Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ratatouille!


No, I am not going to write a review on this movie so you need not roll your eyes. (Though I must say it was a pretty good and meaningful show!) All of you would have probably watched this show by now and know the story. I am going to share in this entry a few statements made by a few characters in Ratatouille (pronounced as Rat-a-too-ee) which inspired me. Here goes;

This conversation took place in front of a store that sells items that kills rats.
... omitted parts
Remy's dad : This is the way things are, you can't change nature.
Remy : Change IS nature dad, the part that we can influence, and it starts when we decide (walks away)
Remy's dad : Where are you going?
Remy : With luck... forward!

This simple exchange between father and son reminds me of how the society at large is. Whenever they think it is not achievable, they will try to impose upon you that you too can't achieve what they failed to achieve. At the end of the movie, Remy did achieve his dream which is to be a chef despite the odds stacked against him (he is a rat for crying out loud!). The moral of the story is simple, if you truly believe you can reach the stars, go ahead and try! Society is conditioned to be your biggest dream-destroyer but never-ever let anyone tell you that you can't!

"The only thing predictable about life, is it's unpredictability" -Remy

Amen to this statement! We always try to predict what we can and cannot do. However, like this statement made by Remy, we can never predict life! I personally do not believe that our life is dictated by feng-shui or luck or some crystal bracelet. All we can do is to face life's unpredictability head on and always look at the positive side of the coin in order to overcome whatever life has to throw at us.

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and themselves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism which is fun to write and to read but the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece junk is probably more meaningful than our critism designating itself but there are times when the critic truly risks something that is in the discovery and defence of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations... the new needs friends. Last night I experienced something new. An extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto "Anyone can cook" but I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteaus'who is, in this critic's opinion nothing less than the finest chef in France. I'll be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more" -Food critic Anton Ego on Remy's cooking

As Anton Ego beautifully mentioned in his comment, it is always easier to criticize others since the critic has little to risk and general public thrives on negative views. It is usually individuals who write scathing remarks on others that have a large following (I know my previous entries have generated a lot of interest amongst my friends as well as cost me a few friends as well. That is why I have stopped criticizing others unnecessarily). Instead of viciously criticizing what the other has or hasn't done, we should take put ourselves in his/her boots. Could we have done a better job? (You'll definitely say yes... now, nod with me in agreement that you will be able to do a better job). Since that's the case, why don't you take over whatever the one you are criticizing is doing? That would remove the need for you to criticize (You will not be stressed out and your relationship with the other would not suffer. Often I have encountered individuals who criticize their friends, employers or anything under the sun but they do little or nothing to help remedy the problem! If you just focus all your "criticizing-energy" into finding a solution for the problem caused by the one you are criticizing, you will soon find that it wasn't a such a big issue after all!

In addition, Anton Ego's comments also mentioned that "
not everyone can become a great a artist but a great artist can come from anywhere". This statement brilliantly illustrates that your environment or background should not be your excuse for not succeeding in life! Individuals such as Lee Sheng Chow (read "Blind But Standing Tall") can obtain a PHD despite being blind clearly shows that we human beings have limitless ability to achieve our dreams! All it takes is that you believe in your capabilities wholeheartedly and work hard (and smart!) based on your beliefs... the rest will fall in place naturally.

It is the first time an animation have inspired me this much. After watching this with my beloved Adel, I felt that my "motivation-batteries" have been recharged. To my readers, I would encourage you to watch Ratatouille and I hope it will inspire you as much as it had inspired me! Cheers!

Leader Of The Largest Nation!

Saw this cartoon panel by Bizarro in today's The Star comic section (28 August 2007) which made me laugh out loud (literally!). I just had to cut it out and share it with you. The question for now is; Are you a leader of this great nation as well? Cheers!


Still Waiting

As you are aware, my mum lost her battle to cancer March last year and the medical and living costs incurred by my family was astronomical. Thanks to the medical insurance policy, the 80% of RM 100,000++ spent on her treatment was covered. However, there are still so many individuals out there who are not covered either by their company's insurance or have any personal policies. In this article featured in The Sunday Star's Fit4Life page SF3 (26th August 2007), it shares the frustrations of a cancer patient, Belinda Bateman, in getting financial aid. Belinda, like most individuals out there, thinks that she is sufficiently covered by her company's insurance and did not invest in a policy of her own. However, the moment she was diagnosed with cancer, her company told her to resign after paying for her lumpectomy as she was now a liability to them. Having not much savings and no income, she had to turn to Social Welfare Department and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) for financial assistance. Unfortunately, due to all the bureaucratic (bullsh*t) red tape, both organizations had to take months to "investigate". Some of you might be aware that you can withdraw your EPF savings for critical illness treatment. Belinda knew this but even with 4th stage cancer and a 3-year old child to feed, EPF had courtesy to turn away a dying woman and ask her to wait for two to three months before she can withdraw her own hard earned money for treatment! Belinda's case clearly illustrates the importance of medical insurance and if you have the illusion that your company will bail you out when you are in need, please pray hard that your company is not as heartless as the one Belinda was working with. (I will pray for you too since you are willing to risk your life at the hands of your employer!) Cheers!


Stay Happy At Work

This is an interesting article which came at the right time as it was published just as my beloved Adel was having some office problems. (Obviously, she was quite unsettled by it!) Featured in The Star Metro Classifieds (21st August 2007), Philip Lee shares on how one can have a blissful working environment. Getting on the boss' good side and being receptive to constructive criticisms is some of the ways to be get there. It was also mentioned in this article that you should never-ever talk negatively/criticize others (one of my principles as well). It reflects badly on you and no doubt any individual who enjoys criticizing his colleagues/boss will be the last on the "trustworthy-list" amongst his peers. Having said that, you should also reach out to your colleagues and find a common ground with them. Your colleagues are the people you face every day at work and the last thing you want to do is to have conflicts with them which ultimately means misery for everyone. This editorial is indeed a useful article and do take your time to download and read. Have a good read and cheers!



Peak Performance

It's been more than a week since I last updated my blog. This is due to the fact that I did not return to my office for more than a week and without my office scanner, I can 't do nuts. This article which I am sharing today was featured in The Star Metro Classifieds (20 August 2007) which touches on the rituals or practices one can perform in order to continuously bring out the best in yourself. Of all the strategies mentioned in this article, the ones I can identify with are;
  • Visualizing my success in an event/presentation
  • Wear clothes that will make me feel confident
  • Positive self-talk and positive imagery
  • Mingling with individuals who are excellent models of mental toughness
  • Maintaining a consistent, organized schedule
The others mentioned in this article are pretty good ways as well and I will try to incorporate more of it into my "peak performance rituals". Personally, I hope you will benefit from this article and always be on your peak performance! Have a good read and cheers!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

20 Ways To Impress Your Interviewer

To be honest, I have little experience when it comes to interviews. Ever since I joined the Risk Management Industry a.k.a Insurance, the thought of attending interviews seem foreign to me. (I did attend a scholarship interview for Certified Financial Planner in Financial Planning Association of Malaysia yesterday. If only this article was published yesterday, I would have aced the interview! LoL) Nonetheless, I saw this article in my favourite section of The Star daily, Metro Classifieds (16th August 2007) and I thought it would be useful to for readers of my blog (yes, YOU!). It was written by Neen James who is a motivational speaker and trainer in the States. Basically, this editorial highlights 20 to-do list if you want to impress the person who will decide whether or not you get the job. It never occured to me that using a nice pen and interviewing the interviewer would make an impact during the interview! LoL. Have a good read and cheers!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An Income Stream For You?

In the same magazine Personal Money (August 2007 edition), another article on insurance annuity plans was featured. It basically explains what annuity plans are and how to utilize such plans to create a steady income stream after retirement. Do take your time to download the article and read. Have a good read and cheers!

EPF And You (Part 2)

This is the second installment of the article... Cheers!

EPF And You (Part 1)

I came across this magazine Personal Money (August 2007 edition) which featured an article on EPF and retirement planning. It is a long article but it gives a good overview on the do's and don'ts when planning for retirement at various stages in life. I won't be explaining much since the article itself is 9 pages long and due to its length, I'll be uploading it in two parts because blogspot only permits a maximum of 8MB picture uploads per post. Do take your time to download and read them. Have a good read and cheers!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Writing Style

I was chatting with this mighty fine lady over Yahoo! Messenger and we chatted as though we were friends who lost touch for a long time. We talked about everything under the sun (even though we met last Friday night! LoL). After a while, she touched on the way I used to write my blog which struck me as an interesting conversation. The conversation were as follows;

... (omitted parts)

Uncle Chan : my apologies
Uncle Chan : was on the phone
Uncle Chan : you still there?
Drumsticks : yup still here
Drumsticks : its alright.. no worries
Uncle Chan : busy busy blogging eh?
Drumsticks : yeahh.. damn hard to write ler
Drumsticks : deproving in english
Uncle Chan : deproving...?
Drumsticks : yeah
Uncle Chan : is there such a word?
Drumsticks : the fact that i said deproving
Drumsticks : LoL
Uncle Chan : LoL
Uncle Chan : your England has deteriorated
Drumsticks : yeah
Drumsticks : ur writing style has changed too
Drumsticks : less agressive
Drumsticks : more civilised
Uncle Chan : Yeah... i did that on purpose
Uncle Chan : LoL
Drumsticks : really?
Uncle Chan : more civilised <--- what a way of putting it into words
Drumsticks : its true its true!
Drumsticks : less fucking words
Drumsticks : but i truly enjoyed ur writing
Uncle Chan : my uncivilised writing?
Drumsticks : yeah hahah..
Uncle Chan : fucking = LoL
Uncle Chan : Can I use this script in my blog?
Drumsticks : LoL
Drumsticks : go ahead.. honoured
Drumsticks : hahah
Drumsticks : btw, how come u did that on purpose?
Drumsticks : like changing ur style of writing?
Uncle Chan : Cause I want my blog to be viewed by a wider and older audience
Drumsticks : ooohh
Drumsticks : btw, ur articles are pretty insighful
Drumsticks : hahah
Drumsticks : but i miss ur personal posts
Uncle Chan : yeah... working on that
Uncle Chan : two in the pipeline
Uncle Chan : one is definitely this
Uncle Chan : and the other is about Chinaman and western mentality
Uncle Chan : Looking at my blog... it has somehow turned boring
Uncle Chan : LoL
Drumsticks : i guess coz it is missing the personal post like u used to do before
Drumsticks : u know what i mean rite
Drumsticks : sorry i dont find ur blog boring in anyway at all
Drumsticks : haha
Drumsticks : coz i still visit it
Uncle Chan : LoL
Uncle Chan : I am going to post some scathing remarks then
Uncle Chan : spice up my blog
Uncle Chan : LoL
Drumsticks : yeahhh!!
Uncle Chan : eleh... nanti kena kutuk like mad by my colleagues
Uncle Chan : siao liao
Drumsticks : hahhaha
... (omitted parts)

This conversation made me realize how much I have changed since my MMU days. Most of my blog's readers loved the way I used to write (aggressive, fucking language... LoL. Drumsticks, the language you use is so funny!) and that was what separated my blog from the rest. I admit I have consciously toned down my language in this blog because I personally think the more aggressive I am, the less effective it is for me to relay the message of that particular entry. Then again, I think I should reconfigure the filter I impose upon myself and bring back more "Uncle Chan style" into my blog. LoL. Drumstick, thanks for the honest sharing on your thoughts about my blog, I really appreciate it. I look forward in creating more "personal posts" in the future. Cheers!


Five Ways To Retain Talent

Most often than not, employers tend to overlook the needs and development of their staff. Not to mention that recognition is rarely given to staff whom performed well since most bosses have the mentality of "it's their duty to perform when they work for me". As a result, most staff lack the motivation and enthusiasm to improve themselves and ultimately, they will leave the company for another better paying job. This cycle goes on and on and employers will have to train new staff each time the veteran leaves. Imagine the amount of time and money wasted in that process! All of these can be resolved if the employers make the effort to retain their staff. This is exactly what was shared by David Simpson, the director of Team Building Asia in today's The Star Metro Classifieds (7 August 2007). He outlined five general strategies to further boost the retention rate in a company which are to support the employees' values, needs, development, frequent motivation and most importantly, give recognition when it is due. Regardless of whether you are an employer or not at the moment, I earnestly believe that the values listed in this article will improve your management skills since we all have to manage people every day of our lives! Have a good read and cheers!


Breaking Barriers

In today's The Star Startwo (7 August 2007) Women section page T10 featured an article on women's right to recognition at work. It is an interesting article as it shares the success story of two women namely Anusoorya Themudu and Nafisah Radin who broke through the social norms where women are often thought of as the weaker and less resilient sex. The former is now the Human Resources Director (Corporate) of General Electric Malaysia and she encourages women to break the cultural barriers where women are generally introverts and often feel guilty to make the right decisions. The other featured individual, Nafisah Radin had to juggle between raising a family of 4 and her business in two separate states for seven years. During her confinement period, she even bought a land and designed her home! For her outstanding efforts, she was awarded Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Talk about women power! Have a good read on these two outstanding women and cheers!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Be A Creative Genius

Today's Metro Classifieds (2 August 2007) teaches us ways to think out of the box. It shares that we need to seize opportunities daily to tap into our creative senses, challenge general assumptions, take risks and experience failure, have a different perspective on problems as well as to think ambiguously (This is something new since we were always taught to have vivid thoughts! LoL). Do download the article and have a good read! Cheers!

How To Detect Financial Defects

This article was featured in The Star Starbiz (1 August 2007) page B7 and was written by Ooi Kok Hwa who is a licensed investment adviser. Basically, it shares on the six elements one should look into before investing in any companies which consist of liquidity, profitability, management, borrower communications, external environment and strategy of the company. The title itself is pretty self-explanatory and I won't dwell too much on what is discussed here. Have a good read and cheers!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What's Your Personality Type?

You Are An ENFJ

The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed.
Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.
Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.
You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.

In love, you are very protective and supporting.
However, you do need to "feel special" - and it's quite easy for you to get jealous.

At work, you are a natural leader. You can help people discover their greatest potential.
You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

How you see yourself: Trusting, idealistic, and expressive

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Bossy, inappropriate, and loud