Grass is always Greener.....

Dear Friends,

Apologies for not being able to update the blog as often as I would like. It's been a "crazy" last few weeks, most of it good but hey that's life kan!?

Somehow the grass is always greener on the other side. Lots of people tell me that they wish to be in my shoes....not sure why ;) but I tell them that I wouldn't mind being in theirs....having a simpler life...9-5 job and loads of free time and stability sounds great to me. But when you are in that position, you feel you wanna do more with your life....and then you end up like me.... hahahahha doing this, that and more & more is coming your way. Commitments pile up and PS2 time becomes a luxury.

Looks? Don't wanna talk about this too much. Sure they have loads of (often juicy) benefits, but they also can work against you....stereotypes, the "wrong" girls fall for you, but the "right" girls are afraid and find it hard to trust you coz of all the attention one gets.

But if there's a time to do all this... it's probably now when you're "young", have the energy and no dependencies (kids, wife etc). Hence taking risks to realize your dreams are manageable.

Wouldn't trade my life (ups and downs) for anything but..sure....sometimes it's nice to take a step back and enjoy the simpler side of life.

Kemuncak Kegemilangan ;) hahahahahah

Fame? Please lah.

What is fame? Depends on who you talk to. If I ask my sister (who's not even 16), she would imagine dressed up in pretty little dresses..heading to the clubs where everyone knows (and adores her of course) her name. Well lil sis...don't grow up too quick :)

"Adakah anda giler glamor?"

That's a question I get asked a lot lately. Am I? No! Sure it's nice to be known and recognized but I'd rather it be for something I accomplished and am given credibility for. But I definitely am not me the perks ain't bad.
Trust me, fame is cheap. Nowadays any joe-schmo or mak minah can be a model, actress, etc. But let's keep it real. Just because you graced a cover of a magazine doesn't make you a superstar. I not big on those "macam bagus" people.

Humility is important.

For me, fame is just a kesan sampingan (side effect) of being good at what you do. It's not your goal to be famous but it just so happens. Think of the people like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Dr. M, etc these are extremely famous people but, for sure, they are not giler glamour. They are passionate about their ambitions, dreams, and goals! People take notice but it doesn't change who they are as individuals, their character remains.

Adakah glamor akan influence diri anda?

Well for that crave fame, most probably as they can now finally attune their lifestyle. For others that are comfortable with who they are, famous or not, it doesn't change them a single bit.

I have great respect for people that achieve so fame through their accomplishments but retain their humility and respect for others. End of the day, people are people. We all have our imperfections. Personally, I don't fancy fame. Glamor tu tak ke mana :)

Parents: They are everything you are.

Having gone through 27+ plus year of my life, my perspectives on lots of things have changed. Parenthood is no longer a bad idea and the way of you look at your own parents have changed...for the better :)

I love my parents in ways that words can never describe (plus, like my dad, I was never good at expressing emotions). They are the reason I am who I am today (for better or worse). Although my mum has returned to Rahmatullah the memories and love she gave are embedded in me till the day I die.

Seeing her on her death bed, broke me into a million pieces but once those pieces were back in place, it makes me stronger and puts life into perspective. A mother can never be replaced and the woman (singular!) I shall spend the rest of my life with someday will also be based my those memories. In other words, she would have to resemble the qualities I saw in my mum.

My Strong Papa

After 27 years I am proud when people say to me "Like father like son". My dad has always been the greatest role model in my life and will always be. No one will ever come close! Never! Losing my mum was hard enough but I can't imagine what Tiger Woods must be going through right now as he just lost with best friend, his father. My father will live in me forever and I shall raise my kids as he raised me, in his honor.

Why am I writing this post?  To share my value and appreciation for (my) parents.

They are the ones that go through thick and thin with you. They never lose faith no matter how degil (I am very :)) one can be. Even if you leave them for 10 years without a word, they would accept you back in a heartbeat. You are their blood (maybe that's an animal instinct)

Parents keep the family together, no matter how you wanna avoid it. My father for example made sure that I lived just 50m away from him but understood that I needed to be my own man. Now I definitely appreciate the closeness.

When you are young, you think that parents are unfair and the teenage years often become years of struggle as once yearns for independence, freedom, and self-discovery. I never understood my father would hardly show appreciation for my accomplishments. Rather than congratulating me for A's I got, he would ask me about the B's! Back then I thought, "isn't anything I do good enough for you?" His answer once was "I'm the proudest father in the world but I need to teach you to stay grounded and not to bangga diri".

My loving Mama.

Where my father was the alpha male role model, my mum was the kindest, most loving woman I know. Their combination makes me extremely hard on the outside but "manja" on the inside. They are who I am today.

Cherish your parents. All their advice, nagging is for a reason. There are more important things in life than money, lost love. Friends come and go. Family is here to stay forever. They are the ones that will there for you. It is not important what the world thinks of you as they don't know you and you can never please them all. Your family does.

Sacrifice. Sacrifice some of your time to share time with your family. Parents have sacrificed so much in raising you. I would give up my entire career, money, and hell ya, I'll give up my life in a heart-beat if it meant that it could save my parents in some way. I would go through hell and back if that meant I could ensure heaven and happiness for my mum.

Cherish your parents. Try to see them through their eyes. Without them, you would not be anywhere!

Herzlichen Muttertag Mama :)
Mit Viel Liebe,
Dein Kleiner :)

Akademi Fantasia vs the Rest

Why is AF such a hot cake in town?! It's probably not only thanks to the student's talents but because it appeals to the Malaysian audience! Period. Aside from the obvious, it's about togetherness, caring, drama, connecting with the audience, and creating the success story everyone dreams about!

Channel 15. It's because of Channel 15 that people get so attracted to the lives and personalities of the students. In no other reality show (except for Big Brother which is not shown here) that people can tune in to the lives of their favorite pelajar. That I think gets people all wrapped up because they get to see them "grow" over time. Hence the attachment part takes place.

Kerjasama. The great thing about every AF concert is that you see all the students "helping" each other during performances...either by being back up singers, play instruments together, dance, etc. That's what the Malaysian spirit is all about, working together. This jives well with our cultures and people like that (I do too!)

FAMILY MAESTRO. I think we the whole infrastructure that Astro possesses, they have a great platform to launch the careers of not only the winner but the whole bunch. In most other competitions once the competition is over, that's pretty much it. The winners go on doing their things BUT with AF you continuously get to see them TOGETHER during hari raya, events, etc. Again it's that family togetherness that is greatly appealing to the Malaysian audience. Not only for 1 season but across the seasons as AF generations perform together.

SUCCESS STORY. Everyone loves fairy tales. And AF (and most other shows) do allow just about anyone (regardless of background) to shine. Welcome to Malaysia: the land of opportunity :)

All in all, most reality shows are very popular but no one comes close to AF as they have a recipe that really other than Astro (in Malaysia) can pull off.

PS: This Lil entry got its inspiration from my involvement with AF this year as Cikgu Fitness

Malaysian's Abroad

That is me in 1997. I was a Mechanical Engineering freshman at Northeastern University, Boston Massachusettes, USA. Staring at my huge but proudly owned Intel® Pentium® Processor 266 MHz desktop with my always useful Texas Instrument T83 calculator, some serious books, and yes, a copy of Starcraft. Those were some geek-fest all-nighters back in the days. Amazing times. Poor but amazing.

Time of our lives

Living abroad (living or studying) is something a lot of young Malaysians dream of! Dreaming is great but once they actually live out their dreams....a lot of Malaysians don't seem to make the most out of it! What do I mean?...well...the journey overseas is more than just about an education or work experience! it should be about a life experience that will hopefully make you more independent, experienced, and "worldly" (dunno if that's actually a word).

What should you do when you're overseas?

  1. Try not to cling to your Malaysian friends all the time...make new friends.
  2. Get a foreign boy/girlfriend...again that'll help with embracing the culture and language.
  3. Get a job (illegally if you have to .. ops)..that'll help in making friends, etc.
  4. Studying is not everything....embrace your social life without losing your roots lah.
  5. Try to be financially independent (that's for you F.A.M.A beneficiaries).
  6. Try to step out of your comfort levels. By experiencing new situations, you'll be able to further develop your soft-skills, etc.

Most Importantly ... Come back! hahaha .... make sure you come back and help bring Malaysia forward! ;)

Malaysian Sports Development Shortcomings

"My Team" and Malaysian Sports?

I was watching "My Team" on TV3 last night. It another reality show to select a team of footballers from all over Malaysia to play against the Malaysian national side. The show is actually pretty entertaining but that's not what I wanted to talk about...more about the state of our sports and athletics in good ol Malaysia. There's no doubt that we have the passion and "niat" to be a successful sporting nation but I don't see Malaysia producing a vast number of world-class athletes anytime soon.

The Problem: Malaysian Sports Development System

Nuttin much to do with the athletes (as they definitely have the potential and talent) but it's the development of the Malaysian sport system (and our culture) that is something that can be vastly improved.

My sports experience in Germany (til 1991)

I grew up in Germany and played competitive table tennis from as early as standard one. Competitive here means throughout the year and not just once a year (like we do here for the MSSM) games.

This has very little to do with ability as (in Germany) there are leagues for every player's ability to play in. If I remember correctly, for kids under the age of 12, there are about 4-6 different leagues. As you compete and train (with qualified coaches) you make your way up the ladder and develop (what I think is most important), a competitive mindset!

In Malaysia, lots of kids can play with amazing confidence and skill during warm-up and practice game starts, but once the whistle blows, semua confidence nor "arrogance" that is much needed when it comes to being competitive.

It's pretty much the same for every sport you play in Germany, not just table tennis or football and it only costs about RM20/yr!!

My sports experience in Malaysia (from 1991)

Coming to Malaysia in 1991, I was 12, and didn't find it too difficult to represent my school and won the under 15 KL competition category for non-Chinese (not that I chose to be in that category)

But the problems I immediately encountered were:

  1. My skills never developed as I had no regular practice or trainer. Teachers were given forced roles to oversee our table tennis club with very little know-how and interest. We were pretty left alone when it came to training or structuring our progress.
  2. Lack of competition and proper organization demotivated me to pursue it further.
  3. Lack of equipment in general also didn't help.
  4. Schools only encouraged to compete when the MSSM games were around the corner. This is once a year. There was no motivation to keep practicing and the skills never really evolved.

My skills never really developed as I had no regular practice or trainer. Teachers were given forced roles to oversee our table tennis club with very little know-how and interest. We were pretty left alone when it came to training or structuring our progress.

Culturally Malaysian is too nice, humble, and friendly.

We tend to lack the cockiness and arrogance of say people like Muhammad Ali or Michael Schumacher. In sports confidence is everything. And obviously, our physical shortcomings don't help but it's not an excuse...Koreans & Japanese are doing just fine.

What's my point?

Malaysia needs to start developing athletes from a young age with a proper structure and ecosystem that cultivates competitive sports throughout the year.

Try and learn from countries like Germany (they have a system that is not school-based but district driven that works tremendously well and is economically viable (saves money).

Yes, you may say that Germany no longer produces world champions BUT you can't deny that have world class athletes in just about every sport, including badminton.

My Proposal

I do actually have a proposal/idea for the Malaysian government that I'll propose someday (or as soon as I get my chance). Malaysian athletes have tremendous potential but need a system that harnesses that skill.

Malaysia Boleh!

Why does anyone wanna get 15A1?

Before I dwell on this little piece of writing, I should tell you about my own education. I grew up in Germany and completed primary school there before moving to Malaysia and completing my SPM at MRSM Pengkalan Chepa. I did well in school, mostly As, was awarded multiple scholarships with my trial-SPM results, and graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Economics from Northeastern University, Boston Massachusettes, USA. But I had a good balance growing up - sports, friends, and was not what you would call a "skema" kid.

Belajar, belajar, belajar

That's pretty much the call (direct or indirectly) from Malaysian teachers throughout someone's education here in Malaysia. So much pressure is exerted on academics, that extracurricular activities are often overlooked and are merely "cukup syarat".

Although people talk about developing your social and soft-skills, where can a kid actually develop the skills? From books? Hardly.

On a positive note, there's no doubt that Malaysian graduates are book-smart but if you sit down a top-student Malaysian SPM grad together in a room with, say American grads with average grades, that Malaysian kid will probably not contribute much to the conversation because he/she probably lacks certain street skills that overseas kids learn throughout their lives.

Education is important but not everything

Sure education is important but it definitely is not everything. Good grades will carry you through school/college/university until you get a job interview. This is where the problems for most local Malaysian grads start.

They tend to lack confidence, have little actual experience, and have no idea how to sell themselves.

In reality, no one will hire you if you can't give them enough reason to hire you. Working life is not about solving book problems based on the theory. It ought to be about solving problems based on a combination of theory and real (practice). You need both!

Get a balanced education

If you are in school now and reading this, please do not throw away your books. You need balance. The balance between academics, grades, sports, social life, and be happy. You are only going to be this young once. Don't "waste" it.

Know your strengths

Look at the jocks and the "lazy kids" that seem to have a lot of fun in school. Think they will not succeed in life? It depends. They perhaps may lack perfect grades but they sure have a lot of drive, drive and sure enjoy life. They are risk-takers and perhaps someday will make a good businessman or be able to lead people with their drive, easy-going spirit, or charisma.

Study Smart

Study Smart. Don't merely go with the flow. Don't be afraid to be different and find yourself. We are all different. There are 1001 ways to succeed in life, getting A1's in an exam doesn't mean much...failing to do so also doesn't mean much.

End of the day success or failure is in your hands NOT in an exam or test! Most importantly, you define your own definition of success. It is your life. Is it Suka Hati Kau.

Welcome to My Blog

You people may wonder why I started a blog. Me, of all people. Perhaps, it's not so much to update you on my personal life BUT probably more for me to share my opinions and thoughts about what's going on around us.

But hey, although you may or may not agree with me, at least you can be certain that I'll be as straight-up honest as can be.