Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Happy 10th Birthday Amazon and The Star

Two institutions that educate and impart knowledge. With distribution of over 16 million for one and over 5 million for the latter, these two institutions have achieved incredible milestones in a span of 10 years.

From a small startup company operating in a 2-bedroom apartment, had grown by leaps and bounds. Its rise to the most wodely used online book(and now any items) retailer is all thanks to the venerable Jeff Bezos, a visionary, customer-centric, detailed-oriented businessman. His concept of allowing his staff to be as creative as possible in implementing new business ideas had created a website that not only sells but adds plenty of value to customers' purchasing experience. His persistance to continue permitting customers to review the items they purchased despite comments that certain criticisms will bring down the sales of the items through his website had on the contrary created even higher sales. For me, he had monopolised online shopping in a respectable way (unlike Bill Gates :P).

For their 10th anniversary, they have started a list of Hall of Fame for books that have garnered them the largest profit. Since I'm in the spirit, here are my personal top 5:

1. Alice Seabold - The Lovely Bones (touching account of a girl in heaven)

2. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter (who could not enjoy this book?)

3. Mark Victor Hansen - One Minute Millionaire (good narration of fiction and facts in one book on how to be a millionaire)

4. Amy Tan - The Hundred Secret Senses (have not completed it but liked it already)

5. Mitch Albom - 5 People You Meet in Heaven (touching and inspiring)

On the local front, Malaysian are celebrating the birth of a local newspaper who had made us proud. Despite the monopoly usually seen by a government-backed media institution, The Star had risen to the challenge and beat the monopoly and now had became the most widely read newspaper in the whole of Malaysia. Go into any LRT, mamak stall and offices, seeing Malaysians as well as foreigners holding on to a stack of The Star is inevitable. With easy to hold and read tabloid-like pages and articles that stays on the neutral end without being too gossipy, The Star had held its reputation intact. Besides that, The Star should be commended for its effort in bringing Malaysian all over the world together via the Global Malaysian Network, for providing an avenue for Malaysian to voice their grouses and to start charitable works. The Star Online meanwhile had risen to become to most surfed website by Malaysians alongside and The list of achievements are endless. Here is to more decades of good quality news from our beloved The Star.

Oh, I forgot to mention, it is Maxis' 10th anniversary this year too. Happy 10 years, my company :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pots Over Potter

She envisioned a boy who discovered himself to be a witch and going into a world different from our own, named us Muggles, created flying staircases and doors made of paintings, hats that talk and flying brooms used for competition. All these while travelling on a train one fine day. Imagine how bleak our world would be without an imagination like this. There is some good in dreaming after all.

J.K.Rowling had indeed created a society of readers among children and adults alike. So much so that children lined up since 4am in the morning just to be the first to get hold of the book. All over the world, orders that amount to millions have been taken for the supposedly last book in the series of Harry Potter. Amazing!

I remembered when I first read the book, oblivious to the actual storyline and found myself in a surreal world far beyond my imagination. All my worries flew away for that short while and I could not put the book down. I felt like a kid again. Reading the book reminded me of the times when I watched 'Never Ending Story' and 'Labyrinth' as well as reading some Roald Dahl's books. Would the 6th and final book bring back the same emotions I felt? Most would not say so lest a miracle happens. Saying that I would not allow any Harry Potter-critiques to spoil my fun. Till my next hibernation...seeing how thick the book might be far days (gasp!)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Emily Killed Someone

The mere mention of the name "Emily" would raise no eyebrows but bring smile to ones face. Soft-spoken, gentle, diligent and meticulous - those would be the traits one associates with the name.

But I am truly saddened to read the article about Emily harming the society, causing grief and hurt to families she tore down. Why they would use such a name for a hurricane baffles me, yet I have to accept the fact that it had indeed be used to name the hurricane that tore down at least 100 homes, blasted out windows, sheared off roof, flooded two hospitals and killed one person in Jamaica and Cayman Islands. Hurricane Emily, you destroyed the tranquility that comes with the name :)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What Is Your Comfort Food?

Above was the question posed by the loquacious duo of Rudy and JJ over while I was driving to work just the other day. What would my answer be....Without a doubt, the population of females all over the world would have answered a resounding "chocolate!". I choose to be different and answered "Music!"

Yes, indeed music is my life and I could not imagine myself living without it. When I was working in Tower Records temporarily, I lived and breathed music and went with their mantra "No Music, No Life". On days when I feel life had let me down, I would turn to my ever reliable friend, my music. There are various music to match my mood and even music to make me feel sexy and fantasize of I could not find anything else that could replace the sheer joy of penning down the lyrics of my favourite musics. Have you even heard of the lyrics from bands like Simple Plan, Goo Goo Dolls and Hoobastank. Relating to those words felt like a friend who understood everything that I was going through, and noone could ever replace that, except of course my best pals and boyfriend.

Now, back to answering the above question the normal way, I would choose ice-cream. I remembered the tubs of ice-cream I used to dig into at midnight, when i felt frustrated reading through the thick and heavy textbooks with languages that seem like Greek to me. I remembered the tall glasses of ice-cream I devoured till the last drop (ala Swensens) when I was feeling a certain emptiness at the pit of my stomach. I remember naming my favourite drink as milk shakes and nothing could beat the ever-faithful McDonalds strawberry milk shake that lift me from the dumps whenever I was down. As for today, I am suffering lactose intolerance due to my over indulgence in too many a good thing when I was young, not that I am that old now ;)

So, just today, I finally get to satisfy my cravings of having a tall cup of sundae with chocolate and caramel (yum, yum) in the serene surroundings of TGIF in Section 14. I relished every single bite and wished it would never end. But all good things had to come to an end. Which gave me the idea - why not open a restaurant that allows its customers to EAT MUSIC? Eat music? Huh? Yes, serve rice in a bowl that looks like drums, ice-cream in trumpet-shaped mugs and spoons in the shape of drumsticks. While eating, download as many songs as you like and who knows, you might just cure your emptiness at least till the next time you visit my restaurant :)

Do you ever feel like breaking down?
Do you ever feel out of place?
And somehow you just don't belong
And noone understands you

Do you ever wanna run away
Do you lock yourself in your room
With the radio on so loud
And noone hears you screaming
You don't know what it's like
When nothing feels alright
You don't know what it's be like me....

Quoted from Simple Plan's "Welcome To My Life". They truly understand me ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Premiere of Fantastic Four

My heart squealed with joy the moment I got the offer for 2 free tickets to watch the premiere of Fantastic Four yesterday in GSC Berjaya Times Square. I arrived just on time to be greeted with a crowd of curious youths starving for a piece of Jessica Alba.

The movie was enjoyable but forgettable. Just a note about life and destiny that I picked up from the movie.

Ben who turned into 'The Thing' was mulling over his misfortune of being turned into an alien looking mutant despite the prodigious strength he had. His wife was so frightened of his new look that she chose to leave him, ergo the frustration enveloping Ben with his new transformation. After a machine was built to help him turn back into his normal self (much to his refief) he was shocked to find out that the evil man who helped him had indeed absorbed his power and strength during his transformation. As he used his enormous power to conquer the four superheros, he quoted: "Unlike you, I embraced my destiny"

In life, many times if live lets us down, we blame it on our fate and destiny not knowing that things happen to us for a reason. If you let life take control of you, you will never be able to embrace life. Take charge and make life happen. Let's not let complains and negativity get the better of you.

Ben failed as he did not see the benefit of him turning into a mutant with incredible strength. He only saw the negative side of his transformation and thus had led to the superpower of his enemy. For the rest of the movie, I leave it to your fantasy or when you find out on your on.

Embrace life! Spears Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Adventures of the Young and Restless

It will come a day when the whole Generation-Xers will take over the whole world through their relentless pursuit of the new and exciting. In the wild wild world of gliterrati, names that comes to mind include Britney Spears, Jolin Tsai, Boa, Paris Hilton who took the world by storm with their highly publisized and "classy" entertainment values. Not bad at all for these people some of them even younger than 20 years of age. Glamour, recognition, career, fans; all at the ripe young age of below 25. What can I say, some people have all the luck.

But is it luck that determines the level of success in our life? Definitely not. L.U.C.K. stands for Location, Understanding, Contacts and Knowledge. Most people who gained success and wealth are at the right place at the right time. By understanding that oppotunity only exists once, they utilized the opportunity presented and actualize their dreams. The right timing would mean nothing if the right people are not in the picture. And with the combination of timing, location and contacts, you apply the right knowledge to propel yourself forward.

Would you like to guess if the same thing happened to Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Martha Stewart? If Martha Stewart did not answer the call that offered her the opportunity to be the spokesperson for K-Mart when her popularity was waning; and negotiated for the best deal that benefitted both parties, she would not have gotten where she is now.

Just last week, I met the young administrator of the website who has the burning ambition to create a classifieds portal for people in Malaysia. Young though he may be, he possess immense technology knowledge and the starving mind of an aspiring technoprenuer. While aspiring to help people to list their postings, he did a fantastic job driving traffic to his debut website. It was great exchanging pointers with him. You can read more about him through his blog that I linked to.

I was fortunate to have met so many wonderful and inspirational figures in my life. Everyone in my life is a mentor one way or another. Learn from the best and discard the rest. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

London: Joy vs Grief; Giving vs Killing

Let me ask you a quiz question: How many children would have died during one commercial break?

The answer is 100. (Sorry to dissapoint you that it is not IQ)

"Two fingers to end poverty": This is the tagline for MTV's and VH1's effort to end poverty in Africa. I have tremendous respect for artistes who have no qualms about giving to the society after the tremendous amount of recognition the society has contributed towards their success. Among them are the likes of Bono from U2, Bob Geldof, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Good Charlotte, Bjork, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Simple Plan and numerous more. LiveAid concerts are held all over the world to help eradicate poverty, trade injustice and to increase aids to poor countries. It was touching to see established artistes come together towards one goal targeted at countries of G8. Everyday, more than 30,000 people die from extreme poverty and preventable diseases needlessly. Those who attend the concert all over the world might just be buying the tickets to entertain themselves but I take my hat off to them for their selfless acts of donating to the needy. Let's all work together for the society.

I was lucky to catch an episode of Chris Martin from Coldplay's expedition to Ghana where he reiterated his observation on the lives of the poor and undernourished in Africa, where the kids of 5 years had to work in quarries, breaking stones using steels and tools even a strong man in a developed country could not lift. We should be ashamed of ourselves. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt's trip to Ethopia bore fruit as he not only collected memories and sounveniors but adopted a kid home as well. He had even teamed up with Bono to establish the to further end poverty. Check it out.

While London is celebrating the joy of being awarded the country to host the Olympics, it saddens me to see how their happiness was shortlived by the explosions that occurred on 07/07/2005. The timing could not have been better and it clearly did not suprise anyone that it happened in London. People all over the world are now living in fear and gloom. Despite the joy of receiving and the act of giving where the Live8 concert was held in Hyde Park just 15 minutes away from the explosion scene, there lied dark acts only someone inhumane could think of. But then again, didn't the same war/killings happened in other countries with less media exposure. Guess you know where I am talking about. Let's have a moment of silence for those victimised by this horrendous incident.

Princess with Tash during his appearance in KL's Writer's Circle in 1-Utama Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Projecting Your Voice to the World

Scanning through the pages of the newspaper of how our quintessantial singer, Penny Dai have been awarded the Malaysian Book of Records for the most number of songs personally written by a singer. I remember how I used to hum to her music everytime I watch "Meteor Garden 1". Boy! I loved that show. The song expresses so much emotion and compassion one could just feel the tears flowing through its melody. Little did I know that the song was sung and (gasp!) written by our own local artiste who have now made it big in Taiwan and Hong Kong. After the show skyrocketed to top rated show in Taiwan, her name was ubiquitous in the music scene. She was indeed a local import we are proud to have and she indeed deserved all the accolades she received.

Not many can rise from being good to great or excellent. The secret to do it is by tapping onto your talent and projecting it to the world. Just like how Stephen Covey (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) quoted "Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs." Everyone have their own voice, one's "unique personal significance" and by using that to its highest potential, you will be respected and honoured for it. This is the art of self-actualization.

One greatest artiste who had done that well is Jay Chou, top Taiwanese male singer at the moment for writing, playing and singing his own songs for the past 3 albums. He expressed how he would not talk much but used music as a method of expression as he knew that was the only way he could project himself. Look where he is now. These are people who know where their strength lies, focused on their passion and enjoyed sharing their passion with the world. All of us can do it too and I am not only talking about those in the entertainment arena. They might be in the spotlight for their exposure to the media but people from other fields have done the same.

Just like what George Lucas said after the phenomenal success of his epic "Star Wars': "If you want to be successful in a particular field of endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities. It's very important that you find something that you care about, that you have a deep passion for, because you're going to have to devote a lot of your life to it."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Malaysia's Young Millionaires

I am proud to name 4 person I have met recently who have given me tremendous inspiration and guidance in my relentless pursuit of wealth and achievements. These are 4 people from various industries making it big while helping others to do the same: Drum rolls please....

Internet: Irfan Khairi

Business: Tan Swee Yeong

Writing: Tash Aw

MLM: Have talked to someone who made millions in MLM but could not remember his name at the meantime

All of them possess characteristics very similar to one another including humility, helpfulness, disciplined and . They preservered through incredible tough and tumultuos times to emerge winners in this thing you call life. Listening to their success stories, one could not help but be amazed by their heightened sense of self-awareness and self-actualization to make their dreams a reality. To keep in mind their goals and to achieve their dreams no matter how hard it takes.

I could remember how Tan Swee Yeong who was a nobody, coming to my company, Maxis, begging to be given a chance to host his SMS games. The game got marketed and was a phenomenal success despite noone knowing about this start-up company called Unrealmind. Today, he has an asset of over RM3M if he is to sell his company but he has rejected the offer. Reason being he built this company from his sweat and tears, not having salaries for a year and a half only to amass incredible fortune now. This is his passion, his hard-earned money and he will not give it up so easily. The keyword here is passion. Quoting Donald Trump, 'Without passion, you will never make it'.

Irfan did the same, focusing on the one thing he knows best, the art of selling his designs, he made a fortune on the Internet. His market was big (all over the world) and with persistent effort, he made his first million at the age of 25. Again, he mentioned the killer product to sell is your passion: 'You must sell something that you will continue doing even if you do not get paid for it'.

The same goes to Tash whose passion in writing has made him quit his day job to concentrate on getting his first book out which is now selling all over the world. Had he not focused on his vocation, we would most likely not even hear of this exotic name. However, he was very rational, telling his fans that even though we should go after our dreams, we should be realistic about it. He added: "There is a fine line between Self-Believe and Self-Deceit".

Inspiring isn't it? Makes you feel like quitting your secure day job and venturing out into the open. Just make sure you are reasy for it first. Here is to your first million. :)

Blinding Spirit of Humility

The trickle of coins falling into his mug sounded like music to his ears just like how the music of the orchestra and chirpings of the birds in the morning resonates melodiously into our ears. He could smell the aroma of curry puff being sold by the streets or the stench of the murky waters in the drains stronger than any of us could. He sensed the sourness of mango or the sweetness of potatoes in higher appreciation than all of us could. However, he could never witness for himself the big blue sky when the clouds lift or the fresh green grass of the wide expanse of fields around us. He knows how you look by touching your features, he could even hear your smile but he would never be able to describe the colour of your clothes or the highlights on your hair.

Yet, when coins were dropped into his bowl, his only source of income for food, he smiled so genuinely and offered me a box of tissues. I declined, the fact that I helped him is reward enough for me.

I tread the busy streets of Masjid Jamek every morning before I go to work. The intersection of trains gave me the opportunity to absorb the livelihood of human all around me with their various idiosyncrities: little kids helping their mother sell nasi lemak and kuih by the streets, cars zooming past like there is no tomorrow and pedestrians crossing the streets irrespective of how fast the cars sped past. However, the sights that hold me the most would be the sights of these groups of blind people who go around taking the lrt, crossing the streets and talking to one another just like any normal human do effortlessly. Their strength and faith impress me as they group together to help each other take the right lrt and cross the streets prudently. I laud the government for preparing facilities that take into account these people with disabilities. The announcement of the station names, the provision of seats for the disabled, toilet seats for the disabled and the automatic stairs that fetch those on wheelchair have been a regular occurence to us so much so that we are oblivious to their benefits to those who could not live without them.

I bask in the glory of knowing that I had done my part every now and then for those people in need.(and I am not talking about donations!) We just need more samaritans in the country and the world. :)