Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A little fund raising activity for Persatuan Kanak-kanak Istimewa Kajang (PKIK), or the Center for Special Children, Kajang

PKIK is an NGO which focuses on people with disabilities and operates out of Taman Kajang Utama, Kajang. They set up shop in 1995 and currently my youngest son who will be turning 7 next Wednesday has been enrolled there for the past year. His name is Imran Haziq and he's special to say the least. Imran was diagnosed with Delayed Development Growth and when he first attended PKIK under the Early Interventio Programme (EIP) his gross motor skills were very underdeveloped. With the help of PKIK's teachers, Imran began to show marked improvement over time and thus far he is beginning to walk with the support of the parallel steel bars during therapy, although he still prefers to crawl.

The are other groups of special people at PKIK, whose ages range from primary school all the way to those approaching their 50's! For a monthly contribution of RM50 per person, they are being thought to be as independent as possible. These include vocational skills under their Day Training Program (DTP) where the attendees complete real tasks outsourced to PKIK, and the attendees are paid accordingly. RM50 per month is really nothing compared to the services provided here. Other places charge 10 times more for the same amountt of service, which a lot of parents these days, inluding me, can ill afford.

PKIK as an NGO receives partial Government funding for some of their teaching staff. The rest is contribution from the private and corporate sectors, apart from the RM50 monthly contribution from parents. Given their current need for additional space, PKIK is planning to construct their own building at Jalan Reko, Kajang. The current premises consisting of shophouses in Kajang Utama looks a little haphazard and they may run out of space soon given PKIK's growing enrollment. Hence, they are now in fund raising mode to raise monies for the new building, which is expected to cost approximately RM4.00 million, together with the land. For that, PKIK is having a Carnival next Sunday the 19th of April. Coupon books for the carnival at RM10 per book are available from me and they can be redeemed for items on sale that day. Please let me know where and how many books to deliver. You may call me at 03 8736 2202 or my handphone 012 399 6381 or email me if you wish.

Even if you're not planning to attend the carnival, please feel free to donate any amount and I shall have the booklets delivered nevertheless. I know my son has benefited from PKIK and I hope PKIK would be able to continue with their efforts for a ling time to come. Your kind gesture is very much appreciated and may the Almighty bless you for your noble efforts.

I have included some photos of Imran and the Carnival Poster in this posting. Please feel free to pass the word around.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The last time I posted in my blog was more than 2 years ago, when I was still an employee of a wanna be so called high tech company, which has more or less faded into oblivion these days. If anyone mentions the name of the company, it is often for the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, I must say I did learn some valuable lessons there, not least of which is the need to maintain my humility at all times. The only reason I said so is because some individuals from my previous company felt they had at their disposal a world class technology, one which would display earth shattering performance and that anyone who did not buy into the technology would walk away at their own peril......but how wrong they were. Not only did they have the most difficult of times trying to get people to believe in the technology, they didn't even have a product!! (yup, no product maaa!!)

Well to cut a long story short, the last thing I heard was that the company was still trying to get buy a meaningful buy in into the technology (I know, they never learn that you need to sell a PRODUCT!!!!!!!!), but hear this folks, they actually got another company to loan them money, to the point where the other company practically FOLDED!!! Now that is what I call a major coup! You may ask, how could the other company be so stupid? Didn't the other company conduct due diligence prior to loaning the money? I'm sure they would have, but as a reliable source put it, the other company was arm twisted into loaning the money! How could there be arm twisting? Well, to put it mildly, the whole deal has conflict of interest splashed all over it. And this all happened in the presence of many, many so called educated individuals, holding pedigree qualifications from prestigious universities. The problem is, they just knew how to spend; they didn't know how to sell. Selling is about winning over your customer with a good product or service, neither of which they had unfortunately.

That's what you get when you allow people with no business building experience to hold so much money. They just spend and spend and spend, hoping that their business would someday achieve astronomical valuations so that they can sell it to the next sucker. Welcome to the world of venture capital folks, where reality could more often than not be a house of cards waiting to fall all over the place. Ironically, the initials of the company literally meant the 'Learned Master' in Chinese. Truth is folks, they were far from it. If I were to rate them, they wouldn't even rank close to the proverbial droopy eyed, drooling and often times snoring student at the back of your class, whose head would often become the target of the blackboard duster which found its trajectory from the palm of the geography teacher's right hand. Yeah, it's that bad OK?? Except for the Malaysian team, and some brave souls from the Singaporean team, none of the rest deserved even an iota of respect. Till today, the company is for all intent and purpose languishing in dire straits, waiting for the next sucker to walk into their web of deceit.

What makes me so upset is that this particular company was practically funded to the brim by Malaysian taxpayers, USD2.0 million to begin with, which would have been more than sufficient for the company to come up with at least 1 product that works. Give me even a quarter of that amount and I would spin the money ten fold within the first year of operations, generating clean profits within my first 6 months. What was even worst was that they never executed the Malaysian project, acquired by yours truly within my first 6 months of joining the company. Instead they would rather spend on other projects which were not contracted for. Needless to say, the never got paid because the technology didn't work. What a sad turn of events - from being a potential superstar the company just dropped out of the radar screens, potential customers and investors included. I guess the only reason people give face to the company's directors is because one of them happens to be the brother of a certain Malaysian minister. One VERY POWERFUL minister he is, so nobody messes around with our friend the director, even though he is a step brother of the minister.

So much about that company, so now I've moved on. I'm on my own, doing several things one of which is manufacturing laundry detergent. You got that right - LAUNDRY DETERGENT!! It began as an experiment, which somehow attracted customers, so much so that people wanted me to keep producing because they swear by it and that they wouldn't use other detergents!! So from being an experiment, it became a hobby and now it has become my livelihood. I'll tell you more about what I do in my next posting folks.. have a good rest of the weekend :D

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Two months ago, the dilemma was about this ship or the other(s). as the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. Hmmm...maybe I should add to that, as in "...for now that is..". WHOAA!! Something GOOD must've happened for me to be even thinking this way, eh?Ok, for starters, the jokers who have tried to make my life a living hell have in some ways had their powers curtailed by the powers that be in this humble abode where I work. Yeah ...humble in appearance but not in expense (or burn rates, as was once an exceedingly over used term during the dotcom days.."our burn rate is RM500,000 per month now, and all the investment banks are running after us", said a certain snotty C_O guy of a certain snotty company, which had grand aspirations for 2020 but died standing in 2002..HA!!! The fella even had the cheek to tell me "We want smart money, not DUMB money", so my position now is "Where's all that SMART money now fella? They must've realised how DUMB you and your band of filibusters were to have left you to die standing, chump!") Well I guess the last laugh lies with me, and a whole bunch good guys out there! WE RULE!!

Now back to the storyline.. :) (Tangents are always what makes this blog writing interesting to me, and I hope to all of you readers too :) So here I am, putting the pieces of what I hope to be a grand plan for this company, and in comparison nothing short of phoenix rising from the ashes. A good friend of mine went through the same process many moons ago and he's one swashbuckling successful dude now. And he made it because he persevered against all odds. Do I stand the slightest chance of being in that position some day? I don't know. What I know is I will never cut corners and screw people to get where I want. There's a price to pay for everything in life and you just have to be patient.

I'm consolidating my finances now and I expect to be debt free by 40. Impossible you think? I don't think so. Everything in life is a matter of choice and commitment. Make the choice where your heart lies and act on it with 100% belief and commitment. I WILL BE DEBT FREE BY AGE 40.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

They say opportunity knocks once. Not twice, not thrice. Just once. Well how true is this? Myth or fact? Take my career for instance. Started out in retail sales, then moved to technical sales, got my big breakthrough in venture capital, then free falled into consulting before being swooped into the current engineering services company. Yup, on each occassion I had an offer on the table, ready for me to choose. And so with each offer (some management gurus call them inflection points), I considered their merits, vis-a-vis their package, against my own career outlook. And I can say to this day, the Almighty has been very kind to me, with every new job that I took my package has improved and my family was never at any point in time denied most creature comforts that money can buy nowadays.

Now I'm about to go through another inflection point in my life, and this time around hard decisions have to be made. It's unlike my previous instances when I just had to choose among competing offers. Heck those days I could even drive a hard bargain on my own whims and fancies and still get away with it. This time around it's a choice between hoping onto a ship without the benefit of me charting the course, or to remain in the current ship to chart my own course, the only uncertainty being how much fuel is left.

The second choice is much more enticing, although it might be presumptous of me to assume being the captain of my ship. There is some jostling for the wheel and it's rather inconspicuous. Very subtle indeed more so because I have a good working relationship with the other person.

The big question is who would bet on me. I achieved a rather towering milestone for the company many moons ago and it has yet to be repeated by anyone else. Of course there are the jokers who continue to remain in denial and are hell bent on making my life in this company a living hell but who doesn't go through it anyway? I have learnt that it is better to ignore these nincoompoops who have nothing better than to fidget on their desks day in and day out without dealing with the realities of running a business head on. And these are the same people who have been empowered to lead in the first place.

So setting the ship on a different path is nothing short of a mutiny. If it means our survival depends on it, so mutiny it is. All my life, I've had to stand up for what I believe in and I'm not about to change that. Not for anything under the sun.

So three days from now we'll know if the ultimate opportunity will present itself, or whether I have to go else where in my journey. For all you know, it may just be under my nose, it could have been the one that I turned down (yes I did last week, for the post of Chief Investment Officer for a certain well known group), or it could be elsewhere. I hope to be guided by Him accordingly, Aamiiinn..

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A friend of mine had this advice for me yesterday - "if it rots all the way to the top, chop off the top first, then get a new set of brains..." Hmmm...very well put indeed. Let's hope the willpower to execute will be unwavering for the next couple of months. I've had the choice of switching ships halfway through my journey but the other ships would not have taken to my intended destination. Jumping ship is out of the question because seriously there's plenty of options out there just waiting for me to say "aye"... but you know what? Home is where the heart is and I'm home :). And I'll do whatever it takes to protect my home. So don't mess around with me ok..?

Monday, June 27, 2005

I got delivery of my Toyota Innova 2 Fridays ago.I'm one of the lucky ones because my car wasn't actually due till mid October this year. You see, I made my booking only on the 28th of May and in all honesty was not prepared for the surprise when my salesman called ten days later, saying "Jeoffrey, your car is here..". I felt happy and terrified at the same time coz I am probably the luckiest of the lot but financially I was nowhere prepared for the remainder of the downpayment. "How come so fast?" I asked Lionel the salesman in Manglish, and he said this to me, in all the Glory of the Queen's English "This is God's blessing to you", and my jaw dropped.

Just a couple of days before that my neighbour was telling me how he had been given the runaround by the Toyota dealership at Balakong (notice how it rhymes with "Ah Long"?) and had waited since October last year for their Avanza. So poor old Servaswaran and Sujatha made their way to UMW's HQ to find out what the whole fuss was all about. Boy were they surprised to know that they were supposed to have already taken delivery of their car! To cut the long story short, apparently the dealership accepted bribes from eager customers wanting to jump queue to grab their hands on the Avanza. Hmmmm...very familiar story when Proton was producing cars in the mid 90's (these days they produce garbage :)) Come to think of it, have anyone of you seen the Savvy on the road? I've seen a few Myvis but not the Savvy.

Back to my neighbour's story. A day after they complained to UMW, they got their car. And this was 8 months after they placed their booking, one month later than promised by the dealership. And the weekend before I got my car Servaswaran was relating to me what he went through. So you could imagine the look on poor old Servaswaran's face when my Innova pulled into the driveway, less than 3 weeks after I made my booking..:)
It seems in life one is often confronted with people who fall short on their promises. It happened to me last weekend. Not once. Not twice. But on numerous occasions. For the life of me, I can't understand why a lot of us make promises only to break them later without even so much as a blink! Here's what has been pissing me off over the last 72 hours :

1. Agony no 1 - some guy who was interested in my car promised to meet me up on Sunday to wrap up the sale. It was approaching noon when I called to confirm and he said he'd call me back "kejap lagi". Well to me kejap lagi means "in a jiffy", which should be within the next 10-15 minutes. The call never came and I was left wondering what happened. Till now that is. And it's Monday morning, for cryin out loud!!!! If you are not interested, then say so! What is wrong with being honest about it?

2. Agony no 2 - a dealer of mine who sells my detergent for a living is not making much headway despite a lot of promise not too long ago. So I paid him a visit to find out what needs to be sorted to jumpstart his sales. I found out that he's selective about when he does sales - he does it when the "crowd" is around. Hmmmm...ok. I told him if that were the case, then try telling the shops, restaurants and supermarts to sell only when the "crowd" is there. And close at other times. I mean, get real laaa.. you want to make money, you have to push yourself hard, don't give yourself excuses, especially in this day and age! Otherwise don't promise me you'll deliver a truckload of sales when you can't even get half of it!

3. Agony no 3 - I went to my kids' school to get their report card and was surprised to find out that they got "D" in Math. This was despite the RM350 a month I spend on their tutor, who comes to our home every Tuesdays and Thursdays, for the last year or so, and who was supposed to help my kids vastly improve their grades. I remember not having to attend tuition until Form IV in College; and that was because I had a lousy add math teacher! To add injury to the wound, the teacher has this remark - "itulah encik...saya pun pelik..emak bapak dia terra2 tapi anak dia...." and with that she gave me an empty look! My wife has since then told Sharon the tutor to stop coming for my kids' lessons.

4. Agony no 4 - do you know what if feels like to be continually deprived of sleep for 3 years in a row? Well that's what I'm going through and believe me there's no end in sight yet. My youngest boy is special but the weird thing about him is he gets by with maximum 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. And when he's awake, he'll crave for attention. It's 3 am, you're tired, you've got a gazillion things to do the next day, and he's gnawing on my forehead. Yeah..precisely! This is one habit of his that is not funny at all especially when he sinks his teeth into your skin! Promises broken here? Well, let's just say the people that we took my son to for therapy and medication are saying that he will come out of it so both my wife and I are hoping that it will come soon.

Now back to work... :D

My Laguna Posted by Hello

imran driving Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I never liked office politics. I think it's completely unproductive and a total waste of time. In my 15 years of working life, I have never subjected myself to anyone's beck and call and I only believe in merit. Sure I've had my run ins with former colleagues and superiors but those are simply because in every incident, I stand for what is right. Nothing more, nothing less.

Unfortunately there are those of us, some very educated, with scrolls of degrees and what have you, who continue to prey on people's fears by instilling doubts on our capabilities and that of our colleagues. These are the same people who display the wisdom of kindergarden thugs, who cannot live without maintaining an iron fist on day to day matters, no matter how trivial they are. Sure in order to run a lean and mean machine, one needs to run a tight ship. But it should not come at the expense of merit. To go to war, you need brave and forward looking generals. To install footsoldiers as generals and expecting them to bring you victory is wishful thinking.

What I'm witnessing right now is a ship with a clueless captain, and whose mates are jumping ship. Why you may ask.. well honestly speaking maybe they'd rather be eaten by sharks instead of making a pact with the devil. And these are people with integrity, courage and character.

All I can say is PH, you're gonna need a lot of luck..:)