than for denoting sequence or labelling things for our easy reference. Do you think numbers do determine our life?

In the Chinese Taoist society, numbers play a key role in a person's life path, from the time and date of birth right up to the day the person dies. Chinese people of the olden days, referred to the Chinese Almanac before they embark on anything major including house-moving, getting engaged, getting married, making a major business deal, etc. Some still do. Nothing important proceeds without consulting the Almanac. My late grandmother had one readily available.

This may sound absurd but one is even able to tell how a person will fair in life from the Almanac based on the time and date of birth. There is much to be learned from this wonderful book which is updated yearly and can be bought from the shop that deals in prayer products. I believe there is one in English now though the true meaning might have been lost in the translation.

Back to this week's quiz - What's your spiritual number?

My spiritual number is Seven and I have often heard that Seven is a number in magic..

My result? Oh my! I am not worthy!

Your Spiritual Number is Seven

You bring knowledge and wisdom into people's lives.

You are an expert in many fields, and you give excellent advice.

Right now, your life is about perfecting your skill set.

You are almost a virtuoso at the thing you love best. With some practice, you'll get there.

You are highly intelligent and intellectual. You have profound analytical skills.

But you also have the soul of an artist. You long to create.

Other Personality Quizzes

Thursday, December 11, 2008

iPhone - Useful Tips and Tricks

Everywhere you turn to, some article or story about the iPhone is bound to pop up. In Malaysia, the iPhone is not officially on sale. Yeah, we still live on trees! Just the other day, a friend was ranting away that even Botswana is on the list of countries scheduled to have the iPhone on sale. No offence to Botswana.

Our First World neighbour, Singapore, has already been having it for months. I got someone there to check up on the price. A 3G 8Gb iPhone is tagged at S$348 and a 16Gb unit S$508. Both inclusive of a two-year contract with subscription at S$56. It is illegal to sell without a subscription. However, there have been Malaysians bringing in the phone without a subscription. Eh?

Everyday on Twitter, there would be a few tweets about the iPhone. Below are two good articles on the how-to's. You may already know all or most of them but useful for newbies.

10 useful iPhone tips & tricks
101 Most Essential iPhone Apps of 2008

Not All Diet Pills Are Bad

There is often a misconception that diet pills are not good for the body as they do more harm than good. But if you study the ingredients that make up the pills, you would realise it is clearly unfounded.

I happen to come across what goes into this diet pill, Orovo. Let’s take a look at the key ingredients found in Orovo:

• Green Tea
• Alpha Lipoic Acid
• Idebenone
• Acai
• Lactobacillus Acidophilus
• Soy
• Barley
• Cayenne Pepper
• Buckwheat
• Flaxseed
• Alfalfa Sprout
• Garlic
• Wheatgrass

See what I mean? I am not familiar with all of these ingredients but the ones I am familiar with are some of the very food items we make an effort to consume more of for their goodness or nutrients. I guess this does change our belief about diet pills, wouldn't you say, not that I need any. Well, if you do, just be sure to gather enough information so that you would be able to make an informed decision.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

If you have been to the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, you would no doubt agree to their deserving win of this award, the South East Asia’s Hotel of the Year 2008-2010 under the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) - Regional Series.

The hotel was recognised for its commitment to excellence, flawless facilities and personalised care.

Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur is a boutique-hotel, small but excellent in all aspects including parking. It's strictly valet-parking.

Ritz-Carlton is located at 168, Jalan Imbi.

Landslide fear grips residents at Taman Zooview

This is another site where residents are living in fear of a landslide. This is at Taman Zooview, a 30-year-old housing estate on the hillslopes next to the National Zoo in Hulu Kelang, Kuala Lumpur. The eroded patch in question is Jalan Lee Woon (and I know two families living there).

This time, somebody messed with nature: ".. the owner of the house above the hillslope had cleared the patch of its natural vegetation apparently to have a better view of the city below." As if things aren't bad enough, the owner has gone overseas and the house is now vacant.

On a positive note about the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide, "The Government will consider compensating victims of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide," said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

A Delightful Minimalist-themed Home

I went to a good friend's house-warming gathering some weeks back. It is a beautiful big house with a minimalist theme much to my delight, not that it matters, of course.

I like the house too for the extensive use of glass allowing a generous amount of natural light coming into the house. From afar, the house looks fabulous when the lights are on. Being karaoke enthusiasts, they have a sound-proof karaoke room with state-of-the-art sound system and equipment. There is even a pop up tv. Neat! Oh, did I mention the house has an elevator?

Are We Going Forward?

PandaB's comment on this post brought to mind the many incidents of children missing here a few years ago. Parents and care-givers are more vigilant these days though measures taken are not as extreme as what's in this article, Are we too afraid of touch?. This is an insightful yet disturbing piece. Sadly, life has come to such a state that it has become surreal, but not in a positive sense. I quote some excerpts below.

- Hospital staff are often told not to put an arm round patients to comfort them lest it be viewed as assault.

- We are all so terrified of child sexual abuse that we have outlawed taking photographs of children at nursery school without parental consent. So, a few years ago, when Clive Peachy, a bricklayer, saw two-year-old Abigail Rae walking down the road after she had escaped from her nursery school in Warwickshire, he did not stop and help her because he thought people would think he was trying to abduct her. The result? She drowned in a pond.

- Teachers have been told never to touch the children in their care. So you get 12-year-olds with broken legs crying for their mothers, with staff unable to give them a hug, and five-year-olds putting sunscreen on each other because the teachers have been instructed not to touch them.

- Equally absurd are the letters informing parents that children should not bring home-made birthday cakes into school in case of food poisoning — a position that results in children being less likely to share.

So, what do you think? Are we getting paranoid for our own good over-protecting ourselves and our loved ones? Will we create the next generation of wimps as the author put it?

Probably the real 'enemies' are at home -- Meanwhile, the sexual predators will carry on just as before — largely in the family — because no system of checks will root them out completely. And we will have created a whole generation of unhappy people.

Are we going forward, do you think?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Choosing the Right Diet Pill

Obesity is unhealthy and is now a common disease in this day and age of affluence.

Prevention is better than cure but if one is already obese, a combination of diet and exercise could ensure the desired weight loss. Diet pills might even help out as a supplement. However, it is important to do some research on the type of diet pill that suits your need. There are now a lot of diet pill analyses readily available for making informed decisions.

Almost Homeless

CNN recently carried a touching story of an ex-executive seeking employment. He is wearing an "Almost homeless," sign. It also says, "Looking for employment. Very experienced operations and administration manager."

Wearing a suit and tie under the sign, Paul Nawrocki recently was laid off after 36 years in the toy industry. He stands on Manhattan corners for hours, hoping to pass resumes to interested passers-by. He said he is beyond the point where he cares about humiliation.

His wife is partially disabled and on 15 medications, his daughter has student loans, and he's running out of money. Times are really so hard that there are no jobs in business available.

Japan keeps Lennon's memory alive - Dec 8

Japan keeps Lennon's memory alive - BBC News, Tokyo

Another Landslide in the Making?

I'm not sure if I'm generalising but December does not seem to be a good month normally for Malaysia. With the heavy rainfall come mishaps such as floods and landslides.

In another area in Kuala Lumpur, Cheras, residents here are living in fear of a possible landslide as shown in the photo. Hope the authorities step in for appropriate action.

Meanwhile, residents of Bukit Antarabangsa are taking legal action against government authorities for compensation for not taking appropriate remedial action earlier on when residents reported several incidents. Do they have a case, do you think?

New LCCT International Arrival Hall

Frequent flyers of AirAsia would be happy to note that the new international arrival hall at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Sepang in Selangor will open for operation on Dec 15, weeks ahead of its original scheduled completion date of March 15 next year.

The extension would add 32,000sq m of additional floor space to the existing 28,000sq m available and will have six baggage carousels which would speed up luggage-claim.

Check-in counters will be increased from 72 to 117 and will now be able to handle 2200 passengers an hour, an increase from 600 passengers currently.

There would be more retail and food and beverage outlets plus shower and surau facilities. The waiting area will be bigger with 600 seats.

The expansion is timely as even on non-peak days, it can be crowded as shown in the picture below.

The LCCT besides serving AirAsia domestic flights and the AirAsia X international services to Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, it also caters to the Cebu Pacific Airways of the Philippines and the Tiger Airways of Singapore. Come March next year, AirAsia X will start operating the London Stansted-Kuala Lumpur route from the LCCT.

As for public transport, eight bus companies link the LCCT to Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Shah Alam, Seremban, Malacca, Ipoh and Genting. There are also ample taxi services.

With air fares increasingly becoming cheaper and competitive, air travel will no doubt see a healthy increase in passenger load.

Source: The Star

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are You On Twitter, yet?

These days, Twitter makes up a part of my online life and to think that I was reluctant to get on it in the first place! It has given me a wider perspective of what people do around the world or at least in the world of the people I follow. I even get to know what a cat is up to! I know. It's kinda silly but hey, a cat has every right to twitter too! LOL!

I get some wisdom from Tiny Buddha and some other insights and chuckles from people like Shaqquile O'Neil, Lance Armstrong, single moms, writers, actors, geeks, corporate co-founders, and other ordinary but interesting people. Al Gore, too. And yes, Obama as well. Yeah..

Zappos recently got an order from a customer shipping to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Interesting. And someone got a good commision from his affiliate link on Amazon from an order for 5 $1000 Herman Miller Aeron chairs. That rings a bell because my office is fully furnished in Herman Miller.

Through Twitter, I get to see remarkable works of art, listen to new music, get tipped on books and other reading material, get to know events around the globe, and so much more. Frankly, I have a thirst for knowledge, so Twitter works great to satiate that thirst. Fortunately, one can't get overweight with knowledge, otherwise I will have to resort to some diet pill, alli, for instance, to shed the extra weight. LOL!

Of Holiday and Food

Today is a local National (Muslim) holiday. It is Hari Raya Haji as it's called locally. Overseas, it's often referred to as Aidil Adhar (different spellings elsewhere perhaps). So, to you who are celebrating this occasion, I wish you and your loved ones a Selamat Hari Raya Haji.

From as far ahead as a week ago, foodstalls have started selling delicacies synonymous with this holiday, i.e., lemang, a coconut-flavoured rice cooked in hollow bamboo tubes. Lemang is normally eaten with rendang, a dry meat dish cooked with coconut milk and spices (simmered for a number of hours). Beef and chicken are popularly used.

Here's how lemang looks like in its cooked state. The roll of rice is cut up into slices before they are served. This picture is courtesy of TourismPenang site. There's also a recipe if you would like to try cooking lemang, but let me warn you that the process is rather tedious.

Here's a picture of the yummy rendang. There is a recipe on the site too. Food-lovers may want to give it a shot though it's important to have the necessary ingredients. Happy cooking!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bukit Antarabangsa Landslide - Second day

Search and rescue operations have been halted following strong earth movement on the hillslopes on Sunday. This is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the search and rescue teams which reportedly total 500 personnel from the police, Fire & Rescue, Civil Defence and the army.

Four people were killed. The landslide hit 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama at 4am yesterday.

Police are conducting a thorough examination to ensure that no one is still caught there.

Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar assured residents in the vicinity who had evacuated their homes that their property and belongings would be safe as General Operations Force (GOF) personnel were keeping watch there round-the-clock.

About 20 residents who had refused to vacate their homes will have food sent to them.

This is the aftermath of the landslide

Source: The Star

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa, Kuala Lumpur

A massive landslide occurred in Bukit Antarabangsa, a hillside residential area in Kuala Lumpur, at 4am this morning, Saturday. As of 2.20pm Saturday, three people are confirmed dead and 15 injured, more than 2000 evacuated. This site is about 1.5km away from one of three Highland Towers which collapsed on Dec 11, 1993, killing 48 people.

More pictures from The Star's Photo Gallery

Related stories:
Group: We’ve enough grounds to take action against authorities
Landslide victims may be paid for losses incurred, says Abdullah

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Frolics - What Yoga Pose Are You?

Yoga, with its origin in India, has been around for centuries and has been practised here for decades, mostly as a form of exercise, Yogis go through the routine of asanas or postures.

The recent shake-up in Malaysia (about banning Yoga for Muslim folks) created quite a stir in the community. The verdict as communicated by Prime Minister, Ahmad Badawi, put everyone at rest. He stated that Yoga practitioners who only perform the exercises without chanting mantras can continue to do so. He appreciated the fact that Yoga is a form of exercise and which is widely-practised by cancer survivors among others. His own wife succumbed to breast cancer a couple of years ago.

This week's quiz is about Yoga. Find out what Yoga pose your personality determines.

You Are the Tree Pose

You are a well grounded, down to earth person. Not much shakes you.

You can remain steady through a crisis - and other people lean on you.

You have high standards and morals. You easily rise above pettiness.

While people sometimes accuse you of being stubborn, you are able to shift focus when you need to.

Other Personality Quizzes

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Creative Personality - The Traits

What is a Creative Personality?

An illuminating article I read says: Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals. Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living."

It goes on to say that ... Most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the result of creativity and individual ingenuity. That is what makes us different from apes. We have our language, our values, our artistic expression, scientific understanding, and technology. We recognise and reward achievements and we transmit information and knowledge through learning.

The author has devoted 30 years of research on how creative people live and work, and to make more understandable the mysterious process by which these creative people come up with new ideas and new things.

Creative individuals are complex people. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an "individual," each of them is a "multitude."

The author goes on to list 10 antithetical (opposite) traits often present in creative people that are integrated with each other.

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they're also often quiet and at rest. This does not mean that creative people are hyperactive, always "on." One manifestation of energy is sexuality. They seem to have quite a strong dose of eros, or generalized libidinal energy, which some express directly into sexuality.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time. How smart they actually are is open to question. It is probably true that what psychologists call the "g factor," meaning a core of general intelligence, is high among people who make important creative contributions.

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. There is no question that a playfully light attitude is typical of creative individuals. But this playfulness doesn't go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, perseverance.

4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We're usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. In fact, in psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliably measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time. It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers. This tendency toward androgyny is sometimes understood in purely sexual terms, and therefore it gets confused with homosexuality.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.

9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.

10. Creative people's openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. Most would agree with Rabinow's words: "Inventors have a low threshold of pain. Things bother them." A badly designed machine causes pain to an inventive engineer, just as the creative writer is hurt when reading bad prose.

There you have it, the gist of what makes up a creative person. For an indepth understanding, you may want to read the article in its entirety, The Creative Personality

Still on the subject of Creativity, let me share with you an artistic expression of creativity - an awesome ukulele rendition of (Beatles), George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by Jake Shimabukuro.. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A company called Zappos

How is your office like? Are you surrounded by spaciousness and lush greenery or squeezed in between racks of files and other knick-knacks? Does your office have a popcorn machine or a dance machine in the lobby..

Or an Elvis in the office..

How about a lineup of shoes..

Or your favourite rubber duckies..

Large bowls of snacks..

Or a workstation of your favourite things..

Or your CEO in a cube with a nametag that looks as creative as this..

Hard to imagine all these, isn't it? But not so for employees of this company..

For more pictures, go here..

A little about, from Wikipedia...
" is an electronic commerce company specializing in footwear and is currently based in Henderson, Nevada, USA. The company warehouse is located in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, along with an outlet store. In addition, Zappos has two outlet stores in Las Vegas, Nevada and Henderson, Nevada.

Since its founding in 1999, Zappos has grown to be the biggest online shoe store. Zappos did "almost nothing" in sales for 1999, but grossed over $800 million in merchandise sales in 2007, and is projecting over $1 billion in 2008."

I read that they hit the $1 billion mark on Cyber Monday, Dec 1. Employees gathered at a bar around a laptop showing sales for the day minute-by-minute, like New Year's. That was also a Zappos record day in gross sales.

The name Zappos is derived from the Spanish word zapatos, meaning shoes.

If you have a say at designing or restructuring your office, how would you like your office to be or to have?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jalan Bukit Bintang & Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

This morning, before I got out of bed, I thought I was waking up to a Saturday, and then at work, it felt like Friday. Gee! December is really messing me up! And who can blame me when we have such idyllic candy floss skies up above. No, not really, this is a shot from Saturday.

And since I'm so laid back today, let's go back in time a little to the easygoing 50s where bicycling was still a safe and pleasurable activity on the main road (for the people back then, that is).

A girlfried sent me some retro pictures and one of them is of Jalan Bukit Bintang in the year 1950 - original source of picture unknown. Can you imagine how Jalan Bukit Bintang look like in 1950? I could not, so these historical pictures are really a gem. Brace yourself...., this is Jalan Bukit Bintang in 1950...

See what I mean? Wouldn't you say we have come a long way?

For our foreign friends, Jalan Bukit Bintang is currently THE main street in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It is the backbone of that part of the city called The Golden Triangle and which is home to the latest and trendiest shopping malls, 5-star hotels, entertainment centers in Kuala Lumpur. The area circled in the picture below, is roughly the area within The Golden Triangle. This prime estate is bordered by Jalan Imbi, Jalan Pudu, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak.

We now have an idea of the old Jalan Bukit Bintang. Wanna see how it looks today?

The picture below was taken on Sunday on my way to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, one of the latest malls in the capital, officially launched early this year.

The white building on the right is Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Let me digress a little. The same lot used to be where BBGS (Bukit Bintang Girls School) was. I remember there were some strong protests when the plan was announced that the school had to give way to development.

Back to Jalan Bukit Bintang, further down the road, you will find The Westin and JW Marriott hotels are on the left and beyond them, major shopping malls - Starhill Gallery, KL Plaza, Lot 10 - and further on across the junction are Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang and even further down is Low Yat Plaza, the place best known for electronics gadgets.

The building right in the center in the background is a hotel, Grand Millennium. It used to be The Regent.

In the picture below, the imposing building in the background is JW Marriott hotel. This was taken from across Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. JW Marriott is a sprawling hotel and is connected to Starhill Gallery, both owned by YTL Corporation, one of Malaysia's top ten companies.

This stretch of Jalan Bukit Bintang is always congested, even on a Sunday, as you can see from the picture below. The area where there are white tents (on the left) have been converted to what is known as Bintang Walk. There is alfresco dining and where people hang out for a spot of people-watching as well as luxury-car spotting as you can find them parked beside the eateries.

Bintang Walk draws crowds as it is a place for corporate events and live music at times. Kuala Lumpur celebrated her millenium countdown here. This was where I saw our former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, closeup when he passed by to be seated right in front of the stage where Pavarotti was to perform that night.

I might as well point you to the stump in the foreground of the picture. This is the Christmas tree at The Pavilion. Would you say it is ready for display?

Back to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur..
Let me see, what's so great about Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Besides being one of the latest malls, it is just another place of food, crowds, and designer wear. There's Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, yeah, there is even Marc Jacobs and a host of other equally high-end brands, and others. Watch-lovers and -collectors may also love this place - lots of watch shops there.

Food-wise, there is plenty of choices from the (Food Republic) foodcourt fare to those served in individual restaurants. I noticed there were long lines at JCo (doughnuts) and Baoz (Chinese dumplings and dimsum).

What I like most about the Pavilion are the connecting walkways from one side to the other unlike most malls where you have to go around some distance to go back to a shop you want to return to. Here is what I mean..

Even though I was disappointed with the Christmas decor, I quite like the lightings or chandeliers at the foyer. Nice.

You have an idea of what it looks like from Pavilion looking out, now let me show you from a borrowed image from Wikipedia, the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur look from across the street.

Oh, and there is one other thing I like - the covered walkway that links Pavilion right up to KLCC. Well, not that I plan to use it, but you never know.. So, if you are staying in a hotel in KLCC and want to go to the Golden Triangle or vice versa, you now know there is a shortcut to get you there and back.

Related post on Kuala Lumpur:
- Streets of Kuala Lumpur
- Christmas at the malls in Kuala Lumpur