Thursday 28 January 2010

Short & Sweet: Episode 4 - Them damned themselves?

Who wants the people to react? … them

Why people are not reacting? … either they are fearful or because of “tidak apa” attitude…

Who has been inflicting fear in the people all these years? … them

Who has been nurturing the “tidak apa” attitude in the people all these years? … them

So who spoilt their plan? … themselves

The above is gibberish. Any resemblance of “them” in real life is probably a coincident.

2 years ago…
The 4 here and the 4 there

Wednesday 27 January 2010


I know it is not original to post forwarded stuff but this is by far one of the best I have ever read amongst all the forwards that I receive on a daily basis… strongly encourage you to read it…

Washington, DC Metro Station – a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle- aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later……… The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes……… A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes……… A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. Several other children repeated this action. Every parent, without exception, forced his or her children to move on quickly.

45 minutes……… The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour……… He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition…

No one knew this, but the violinist was
Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…

How many other things are we missing?

Zewt:- Astonishingly brilliant and yet realistically sad, isn’t it?

1 year ago…
One that has gone extinct

2 years ago… Are you prepared?

3 years ago…
Chinese A… B… C…

Tuesday 26 January 2010

The father, the son and a birthday party

A 5-year-old boy went to his father and asked…

“Dad, are you organising a party for my coming birthday?”
“Sure son, you know I love you very much”
“Dad, may I invite my ex-girlfriend to the party?”

5-year-old… not girlfriend but… EX-girlfriend…

“Sure. But first, tell me what is ex-girlfriend?”
“Ex-girlfriend is the girl I used to like and take care of her. But now, I don’t like her anymore”
“Why don’t you like her anymore?”
“Because I like another girl now”

This boy has for talent I’m telling you…
Anyone out there asked whether your daughter has got an ex-boyfriend?

2 years ago…
You pee I pee he pees she pees

3 years ago…
Beyond the smashesModern Slavery

Sunday 24 January 2010

GST – time is of the essence

GST is known to be a political suicide. In Hong Kong, the resistance from the people was so strong, the HK govt actually abolished their plan to implement GST. But as I have said, there is a compelling reason as to why GST has to be implemented.

Political suicide vs. a compelling reason… what’s the remedy? Timing…

March 2013 is the due date for the next GE. Hence, GST will have to go live latest by September 2011, by hook or by crook. Why?

We Malaysians are just whiners. We will just complain and complain and at the end of the day, we will just pay. Just look at toll charges. And is anyone complaining about the RM50 on credit cards anymore?

Therefore, Malaysians will be given a period to complain. 1.5 year should be sufficient, don’t you think? And so, by March 2013 when the next GE is due, all Malaysians will be happily stuffing our face with nasi-lemak, char-kuey-teow and bak-kut-teh like nothing has happened.

Don’t you agree?

2 years ago…
Experiencing Hillsong in LondonThe weekend gemA very safe “X”

3 years ago…
A very close encounter with the rempit kind

Wednesday 20 January 2010

The message from a discovery

I chanced upon an incredibly familiar blog post today. 2 sentences into it and suddenly I realised… Hey! I was the person who wrote it! I googled the title of the post and found that this particular entry was reproduced in quite a number of blogs…

The entry I am referring to is
“A professional mistake”.

Apparently, that entry has been circulating amongst the Big 4 for a while and one particular firm actually had it stored in their database. Something tells me the partners are not aware of it.

Apearances in the blogosphere include…
Life – From my perspectiveLet me be meLife iz beautifulAuditing & AccountingI dream of Jeanniethe lowyat forum… . A special appearance also took place in this site called I wonder who owns this site. I am flattered that what I wrote gets circulated. But I have to say though, nothing was mentioned about the … ahem… original author.

Of course, I am painfully aware of the possible debate on whether I am original author. And it has been challenged. I can only make a claim that it was indeed my original piece and certainly, I do not expect everyone to accept it.

I can only rely on the fact that I have written extensively on
Modern Slavery and if one has gone through all my Modern Slavery entries, there should not be any doubt. But of course, one can choose not to believe. Only Allah God knows.

And today’s discovery made me something else…

A compilation of entries from this blog was submitted to a publisher. Nothing came out of it simply because my writings have already appeared on the net. Back then, I don’t quite get it as I thought the readership of those articles was pretty limited. Surely, many have not read it before.

Today though, I think I understand the implications. Something posted on the net can be reproduced with just a click of a button. Not that printed materials are copy-proof, just that stuff in the virtual world is more vulnerable.

Just as what some people have been telling me, the message is pretty clear…. It’s time to stop blogging and focus on writing a book.

1 year ago…
Do spare themCNY is up to us

2 years ago… London Friday night out

Monday 18 January 2010

Life in a Professional Firm vs. Life in a Commercial Firm – Episode III

Some very light differences were mentioned in Episode I. There after, I have touched on some technical issues in Episode II. For the final installation, allow me to apply some finishing touches…

The world does not function like a PF

More often than not, PF is the place most graduates lose their working virginity. Just like any other breaking of virginity, the impression is often lasting. Slaves who spent 3 – 4 of their formative working years in PF tend to end up thinking that the whole working world functions like a PF.

You have to do away with that thinking. Else, you may be in for the biggest culture shock ever. For example, you may not have a horde of subordinates under you. You may have 1 or 2 or, none. Your department will most probably not the same size of your original “Group/Unit” when you were in PF.

It is very important to realise that PF is just a small fraction of the entire corporate world. Just because things are done in a particular manner in PF, it doesn’t mean it’s the same everywhere. Also, just because you leave a PF with some glamorous title feeling all big with many people reporting to you, be prepared to feel like a tiny mouse when you move to a CF, especially when you move into a big multinational conglomerate.

Express vs. Impress

It is very important to impress your boss and your client in PF. It defines your future. But that may not be the case in CF. I am not saying that is not important in a CF. However, the manner is different.

It is an undeniable fact that professionals love to use highly sophisticated and bombastic language when presenting their point. It is so complicated that sometimes, it makes Shakespeare an easy read. The intention is to impress the client and at the same time, show to your boss that you can write your professional advice in the most professional manner possible.

If you write such things to your stakeholders in CF, all you get will be “Please explain” or “Don’t understand” or worse, you would be dubbed as one who is not able to deliver your message.

It’s not about impressing people about your prowess but rather, express your thoughts in a way that other can understand. And since they are not professionals, it is a very difficult task to express your professional thoughts.

And that is a challenge that you have to face in a CF.


PF is famous for its life-squeezing nature. Benefits are almost non-existent. I understand that PF have revised their salary structure a few times in the last couple of years but one thing remains, their benefits still sucks.

When you move to CF though, you will suddenly realise that perks is the name of the game. Of course, some CF will have better perks compared to another but generally, they are all generally better than PF.

Take me for example. My current employer covers all my medical bills including my wife and (future) children, specialist treatment inclusive. There are also allowances for various types of personal expenses, which is hard to come by in PF. And did I mention 30 days annual leave?

And… the single most attractive benefit of moving to a CF is… no time sheet! Only professional would be able to appreciate this, right?

Last but not least, many young aspiring professionals enter PF as a stepping stone to greater things. Hence, these people must realise that a PF will only be a stepping stone if you have the courage to step away to greater things. Not to say that everything is gloomy in a PF. But certainly, there are greater things out there.

Hope my thoughts have been of decent enlightenment.

1 year ago…
Will you report?

Sunday 17 January 2010

Not a very good feeling

Last year was a transitional year so I was only asked to give my view. It did have some level of influence but nothing compared to this year. This year though, the decision depends solely on me. Certainly, whatever that I decide upon is still subject to levelling and approval, but I make the initial recommendation.

I had, in my first job, provided evaluation on junior staff. But that was very different. Back then, I only need to provide a rating. The rating I gave was combined with ratings of other “seniors” and the rest is up to the big bosses.

In my current position; I, me and myself will decide on the rating of those reporting to me. It does not end there. I, me and myself will then have to recommend promotion (should I want to), increment (should I want to) and also decide on their… bonus…

I will not deny it. It does feel powerful to have the fate of people’s career and financial rewards in your hands. Surely, it is a boost to one’s ego.

But I will have to say, it is not an easy position to be in.

It’s not easy to decide that someone’s performance is just not good enough. It’s not easy to decide that someone should be rewarded more than someone else. It’s not exactly glamour either, to deny someone a promotion. It is such time, that I truly see the clearest reflection of modern slavery.

But as slave of the modern world myself, I have to make a decision that reflects my judgement and my credibility. These decisions that I made, may be at the expense of fellow modern slaves.

And that… is not a very good feeling…

2 years ago…
Professional mistake level 2A quick pick

3 years ago… They said “It’s just a number”

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Of current happenings

I guess I do not need to mention or elaborate what have been happening in the country for the past few days. If you are oblivious about it, you ought to put your head in the toilet bowl and flush… make that a used toilet.

Never in life will I imagine that they (whoever “they” are) will ever go to the extent of burning down places of worship. If you have seen the photos properly, you will realise that it is a co-ordinated and planned arson. Reminds me of what happened in Indonesia about a decade ago.

At the point of writing, 8 churches (plus 1 school) were damaged from attacked. When I realised that churches attacked comprise of 1 from each denomination, I can’t help but think that hidden hands at work.

Whoever “they” are, they are certainly trying to provoke Christians. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Christians will never retaliate. Either they fear God, or they are just plain fearful. Hence, there will be no retaliation.

When I heard about a brick being thrown at a “surau” (a Muslim worship place), the mark of hidden hands became very real.

The police has asked Christians to be vigilant, and then turn around and said they won’t have enough resources to patrol churches. Do note that at the end of each newspaper article, there seem to be a standard disclaimer which reads “No arrest has been made”.

Wolves on the prowl and no guard dogs available, I guess Christians can finally call ourselves sheep, sheep for slaughter.

Last but not least, the RM500k donation from the govt to Metro Tabernacle has attracted a lot of fire-fanning remarks from a lot of quarters. If this is part of the hidden hands’ work, the Christians are falling right into it. If Metro Tabernacle needs money, I think they should ask God.

2 years ago…
The fairy tale march-in

3 years ago…
You wait, I wait, he waits, she waits

Thursday 7 January 2010

Can bias-ness and double standard be anymore obvious?

I have actually drafted a very good piece of Friday Frolic for today but I think I am not in the mood to post it.

The Allah issue is getting out of hand. The hypocrisy has gone off the roof!

A bunch of Christians who held a
peaceful gathering was interrupted by police. Fresh from that, our PM said “We cannot stop Friday’s protest”, one organised by those who opposed the Allah judgement. Lest we forget, there were people once got arrested simply because they wore black.

Can bias-ness and double standard be anymore obvious? This is truly an epitome of
“Jek Sau Jeh Tin”. Is there a guarantee that our basic right to walk the streets of this country will not taken from us one day?

I wonder how many Christians will give the all time favourite saying of… “We must pray about this”

I have no place in this nation. That’s the message I decipher from all these.

2 years ago…

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Are you blaming the wrong person for the sugar price increase?

Many people are cursing Mr. Robert Kuok over the recent sugar price increase. I find that absurd. And then I realise… many people out there didn’t know the news…

Please be informed (and please inform others) that Robert Kuok has
“sold” his entire Malaysian sugar business to FELDA in October 2009. And, you would also be interested to know that he has been asking for a price increase in sugar for a long time but the govt has rejected his plea all this while.

However, once the sugar business has moved from Mr. Kuok to FELDA, the govt then approved the price increase. Is that a co-incident or what?

Also, what’s the reason behind Mr. Kuok “selling” his sugar business to FELDA? Now, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

By the way, the increase in price also coincides with the announcement that a Space City worth RM13 billion is to be built in Seremban. Wait, you mean you didn’t read about it?

Monday 4 January 2010

GST – knowing the 3 basics

I have really been getting quite a number of mails asking me about GST. Let me reiterate, I am not a GST expert. In fact, no one in this country can be considered an expert since it has never been done in this country before. Even the top tax consultants in the big consultancy firms have to import expertise from Singapore and Australia to assist them in providing consultancy services.

Hence, what I am sharing is just what I know and what I think you should know in preparation for the imminent.

A mail from GanKC asked me “Zewt, what is the difference between exempt and zero-rated? Isn’t that the same thing?”

Good question!

Like I said, to talk entirely about GST is going to take ages. So let’s just start with the basics. In understanding GST, one has to know that GST is segregated into 3 supplies.

Taxable supplies --- as the name suggests, this comprises of goods and services which will be taxed at the prevailing GST rate.

Exempt supplies --- again, as the name suggests, this comprises of goods and services which will not be subject to GST. This should include essential goods such as nasi-lemak, char-kuey-teow rice, sugar and salt.

Zero-rated supplies --- now, this is the tricky one. This actually comprises of goods and services which are taxable, i.e. subject to GST… but… the rate of GST is 0%…

Isn’t exempt and zero rated the same as what GanKC asked? The answer is of course… yes and no.

Yes to the consumer as he/she will not be paying GST.

No to the trader/vendor due to this important element in GST… known as “Input Tax Credit”.

What is Input Tax Credit? Well, the title of this post is “knowing the 3 basics”. Input Tax Credit is no basic. It’s rather complicated. No worries, I will tell you more about it and how it will affect you later.

For now, I hope you that you learned the 3 basic points of GST as mentioned above.

The 5th case

Slightly more than a month ago, while I was out on a romantic dinner with Jules, I bumped into my friend’s fiancĂ©. When I was about to go over and say “hi”, I realised that the person she (i.e. my friend’s fiancĂ©) was having a romantic dinner with was… not my friend…

“Maybe it’s not her” Jules said…

Having gotten a better look, I was quite sure that person was her. She has that unique look about her, I can't be wrong. But of course, the million-dollar-question of the night was… “Who’s the guy having a romantic dinner with her?”

It was a perfect place for a romantic date… dimmed light, candles, good food, one which even comes with a jazz band. She certainly did dressed-up for the occasion. Surely, they can't be just friends.

Perhaps he is her close cousin… Perhaps he is a visitor from another country… Perhaps he’s her boss!… There were a lot of “perhaps”. But all these “perhaps” disappeared when they both got… well… a bit intimate…

I did not inform my friends of this. I suppose domestic affairs should remain as domestic as possible. Besides, me and this friend of mine is not close enough for me to walk up to him and say… “Hey, I saw your babe out on a date with a dude yesterday!” So I kept my mouth shut.

Today, it was officially announced that the wedding is off… they have broken up…

This will be the … let me count… 1…2… 5th case where the girl made a
u-turn after saying “I do” to the rock. As the official reason is unknown, guess we can only speculate. And with that encounter I had… there is certainly much to speculate…

1 year ago…
Letter to Thyself

2 years ago…
Toilet tales

3 years ago…
Speak the right tongue

Friday 1 January 2010

Cheers to the new year

Recession inflation do not fear...
Drink some beer...
All shall disappear... bonus may even appear
Cheers to the new year...

A very Happy New Year to all A.Z.A.I.G.'s readers!
May you have a healthy 2010!
Good health, that's all you need...

P/S: Proper jazz guitar lessons or saxaphone lessons in 2010 for Zewt? Hmmmmmmm....