Tuesday 30 December 2008

The annual corporate battle

The end is near. The end of the year I mean, and to say that this year is an eventful one is certainly an understatement. As the year comes to an end, it also marks the beginning of an annual affair in the corporate world. No, I am not referring to the annual year-end reporting period… I am referring to a battle… a domestic one… one that is going to be even more intense this year…

I am referring to the battle for bonus allocation…

31 Dec is a very common year-end period for a lot of companies. But unknown to many, that while the accountants slave it out to report the numbers, there are those in the corporate world who will commence their battle to justify their “performance”.

In a big corporation, it is common to have more than 1 unit or department that generates revenue. For example, a big corporation like General Electrics have manufacturing business, aircraft servicing, capital, etc. Sometimes, a single company can have multiple revenue centre too. Take a bank for example, it has the corporate banking unit, consumer banking unit, debt capital market, treasury, etc.

Sometimes, when a business deal is struck, it can be difficult to ascertain which revenue centre is to be recognised for the credit. It may be easier if the company is a product-based company, though still possible. But it becomes messy when a company is service-based. Mind you, being recognised is crucial as it converts to increment and bonus at the end of the year…. $$$$$!

A very real example, which I think many are aware is this thing about how that little mp3 device called iPod… is dying a slow death. And do you know who or what is killing iPod? It’s none other than the… iPhone.

I heard (which means it could be untrue) that the iPod unit in Apple is blaming the iPhone unit of killing their own kind. It may not be the case in Malaysia but people around the world prefer to buy an iPhone instead of an iPod, which makes perfect sense really. And due to this, iPod is not doing as well as it used to be. Come payment of bonus, guess who in Apple will be pocketing a fat pay cheque?

Trust me, the “battle” to get oneself recognised for the credit can be a bloody affair. You have absolutely no idea how one is willing to go just to make sure one’s bonus is secured, even at the expense of others. And due to the current economic turmoil, the bonus pool is much smaller, which in turn will intensify the battle.

In the place where I work, I have already witness small battle happening since months ago. As the accountants need to separate the bonus provision between departments, this is going to be a bloody war.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Blessed Christmas

For unto us a Child is born...
Unto us a Son is given...
God is with us...

We were the reason He gave His life...
He is the reason for this season...
Blessed Christmas to all...

Tuesday 23 December 2008

The current hypocritical trend

There is a current phenomenon that is sweeping through town. And when I said town, it’s really about people in the Kland valley. You hear people making this particular remark rather often, particular in the last 2 months or so.

When someone is stuck in a traffic jam…
When someone fails in getting a car-park slot in the mall…
When someone sees a whole load of people at the mall…
When someone has to queue to pay after shopping…
When someone had to queue to get a table at a restaurant…

These people tend to now just make a very quick judgement…

“Who say got recession ah? Where got recession? Tell me… where got recession?

Most of the time, such remark is made because one is frustrated. One believes that the rest of the world are supposed to stay at home and eat maggi mee during these tough times while that someone can enjoy the mall and road for oneself.

But one must not forget, the fact that you are also out on the road queuing at the counter or waiting in line for a table or jamming the car park means you are also one who in the crowd of people who is making this recession doesn’t look like a recession. That person standing right behind you on a queue can also say the same thing.

We are all contributing to this phenomena… myself included.

Sunday 21 December 2008

The reality of reality shows

I recently had the privilege to have a conversation with someone who participated in a local reality show. Consider that we don’t really have that many reality shows here, I am sure some of you would have managed to guess which one. Yes, it’s our very own version of apprentice. I think it’s called The Firm or something.

Anyway, this person (let’s call him Jack), quit after 1 episode as the show was taking too much of his time. It takes 4 days of filming for just 1 episode. So if you don’t have an extremely understanding boss, no way you can make it.

Naturally, I asked him about all those drama and how real is the reality show. I am sure you know what I mean, all those bitching and crying and internal fighting, how real are all those stuff. How real are these reality shows?

Jack response was… “It’s reality as in, there is no proper script. That’s basically it”

So, it’s just a show with no proper script? How do they generate all the drama and bitching and crying stuff?

“A combination of casting and editing”, Jack answered.

Apparently, during casting, the production team doesn’t really rope in the best people for the show. But rather, they cast in people based on their personality, personalities that will create the “drama” needed. I reckon it’s simple. Just cast in a jerk, a bitch, a dumb-dumb, a blur punk, an ambitious soul (both male + female), a joker and put them all in a group, you will have the reality you want. Don’t you think so?

Well, taking all the drama aside, I think reality shows somehow illustrate a disturbing element. I think it shows that we are no longer interested in “acting”, or at least we are heading that way. Tears and laughter in an acted scene no longer interests us, we want to see the real thing. We want to see real tears, we want to see real arguments. When there is a struggle, we are intrigued by real suffering.

It makes me wonder, whether we humans will one day move towards real killing. And you know what? It’s all in the name of entertainment…

Impossible? Too drastic? Well, what things are we not capable of?

Thursday 18 December 2008

An analogy of an organism

There is this organism. Just like any living thing, it needs to grow. And with the proper nutrients, it will certainly grow. As it lives in a very competitive environment, it will need to take it the best food in order to absorb the best nutrients for its body. It may be a struggle at first but soon, with the right approach and being wise in selecting the food it needs, the body can have the proper nutrient.

As this organism grew with the proper nutrients, it began to develop strong muscles. At one point, this organism kept putting its muscles into training in order for it to be one step ahead of its competitors. Sure enough, with the right training and more good nutrients, this organism with its strong muscles and a smart mind managed to defeat some of its competitors.

But just like any living being, as time goes by; this living organism became complacent. Lapse in concentration while selecting the right food, top up with a tendency to take things easy having achieved good strength, fats began to form around its body.

Fats can be essential, as fats support the muscles by providing muscle with energy. But no matter what, fats are always bad; it can cause diseases in the long run. But since everything looks fine, the competitors are not showing any sign of improvement and the unhealthy food tastes so good, the organism just have to bear the fats.

But then, there is a sudden change of environment…

Some other organisms in the community died due to disease that they had without knowing. So this organism begins to go for check up to see if it has any disease and found out that it is in the pinkest of health. But then, the wise mind of this organism thought that this would be the best time to get rid of the fat; using the outbreak of diseases as the reason.

You must realise that over time, the muscles have gotten lazy and the fats, though have not caused any disease, is certainly causing inefficiencies in the body. On top of that, it’s making the organism looks bad!

And so the organism puts its body through tough diet regime. No more lavish food and relaxing approach to things. The muscles need to exercise and the fats have to be trimmed away. The body is fine, no disease and in fact, the body is at its pinkest of health but still, due to the change in environment, this is the best time to get rid of the fats and get the muscles to work efficiently again.

This organism is called… unscrupulous opportunist corporations…

So do you think you are the muscles? Or are you the fats?

Monday 15 December 2008

A theory of 2 companies

Imagine there are 2 companies, Company A and Company B. Both companies are in the same business in town, and their business is rather specialised. This means the workers in this business can only work in Company A or B in this town.

Both companies are actually doing quite well despite the current economic condition. But one day, the big boss of Company A decided to downsize the company. Certainly, with the bad economic state, it’s not that difficult to obtain regulatory approval.

And so Company A retrench say… 30% of its personnel. Of course, they don’t really call it retrenchment. Packaging is important so it’s usually called voluntary separation scheme, flexible separation scheme, this scheme and that scheme. No matter what the call it, people will lose their job. The 70% remaining people in Company A will then become fearful thus will not dare to demand for increment or bonus.

With this, then Company B suddenly went on a recruitment drive and recruited the 30% workers in the market that only Company B can employ, due to their specialised skills. Of course, these 30% workers will employed by Company B at a much lower salary than before. Well, they have been retrenched, not much choice right?

Interestingly, Company B then retrench 30% of its original staff strength. These 30% being retrenched are not the newly employed ex-Company A workers, they are the existing ones. Made sense right? You employ all the ex-Company A workers cheaply, you can then get rid of those in current payroll who are getting much higher pay. Naturally, this also sends a chill to existing Company B workers thus they too do not dare to demand for increment and bonus.

More interestingly, Company A too went on a recruitment drive and employ the 30% retrenched ex-Company B workers. Of course, they are employed at a much lower salary compared to their previous employment in Company B.

In conclusion, 30% of staff changed working place between Company A and Company B resulting in massive reduction in staff cost. The non-retrenched staff paranoid about losing their job thus will not ask for increment and bonus resulting in an even more massive reduction in cost. Since both companies are actually doing well despite the economic crisis, there is a sudden increase in profit.

The big bosses of the 2 companies claim credit for the profit increase and pocket a fat bonus…

It’s just a theory… anyone got a morale of the theory?

Sunday 14 December 2008

Losing my vigilnity

I was late as I needed to cook dinner. I parked my car and as I walked across the park, this was what I saw…

I think the crowd strength was about 200, or more. I saw a lot of young people, and a lot of girls too. Where are the guys? Someone went up to speak and the first request was… “no video recording please”. Obviously that somoene does not intend to be seen in youtube. He then went on about Shakespear and ISA.

So, anyone wants to lose his/her vigilnity?

Friday 12 December 2008

A new criterion

Looks like the metamorphosis of slaves is really beginning to take its toll on some slave masters. Apparently, the rise of “The New Breed” is causing problems in companies which thrive on squeezing the very last bit of life out of modern slaves. Well, with the rise of The New Breed, they don’t really fall within the definition of modern slaves anyway, no?

And so some companies are actually taking some measures to ensure that they recruit at least “The Transitional Generation”, and try to avoid The New Breed as much as possible. How are they doing that?

Apparently, they have included an unwritten rule in the recruitment policy. They believe that this particular information in the CV will somehow help them segregate the The New Breed out.

And this particular criteria is…

Cheras… Can consider…
SS2, PJ… This is a tough one…
Mont Kiara… Only select if we have no choice…
Seremban… definitely can consider…
Malacca… definitely can consider…
Penang… HIGHLY potential!
Ipoh… HIGHLY potential!
Taiping… MUST recruit!
Subang/Sunway… hmmm, another tough one…
Damansara Heights / Tropicana…. BAN!!!

Get the drift?

P/S: Zewt did not intend to offend anyone, just in case.

Steven Lee, who is a professional photographer based in London is organising the KL Photo Awards 2009. He is calling for entries and deadline is 1st March 2009. All DSLR enthusiasts, time to flaunt your harvest…!

Wednesday 10 December 2008

The number mystery

A few of my friends either sms-ed or called me that day asking whether I am affected as I am currently residing quite near “ground zero”. I told them I was fine as I am actually based quite far away from the scene. However, I am based near enough to the highway leading to the scene to know that there ambulances and fire engines heading there as I could hear their sirens.

Around afternoon, I sms-ed a friend of mine who lived there and he replied that he happened to be in Singapore and will probably need to extend his holiday. 5 minutes later, he sent me another sms. It was a text from his neighbour who was there at the scene. My friend’s neighbour described the scene as … “very very very very tragic” and interestingly, he said… “many died”.

In the evening, when the news came out that the death toll was only 4, I sms-ed my friend telling him it’s not as tragic as his neighbour described. Maybe his neighbour was in a shock or something.

But then it struck me… the landslide happened at 4am and it covered a few bungalows and only 4 dead? A bit bizarre I must say, not that I was hoping more people are dead, not at all.

Today, the most controversial website published
an interesting article about rescue workers and more interestingly, there was this particular comment which made a peculiar claim. Referring to comment made on December 10, 2008 13:33:09, the commentor claimed that the death toll was a covered up.

More interestingly, the 4 unfortunate victims made up of a Chinese, a Malay, an Indian and a Sri Lankan. No disrespect to the dead but, the combination is just a little, too interesting. I can't find a better word for it without offending the dead.

So who do we believe?
What did my friend’s neighbour mean when he said “many dead”?
If there are more dead, why the need to hide the real figure?

Only God knows… only God knows…

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Our type of rescue

It’s always an eye-opening experience talking to old uncles, be it a conversation at the traditional coffee shop or any random meetings. I had such a session yesterday evening after joining a few of them for badminton.

Naturally, our conversation centred on the current talk of town, that particular landslide. And apparently, one of the guys there was working in his office when the baby landslide took place 2 days before the major one. He was referring to the version which happened in Jalan Semantan, 2 days before the Bukit Antarabangsa version.

“It was just outside the windows of my office”, he said.
“All the Bandaraya and police were there. 2 days later, all moved over to antarabangsa”

It was then that one of the uncles made a statement…
“Of course lah, plenty of things to find there, so many rich people”

That uncle was actually referring to rescuers going to the scene to look for money. After all, all the buried properties are bungalows own by very rich people. Shadowfox has done some research and found that bungalows there were selling at the region of RM6.5m. What kind of fortune do you think are buried beneath the earth there?

Honestly, I have never thought about it. Only the uncles are aware of such thing.

I know it can be over-judgemental to think of the rescuers in such a manner but when you read news reported today about how
a victim was given a hoe and asked to dig and look for his wife himself, one can't help but think how “efficient” our rescuers are. And let’s not kid ourselves. We are all painfully aware of the possibility of such things in this wonderful country.

Monday 8 December 2008

Light Monday read

Hope everyone is having (or had depending on when you read this) a good break.

Anyway, I received this a few days ago and thought it’s good to share the laughter. While they mainly depict the state of economy in the US, things aren’t that different here in Malaysia.

Click to enlarge…

Friday 5 December 2008

A truly interesting encounter

Well, well, well… Ya’ know what? I had a very interesting encounter 2 days ago which is very in-line with what AZAIG readers have been debating for this whole week. Wanted to pen down the experience immediately but never got the time to do it.

Anyway, I was supposed to go for my badminton training at 4pm on Wednesday as I was on leave but I spent more time than expected at the hospital visiting baby Z. Oh yes, baby Z is doing well right now. He seems alert and responding well to the surgery. Let’s continue to pray that his vision is at 100%.

Coming back to the story…

Because I was late, the 5pm training session was a joint-version with another person, a 12-year-old kid. The coach remarked… “Zewt, this boy is crazy about badminton”, and left me to warm up with him.

Hello, I’m Zewt
My name is Mohd Afiq” (name has been modified)

I must say this boy is quite confident about his ability, quite talented too. Guess that’s why he will be competing in a local tournament middle of this month.

Long story cut short, it was a fun training session which included the coach asking me to have a single match between me and Afiq where I have to give him a 10-point handicap plus him having only half-court to be in-play while mine will be full single-playing court. I know… I know… you all want to know won right? If I lost, do you think I will be telling you this part of the story? Hehehe…

And so, the training was over and both of us were sitting down to cool down.

“Want to play another game?” he asked, obviously not satisfied
“No, think I’m too tired”
“Anyway, where do you stay Afiq?”
“I stay in name-of-a-very-rich-community”

It was then his phone rang and he took out a very sophisticated looking phone. Right, that shouldn’t be a surprise right?

“My driver is going to be late” he said after hanging up his phone.

It was then he did something which I never thought will ever happen to me in my lifetime…

He took out his wallet and upon withdrawing 50 bucks…

“Hey Zewt, you want any drink? Come, I’ll buy you a drink”

Now tell me, how often do you get a 12-year old offering to buy you a drink? I was so stunned that I was left speechless for a while. I politely declined. Perhaps I should have asked for a whiskey coke instead.

Anyway, his ambition is to be a national player. Well, if he does make it, at least we know money will not be his motivating factor.

P/S: No, I am not going to tell you what car came and pick him up. You have to guess.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Loved vs Pampered vs Spoilt

A real life encounter…

I was at a restaurant a few years ago and sitting next to my table was this truly “blessed” kid. I reckon he was around 8 – 10 years old. His ears were shut with earphones connected to an iPod. At the same time, his eyes were glued to a PSP. Sitting next to him was a maid trying to feed him ice-cream. Occasionally, he will pause from his game and take sip from the milk-shake already on the table.

On the other side of the table was his mother who said (if I can still recall correctly)… “Boy, your burger cold already lah…” The prince just ignored her.

He may be 8 or 9 or 10, but he already had a tummy as big as a 40-year-old man. His specs were also thick for his age, though that is not uncommon nowadays. However, I don’t think his poor eyesight was due to over-reading judging from what I saw. Judgemental yes, but would you disagree with me?

I am also currently witnessing a close relative who has been showered with so much toys, he now needs a room just to house all his gadgets. Barely 3-years old, he is already demanding presents on a daily basis and is capable of operating the DVD player on his own. Hence, he will also demand new DVDs about 3 times a week. Pampered? Spoilt? Some call it “smart”. And I have not even gone in to details into other things he is capable of.

It is only natural that parents will want to provide the best for the children. I am not a father yet, and I know for a fact that I will want to give my children things I could not enjoy when I was young. However, I think there is a limit to things; and I sincerely hope I know how to control myself when the time comes.

On a related note, some of the “younger generation” have not been pleased as we working class people are seemed to be taking a sweep at them. In all honesty, I think most of us are in a way, referring to those who are obviously spoilt, oblivious to the current financial crisis, only know how to spend luxury goods, do not know the value of money and certainly those who don’t need to lift a single finger and money will just drop on their lap.

Are you one of those? Siapa yang makan cili, dialah yang rasa pedas. And if some of you claim that you respect and look up to us working class people, shouldn’t you pause and ponder why we take a sweep at you? And having said all that, I did mention that the generation condemnation cycle would probably keep going so you might just be in our shoes in 5 – 10 years time.

Finally, I have to say that it is indeed not a crime to be spoilt or spend if you have the means to do so. It’s good for the economy anyway. But I think it will not be right when pride steps in.

Just like how I always maintain that is it fine to be a
Type-A Chinese, i.e. those who do not know how to speak their mother tongue; but when a Chinese is proud that he/she doesn’t know how to speak Chinese (and there are such people by the way), then it is not right.

Similarly, when one is proud to be spoilt… when one is proud that one has never taken bus before… when one is proud that one only buys designer clothes… when one is proud that one can change handphone like one changes underwear… when one is proud that one only goes ‘mamak’ at Starbucks… and this one person has never earn a single dollar in one’s life before, then I think it’s not quite right.

But then again, to each its own…

Monday 1 December 2008

Generation condemnation

I don’t think I came from a rich family and enjoyed a lavish childhood, but my Mom always seemed to think otherwise. She used to talk about how my siblings and me are so spoilt for we have the luxury of television and RM5 pocket money for a week during my primary school days.

Of course, I always disagree. When I go to school, I see some schoolmates whom I considered rich because I never had what is now an extinct gadget called “game and watch”. Remember those colourless gaming device such as “Western Bar”, “Battleship”, “Donkey Kong” and the likes?

As I progressed to college life, my Mom continued to nag about how fortunate I am that I can take bus to college while she can't even afford to have a bicycle. But as I looked around during that time, so many of my peers were already driving cars! And some of them were already carrying handphones, something me and most of my friends never had until we graduated.

Now that I am all grown up and has been in the modern slaves rank for a while now, I see how the younger generation having the time of their life and somehow, I feel that they are spoilt and pampered.

And ya’ know what? Friends of mine who had the privilege of driving during college days while most of us took bus or KTM Komuter and have probably changed 3 handphones when most of us were about to get our first are also of the opinion that the current younger generation is spoilt to their skin.

What does that tell you…?

My previous entry drew a healthy level of debate. Blogger CiNDi even
dedicated an entry in reply to all who commented against the “younger generation”. But while she has her point, reading her rebuttals pointed out that she didn’t go through the hunky-dory childhood that most of people do. Something happened while she was young and I think it did her good.

No matter what, a generation will stand for their generation and somehow, the previous generation will condemn the next. Some may call it progression perhaps? Will people like CiNDi and EC grow up and comment the next generation? Perhaps… perhaps not… we shall see…

Having said that, I do believe that that working part time in whatever capacity while you are a student so that you have that additional pocket money to spend, whether to window shop, really shop or sipping what you think is a well deserved cup of Starbucks is still… no mater what… very different compared to people who work so that they can pay their mortgages, pay their bills and put food on the table for the family.

And that is something that most (please note the word MOST) of the younger generation will not understand until… they are no longer the younger generation…