Sunday, September 30, 2007

Flock Together

'Birds of a feather flock together'... we know that phrase very well. But let's see how we can apply that in life.

If you see around you, our circle of friends are of similar activities, behaviour and mindset. I've read before, we are the closest to the 10 closest people we have.

I recently watched a program on TV on school dropouts and all 3 of the students queried mentioned that it was due to their friends 'recommendation'. This shows how positive the people we mix with can influence us.

Hence, this makes it very important for us to select our friends properly. I know of some entrepreneurs who even mentioned that 'we may need to find new friends'... like if we want to be a 'xxx', we have to mix with those in the circle of 'xxx'. Like if we want to be a billionaire, we may need to leave the millionaire mentality; if we want to be a good worker, we need to mix less with other clerics who continue to simply complain on their work.

These entrepreneurs have a point, though I'm not suggesting we leave our friends, but to know our boundaries, and to find new 'boundaries'.

So, though being inspired may need lots of courage for us to look beyond the familiar circle, but I believe it will be a decision well worth it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Inspiring Destination: Krabi, Thailand

Amazing Thailand. I'm sure many of you have heard that tagline.

Thailand has never failed to amaze me, ever since I set foot on this beautiful country with one of the most friendliest people.

This time, I would like to share about a little destination, the province of Krabi. Located south of Thailand and known for its beautiful white sandy beaches of Ao Nang and of course, its famous island of Kho Phi Phi, where the movie, The Beach was filmed.

The scenes are exactly like postcard like, and I get the feel of walking into a photograph. The long stretch of white beach and coconut trees, plus its facing the Andaman Sea makes Krabi a beautiful beach destination.

Tourists can laze at the beaches or go to the national parks, or simply take a stroll at the many tourist shops where you'll get handicrafts, souvenirs and t-shirts & 'branded goods' from mid range to upper. A lil laidback, with activities buzzing more towards the night, Krabi is rather quiet and serene.

And like many other Thai destinations, you get to see world class resorts & hotels at affordable prices. Of course, the many budget hotels gives budget travellers more options as well, especially those who would like to stay for a longer period... in fact, I wouldn't mind doing staying there for more than 1 week (a rare for Asians!), as these hotels do come with good facilities.

What makes Krabi more unique is the people - Thai, and although many are Muslims, but they treat everyone equal, and still has that Thai friendliness and humble behavior. One of the lady at the stalls was very pretty and though she spoke lil English, but she gave that charming Asian smile, making tourists feel comfortable and at home.

Some restaurants serve good local Thai food as well, and the lemon grass drink is simply refreshing!

For a short break, Krabi serves as a good-value-for money destination :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Being No. 1

My friend sent me a newsletter from one famous USA entrepreneur, who he is a big fan of.

In his letter, he mentioned that in whatever we do, we should aim to be number 1.

It striked a chord with me. I have always believe that it doesn't matter what job or position we do, but if we are to do it, we shold be number 1.

Some people have the entrepreneurial spirit, and they have their business ventures. They could be just starting out, or with vast experiences and many successful businesses.

Just see how this applies by taking a look at the top 500 Fortune companies. They are mainly all top of their fields! And with such a huge gap to their other competitors!

Even in country specifics, it's those entrepreneurs who aim to be the best in their field achive the highest positions in their own turf.

This principle works because our actions will follow our vision and dreams, hence eventually, we will succeed in it.

This can be applied to all aspects of businesses. For example, that is why we have wonderful blockbuster movies which are done to perfection and which are in the top movies lists up to today - Starwars, Lord Of The Rings; legendary songs which can be a few decades old, but still sings in our hearts - from singers like Elvis, Beatles; or any other products which continue to be part of our lives (maybe enhanced versions - like the TV or computer). Also just look at luxury resorts or condominiums, the beautiful buildings with superb architecture or finance companies in the world who all want the big finance pie... the list just goes on!

Now this can also be applied to other parts of our lives too. Even if we are employees, we can have this goal of being number 1 in our field. And that needn't need to be any specific position, or only in high management for that matter. WE could just be holding normal positions, but we enjoy what we are doing. Again, when we do this, we will then take our job with more fun and enthusiasm, and productivity increases... and most importantly of all, we will enjoy & not find it burdensome to go to work! And our clerics or clients will be able to 'feel' us differently and would leave a lasting inspiring impression on them :)

So, again, when I read that newsletter, it once again got me back on track on my belief of aiming nothing than the numero uno position! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Debate

I mentioned in my last post on the friendly debate with my friend. We were discussing on business.

The conversation were quite heated at times, as we had different ideas of business, and to those that we have the same idea, there was a different way of approach. Hence, some disagreements.

Though initially at the discussion, I couldn't see his opinions fully, but we ended well, acknowledging that we both had the same vision of growing a successful company. Besides, no idea is fully right or wrong and I believe with proper vision & passion, things will work.

What got me excited was after the discussion, I just had such a beautiful idea for my work! I couldn't sleep the next 4 hours as ideas kept rushing in. My heart didn't beat so fast for such a long time - in fact, maybe since the batik book!

I acknowledge his challenge to me to think out of the box paid beautifully, for now I have a new idea which is really exciting just to even write about it! Though this idea was mine, but it was his discussion and interests in helping that got me inspired.

I will be announcing the new work within a couple of days, and I would like to take this opportunity to my friend who has in a way, woken me up from my 'slumber'! haha :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Staying With The Dream

I had a conversation with a friend last night. In fact, it was more like a friendly debate.

I would like to share some part of it.

Briefly, there is a mention that books are hard to sell. Speak to industry players in this region and they will tell you the same stories. To one extend, I agree.

When I published my book, I didn't know anything about the industry. All I had was this dream of seeing a beautiful coffee-table book, with outstanding photographs taken in beautiful backdrops. I had this dream for 1 year before the published book.

Hence, later, the book was published. It met all of my criteria from beautiful photography to the design & layout. I fell in love with it, literally.

Then came the wakening call. What am I to do with the printed copies?

Hence, started my rounds of promoting the book from participating in events, trade fairs, liasing with bookstores & distributors and making this book a high-end corporate gift to those companies that can afford and look the value into it.

I must mention, there were many times when I felt like giving up. At times, the mention of the book scared me, as I just couldn't figure a way to get the books to sell. This especially so when as an independent publisher, funds were limited.

Add that with friends & relatives who just seem to not understand the passion I have behind my works. Some were skeptical and at times their words do seem to give a blow, especially when the going already seems tough. It was like going into a battle alone.

However, the good thing was, I followed my heart to stay on promoting the book. And finally, I managed to see some light now. I couldn't imagine if I've given up on this hope & dream of sharing the beauty of batik, Malaysian lifestyle & interior, plus beautiful photography to the world.

It was that little voice in me that said to continue staying with the dream, and I'm glad I followed it as now, we can share this book with our overseas customers.

I'm inspired by writers like J.K.Rowling from Harry Potter series who was a struggling mum who lived on state benefits writing in cafes, and whose first Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers, before it was first seen to print.

Similar to that, Paulo Coelho, whom I've mentioned in one of my previous post, too only had 900 copies for his first run of his book, The Alchemist. But now, it's a worldwide bestseller with over 60 languages translated and over 40 million copies sold internationally.

These people believed in their dreams and though some may call it luck, I call it perseverence. And as you can see, these people have succeeded despite all the obstacles they faced.

You and I can too, simply if we continue to stay with the dream.

My Dream Book - Batik Inspirations

The book I mentioned by Paulo:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gemilang Songs - Glory Songs

3 popular songs with the same title have been released in Malaysia over the past 2 decades. Gemilang which means glory in Malay seems to have a positive impact on these singers, as they are amongst Malaysia's most popular & longest lasting singers of all time. And to add, these are the rare singers who are more known by all races in Malaysia.

The positive meanings in each song, though slightly different, all go along the lines of not giving up despite the hurdles & obstacles seem to be deep rooted with them, bringing these singers a large number of fans who continue to support them, and if I may say continue to bring them from glory to glory.

Firstly we have Malaysia's 'queen of rock', Ella, who holds the all time record of best selling album of 350000 units in 1994. Her Gemilang song is a love song which talks about wanting to achieve the glorious moment together. The postive part about the song says that their dream is getting closer, especially after facing all of the obstacles so far.

The other Gemilang song was sung by Sheila Majid, who the local press calls the 'queen of jazz'. This is the singer who has broken many firsts records in Malaysia, like being the first artiste to perform & release albums in Japan, performed in sold out concert in UK, having solo concert in The Esplanade (Singapore) and to have 10000 fans attending her Lagenda concert in Malaysia (a very rare feat for any singer in Malaysia - local or foreign). Known for her soothing songs with meaningful inspiring lyrics, her Gemilang song is also a love song. The meaning & objectives of the lyrics are similar that to Ella's Gemilang. I particular like the lyrics whereby she mentions that 'all seems like a wonderful dream coming to reality... and now they are heading to glory'.

Finally, the final Gemilang is rather recent and is very popular as well, as it was the song for the finals for the 1st Malaysian Idol which was won by Jaclyn Victor. Her performance in the new song simply showcased her strong vocals as she was able to streched to the high notes. This song is the one that touched me most as I find the melody the most dynamic and lyrics closest to my heart. It is very suitable like the journey of the winner, as she says 'that she is just like the the other stars in the sky and that the moment is here, right now, to make it (her dream) become a reality'.
Just to add, this song, also won the Asian Music Festival award and the prestigious local award - Juara Lagu (Champion Of Songs) - Best Song of The Year Category. Jaclyn has also won numerous other awards in her still new singing career.

Here I attach the songs & their lyrics. May you be inspired - and here's wishing you to achieve Glory in your dreams & wishes :)

Gemilang by Ella

Terjagaku dari tidur yang lena
Melangkah malas menuju jendela
Kabus menyelubungi subuh
Mengimbas segala kenangan yang lalu

Lautan luas telah ku renangi
Segala onak ranjau yang berduri
Tak kenal dan tak ku peduli
Ku terus mencuba
Kecapi hingga kini

Bersama-sama tempuhi segala
Walau jalanan masih jauh
Hanya kau dan aku yang tahu
Saat gemilang yang aku nantikan
Hampir menjelma di depan mataku
Ku percaya saatkan tiba
Hanya menunggu tika dan masa

Tempuhi segala
Saat gemilang akan tiba
Kan kita kecapi bersama
Sungguh aku berjanji
Dengan diriku sendiri
Untukku menggenggami
Ikhlas, sabar, benar

Gemilang by Sheila Majid

Tiada nestapa
Merintangi pertemuan
Mengusik perasan yang tenang

Dikau yang pertama
Menusuki sanubari
Tika merasa
Seolah di hamparan cahaya

Bagaikan impian yang ternyata
Kita bina keteguhan cinta suci abadi

Segera mendatang mimpi indah
Kita berdua menuju gemilang

Menharungi ruang
Percintaan berpanjangan
Seiringan bersama merentasi

Seluas angkasa di ruangnya hati
Di jiwa ku terasa bahagia

Gemilang by Jaclyn Victor

Berjuta bintang menyanyi
Ku di antara yang satu
Mungkin cahaya dan impianku
Di sini... Gemilang

Lalu ku redah onak duri
dan lautan api
kemuncaknya ingin ku tawan
aku jelajahi

Kini gemilang itu
semakin pasti ku genggam
gemilang suara keyakinan kian dalam
gementar harus jangan
jiwaku harus bertenaga
mungkin kini
menjadi realiti

Lalu ku redah onak duri
dan lautan api
kemuncaknya ingin ku tawan
aku jelajahi

Friday, September 14, 2007

Maria - 200 Pounds Beauty

I mentioned before about this Korean movie which was very inspiring (Beautifully You).

I love the songs on the album too, especially this one which has been on my mind since Ive watched the movie - Maria.

Just love the tune, which melody is inspiring - mix of rock & pop, and sung with a beautiful voice of Kim Ah Joong. Her singing is not hoarse, but more towards melodious pop adding the special touch to this song :)

And here, the lyrics in case you would like to sing-a-long

자 지금 시작해 조금씩 뜨겁게
우 두려워하지마
펼쳐진 눈앞에 저 태양이 길을 비춰
우 절대 멈추지마
Maria Ave Maria
저 흰 구름 끝까지 날아
Maria Ave Maria
거친 파도 따윈 상관없지

기적은 이렇게 내 눈앞에 펼쳐있어
우 절대 멈추지마
Maria Ave Maria
저 흰 구름 끝까지 날아
Maria Ave Maria
거친 파도 따윈 상관없지

멈춰버린 심장전체가
걷잡을 수 없이 뛰어와
Maria Ave Maria
저 흰 구름 끝까지 날아
Maria Ave Maria
거친 파도 따윈 상관없지
Maria Ave Maria
저 흰 구름 끝까지 날아
Maria Ave Maria
거친 파도 따윈 상관없지

ja chigeum shijakhae jogeumsshik tteukeop ke
u duryeowohajima
gwelchyeo nunape jeo taeyangi kileul bichwo
u jeoldae meomchujima
Maria Ave Maria
jeo hwin gureum kkeutddaji nala
Maria Ave Maria
keochin pado ttawin sanggwan eopji

ki jeokeun ireohke nae nunipe gwelcheoisseo
u jeoldae meomchujima
Maria Ave Maria
jeo hwin kureum kkeut ttaji nala
Maria Ave Maria
keochin pado ttahwin sang gwan eopsji

meomchwobeorin shimjangjeoncheka
keotjapeut su eopshi ttwieowa
Maria Ave Maria
cheo hwim kureum kkeutkkaji nala
Maria Ave Maria
keochin pado ttahwin sang gwan eopji
Maria Ave Maria
cheo hwim kureum kkeutkkaji nala
Maria Ave Maria
keochin pado ttahwin sang gwan eopji

She moves like she dont care.
Smooth as silk, cool as air.
Ooh, it makes you wanna cry.

She doesnt know your name and your heart beats like a subway train.
Ooh, it makes you wanna die.

Ooh, dont you wanna take her?
Wanna make her all your own?

Youve gotta see her!
Go insane and out of your mind.
Maria ave maria.
A million and one candlelights.

Ive seen this thing before.
In my best friend and the boy next door.
Fool for love and fool of fire.

Wont come in from the rain.
Sees oceans running down the drain.
Blue as ice and desire.

Dont you wanna make her?
Ooh, dont you wanna take her home?

Youve gotta see her!
Go insane and out of your mind.
Maria ave maria.
A million and one candlelights.

Ooh, dont you wanna break her?
Ooh, dont you wanna take her home?

She walks like she dont care.
You wanna take her everywhere.
Ooh, it makes you wanna cry.

Shes like a millionaire.
Walking on imported air.
Ooh, it makes you wanna die.

Youve gotta see her!
Go insane and out of your mind.
Maria ave maria.
A million and one candlelights.

*lyrics translated from various sources online.

Knowing What You Want

One key difference I notice from successful people & the rest is that those who are sucessful always know what they want - it could be a dream, a desire, a goal or an ambition they have deep inside their hearts.

These are not vague ideas, but very specific. The very successful ones can describe their whole dream to the very detail.

It could be their dream house for example, where they can tell you how and building looks like, the architecture, the location of the home, number of rooms, the interior styles of each room, the types of furniture, and the list goes on.

There are others in business who can point directly their dream business - what it does, how big it wish to grow, the concept of the business, etc.

On a smaller scale, there will be times when something crops up, and we just need to make a quick decision, as whether we want to do, and what to do. Again, the statement of knowing what we want is important.

Ive experienced a few friends who just did things because they don't exactly know what they want. Their actions will take a lot of their time and energy and yet not at all bringing them closer to their goal of achieving success. It's a pity because some of them are very talented and ambitious, but have diluted their energy and resources.

Some examples could be going for meetings and seminars which don't add value; or others don't do what they are asked for hence not making actions or decisions complete.

I learnt about this principle and realised that it works for us once we master it. Then, we will have more free time and at the same time achieving our goals - big and small.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Inspiring Book Review: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

The story revolves around the main character of a shepherd boy, Santiago whose desires to travel lead him to rare sheeps, walking from town to town selling his wools.

However his care-free life changed when he first wanted to meet again a merchant's daughter after a year. But before he could do that, he stops and met an old man (King of Salem) who then told him to follow his heart (and dreams) - where he is to find treasure in the pyramids.

Along the course of his journey, the boy meets with very intersting characters like gypsies, crystal shop merchant, the caravan & an Englishman, a desert woman - Fatima whom he later fell in love, and finally the alchemist.

These characters played a part in bringing the boy closer to his dreams, and more importantly shaping the thoughts of the boy who began to 'live his dreams' and follow his heart.

Written in a easy to read, and simple way, this book will inspire us to follow our dreams and gut feel. And the thoughts of the boy are well explained which are sometimes similar to our own thoughts - about others and oneself, gives a reflection on our lives as well.

Paulo Coelho is known for his inspiring books. This book is the Brazillian author's second book, which at first only drew 900 copies, but for his determination went on to be a bestseller with now over 61 languages translated and with 40 million copies sold worldwide.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Forbes: Malaysia's 40 Richest

The Malaysians have been having a roaring time, especially with the stronger Ringgit (RM) and surge in stock market. The list compiled by Forbes shows an astounding increase of USD17 billion, from a previous USD26b to USD43b.

The cream of the crop, the richest ten has businesses in shipping, real estate, media, telecommunications, broadcasting, gaming (casino & 4D), resorts & hotels, plantation, shopping malls, banking, manufacturing, port, construction and plantation.

Many of them have been in business for years, with a handful in their forties.

This list clearly shows that Malaysia is a thriving place for business, and that the pie can be shared for all races under the umbrella Malaysian :)