Friday, June 29, 2007


Breastfeeding has long been proven to provide additional immunity to the babies. I'd say more breastfeeding produce less mortality in babies and therefore, more children who will buy powdered milk. But then, those milk powder producer prefer to market infant formula, claiming milk powder is better than breast milk (Philippines). I wonder whether more living infants buying advanced formula for age 6 will give more income to the manufacturer or selling infants < 6 months milk formula. I tend to think that more surviving baby will give more income though since babies from 6 months onwards still need milk powder hehe... on the other hand, babies, who take infant formula, having higher mortality rate might only live for 6 months or less and not gonna need any more milk powder in the future :P

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Doh... marijuana ok as food seasoning, Indonesia VP said

At first, I really thought it's a hoax... How could a vice president said that marijuana is okay for use as food seasoning.. but then.... confirmed it....

So, Jusuf Kalla simply said.... marijuana user and courier + dealer will be sentenced but local people (especially the Acehnese) is welcomed to use it as food seasoning. Acehnese chefs are said to support the use of marijuana since it "enhances" the local taste of food.... It's sort of de ja vu for me since not long ago some Japanese spices are said to contain traces of cannabis. Countries which those spices are exported to have withdrawn the items from shops. Yet Indonesia VP said it's okay to use such "enhancer". No wonder the plants are popular ....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Made-in-China's cars and tires

Tell me... after you see the following pictures, would you still buy the cars from the brand involved?
The test is held for Brilliance BS6 which is to be sold in Europe. The test is under NCAP standard.

Amazingly, the China car company actually produces BMW for BMW in China. :-P

The pict courtesy of

There was also a report from the same website that tires made-in-China failed in some cases and customer in Mexico and US is feeling the bad end of the defect. A GM's van apparently went into accident when the tires' rubber portion allegedly went off from the steel frame. Ouch...

Long way to go ... indeed....

The cars for developed countries' consumption should have been made to follow much stricter standard. Failing important test and not being responsible with defect-induced accidents are not the way to go in garnering higher customer satisfaction.

But perhaps, China manufacturers really need to learn the bad end of their irresponsibility before they can produce better products.. perhaps..

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Different selves

This is what I learn.

We have 2 selves:
1. Actual self
2. Ideal self

Actual self is divided into 3 sections:
1. Manifest self : how we behave, consciously
2. Social self : what other think we are
3. Latent self : what's our subconscious mind think of ourselves

It's in the ideal case that latent self shall be known so as to allow one to understand on how to control the behaviours arising from that self. If one was not aware of that latent self, some behaviours related to that self will be manifested subconsciously and maybe quite destructive. The awareness of that 3 sections of actual self will allow one to reconcile them and rationally understand one's behaviour and control them better.

Ideal self is divided into 2 sections:
1. Personal ideal self : what we want ourselves to be like, ideally
2. Institutional self : what our institution demand us to be like

At times, what we are are not the same as what we want us to be in ideal case. Maybe we'd like to be very nice guy who can accommodate to every kind of people. However, in reality, we'd have our share of being an angry person. On the other hand, our job might demand us to behave in a certain manner. For example, a call center officers would be required to be very nice and are expected to answer all questions nicely, including knowing all answers to all sort of related questions.

One would have to understand oneself entirely from that 2 types of selves if one would want to control how they behave. :P Hard, but should be doable.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Racing in life

So, we are all in a sort of racing competition in life. The racing is most of the time, self-induced, aka voluntary. So, one fine day morning, one woke up and decided to pursue one's dream. Before that day, one has dinner with one's spouse or friend or boyfriend/girlfriend at least six of the seven days. After that morning, having decided to spend time to pursue that dream, one only manage to have dinner with one's loved one, once a week or twice a week. Why is it so? Well, normally the dream "worth pursuing" has the loved one in the picture, but the loved one is at the end point. In the journey, the loved ones are not involved. The closest analogy I think suitable is painting a picture and then cutting + pasting the loved ones' picture from another painting to that newly finish painting.

Why the event unfolds as such? One great "guru" taught people that the five closest people surrounding one describe one's future. So, people normally follow that "rule" very closely and guess what, one's loved one rarely allow one to reach a particular dream, especially if it's "prosperity" and "success". Therefore, the said event in the paragraph above happens. One's life becomes a race to reach that dream in the hope that the loved one can finally enjoy that dream with the racer.

One flaw, biggest flaw I observe in running a race and chasing such dream is the failure to consider that one can't control how long one lives! No matter how healthy you live (eat all organic food, no fried stuff, salad and seafood or whatsoever), there is virtually no way to control whether the oncogene in one's body will turn into cancer. There is no way to control that one won't encounter any accident at one fine day. If bad things happen, will one be able to turn back time and enjoy the life more with one's loved one? Friends, live your life to the fullest and chase your dream but don't forget to spare bulk of your time with your loved ones. Self employment does not bring real happiness to your loved ones. Ten million dollars does not bring real happiness to them either. It's either you live your life now and make them your priority (at least spend >50% of your non working time with them, and now... don't start calculating the number of hours...) or risk losing the one in a life time chance.

It's not that I am such a wonderful person living a very enriching life. It's just that I don't wish to see friends withering away in their chase of dreams. Those self-induced works lasting 16 hours a day has something wrong in it. Working life is 10 hours, at most 12 hours. More than that, find a better place friends. Life happens once and only once. Seize the day and have a nice dinner with your loved one, spend your limited time on earth with them.

Standards and implementation

There are many standards being used nowadays to help improve the performance of an organization. Starting from ISO, Six Sigma or even TPM. Many companies claim to practice one of those standards and improvement method, one way or another. However, not many gets certified and even less that actually embodies the culture well. Easiest of all, arguably, is an ISO certification. ISO needs tonnes of documentation with the hope that the documentations allow standardization of work. New employee can simply breeze through the training by following the process and quality manual. Process will be alright by following the standards and documentation provided.

Yet, although so many files and stacks of documentations are produced, efficiency and productivity of a company may not be improved. It's simply due to the lack of employee's involvement. Many times, certification is a mere certificate. No souls is injected into it. Employees turn out to be ignorant. After all, human generally dislike adding work into their already existing burdensome job. Very few people loves adding documentation to their daily job. It's useless, right? Well, that's the challenge. Unless those standards and certification can be inculcated and grafted well into the company's culture, nothing will result from the certification except the additional work, useless type of job. Unless the top management understand and practice the documentation step, nothing can be done to improve the religiosity of the bottom level worker in adhering to the standard.

The top management needs to clearly understand why standards are made and processes are to be followed. Only after having a strong desire to implement the system and an almost zealotry understanding of the system that top management should preach the goodness of it to the lower level guys. Those guys down there, the ones arguably working their asses off, need to see the usefulness of the system. They need a lay man term and PROOF that those documentation can help them to achieve higher productivity, improve their skills, shorten their waiting time, improve their values, and so on. Only by then that standards are useful.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vehicles in Indonesia

Guess how many cars and motorcycles in Indonesia.... There are 30 cars per 1,000 people and 10,2 people per motorcycles. Indonesia's motorcycle density is number four in Asia. The bike density in Jakarta even reach 2.8 people per unit. Both numbers are based on the industry association respectively.

No wonder the air in Jakarta is so polluted. Hahahaha... there are just so many cars and motorcycles. No wonder that the environmental ministry wants to stop new vehicle sales. Anyway, he must be thinking wildly when he suggested to stop vehicle sales. Hehe.. it's going to stop a bulk of the country's industry if it happened. What the government really need to do is to tidy up the corruption before even doing other things. There are just too many underage drivers with "valid" license and cars giving out black fume. The entire transportation needs an overhaul before other things.

Even highway construction (read: infrastructure) easily spur higher vehicle sales in Indonesia (read: central java highway is coming up). Noone knows how terrible the construction quality will be though :P The country still has a long way to go in everything.

Morning and mood

No wonder so many people dislike working... it must be because that they commute every morning and night. There is less than 5 smiling people out of 50-80 people per MRT car in Singapore. Hehehe.. many are asleep with tired looks (in the morning!) or just put on gloomy face. I find it better to start my day by smiling in the MRT. It starts a beautiful day because you feel happier hehehe... Well, at night when I commute back home, I saw the same thing in the train... I feel sad for those people. Cheer up! Don't ruin your life by not smiling :D creases is hard to tighten.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I went for some morning walk and an ads captured my attention. It said " ..........naturally (insert noun)". Well, let's not talk about a particular ads but let's dissect the food and beverage's advertisement business for a while. That ads I saw talk about the food being naturally .... On a glance, it indicates that the food has a property inherent to its growth condition, i.e. the properties are obtained not after processed, right? Nah.... I personally don't think it's that simple. The company after all, does not elaborate how does the property is obtained "naturally". If the property is obtained after a certain processing which is designed to produce that characteristic, won't the property be called as natural of the food? As in.. yeah, right, this particular chemical process is used to process the food and the intention is to generate a certain property in the food. The property is the food's "natural" characteristic right? right???

Well, that's how many of us would think. :) But I were to use the same argument, salted fish is also natural. After all, you simply need to salt the fish, let it dry in the air. Tadaa... salted fish, "naturally" processed right? So, I can call it "naturally" beneficial for consumption regardless of whether the processing has this side effect or that side effect. After all, the word beneficial can point to all kind of benefits.

The advertisement business has grown to a humongous business. It's regarded as essential to all business sectors. Every big business has advertisement. Advertising agencies go all out to lure corporations and the agencies promise to increase the profits of the corporations by many fold through the so called marketing effort. Perhaps, in one way, due to the huge amount of money involved, words are being used in a certain manner with the intention to lead customers to think in a certain manner. Of course, all are done regardless of what is the real thing offered by the product, not even considering the short- or long- term bad side effect that can be produced after consuming that product.

I don't really think those advertisement method is going to work for any much further. Nowadays people are educated and organic food sales is on the rise. Perhaps in their heart, those buyers of organic food realize that they can't really take the advertisement claim as it is any more. Perhaps. Nevertheless, advertisement that relies on word play itself won't gain true loyalist. Temporary supporter won't earn a company long term profit. Sadly, that's the focus of companies in general nowadays. I do think that the shift of mindset is needed if a company wishes to drive itself to the future world. Smart consumers enquire and think more. Unless you really talk about the truth and really provide those claim in reality without any word play, true follower won't be gained.

I admire a drink company called Nudie, from Australia. I am attracted by the way they advertise and thus gain true loyalist and follower. I do admit I haven't even drank their product. I only read about them in a branding book. However, I do believe that their product is really offering what it is that the product can offer, that's without even me drinking it! Their advertisement is just so frank and it thus let the consumer connect with the company. People feel connected to the brand. The branding WORKS!! People claim "addiction" to the brand.

This is what a particular label in their product said:

What is a nudie smoothie?

Fresh fruit blended with pro-biotic yoghurt made from the milk of blissfully happy cows. (You’re probably thinking: ‘Where’s the fruit in the vanilla & honey one?’) Well, apart from 1/2 an apple, employed for its friendly nature*, the fruit is the vanilla bean! Clever, hey. Tall Tim (nudie creator with the big brain) knows that vanilla is the only edible fruit in the orchid family. (Nice bit of trivia to keep up your sleeve for awkward silences on first dates.)

Each nudie smoothie contains good stuff like calcium and protein, all camouflaged in a tasty, sometimes brightly-coloured** drink.

Some other interesting facts about nudie smoothies:
  • They are all 98% fat free
  • There’s no water in a nudie smoothie
  • There are also no colourings, no flavourings, no preservatives, and no added sugar
  • They come in bottles with a silver cap (it’s the nudie cows’ favourite colour, and Tall Tim likes happy nudie cows)
  • They are made from Australian dairy products and a multicultural mix of Australian and imported fruits
  • They really wake you up in the morning, better than a very loud rooster right outside your window
  • They do not contain grass (although we can’t say the same about the nudie cows"
Strangely, I truly believe in the advertisement. All seem to be put in a fun and playful mind, which one won't take it seriously except some claims like "no colourings, no flavourings, no preservatives, and no added sugar", which I do believe is easily achievable. They never claim something extraordinary, don't they? Welllllllll, I won't be so sure about the 98% fat free stuff, after all, it's made of yogurt -> milk -> fat. I might need to search for the method on how to make fat free yogurt. Hehehe... Lemme read on them.... I do think that it'll help the marketing if they said "we think it's 98% fat free, after the yogurt's fat content, but we won't know the exact percentage"

That's how a company market itself, that's the future of advertisement. And NYDC (a cafe) also seems to market their stuff using the same method. After all, having used no to little vegetables, the cafe never claims that its product is good for physical health and fat-free and healthier or whatsoever. But teenagers (and often adults) still frequent the place. After all, we love to eat and we want to indulge ourselves at least once in a while. Hm.. I write too much.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Biodiesel industries in Germany is reported to be collapsing. I personally don't think that this so called environmental friendly fuel will take off. Consider this, basically the biofuel are more or less also uses the same engine as the normal fuel (i.e. gasoline and diesel). The keyword bio merely refers to the fact that the fuel is produced from something biological as in plants. Therefore, it is argued that the plants has helped to absorb carbondioxide and the absorption will offset the carbondioxide produced by burning the fuels produced by the plants.

The hidden challenge of biofuel is to find plants that do not take as much land plots to grow AND plants that do not originate from foodstocks. So far, ethanol is used as a mixture with the fuel. However, ethanol is made of sugarcane, corns, and some other foodstocks. Therefore, its production compete with the provision of the foodstocks. Why are we using foodstocks to produce oil while many people in the world are still starving? It's beyond my understanding.

Some scientists then discovered that certain non food stock plants (I forget the name) can be used to produced biodiesel. One thing that was forgotten is that those plants need land to grow. There is of course then a huge risk that forest is cleared to supply the industry with the raw material. Well.... forest cleared = less tree to recycle the carbondioxide. So, where's the environmental friendly portion? It's as if earth is still abundant with forests and lands are cheap. People seem to drive like a racing horse with blinder. The ensuing side issues are often forgotten.

Unless a viable raw materials that does not infringe direct human needs (foods, lands) are found, biodiesel investment will implode upon itself soon. It's not sustainable at this moment. It's a mere hype. My opinion is such.

Newstand sellers and newspaper delivery man

So, newspaper brought the old men together and they just sit in the companion of each other. Words rarely exchanged but they seemed content at the companionship of each other. :D

What do you think?

Words don't need to be exchanged for feelings to be communicated between people with shared interest. Hehe..

Honda and sedan

Wow, Honda City, Accord, Jazz, and CR-V are really tough to beat in Indonesian automotive market. ( Those models have reigned in their respective segments for a real long time. CR-V takes as many as 49% of the market share for SUV. Amazing. CR-V used to decline in market share when Nissan X-Trail was launched but the new CR-V launched early this year help CR-V to bounce back to the lead. On the other hand, despite Jazz having been launched for some time, its image as being a trendy city car has helped it to stay on the lead. Honda City boasted a i-DSL engine which is fuel efficient while having relatively larger torque.

Nevertheless, Toyota rules in the automotive market with its highly popular Toyota Kijang. After all, floods are occurring more and more often in Indonesia and the road condition in Indonesia remains pathetic (i.e. lots of holes). MPV is indeed very useful in those two conditions. Haha.. There are some complains about Toyota Kijang getting higher and higher in price though. Hehe... Indonesians are price sensitive as well. It might be good to consider that. The multiple variants strategy has worked so far so good for Toyota Kijang though. I hope they manage to keep the lowest priced variant one as low price as possible. :P

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Human being, inc.?

Yeah, heard podcast from Robin Sharma this morning. A great guy with tonnes of great tips.

One of the best is his proposition is the establishment of human being, inc. That is to treat our lives as a big corporation with vision, missions, long term goal, and short term goal. Inclusive of weekly meetings aka self reflections. I think it's a good idea. Having such informations in hand should help one to be aware of oneself more and more each day.

I think one need to be more flexible than a big corporation though. Big corporation has tonnes of resources but less agile compared to the small size firms. Therefore, small size firms might have edge in adapting to changes. I suggest that the human being, inc. needs to be more balanced and be more agile like small firms yet having the organization and aims of a big organization. Humans tend to be fickle and many times one doesn't really know the exact missions and visions that one wants. Therefore, the short term and even long term goals including visions might change over time. The weekly reflection is going to help a lot in growing mentally and spiritually as one learn more and more about oneself each week.

Sounds very religious to me hahaha...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fear Factor: China's food product, are you game for it?

Lots of scare generated from China made food product lately. US has been frenzily denied entry to tonnes of made-in-china food product. Some dried fruits, tea, and even toothpaste were also in the recent list of returned items. On the other hand, China has seemingly retaliated by returning some US exports including pistachios said to contain ants. Fear factor: consume food below safety standards, season 1 anyone?

Despites all the recent bans, which of course only emerges recently, we can't really tell how many of those products have ended up in our stomach. I shudder at the thought that it needs some death for countries to perform a stricter safety check to items such as food. Frankly, it's not just about China made food product. There are tonnes of countries in the world which should have produced food items below the proper safety standard. There is of course only one good reason for those manufacturers to do the despicable acts: greed!

Anyway, most of the rejection of the food item by a certain country is not followed by a clear explanation of why those foods are rejected. I feel that there are too many hidden "standards" which should have been made known to the us, the public who are the end user of those products. I really wonder how those previous pistachios pass through the customs or how could the toothpaste be sold in supermarket previously? Even food stuff and human safety are in the politics play. I really wonder which government in the world is consistently protecting its citizen's right to consume food safely.

Perhaps a more unified safety standards shall help to push forward the appreciation of human life. Perhaps a body, or easily WHO, can be tasked to set a standard, which is open for scrutiny, for general food items.

And perhaps manufacturers can be less greedy and remember that it could be their children who consume some unsafe product unknowingly. Ironically, some of the employee's children could be the one consuming the direct products made by the hand of their parents.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Create market for employee or create employee for the market

Normally, jobs are created first and then thoughts are being put to consider what type of employee is available to fill in the market. I would like to propose job market creation with employee being put in mind at the very first step. So the jobs are created FOR the people. This should be the way to go if the world is to care for the elderly and disabled. Perhaps, jobs should be created especially for them.

The experience of the elderly can be clearly tapped by service industry where counseling and hospitality is needed. The talent of many disabled people to sing perhaps can be tapped to produce a good band that can outsell current pop singers. In Singapore, I reckon you can really gather a really capable music instrument players + singers from the disabled. Most of them sings a LOT better than the contestant of Singapore Idol while the disabled are only a mere buskers on a busy streets, perhaps some even in a quiet corner of the town.

Perhaps a job that does not require standing can be created for the ones on wheel chair. Even a simple order taking in KFC or McDonald should be doable for the disabled who are bound to wheel chairs.

Perhaps counselling jobs can employ elderly who like to chatter. Since parents nowadays rarely chat with their children, just let those attention seeking children or perhaps the sincerely love-looking children to chat with the chatty elderly. The elders can teach one or two things about being poor or being lonely to the lonely kids and the lonely kids can be the "adopted" children of the old man/ woman.


Really, how hard is it for people to say "excuse me" only when the train has come to full stop. It's all too common to get someone standing or your back saying "excuse me" indicating his/ her intention to get out of the train when the train is packed full and still moving. It gets very annoying at times. No wonder that most people in the train are having hard faces.

The train travels would contribute to the stress level of the commuters and further spiraling the bad day in office, which in turn causes bad life, which in turns cause lack of baby. Hahhaha.... maybe if the government here wants people to produce more baby, they'd think about how to reduce the stress level of their people by perhaps pushing the train company to increase the train frequency hahaha..

Measurement of loyalty and customer's satisfaction

Just read an article by McKinsey's. China's customers are really unconventional. Apparently, 72% of the time they left TV when ads are shown while in US, only 42% of the time. Yet, companies are reported to spend more and more on advertisement while in fact, according to the report, customers' choice fickle depending on what the salesperson said to them during their point of contact. Perhaps the Chinese custom to trust people and only buy things they find real use of is more important than brand after all. Recommendation from friends and especially relatives are very important in the purchase decision made by a typical Chinese. The family bond might be the cause. Furthermore, Chinese seems to buy things based on its cost. They are very economical anyway.

Then it will be crucial for manufacturers to train their sales in providing only what the customers need. Functional features need to be down to earth and explanation needs to be easily understood to influence the customers' decision. However, a product serving the owner well during its lifetime might not influence the owner to repurchase the same brand though. Since the salesperson has the big role in influencing the purchase decision, it then really depends on the retail marketer to provide the leading edge for any manufacturers in attracting customers.

Monday, June 4, 2007

You and the environment

I wish to play a part in saving the environment. However, at times, it seems to be very difficult. Even in this internet and electronic age, printing on tonnes of paperm which only < 10% of the contents are actually used, is still a commonplace in Singapore. I cringe when I see people printing on one side only and printing 1000 pages of report just to have its printing quality checked and then get the paper thrown away. Why is it so difficult for them to just use the electronic version in the checking? Doh..

Okay.. granted that we need better screen quality to lessen the strain to our eyes. After all, 3/4 of Singapore populations are myopic mainly due to improper computer usage and improper reading method. But still, printing 1000 pages when only 10% of the contents are needed is a bit too much. Haiz... there is a real need to educate people on this.

I do admit that I print a lot of reading material as well so I can read them on my journey home from work. At times, I generally feel the need to have a PDA for that hahaha.. However, I'd then consider about the electricity usage and the non biodegradable content of the PDA. I guess there is a need to draw a line here. I'd stick with printing double sided and getting the waste papers to recycling bin at the moment.

Old age and chatter

In general, kids have many friends. Teens have lots of friends. Youths have some friends. Adults have few friends. Elderly people have very few friends. That's probably caused many elderly people tends to chatter a lot including to strangers. Kids are at times innocent and enjoy befriending with other kids. Nowadays when one grows older, suspicions and fears pile up. Privacy also demands more space within our lives taking out the innocence and at the same time, friends. Old men/ women might have lost many of its few arsenal of friends which tend to give them loneliness. On the other hand, as their mental state tends to switch back to children's mentality, they might become less suspicious of people. At the end, they talk and spare their lifetime stories to even total strangers.

I feel great sympathy to these elderly and am wondering whether I'd end up like them since I enjoy talking hahaha... but ah well, in Singapore I usually end up listening to aunties talking some alien languages I don't know. So, I end up smiling and nodding my head all the time hehehe... rarely, they'd notice that and I am scolded. Hehe.. but well, it should still be better than avoiding them.

I've seen a lot of people avoiding these old men/ women including those claiming themselves to be religious. Frankly, I implore us all to think about what will make them to chatter. Perhaps we might want to consider that we might end up like them one day. We can't control what we'll end up like at old age anyways. Furthermore, perhaps we will be able to learn something from their experiences told in the stories. And perhaps, deep down in our hearts, we might actually identify with their loneliness and our avoiding them is just our effort to prevent ourselves from getting in touch with our own loneliness as well. Loneliness comes in many form. Think about that.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

cost of the future

What's the cost of your future?

What's the cost of securing a good future for your children?

We have been accumulating so much pollution on earth that the future has been predicted as a bleak one. I wonder what has we been doing? Is it so difficult to realize that what we do today affect the future? What's so difficult about realizing that the algae filled lake in China is not easily cleaned and it's the weak ones in the community (read: children) who will suffer the most. What will the children think of his parents' generation for causing such disaster upon him?

What's so difficult to control the urge to litter as well? Singapore is said to be a clean country with BIG fine for littering. To tell you the truth, litters are still almost everywhere, if you know where to find though. There are quite a number of cleaning troupes in the public places frequented by tourists, but not so much on the corners of Chinatown, Bugis, or the neighbourhood bushes. I clearly remember the comment written in The Straits Times about the authors noticing a family leaving a whole bunch of rubbishes at their picnic place, 2 m away from rubbish bin. Amazing isn't it?

I guess it's natural for us to want to sit back and just get other people to do it for us. Well, if you want to provide better living environment to your kids, maybe you'd like to act now?