AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Just an update

The death toll in Thailand totals 102, according to newest reports. ANSA English Media Service writes today that "all of them young Muslims, died in armed clashes with troops and police , including more than 30 in a three hour mosque shootout ." The article ends with: "At least two of the victims wore T-shirts with an Arabic text and the letters "JI", a possible reference to Jemaah Islamiah, the group linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and blamed for terror attacks across Southeast Asia, and which wants to establish an Islamic state."

It is a day to mourn! These all were kids who had their whole life in front, and will never experience the joy of life and how to make their life something great.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

It is enough!!!

There are two news in the news today that make me really sad. One reports about the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia received threatening note demanding Japan withdraw its Self-Defense Forces troops from Iraq or "face the consequences." (

In addition, on Wednesday, more than 90 people were killed around dawn on Wednesday when gangs of machete-wielding Muslim youths attacked police and soldiers in a sharp escalation of violence in Thailand's south. (

The violence in Thailand has been ongoing since January this year, when violence flared up for the first time since ages, but this is a clear escalation. Thailand is a beautiful place, but the South is poor and depends a lot on day tourism from Malaysia and this has slowed down dramatically already, after a recent bombing of a restaurant, impoverishing people further.

When will the silent majority in these areas stand up and say that this is enough of violence? I believe there are billions and billions of Muslims that object and reject terror – it is not in the Islamic teaching to kill.

It is not okay to blame issues in the Middle East for playing a role in this increase of violence elsewhere and say that if the issues in the Middle East are solved, this violence will stop.

While there is a relation, this argument is also providing the breeding ground for further violence and hate by terrorists – which kill innocent people, destroy economies and small and large businesses – as it provides them with a justification. Combining these issues too closely is like blowing into the fire and feeding the hate. But staying silent also allows terrorists to continue and feel that they are on the right track.

Change needs to start with yourself, with your surrounding. People need to stand up and say they don’t want to be silent anymore, need to ask for change, need to show terrorists that there is no support. Don’t leave it to the West to stand up and protest all the time, as they did against the Iraq war, or after the bombing of the trains in Spain. I know I sound bias here, but I am saddened and frustrated. And I don’t want my child to grow up in an environment of terror, hate and increasing violence.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

SARS is back

SARS, the virus that caused havoc last year, is back in China. It started after a researcher at China’s top laboratory contracted SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome, and infected a nurse who took care of her at a Beijing hospital. The respiratory ward at the hospital has also been closed, according to ChannelNewsAsia. (

The researcher's mother has since died, while the nurse's relatives and contacts have also gone down with symptoms of the disease.

So far there are six suspected and two confirmed cases, while 337 people have been isolated in Beijing and 133 in Anhui province.

Malaysia is starting to take measures as well, by scanning the temperature of visitors coming from China. I believe there are more countries that step up efforts to contain the virus. There was fear in the end of last year, when many believed that the virus would reemerge during the winter season, and that its appearance would go under amongst all the “normal” flu symptoms. Nothing happened, and a big relief set in across the region. Now it is back, and while the region is definitely better prepared this time, I hope that there no major outbreak is coming and that China gets it under control as well.

I, for one, am a bit worried – and will follow the news very closely. Are you worried? Did you change your hygienic behaviour?

Monday, April 26, 2004

HSBC's credit card

Not sure if I am always happy about it, or will remain happy. The funny thing is that everytime I do a purchase with my HSBC MasterCard, about 2 minutes later, their creditcard center calls me up to confirm the purchase. This can be a smaller purchase, or a bigger one. No fail. Do I feel observed? This is the question, but I think it is okay. There are too many frauds ongoing, so I feel kind of protected with it.

Just this morning, I received one of those e-mails claiming to come from Citibank. While the mail itself contained mistakes and other formatting errors and thus revealed its intention, the link provided looked exactly like the one for Citibank - everything was there. The mail asks its readers to verify and update their account. I took the logical action, namely forwarding it to Citibank's fraud center. But this story underlines that I feel better with HSBC controlling my every purchase with a credicard.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Complain numbers in Malaysia

Okay - traffic is a huge problem in Kuala Lumpur, and there were some really bad accidents over the last couple of months. In reaction, the government ruled a longer while back that it is possible for the public to complain about speeding taxis, lorries and buses - a quick SMS to 39900 should do it.

I tried it this morning - a lorry was driving like crazy, swaying in and out of the traffic, speeding and cutting lanes.

Send the SMS and an auto-reply inquired about number plate, the location of the incidence, and the time. I am happy about it. Of course, there is the possibility of abuse - disgruntled drivers who just shoot off an SMS to get on to something. Or, since "getting involved" is a new concept in Malaysia, may be no one actually uses the service? Or, that actually nothing might happen. Too little awareness of the public and not much of a communication from the initiating department of what is happening to drivers who have been "indicated".

I don't know. I tried it and let's see, if something is happening. I don't think I will get a response - this is different in Singapore. Once you complain here about a taxi driver, for example, the authorities call and inquire in detail about the incidence and what kind of "punishment" should be applied. And if you as a guest have been very upset with the driver, you might actually ask that the taxi driver gets the license revoked.


Malaysian Toilets

We have to quote quite a lot of the article in today’s edition of the New Straits Times, since it actually address some dire straits. A company called Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd installed a new toilet concept at its Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) light railway transit (LRT) station as an innovative measure in tackling the problem of dirty and vandalised public toilets.

Let’s describe the toilet: The bowl of this new toilet has the “shape of a tub to prevent spillage”. Its waterhose is shorter, to prevent people from putting the hose on the floor, after usage. It has a “anti-squatbarrier over the toilet bowls, placed behind the user, since “frequent squatting destroys the bowl and the pedal”. For the men's toilet, waterless urinals and bidets are installed in addition to the anti-squat barriers. The new washrooms are in cheery colours and equipped with plans and pictures. Users will be charged a nominal fee of 20 sen per entry

Okay – this is also not the first time that a new concept was introduced. In November 2001, a new toile concept was introduced that was supposed to be "dry" but it turned out to be wet and a bit smelly at the Ladies.

Let’s describe the real state of toilets in Malaysia. Every now and than, readers to newspapers describe their filthy state. Basically toilets here are dirty, smelly, and just disgusting to use.

Sometimes, companies put in huge ventilators to blow in fresh air and the dirty one out – a typical concept in Malaysia – work on the outcome of a problem, and not at the root of it.

Compare this to public toilets in Singapore – just go to Changi Airport. Or, I once used a toilet in a shopping mall in Bangkok – and was blown away by its cleanliness. Toilets in Malaysia are dirty, even if there is someone who collects coins at the entrance. What for, if they don’t clean the toilets anyway? Basically, it is the mindset of the people. Just go anywhere in the country – you hardly find waste paper baskets, people just throw coke cans out of the open windows of the cars, throw paper on the floor – I once saw a woman doing it in between two waste paper baskets. I always say that it is amazing how fast this country tries to destroy its own beauty!

Monday, April 19, 2004

What to do - or: Am I important or not?

I am sometimes not sure how to react or if I should like it. Imagine I am sending an e-mail to people, which I consider important, and don't get any response or feedback back. Okay - I don't expect a mail back immediately, but if the days drag on - how to react? I understand that people don't respond back immediately, as they are also busy - not just me.

The following questions come to my mind:
1.) Am I important?
2.) Was my mail important to me but not to the recipient?
3.) Is the recipient still alive (well, it could happen, if it is somebody, with whom you don't have contact on a regular base).

But the first two points are still valid, especially when you are in a working environment.


Okay - it works

The comment section works when I log in somewhere else. Now I just hope that someone who is reading this is also commenting on it. So keep it coming!!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Comments to these blogs

I am trying to install something that allows a direct commenting to the staff that I am writing, but cannot get it to work. Will keep trying ! If you have to comment, please send me a mail for the time being, okay?

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Wash your hands before you go to toilet

I read yesterday an article (AWSJ, April 16, 2004), that basically states that one needs to wash hands BEFORE using the toilet if you work on a computer.

This is because the area surrounding a desktop has 400 times as much bacteria per square inch as the toilet seat. The keyboard and the mouse about 67 times and 34 times respectively. All because we eat so much when we work and don't clean up after us. Makes me think and shutter!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Great Security Guard at Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel

I would like to share a story with you that happened to me last Saturday in the parking lot at Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel. It is a good story, in fact a fantastic story, so read on!

I had an appointment last weekend, Saturday, and was running late, as I was in my kid's school in Kota Damansara for a presentation. The meeting was in Sunway Shopping Mall, meeting point Starbucks. The only parking lot I know around the area is the Sunway hotel, and while I know there must be a way to the parking lot in the shopping mall, I parked in the hotel, as I didnt want to risk going wrong.

I also parked straight away after the entry barrier where you get the ticket. The parking lot is quite big, so I was not sure, how to walk to the mall. I saw a signboard to the shopping mall and went into the direction which would lead to an elevator. A security guard, who was earlier talking to his colleague, followed me quickly, and told me that the elevator is broken - I should use another one, but he first asked me, where I want to go to. I asked him for the fastest way to the shopping mall, and he smile and said, that this is the wrong way, but he would show me.

He went across the parking lot with me and up the road where cars enter the parking lot to bring me me to the door that brings you into the hall, where there is the aisle to the shopping mall (my apologies for the complicated description). Always smiling, and talking in some broken English. Very friendly in an environment, which is not necessarily nice - in a parking lot, it is humid, polluted and stuffy. While still being in the parking mall, he made his colleague he talked to earlier aware of a car that had some problems getting into a parking space, and asked him to assist there.

This is a fantastic attitude of the security guard, and very motivating. This is going beyond the requirements. It is a pity that I didn't get his name, otherwise, I would recommend him to his HR. However, I send a mail to the HR person I know in Sunway and may be she can identify him.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Flu and cough

Hm - I am hit by a flu, since about 2 weeks. That is very unusual for me and I wonder, if it has to do something with the growing pollution in Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Trees falling in KL

I realised lately (well, a while ago already), that after nearly every thunderstorm that hits the city, a lot of trees seem to have fallen down.

Makes you wonder, does it? I believe there is a strong correlation between the amount of traffic, industrialisation, acidic rain and ying trees. Good night, KL

Friday, April 09, 2004

Inconsiderate People

I don't know how you feel about it, but it happens more and more often to me that people in an elevator see you coming and still, they try to close the door in front of you.

It happens twice to me this week alone - never happened that often before in Kuala Lumpur. And it is not doen accidentally - I reach the elevator and can see the persons inside - mostly, it is only one or two.

And they look guilty. Does this enhance ones own personal reputation? No - since it might be possible that I see them again, will recognise them, and talk about them to my friends around.

It is like a car that cuts in front of you, speeds and threatens others or behaves "unruly" and you can see that they have a promotional emblem somewhere with a company logo. Does it make the company look better for you? Or would you remember this incident?

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Jaya Jusco

Training of store attendants and promoters is another favourite of mine. I haven't picked on it here yet, but it happens all over Malaysia that one is confronted with one who is poorly trained and are just useful in putting customers off.

I currently have a flu, and went with my wife to Jaya Jusco in Megamall - incidentally the same day as the story below happened

We went to the pharmacy in Jaya Jusco, and my wife wanted to buy some herbal candies. We asked a promoter if they have it, and she just stood there, looking into the same aisle my wife did, and said - "No, I don't think so, don't have." My wife went into the same aisle and what happened? The product was there - not behind another product, not hidden at the lowest shelve, no, plain obvious and visible. Makes you wonder how some stores make money!


Eating out - the difference between a picture and what you get

Megamall in Kuala Lumpur last week. I wasn't really hungry but wanted to take a quick bite, since I am around already. That would mean I could skip diner.

As such, going over to a Hotdog shop called "1901 - A Wholesome American Bite" (actually, they are a Malaysian franchise) and bought one of their products. The sad fact is that while the picture advertising the Hot Dog looked great, the final product wasn't have as good or tasted as delicious as it should. Quite sad.

question: How often is this still the case that companies overpromise in their advertisements? And that the final product is not what it was promised. Can customer loyalty be created with that? I don't believe!


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