Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Desire and Faith – 2 things we need to achieve great things in life (Part 1)

In my 9 years experience of working and climbing the corporate ladder as well as more than 3 years experience of managing people, I decide it comes down to two things to find people who I want to work FOR me or who I want to work WITH. That is, DESIRE and FAITH. Unfortunately, more than 80% of the people I encountered do not have both and they usually portray a kind of negativity that make it seems impossible to achieve anything at all in life.

So, I want to share my own experience and my explanation on what I come to value most in people, especially if I am considering them to fight a war with me – their desire and their faith.

I start with Part 1 which is my story and Part 2 which I explain more on desire and faith, especially when people show me the opposite of them.

My story:

In 1999, when I went to the interview for my first job, I did not do the normal preparation like going through some common interview questions and rehearsing how to answer them well. It was not because I was very confident to get the job. On the contrary, I was just a Diploma holder and during that time, the 1997 recession caused the job opportunities to be scarce, especially for fresh graduates. And this job, which I heard, was paying quite well, around three hundreds more than other jobs I have tried and what my other college mates were getting.

I wanted the job very much, not just the additional three hundreds, though at that time, it made a lot of differences to me. The three hundreds can give me all the food I need in a month. (At that time, I remembered my heart aching over a 5-or-10-ringgit meal, which I only indulged once in a while. My meal is usually 3 ringgit, 4 ringgit if I ordered drinks). I needed this job because it was a key step for my plan to pursue my Degree on part-time basis. My parents had offered to let me do Degree full-time using their hard-earned money, which my course fees and living expenses will be equivalent to the salary of my father, if not more. Knowing all that, I insisted on pursuing my education on part-time basis. I had a definite plan and knew very well what I wanted to achieve, which included to get to work as soon as possible so that I could get as much working experience as possible. I figured working experience is more valuable than a piece of certificate.

So, I was very determined to get a job. Not just any job, but a job that allow me to pay my courses as well as my living expenses. Also, a job that allow me to learn new things and also maybe help me in my Degree final year project. Since I was in Computer Science course, my final year project involved creating a workable application by going through a well-documented software development cycle. What would be better than to take from something I would be learning at work?

I was lucky also as I had a senior working in the same company and the interviewer, also my potential superior, was my senior’s superior. So, he was able to put in some good words for me to get me the interview opportunity. But, job is a job; I still need to prove myself to the interviewer to get hired.

Amazingly, I just know how to convince the interviewer to give me the job. And that did not require me to answer the common interview questions well, except how to describe myself. I already have some sort of plan in life – my desire to excel in life, to get ahead of most people and my faith that I am able to achieve anything I desire, even without knowing exactly how to get there. Thus, despite my lack of working experience, which was none – what I just needed to do in the interview was to show myself by conveying my desires and faith.

So, I sat through the interview, without much preparation per Se, as I already prepared for the life ahead of me.

I talked about my keen interest in programming and what the job can offer to me, especially learning to work in real environment and building software that are really being used by people in real business life.

I talked about my plan to pursue my Degree on part-time basis. I know I can use my working experience to do better in my Degree study.

I highlighted my great track record of excellent academic result; I was mostly top of my class, sometimes even the whole batch of students in the same year; that means I was ahead of more than 300 others. It showed I was consistently working hard to achieve great results.

I convinced the interviewer that I could handle both my work and studies without compromising the work performance. In fact, I have every intention to excel in both my work and studies.

At the end of the interview, which I remembered vividly even now, I looked at the interviewer earnestly and said to him I am a very hardworking person. I said it with full conviction and sincerity. I remembered the interviewer smiled at me in response, maybe because of surprise or because of awkwardness of my unsolicited remark, but I knew he believed what I have just said and that would have made an impact.

Yes, I got the job, with a starting paid of RM1500, a good rate for a Diploma holder at that time. The offer for Degree holder from my company was RM1800. In the next seven years, in 2006, a degree holder freshmen can get up to RM 2,500 for starting paid; some can get even higher than that from a minority of great companies. However, I also knew some other graduates were still getting RM1800 in 2006. So, when people ask me what is the market price for fresh graduates in software engineering field, I usually answer, it is largely determined by what the applicants are asking for and how they ‘carry’ themselves. By carry, I really mean how strong are their desire and faith and whether they show it during the interview.

To many, this story of mine cannot be considered a great achievement. But for a girl with no working experience, came out from hometown to study in the big city 2 years before, the same girl who traveled more than 80 km to class each time by bus (I lived in a housing estate in Klang with my aunt’s family, traveled to KL Central for classes by 2 buses per trip –one air-conditioned and one without), sometimes had to get out from house as early as 5 am, walked through a sport field (badminton, jogging) when the morning was still dark to wait for bus if there were early morning classes; this achievement is a great mark in my life; that all the sweats, persistence, the fear of unknown or danger were well justified. I had proven to myself and to those who invested in me, especially my parents. Because for the 2 years of studies, when most of my classmates have settled down comfortably at home, probably after some nice baths and dinners and were probably watching their favorite TV drama, I was usually still on a bus on my way home. On top of that, I even worked as the college librarian to earn extra bucks. So, I spent longer hours in college than most people.

The fact is I still have a long way to go, to achieve my ultimate dreams. But it will be very soon that I will get there. Then, I will start telling another story of my desires and faith that get me there.

Till then, wait for Part 2 where I will continue on desires and faith. Or maybe, drop me an email at to share your story of desire and faith.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Photo courtesy of

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Three most touching movies that I watched (and rewatched) in 2008

This may seems a little bit late to be nostalgic about 2008. But by chance, I happened to see 3 old but inspiring movies that I might otherwise missed, if not for the best of fate - definitely must-see movies!

There is one common theme about all the three movies - the realm of possibilities. They tell us about people who achieve things that may at many times seems impossible to them and everybody else. They are not scared to try every ways to make their dreams come true. They do not give up when things are at their very worst.

And these are the most remarkable thing in life - the simple love, the faith ,the pursuit of happiness and changing the world by helping others.

Movie 1: I Am Sam (2001)

Movie 2: Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Movie 3: Pay It Forward (2000)

Let us be Passionate about Life cause Life is ever so Beautiful!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

I can’t wait to see this movie. After all, I have literally lived that kind of life for more than 6 years in my past relationship, trying to figure out what were wrong in our relationship, when the answer is so obvious. It was my first relationship, anyway, so I did not know any better. I wish I had known earlier.

I start to read the book too. It makes me wonder why women can be so dumb sometimes. Unfortunately that includes me!

I think this is a very good education book for women. So, I would like to share the catching introduction here.

Introduction by Liz

It started out just like any other day. We were all working in the writers’ room of Sex and the City,
talking, pitching ideas, our personal love lives weaving in and out of the fictional lives we were creating in the room. And just like on any other day, one of the women on staff asked for feedback on a the behavior of a man whom she liked. He was giving her mixed messages—she was confused. We were happy to pitch in and pick apart all the signs and signals of his actions. And just like on any other day, after much analysis and debate, we concluded that she was fabulous, he must be scared, he’s never met a woman as great as her, he is intimidated, and she should just give him time. But on this day, we had a male consultant in the room—someone who comes in a couple of times a week to give feedback on story lines and gives a great straight-male perspective: Greg Behrendt. On this day, Greg listened intently to the story and our reactions, and then said to the woman in question, “Listen, it sounds like he’s just not
that into you.”

We were shocked, appalled, amused, horrified, and above all, intrigued. We sensed immediately that this man might be speaking the truth. A truth that we, in our combined hundred years of dating experience, had never considered, and definitely never considered saying out loud. “Okay, he might have a point,” we reluctantly agreed. “But Greg couldn’t possibly understand my very busy and complicated possible future husband.” Soon we went around the room, Greg, the all-knowing Buddha, listening to story after mixed-message story. We had excuses for all these men, from broken dialing fingers to difficult childhoods. In the end, one by one, they were shot down by Greg’s powerful silver bullet. Greg made us see, after an enormous amount of effort, that if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain’t nothing that’s
going to get in his way. And if he’s not sane, why would you want him? He could back it up too: He had years of playing the field, being the bad boy, being the good boy, and then finally falling in love and marrying a really fantastic woman.

A collective epiphany burst forth in the room, and for me in particular. All these years I’d been

complaining about men and their mixed messages; now I saw they weren’t mixed messages at all. I was the one that was mixed up. Because the fact was, these men had simply not been that into me. Now, at first glance it seems that this should have been demoralizing to us, it should have sent us all into a tailspin. Yet the opposite was true. Knowledge is power, and more importantly, knowledge saves us time. I realized that from that day forward I would be spared hours and hours of waiting by the phone, hours and hours of obsessing with my girlfriends, hours and hours of just hoping his mixed messages really meant “I’m in love with you and want to be with you.” Greg reminded us that we were all beautiful, smart, funny women, and we shouldn’t be wasting our time figuring out why a guy isn’t calling us. As Greg put it, we shouldn’t waste the pretty.

It’s hard. We’re taught that in life, we should try to look on the bright side, to be optimistic. Not in this
case. In this case, look on the dark side. Assume rejection first. Assume you’re the rule, not the exception. It’s intoxicatingly liberating. But we also know it’s not an easy concept. Because this is what we do: We go out with someone, we get excited about them, and then they do something that mildly disappoints us. Then they keep doing a lot more things that disappoint us. Then we go into hyper-excuse mode for weeks or possibly months, because the last thing we want to think is that this great man that we are so excited about is in the process of turning into a creep. We try to come up with some explanation for why they’re behaving that way, any explanation, no matter how ridiculous, than the one explanation that’s the truth: He’s just not that into me.

That’s why we’ve included questions from women taken from real situations. They represent the basic
excuses we all use that keep us in situations far longer than we should be. So read, enjoy, and hopefully learn from other women’s confusion. And above all, if the guy you’re dating doesn’t seem to be completely into you, or you feel the need to start “figuring him out,” please consider the glorious thought that he might just not be that into you. And then free yourself to go find the one that is.

Introduction by Greg

So I’m sitting in the writers’ room at Sex and the City pondering my good fortune to be the only straight male on the predominantly female writing staff (actually I’m just eating a cookie), when the writers begin talking about guys they’re seeing. This is a common occurrence, as it is part of the writing process for a show that explores romantic relationships. It is endlessly fascinating. I know that sounds sarcastic, but I’m being for real.

So on this particular day, one of the ladies pipes up with, “Greg, you’re a guy.” She is very observant,
this one, for I am indeed a guy. Then she says, “So I’ve been seeing this guy…. Well, I think I have.” I know the answer. “See, we went to a movie and it was great. I mean he didn’t hold my hand, but that’s cool. I don’t like to hold hands.” Still know the answer. “But afterward he kissed me in the parking lot. So I asked if he wanted to come over, but he had a really important meeting in the morning so he didn’t come over.” C’mon. Are you kidding me? Know it!

So I asked, “Have you heard from him?”

“Well, that’s the thing. This was like a week ago”—now you should know the answer—“and then today
he e-mails me and is like, ‘Why haven’t I heard from you?’ ”

I stared at her for a moment while the answer was bursting out of my eyeballs. (Oh, ladies, you make me
so mad sometimes!) Here is this beautiful, talented, super-smart girl, who is a writer on an awardwinning TV show, a show known for its incisive observations about men, who you would think could have her pick of just about any dude around. This superstar of a woman is confused about a situation that to me is so clear. Actually, confused is the wrong word, because she’s too smart for that. She’s hopeful, not confused. But the situation is hopeless, so I broke the news to her: “He’s just not that into you.”

And let me tell you, that’s the good news, because wasting time with the wrong person is just time wasted. And when you do move on and find your right person, believe me, you’re not going to wish you had gotten to spend more time with Stinky the Time-Waster or Freddy Can’t-Remember-to-Call.

Look, I am not a doctor, neither real nor imagined. But I am an expert that should be listened to because
of one very important thing: I’m a guy—a guy that has had his fair share of relationships and is willing to come clean about his behavior in them. Because I’m a guy, I know how a guy thinks, feels, and acts, and it’s my responsibility to tell you who we really are. I’m tired of seeing great women in bullshit relationships.

When a guy is into you, he let’s you know it. He calls, he shows up, he wants to meet your friends, he
can’t keep his eyes or hands off of you, and when it’s time to have sex, he’s more than overjoyed to oblige. I don’t care if he’s starting his new job as the president of the United States the next morning at 0400 (that’s 4 A.M. ladies!). He’s coming up!

Men are not complicated, although we’d like you to think we are, as in “Things are really crazy right now. I’ve just got a ton of shit going on.” We are driven by sex, although we’d like to pretend otherwise: “What? No, I was totally listening.” And sadly (and most embarrassingly), we would rather lose an arm out a city bus window than tell you simply, “You’re not the one.” We are quite sure you will kill us or yourself or both—or even worse, cry and yell at us. We are pathetic. But the fact remains, even though we may not be saying it we are absolutely showing you all the time. If a dude isn’t calling you when he says he will, or making sure you know that he’s dating you, then you already have your answer. Stop
making excuses for him, his actions are screaming the truth: He’s just not that into you.

Move on, sister! Cut your losses and don’t waste your time. Why stay in some weird dating limbo when
you can move on to what will surely be better territory? Don’t want to hear it? Fine. Here’s the answer you’re looking for: “Hang in there, baby. He’s not the loser everybody’s telling you he is. If you wait and keep your mouth shut and call at exactly the right time and anticipate his moods and have no expectations about communication or your own sexual needs, you can have him!” But please don’t be surprised when he dumps you or continues to drag you through a completely unsatisfying relationship.

We’ve heard it and you’re sick of it. That’s probably why you’re in possession of this book now. You
know you deserve to have a great relationship. We agree. So grab a highlighter and get started. Liz told you I was going to say it: Don’t waste the pretty!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

When we get more from the household appliance than we expect

Jeff and I bought a thermal pot few weeks ago. So now, we can make our instant coffee, Milo, and tea very quickly without the hassle of filling the water into the kettle, boiling it and waiting for it to get boiled. And we can drink warm water instead of room-temperature water anytime of the day. I think it is an excellent product, a great innovation from kettle and thermos.

I gather it would save me at least 1 minute each day for making one hot drink a day. So, if I live for 40 years more from now, it would save me a total of 10 days. 10 days is astoundingly small compared to number of days I spend on doing nothing but daydreaming all these years. But the most worthy thing is that, in 40 years, it saves millions of my brain cell from having to remember to make my drinks after the water is boiled. In result, I can use the same brain cells for other things and save me a lot of headache. Maybe this theory is as laughable as the myth that human only use 10% of our brains – a theory started in eighties and have many people believed that they can still function if 90% of their brains are removed, so to speak.

There is another interesting theory too – that is regarding WHEN to refill the thermal pot. Let’s explore it based on a conversation between Jeff and me.

J: Why am I always the one who refill the thermal pot?

S: Because you always manage to do it before I do.

J: Why don’t you do it before me then?

S: Because you always refill it before it is less than half the water. And I want to wait until it almost reaches the minimum level for refill. I gather it will save more electricity that way.

J: Say you wait until the water level almost reaches the minimum. Then, you start pouring out the water until it is below the minimum. And you are blithely unaware of it and you forget to refill. How’s that?

S: (Silence…. Sigh! I can’t argue that since I have bad track records of forgetting things.)

J: What if our kids next time pour water from the pot. You expect them to refill each time it reaches below minimum?

S: (Still silence…..Since we do not have kids right now and we still have to wait 5 to 7 years before they can start using the thermal pot, nevertheless, this is a undeniable point – when it comes to safety of children)

J: Why do you always have to wait for things to reach its critical point, then only you want to react? Then, if you miss it, troubles come. Isn’t it you blog about sense of urgency a while ago?

S: Yeah, I did. 2 posts actually (Sense of urgency – Critical Asset in Life and Human Crime Today). I guess it is because I am a procrastinator. It is like a curse or something – keep me from doing right things sometimes.

J: You want to use that as an excuse to fail in life?

S: (Short silence - then) No.

J: There, you get me!

This is not actually the exact conversation because most of the expressions in regards to the sense of urgency happened several times to other topic of discussions. Nevertheless, since last week, I have refilled the thermal pot more than 3 times. The water levels never get below half of the pot.

I do not know why I want to blog this. But then, since I deal a lot with household stuffs when I have become the home-based consultant, I guess it is naturally a big part of my life that I need to talk about. Even my old classmates ask me teasingly every times they see me- so, what food/dish have you learn to cook nowadays?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

TEAM - Are you a hare, owl, turtle or squirrel?

I just picked up The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen and found it to be very enlightening.

I like the "Multiple Streams of Income" and "Together Everyone Accomplishes Miracles - TEAM" concept.

For team concept, to create wealth - one must first build a diverse team as success is not a solo project. The diverse team consisted of four different categories of workers, known as the Hares, the Owls, the Tortoise, and the Squirrels. Each one has own strengths to leverage on to make the team successful.

Hare - Creative Types, but bad at follow-through.
Owls - Planners and go-getters.
Turtles - Cautious Types who point out issues.
Squirrels - Details oriented person who get the job done.

The one-minute millionaire site offer a survey to determine which type of worker you are. I found out to be a Hare, which I had guessed right. Here is the link to take the survey:

Below are the explanations of the roles of Hare, Squirrel and Hare/Owl (a combination of role). If you have result of Owl or Tortoise or other combination, maybe you can post it here in the comment section. It is interesting to know more about the other types of people that we have to work with, and most importantly since we all have to deal with each differences and also improve ourselves. For e.g. I learn that I need to be more detailed like a Squirrel, plan more like an Owl and be able to anticipate problems like a Tortoise.

A Hare Role

APPROACH: Conceptual/Spontaneous

DESCRIPTION: The Hare generates the concepts and ideas. They like to reframe the problem and look for solutions that may be unusual, unique,and/or outside the boundaries of traditional thought. Hares are good at exploring alternatives and perceiving the "big picture".
Hares want freedom from constraint, and when a rule exists they may break it. They may act impulsively, letting their feelings guide them. They derive satisfaction from the process of creating,discussing concepts and ideas,and overcoming obstacles.
When everything is in its place,the Hare may become restless,get impatient,and have a tendency to move from one subject to another.

CONTRIBUTION: Fresh, original concepts that go beyond the obvious,and are not constrained by fear of failure.

WEAKNESESS: Because the Hare enjoys generating ideas, they may move from one idea to another without stopping to evaluate the consequences.
If left alone to refine concepts, they will solve the problem within the problem within the problem, and eventually lose sight of the objective.

INSTINCT: Reframing problems to achieve breakthrough solutions, moving in new directions, examining possibilities without regard to risk.

A Squirrel Role

APPROACH: Methodical/Practical

DESCRIPTION: The Squirrel, more interested in protecting the system than being in the meeting, follows-up on team objectives, and implements ideas and solutions. They focus on ensuring the implementation process runs in an orderly manner, and achieving high quality outcomes.
Squirrels prefer proven, familiar ideas over the novel and untried. They pay attention to details, and see that plans follow an orderly process.
The Squirrel is comfortable being methodical. They tend to be cautious in trying out a new approach, and prefer to think things over carefully before acting.

CONTRIBUTION: The details. Spotting easily overlooked problems before they occur, and minimizing inefficiencies and errors during implementation.

WEAKNESESS: If working without clear and focused objectives or guidelines, the Squirrel may lose sight of the goal and pursue irrelevant strategies.

INSTINCT: To finish what they start,and do things right.

A Hare/Owl Role

APPROACH: Conceptual/Spontaneous/Practical

DESCRIPTION: The Hare/Owl is an idea generator who is also a true entrepreneur. They are good at exploring alternatives and concepts, and they are also more comfortable with an insightful plan. The Hare/Owl is able to generate ideas and develop a plan, based on past experience, to promote those ideas successfully.
The Hare/Owl derives satisfaction from identifying good ideas and developing solutions and strategies to overcome obstacles to implementation. They enjoy working on multiple tasks and like to be involved with the creation and advancement of ideas.
When everything is in its place, the Hare/Owl may get impatient, ready for the next challenge.

CONTRIBUTION: Development of new concepts and ideas that can be advanced within a known process or structure.

WEAKNESESS: The Hare/Owl may become frustrated with the details of an orderly implementation plan, and may pay little attention to the danger signs and barriers associated with implementation.

INSTINCT: Creating new ideas and advancing them in pursuit of team objectives.

No Result for Tortoise and Owl. Please post it if you have.

There are other types of personality test if you are interested. One of them is Meyer-Briggs personality test.

My review and reflection for The Garden of Words

I just watched this short animation work from Makoto Shinkai. I had previously watched his grand hit 'Your Name' and absolutely fel...