Saturday, December 31, 2011

Squat to Good Health

I really cannot remember when I started sitting instead of squatting when I have to visit the toilet. I guess it would be some 35 years ago after I left home to be in the big city and gotten the experience of nice hotel and airport toilets.

This is from my earlier post,

"Right at the back of the house was the bathroom and an adjoining squatting toilet. The bathroom was only build before mid 1960s. It was in this bathroom that I practiced my singing skills. I did not know if my neighbors ever complained of my singing. There were no electric heaters in those days so when I needed hot water, like when I was unwell, my mother would boil a kettle of hot water and mix in the cold water for me to bath in. The toilet (it was actually a latrine) was not a place to stay in for long as it stank from the faeces that were collected once every week by the nightsoil lorry. Years later, around 1975, when a sitting toilet was installed everybody was relieved. I guess that was a sign of progress."

As I already left home in 1966 I never really used a sitting toilet when I was in my hometown. I was a squatter in my youth. Even in Form 6 and university the houses I stayed in still had squatting toilets because they were built in the 1960s or earlier when sitting toilets were not yet fashionable. It was a 'white man's' invention that we Chinese found alien to adapt but as time passes we did, we discovered it was more hygienic and pleasant to lower ourselves halfway rather than all the way. And less chance of wetting our pants too.

After I graduated in 1971 and stayed in different houses I cannot recall being a 'sitting duck' inside a cubicle. Worse I cannot recall when it was I momentously enjoyed my very first moment of shitting sitting rather than squatting. Perhaps it wasn't an event worth recalling to be remembered but in hindsight I should have documented it somewhere because thereafter I disliked squatting. Maybe it reminded me of the poorer and less sophisticated past, maybe fewer squatting toilets exist to be discovered in an emergency when you need to 'do your business'. But recently when I was at the Changi International Airport I was pleasantly surprised to discover they have a squatting toilet which I chose to use unhesitatingly. It was cleaner although it took me more efforts to get down and get up.

Over the years as I grow older I got used to sitting because it becomes increasingly harder to squat even if I choose to. Mild obesity and weak knees are justifying excuses. However using sitting toilets in public facilities turns me off unless disposable paper seat covers are provided. In an emergency I confess to using many pieces of toilet papers to protect my bump from the unclean toilet seat. In a most dirty scenario when previous users had already dirtied the seat I'd had no choice but lift it up and squat on top. Gratefully all those toilets have successfully bored my weight and not cracked. There should be a disclaimer of no liability or maximum allowable carrying weight.

Today I read an online article claiming the virtues of squatting over sitting and analyzing the rationale I agree completely. I don't have the website but the article was written by a Stephanie Relfe. She explains:

The anal canal is UNSTRAIGHTENED when seated. Bowel evacuation when seated results frequently in OBSTRUCTIVE CONSTIPATION. Adopt a relaxed, FULL SQUAT POSTURE and the anal canal STRAIGHTENS. In a sitting position the puborectalis muscle chokes the rectum causing incontinence. Squatting relaxes that muscle and straightens the rectum allowing smoother and faster voiding of the feces. (Last two sentences slightly edited).

I wish to add another reason. When one squats we compress our intestinal cavity which help and assist squeezing of the feces as well as requiring less push.

The design of modern toilets must be modified to encourage squatting and aiding senior and handicapped users to squat with suitable handrails. Maybe someone can design a combination sit-squat toilet which can be lowered-raised at will. Alternatively in homes with more then one toilet, designate one to be a squat type.

I don't know if sitting contributes to pile development or as the author suggested rising cases of colon cancers caused by poor diet and lack of exercises. But I do believe that if we squat more we can achieve a healthier body. It was after all the only way our ancestors knew each time they answered the calls of nature.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Next Anwar Ibrahim?

Reading THIS report you may think so. This mild looking young man has the fire and anger against the ruling regime to literally point his middle finger up and say, 'You sucks!'. Taking down the flag that bore a likeness to the Prime Minister Najib Razak is a challenge to the authorities to come get me as well as a protest against self glorification that has become the culture of the government of the day. This act will be the Malaysian Spring movement. The world over it has always been the student movements that spoil the dream of dictators. Anwar tried that on Dr Mahathir and was jailed. When his mega influence refuses to die and became a real threat to Najib, a similar attempt is now made to re-jail him on a similar charge, a pathetic and unimaginative strategy to get rid of a pimple that refuses to die. Wait for the coming January 9 judgement if he will indeed be jailed, or freed, and watch the drama of Malaysian politics unfurl thereafter.

The Adam Adlis of Malaysia is not going to be one man's attempts to bring about changes. It used to be fought on the streets and the police resorted to water cannons and tear gas. The worrying question is will they do the same on the campuses round the nation when students start to riot? In small bands, within residential colleges, in the canteens and lecture halls? Gathering momentum and steam until they grow into a campus wide movement? It is not a pretty sight to have the authorities striking at the very cream of the nation (sorry, the cream are overseas and unlikely to return). In all likelihood Adam Adli will not be punished but brainwashed to join the elites that have ruled this country for 54 years. Will he fall for the carrot? Or will the towering enigma of Anwar Ibrahim encourages and strengthens his resolve to make sure Malaysia will not fall to the wolves again? Looks like we will be seeing an exciting start to 2012. Stay tuned!

Update January 1, 2011: Looks like the police has started acting against student protesters. Faster than I thought. Read HERE.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good Choices Change Lives

I was quite taken in by the below article shared with me by a friend so I'd like to share with you too. If I were much younger I'd like to be guided by it, not that I'm not contended with my life but, hey, who says life is perfect?

Life is full of choices and opportunities. However, some choices will have a greater impact on your life than others. There are a few choices that will dramatically impact the quality of your life no matter when you make that choice.

So one must know them and the best of them!

Friendships: If there is any area in life where you should choose wisely, it would be your friendships. Numerous studies have shown that you become a byproduct of the people you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with losers, then you’re well on your way to becoming one. If you surround yourself with winners, then you’re on your way to becoming one. Another thing that you want to do is chose friends who reinforce your positive self image. There’s a big difference between friends who joke about you endearingly versus those who seem to get their rocks off by putting you down. If you have some toxic friends, it’s time to detox!

(My note: Better to have 3 good friends than 30. You never know what the other 27 wants out of you.)

Careers: Making the choice between passion and practicality is something you really should take seriously in your career. I didn’t do it in my younger years and as a result my life was miserable in numerous ways. My health deteriorated, I was depressed, and I was always angry or anxiety ridden. A career takes up a significant part of your life, up to 65% of your day in many cases. If you hate what you do, then think about what kind of things you are going to attract into your life. The majority of your time, energy, and thoughts are being directed to your misery. It’s a simple application of the law of attraction at work.

(My note: A perfect career fit is possible if you are willing to listen to what your family, teachers and good friends say about your personality, strength and weakness. Add on your love in life and go on a discovery trip that will surely make you love life even more.)

Relationships: Your choice in relationships not only alters the quality of your life, but the quality of someone else’s. So, if you make a bad choice you run the risk of making two people’s lives miserable. Of course the opposite is true as well. If you make the right choice then you double the joy that goes out into the world and bring more of it back to you. Have you ever noticed how at the beginning of a relationship when you start dating somebody, everything seems too be perfect. You have a great time together and everything goes smoothly and you seem to be on a roll of attracting positive experiences into your life. Then, you stop getting along, and everything else goes to hell too. So, make sure you choose wisely.

(My note: Don't ever believe that you can change to please your partner. That's a delusion. Instead ask early if both of you can accept each other the way you are. Be honest and practical. You are looking at a relationship with a very long expiry date!)

Reactions: This is the most overlooked choice that one has! It has been said over and over that life is not about what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you. Once we learn how to control our reactions to everything that happens we manage to achieve complete control over our lives. We are no longer impacted by circumstances and events because we are choosing our reactions.

(My note: Don't we subconsciously live for others instead of making the best of our life? It may be cultural and what we are taught to be sacrificial. Somewhere along our life, especially when we realize we are old, we wish and hope we had been a little selfish to keep some of our lives for ourselves rather than giving them all away. If we can't love and pamper ourselves how can we be better in loving others?)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Kid, 6 Names

Jian Sheng, Andrew, TJS, Boy, Tee Tee, Mat Rempit. OK the last one shouldn't be in but mentioned in passing because of his aggressive riding habit/style. My youngest grandson who will turn 23 months old after Christmas is called by different names by different members of the family. Father calls him Jian Sheng, mother calls him Boy, Popo calls him Boy or Jian Sheng, Gung (me) calls him by more names, Jian Sheng, Andrew or TJS his name initials, and sister Grace calls him Tee Tee or Boy. Of late he's acquired Mat Rempit as his nickname due to the way he ride his tricycle round and round the house, cutting corners, banging into chairs and tables and eating into adult paths, creating a ruckus. And parking in the middle of doorways blocking our ways through. Worse his favorite trick is riding his tricycle over toys, cushions, mattresses, books, etc with the destructive joy of demolishing them.

How to describe him? Naughty? Mischievous? Dare-devil? Reckless? Destructive? Getting angry at him would be our natural reactions but when we see him grinning back at most we'd smack his backside or pull him away. The tricycle has seen better days and with the foot paddle slight bent it will break down anytime. Little fella is mechanical minded. He'd turn the tricycle up and check for loose screws and bolts. He loved pumping up and down the seat until the bolt gets loosened. He gets upset fighting over the tricycle with older sister Grace. The house cannot accommodate 2 rowdy kids and 2 bicycles, it will surely turn into a war zone!

Andrew loves airplanes and cars. Not surprised if he grow up to be a pilot or automotive engineer. Every time he hears a distant din he'd point excitedly to the skies like Tattoo of Fantasy Island would cry out 'Airplane, Airplane'. To encourage his love for them I'd download pictures of commercial and jet planes and place them as slideshow on my PC and iPad. He's more vocal by the day and I believe by his 2nd birthday he'll be able to hold a simple conversation.

I Love Pomegranate

Eversince I learned of the potential benefits of this fruit towards the treatment of prostate cancer and related hazards I planted a tree inside my house compound some 5 years ago hoping to harvest enough fruits to either eat raw or making into drinks. Unfortunately due to poor soil condition all the fruits I got were small and the seeds had thin and sometime bitter tasting pulp. It took efforts to break open the fruit and extract the seeds and after several years I was given a few larger and pulpier fruits that taste sweet by my sister-in-law who bought them from a night market in Kuala Lumpur. I began to take a dislike towards my tree not only because of the smallish fruits but also because of the thorns that can potentially hurt my grandchildren running around the yard. So a year ago I got my gardener to cut it down.

A few months ago my daughter in Petaling Jaya discovered a stall in the local night market selling similar pomegranate fruits I like. They are about 8-10 cm diameter and cost around RM3 each. She bought me a pack and since then whenever we visit or she return to visit us we'll buy about 10 fruits when they are available.

Eating pomegranate seeds is fun especially to my grand daughter Grace who likes to suck out the juice from each seed. For me it has to go into my mouth by the handful.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Four Grandkids Together

Today is the first time this year that all my four grandchildren are together spending time with each other mainly because it is school holiday. Previous to this the meetings were short and the children could not enjoy themselves in a recreational place. Grace loves the RK Park where I now go for my regular morning workout. She loves it for the swings and slides that she don't have to fight over with other kids as this park is not as well frequented as the City Park we used to go before because there was a man made lake with lots of fishes to be fed. So today, when her cousins Victoria and William arrived to stay a few days she asked if they can all go to the RK Park and we couldn't resist as the weather was cool at about 5pm. So after a quick snack all four of them, including baby Andrew, youngest at 22+ months, jumped into Victoria's mom car and off we went.

Honestly I've not seen my grandchildren enjoy themselves as much. They climbed, they slide, they swung and they ran. Being the cautious grandparents we are we followed them and shouted words of caution and do all we could to keep them safe from any fall or injury. Today I realized my older grandchildren are capable of heights we were afraid for them. After awhile we started trusting them. Only little Andrew needed supervision as he thinks the park belongs to him. I will always remember 'jogging' along with him for about 30 meters.

This evening they skyped with their uncle in the States, took a visual tour of his house and 'see' little cousin brother growing in their auntie's tummy.

Below are some memorable pictures of my grandchildren all taken very recently.

Above three pictures of Grace and Andrew enjoying their tricycle in the driveway.

Grace and Andrew enjoy helping me clean the car.

Andrew is the honorary page turner.

The school shoes belong to sister Grace but Andrew claimed first right to them.

The four grandchildren enjoying themselves in the RK Park.

Skyping with Uncle Julian and Auntie Winnie

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in My Heart

I am unlike millions of Christians who join the throng of shoppers and diners during christmastime. Maybe I have little space in my house or really have little interest to accumulate things, maybe I am becoming more health conscious, or maybe I just think Christmas is more of satisfying the heart than the body. Don't get me wrong, I used to shop and dine in my younger days but now feel less inclined toward them. Occasionally going beyond the norm is acceptable but on moderate scales. I really prefer Christmas to be a time to enjoy my good fortune to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It was 30 years ago I accepted and followed Him and never turned my back. Yes, I sidetracked but I got back in line. Today I'm glad to be where I am as far as my faith is concerned because I know when it is time to go, I know where I will be heading. Home with my Saviour.

I've attended 2 Christmas dinners so far, the first organized by my church, the second 2 days ago by a political party for the Christian community in my hometown. The moods at both functions were starkly different and differently motivated. The third Christmas dinner is really going to be a wedding dinner to be held on Christmas evening. In fact we were invited to 2 dinners at the same time and venue but can only be in one. Perhaps the wedded couples want to have double celebrations each year on the common day. Having Christmas this year falling on Sunday makes the choice easier.

I had a Christmas tree bought a long time ago but in good condition. Almost every year I'd set it up to create the festive mood. Yet Christmas sadly reminds me it is time to set up new wall and desk calendars for the coming year. As well as consider my report card for the disappearing year. I'm glad my health is holding up, I'm still faithfully blogging and still the same person I was a year ago. Great anxieties facing senior people centre on changes they cannot face courageously. I hope to stay young in my heart and live up to the name my father gave me, which translates from Mandarin as Spring Every Year.

We are a fortnight away to the closure of a difficult yet hopeful year worldwide. People died and families suffered in quakes, floods, fires and civil violence. Financial crises forced nations and their citizens into insecure territories. People yearn to trust their yesteryears when lives were perceived kinder, stabler and safer. Future is feared because of great unknowns. Yet hope arise for those who dare to challenge the forces of evil and unrighteousness. I pray that justice will arrive in the new year for those deprived and oppressed. Inspite of the dark clouds of winters and stormy weathers there remain the sun behind the clouds to shine through and warm us. Be strong and optimistic.

Blessed Christmas. Peace and Joy to the World. Happy and Properous New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Glorious Monday

I was a little late in rising at 7.30am but soon I was on my way to the park. I brought along my Galaxy Ace headset. There were several cars at the park and a group of ladies were performing their jazzercise. As I moved to the jogging track I set up my headset and plug in to my assorted music collections stored in the SD card. The morning air was damp, it had drizzled hours ago. My wife said to wear a cap to keep my head dry. She's a thoughtful wife. As we couldn't find one I said to skip it for now.

'Something Good' was a song that came over the headphone, by Herman's Hermits and I thought how true. Life should be lived in expectation of something good happening. Christmas is round the corner, and is something good for mankind. A song from the 50s titled 'Washington Square Dance' took me back to the 70s when I tried to dance. I was hopeless but nevertheless still harbor the thought that I can dance a bit like Michael Jackson, or move my hip like Elvis Presley or jive like Cliff Richard who next sang 'It's All In A Game'. I wonder if life is really a game that people play? Sadly some do and use people to their selfish advantages.

As I jogged I passed a lady sitting on a park bench, her wheelchair nearby. We smiled. I guess she wished she too could walk the park as her daughter was doing on her own. As I gazed up the skies and watched the morning swallows soared above, it was then my turn to wish I could be there among them too.

All too soon my time is up and I wound down, rinsed my hands using water from a bottle in my car, and drove home. It is a good start to a new day and a new week. I feel privileged.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How the Weekend Passed!

It's close to midnight and in awhile soon it will be Monday. Thank God I'm not working and can afford the luxury (perhaps I should call it earned privilege) to enjoy flexi time but I should get to bed soon to get up early for my morning walk in the park. I promised myself to be fit to handle my exuberant grandkids. In this sense grandparents really have to keep up physically to stay in their physical world.

Last (Saturday) night we as a family attended the church's Christmas Family Dinner comprising selected hawker/street food. It was a great idea as the layout allowed good mingling for the nearly 400 participants who showed up. For RM15 I got to eat 7-8 types of food which command a retail value of over RM20 so it was a good deal. My tummy added an extra inch, not a healthy weekend habit to repeat. So it was a relief Christmas comes only once a year!

Today (Sunday) after church we drove to Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives as well as our regular Chinese physician Dr Yap. I got to supervise Andrew a bit and discovered how great a little dynamite he is. Daily I ask how is it this guy who isn't yet 23 months is toddling about like a 3 year old kid? These days his speech is improving so fast that at this rate he can speak in full sentence by the time we celebrate his 2nd birthday. For now it is 4 syllable success.

We ended the day with a long skyping session with our son in the States. It wasn't planned but it was enjoyable. We got to see him and his dear wife live and well. We'll do this more often until we visit them next year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sayonara My Office

I remember in August 1988 I moved into my office when I started my glove business. It was a small partition off an entire floor which today is fully taken up so we have grown in a sense. I remember where I used to sit and the executive desk and swivel chair I occupied. Several years ago I vacated into a smaller room so that my executive office could be used for a growing number of management staff. Suddenly we are not that spacious but cramped, like what I used to see in lawyer and accountant offices. And everyone has a workstation. I remember when I started off we had just one desktop PC and one dot matrix printer. Were we ancient by comparison today!

Since I changed status last year I no longer go into my office regularly like before. In fact I sneakily go in less and less often in the past few years, like a slow withdrawal, so my staff won't suddenly see nothing of me. But for the past months I had made a Houdini act, I disappeared!

What this means is I have to give up my office space since people are wondering why there is this unused real estate while everyone else are almost elbow to elbow, literally speaking. Plus my daughter was elevated and deserved a better spot. I took time to sort out what can be junked and what need to be kept. Today I completed the ritual. With the office closed for the weekend I went in and symbolically cleared stuffs I feel no pain in throwing out. However I have a set of varsity text books I am sentimentally attached to. I always think there is this 0.0001% likelihood I may need them if I decide to go back to varsity one day. You don't believe me? Anyway I kept a few as well as several management books I acquired over the years, books my daughter may want to read in her spare time. And the Chemistry books, maybe one day I'll show off some of the technical words you can't find in dictionaries or online!

There was no tears, no funny achy feeling (apart from my achy back) that an era is passed. Just the relief and satisfaction that my decision to go into business 23 years ago had given thousands of employees a chance to earn a living through us. For now, when I drive into the factory compound, I am still greeted by the security guard who recognized me. But 90% of the office staff don't recognize me, which don't bother me, so long as they do their work and help the company make money.

Home Alone ... With My Grandkids

To be honest I was anxious last weekend when my wife told me she wanted to look after her bedridden father and help out her sister who was expecting her first grandchild to be born soon. The plan involved me looking after Grace and Andrew for 3 afternoons. In the mornings their mother would prepare their porridge and bath them. I said to my wife and daughter, no problem, I can handle them, although both can gang up on me and bully poor grandpa. It would be challenging but why not?

Monday after lunch as my daughter drove away I quietly pondered how would I pass the next 5 to 6 hours unscathed. I was taught how to prepare their milk, where the powder and bottles were, when to feed them, when to put them to sleep and when to bath them and feed them porridge. Sounds easy. But I won't be dealing with regular obedient kids. Grace is past 4 but still want to behave like her little brother at just under 2 and hyperactive. Attention seeking and security deprived so I try to accommodate, to an extent. I was a little apprehensive if I could manage them, especially Andrew who require second to second supervision as he now grab anything within reach, open any cabinet he likes, play with utensils, sometimes roughly, rough ride his kiddy tricycle like a pro round and round the dining table. And when he gets bored and refuses to sleep I would be his manservant, being dragged to the front door and made to open it because he want to 'out, out' and when I explained it was hot and dusty (neighbor contractor still renovating the house) there he goes on the floor screaming hs protests. Or he would want his particular tv show - Mr Bean cartoon or Thomas and Friends. If that clash with what Grace wants to watch or my timed recording, another tantrum loomed. Fortunately we have a second tv set in the dining hall to pacify both of them.

When bored with tv I tried block games or puzzles but they find them overly familiar. Ah ha, they spotted my iPad or smartphone and Andrew would go 'a nee bird, a nee bird' which translate 'I want Angry Bird'. Sensing sibling rivalry over a gadget and my fear it could be mishandled I refused and another round of screaming confronted me. Throughout these encounters just remember I was always on the move, not only vertically but also squatting, bending and at times on fours. For a person my age it was a miracle I survived the first afternoon which ended with an enjoyable 'outing' in the gated compound and bath time. They love the water, especially the boy. The instance I announce it is time to bath, Andrew stripped naked in no time and waited for the shower to wet his slim body. Bathing both kids together is like juggling but having both liking this part of the day made the job easier although I was soaked wet too.

The bit that I dislike most is feeding them porridge and that part is also most physically strenuous. Grace still wanted spoon fed although she can easily feed herself. Attention seeking and demanding equal treatment as her little brother. Maybe grandma spoilt her or she is just her demanding self. She eats slow, real slow, perhaps 3 times slower than her brother because she can't swallow big mouthfuls. Andrew eat fast but also move faster - on his tricycle and I would be chasing him all over the house, from hall to dining to kitchen to hall. Phew! And sweaty. So it was an achievement when porridge is fed and my roster ended on day one. Survived but not looking forward to be a permanent house grandpa. Such job is meant for someone younger and more agile to handle active kids.

Day two was a little easier having learned from day one. But putting them to nap is another challenge. While Grace was better in this department Andrew just couldn't find a spot to really shut down. While I rested with the girl, she insisted I sleep next to her, Andrew roamed the house. Every other minute I'd call out or get out to check if he was naughty or endangering himself. He was curiously imaginative, playful and rough. He'd put stuffs into his mouth, play with toilet water, strip off his diapers and parade himself naked (the afternoons were quite warm) or bang his toys on the floor and table. I shudder at the thought of scratches on them, and worst, if he accidentally struck the glass door panes or tv screen. Fortunately he was reasonably well behaved. He did manage to nap, after his porridge.

Day three was supposed to have grandma return in the afternoon but plan changed so it was me and Grace and a kid named Andrew all over again. Actually it wasn't all bad except being the only adult around everything falls upon him, so I really understand the pressure my wife had all these past 6 years looking after grandchildren one after another, while attending to many other chores. I really salute her capability and endurance, and great love and sacrifice for the children.

Finally the day arrived for us to fetch grandma from the train station. That morning I took them for a drive. Andrew still need his car seat, strapped in, as he cannot sit still otherwise. The drive was to prepare them for another drive later in the morning to the train station. Back home I bathed them at 10 and fed them porridge and soon the phone rang. Grandma would arrive in 20 minutes! The kids were excited. I made their milk. Grace sat up front next to me, Andrew strapped down in the back. I passed him his bottle, not sure if he'd drink or play or drop it to the floor. As I drove out of the driveway I shifted the rear mirror on Andrew. He was quiet and surveyed the view outside. Then he lifted the bottle to his mouth and I quietly smiled. The drive would be OK, I told myself. Grace held to her bottle and told me she'd drink on the drive home.

At the station all three of us were excited and happy to have grandma back after 3 days away, her longest absence. We're sure she missed home too.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What's Tony's Game Plan?

There were enough headlines involving Tony Fernandes of Air Asia in the recent week that followers of the spat between him and MAHB or Malaysia Airport has become bored. I thought the public quarrels have become childish especially with Air Asia leading a fight against hike in airport taxes and using his personal car to plaster posters when MAHB removed them from the airport buildings. Point taken and it seems MAHB is cowered for misprojecting KLIA2 to be even larger than KLIA. Wasn't it supposed to be only a low cost carrier terminal which suddenly grow into a full fledge airport with runways able to accept A380?

Today I was surprised by the 2 page advertisement announcing Air Asia's 10th anniversary and its proud achievements. It is a good boast for a Malaysian company. But I am even more surprised by THIS news that Tony plans to step down. Was he strengthening his airline with the recent developments of Air Asia squirreling into MAS via a share swap that some people believed there was some impropriety on the part of Air Asia? And the fight with MAHB to contain the airport tax as well as a demand for a Service Level Agreement from them? Now Tony announced his retirement from the airline he founded 10 years ago. Remember a month ago Tony announced he plan to start up a premium airline to be called Caterham Jet? Well, I googled and found Tony owns Caterham Group that build racing cars and he himself is principal of Team Lotus. Looks like Tony is starting a new airline under his flagship and growing a new niche. For a guy who loves challenges (and Air Asia is no longer challenging after 10 years) stepping out is the natural thing to do. THIS NEWS about MAS launching its own premium airline next year claimed no connection with Caterham Jet. For two premium airlines from two competing Malaysian airlines operating under different productivity environment and management culture no guess which will succeed. For Caterham Jet, Tony is probably bandying a new tagline to befit the new flying experience. How about 'Flying High' or 'Fly in Style'? Or better still, 'If You Have The Money, You Can Fly'.

Update: Tony denies HERE he is resigning. Nonetheless signs are pointing to a management transition, if not next year certainly 2013 or 2014. Every great organization require leadership change to bring it to greater heights.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Most People Retire Half His Age

Read THIS.

Back in my schooldays movies were either from Hong Kong or Hollywood. Never had movies from Bollywood, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or China. Those made in Hong Kong were from either Cathay Organization or Shaw Brothers. Today lots of martial arts movie reruns are from SB and brought back sweet memories. I am of course surprised that Sir Run Run Shaw is still alive at 104 and still working! And that he look this youthful save his sunken cheeks makes me want to believe that work really keep a person active, healthy and youthful. I am 40 years younger but already retired from active employment so I really admire Mr. Shaw. Till today I still don't know why his name is Run Run, maybe direct translation from his Chinese name. The other senior person in his 80s I admire and still actively in corporate services is Public Bank's executive chairman, Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow. Both gentlemen are iconic to the empires they founded.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Do We Need 5 Star Airport?

Thanks to Tony Fernandes, the big boss of Air Asia, who is crusading against Malaysia Airports, the corporation that operates Malaysian airports, for raising airport taxes without justification of better services and facilities (read HERE as well) we should start asking why do we need airport that is iconic and extravagant. Tony has the clout because Air Asia is a key client of Malaysian airports, especially LCCT and KLIA2 that is projected to be ready in April 2013 replacing LCCT and he doesn't believe air travelers should be made to pay higher taxes than necessary. The concern is why do we need airports that go beyond its purpose of accommodating departing and arriving air travelers. In an earlier blog I question the need for the airports to be turned into a shopping mall for duty free goods or with grandiose designs. It seems the world over, especially those showy type of governments who think a palatial airport design will impress arriving travelers to revisit their countries, airports being usually the first physical structure that greet them from the air or upon landing. Unfortunately with air travel common place now we rather have airports that help us clear quickly to our flights and from our flights without the frills, delays and higher costs.

I disagree that airports be over designed that the operators seek to recover the additional costs by raising taxes. I have been to several U.S. airports, both international and domestic that are pleasantly laid out and not screaming for attention. Airport arrival and departure halls should be functional and practical. not necessarily opulent. Airport operators should carry their business as a public service and not as a profit centre. Otherwise this trend will extend to bus, train and ferry terminals that passengers will be forced to pay terminal taxes when all they want is pay the fares to get from A to B. We are already paying highway taxes (called toll AND road taxes) and must not be burdened to pay supplementary related taxes that will push the cost of traveling by whatever mode even higher.

An example of an opulent airport, Dubai International Airport.

The Under-Utilized RK Park

The Rasah Kemayan Community Park declared open in March 2010 by the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) is meant to be a boon to residents who appreciate a proper spot for outdoor activities. Sadly it has not been as well frequented as the larger City Park in Seremban 2 with a man-made lake and better jogging track and kids' playgrounds. Still residents should appreciate this community project built for us. Although the park has not been well maintained, with signs of breakdown and vandalism and uncivil behavior of some users who litter the park grounds, the park is nonetheless a jewel that we should be proud of. After all, how many residential estates can have a proper recreation ground suitable for young and old alike?

Over the past week my wife and I made it a point to rise up early (it does take some efforts especially for me) and after a warm drink drive the 5 minutes distance to the empty but safe park (joggers only start appearing after 7.30am when it is brighter) and begin by warming up with a slow but brisk walk around the park's concrete pathway or climb the steps. This prime our hearts and legs and help build our lungs. The morning air is fresh and clean, which is a joy and privilege in this purely residential township. As we have less than an hour to exercise before going back to prepare for the arrival of our grandchildren, we spend some 30 minutes at the exercising equipment area where we work on our legs, hip, knees, neck, wrists and shoulders. I particularly like the hand wheel that massage my shoulders, neck and upper back to the pressure and intensity I decide. It is really invigorating! I can attest that after a few days of disciplined morning exercises I feel more alert and fit. And better appetite for my breakfast!

We plan to continue daily except on weekends and when it rains, or threatens to rain. Alternatively we will go in the evenings with our grandchildren in tow for they too are outdoor type and love the swings and slides.

The below pictures were taken this morning when it was misty but fresh.


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