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How telling the truth about social media moms resulted in 800,000 views in a day

As we sat down at the Starbucks of a suburban mall in Subang, Pierre said to me

“Tim. We have a new product for Mamee coming out. It’s called Mamee Monster Biskidz and because the Mamee Monster brand goes a long way back for the company, we need to make sure I put together a campaign that works. But because it’s a new product, I don’t have a big marketing budget… so I need it to go viral on social media. And you’re the only person I know in Malaysia who consistently virals stuff so please help me.”

The target market was moms. They created a product that has the thin crispiness of a potato chip, but it was actually a biscuit. So it was a healthier snack alternative to chips. It was available in slim packaging so it’s easy to carry around to act as an emergency snack when moms are travelling with their kids and their kids get hungry.

The good news was that the product was great.

The bad news was that its main target market is one of the hardest target markets to market to. Moms.

Moms are the most powerful and lucrative consumer market out there. They are the decision makers in buying just about every household item. In my home my wife chooses what eggs to buy, what tissue paper, what milk, what soap, heck she even chooses what bed sheets I sleep on. I pay for it… but she chooses. Because moms are so powerful, just about every single brand is finding different ways to sell something to them be it household stuff or things for their kids.

And this brings us to an even deeper problem.

Moms are the guardians of their kids and they have the highest standards of everything their kids use. Higher than even for themselves (how many moms do you know who drink Coke but don’t let their kids have any).  Yet brands are pushing product to moms on a regular basis and all more or less in the same way.

So how do you sell to moms?

You have to build trust.

How do you build trust?

You build trust with a person when he or she takes an effort to really listen, understand and empathize with how you feel.  Trust is further built when after doing that, that person does something to help you.

So idea is first to empathize… then to provide the solution which Mamee Monster Biskidz was made to be.

The question though is what and how.

I spent the next week after our meeting at Starbucks talking to moms and really just listening. One thing that really stuck with me was the struggle of the modern mom. Society is really harsh on the modern mom. Modern moms are expected to sometimes work and earn a living like their husbands, yet they’re also expected to take care of the kids, manage the household and even take care of their husbands. On top of that all they’re also expected to ensure they take care of how they physically look to other people.

That’s just really really hard and I found that many moms fall deeper into depression under all this pressure. The one thing that makes all this worse? Social media.

The Facebook or Instagram posting that your favourite parenting blogger posts of the perfect beautifully decorated meals that they cook for their kids, or the beautiful family photo shoots when everyone is happy or how our celebrity moms manage to deliver kids and lose all their baby weight in a month.

The problem with social media though is that it’s not real life. People post the best of them on social media so we only see one side, but as a result of that moms start feeling that they’re not doing a good enough job as a mom and get even more depressed.

So the idea I had?

Tell the real moms the truth. That there is no perfect mom and there should be no pressure to be a perfect mom. Every mom no matter how imperfect in the eyes of mothers need to know that they’re great moms and that’s all that matters. That we should stop embracing perfect moms and instead celebrate imperfect moms!

How do we do that?

I thought of creating a video that told the story of 3 real life celebrity moms in Malaysia and how their beautiful Instagram photos don’t necessarily reflect real life.

Pierre thought it was a brilliant idea but great ideas are only as good as how they’re executed. So we put together a team of the most capable people we know.

There was the team of Sashimi who was Mamee’s digital agency, Reelity.TV (a Netccentric company) and Playground Productions that put together the video and a great team at Mamee who oversaw the whole thing. It was one of the most turbulent video productions I’ve ever seen. We’ve had problems like a key talent falling sick on the day of the shoot and us having to replace that person. Or that we thought we had a great video made on to test it and see that it failed to get a good response from a different demographic.

While I was involved in the first half of the project, by the second half I had taken a step back and the team from the agencies above handled everything on their own accord. It was the most amazing team I’ve ever seen. Everyone was motivated to create a video that really impacted people instead of thinking of their bottom line.

When you put 10 very very capable people in the room, there’s bound to be a lot of pressure and differing opinions but the team at Mamee held everything together. Mamee also worked with Sashimi, Reelity.TV and Playground as partners rather than vendors. Listening to their opinions and taking risk. They weren’t worried about how many seconds their product appeared in the video. They were only concerned about whether the video spoke for moms. There was authenticity in what everyone was trying to do. We weren’t trying to sell product. We were trying to build a brand.

Finally the video came out and with only an initial marketing spend of RM1,700 on Facebook ads, the video reached thousands of shares and over 250,000 views in 8 hours. A day later the video hit 14,500 shares and almost 800,000 views. The best part though was in the comments. Moms commented about how grateful they were that Mamee Monster as a brand understood them. That this brand hadn’t looked to push product to them at the first encounter, but to first empathize.

This is the new start of the Mamee Monster brand. It’s not a biscuit or a snack brand. It’s a brand that aims to support mothers by sometimes saying things that moms themselves don’t say and by creating products that solve their problems.

It’s a brand that understands that you first have to empathize with your customer before you sell him or her something.

Special thanks goes out to the people who worked together through blood sweat and tears to put this video together:

From Sashimi: Desmond, Lee Fen, Fayth

From Reelity.TV: Michael and Isaiah.

From Playground Productions: Faisal, Megat, Azman, Ismail, Razaisyam and Bajai.

And last but not least from Mamee: Li Yein, Meng Yang, Alysha, Kenneth and Hui Ying.

I was going to make RM13K in a day until I realised….

For the longest time I’ve been looking to buy this drone called the Mavic Pro. It is supposed to be one of the best drones in the market. They first announced it in September or October last year and it’s now January and it’s still really hard to find.

My usual drone and camera equipment supplier is a nice guy named CM who has a shop in Berjaya Times Square. If anyone could get it for me it was him, but it’s expensive (partly because it’s so limited).

So I started looking around online and I found this ad on Mudah.

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Most other ads price the drone at RM5-6K onwards so I was shocked when I saw one selling for RM3999. That’s even cheaper than the $999 they sell it for in the US (especially with our current exchange rate).

That’s impossible I thought. They say if something sounds too good to be true it probably is right?

So I read on to see how this seller managed to get the drone at such a cheap price.

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Okay… to the regular Joe on the street that sounds reasonable. Until you remember that just about every retail shop that sells drones probably are trying to place an order for 65 units or more too. Yet none of them are giving this kind of discount.

What was the catch though? I decided to message this guy and ask him.

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Ok. We have to go pick it up at Kuantan which is kinda odd but fine. If he really could sell me that many units it could be worth the trip. Heck I calculated that if I could really buy 26 units off him for RM4K and sell it to a retailer  like CM for RM4.5K I could make like RM13K profit from a day trip to Kuantan. And if I sold it directly online I could probably make RM1K per unit or RM26K.

Why can’t he meet us in KL? Well… I asked…

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Even with the trip it sounds like a good idea. I rounded up my friend Arnold to see if he would go on the day trip with me and he came up with the idea first of asking this guy to do a video call to show us his stock. To prove it’s legit.

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He wasn’t up for it and showed he was really willing to walk away from it all if I wanted to make him jump through hoops for it.

Okay but still I can’t figure out where’s the downside here. What was he going to do? If we made a trip to Kuantan was he going to mug us? Steal our car?

Heck he even sent us a picture of his IC and told us how he’s from Kuantan but is now working in Singapore.

I probed a bit more and then I finally found the catch.

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He wanted me to make a 50% deposit before I even go to Kuantan.

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I tried to ask him for cash on delivery but he didn’t want that. And this was his lame excuse.

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I found this part really ironic because here’s a guy who’s probably hiding from the police but yet he’s saying the police is warning him against guys who might scam him.

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I then called it off politely. I didn’t want to call him a scammer and all that because hey how would I know with absolute certainty. From this I’m 90% sure it’s a scam, but heck there is that chance he’s legit so why offend him. Anyway I talked to my friend CM who sells this drone at his shop in Times Square and he seemed more certain than me that it’s  a scam.

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I got him worried for a while there. 

In the end I bought my drone from CM for a lot lot higher than the RM4K.

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If you’re looking to buy a drone or camera equipment from a legit source, please call my friend CM at +6012 515 5510.

Here’s the blueprint of my next entrepreneurial journey. Who wants to come along?

The past 3 months of being unemployed has been really good for me. I’ve been reading a lot of books that helped me with self-actualization. Knowing who I am, what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. For example I know that a weakness of mine is that I’m really highly-strung and prone to making reflex actions sometimes out of emotions or anger.

I’ve learned to mentally remind myself of my nature and counter what would have otherwise been a bad reaction or decision. I’ve also really pinned down what I’m good at and what I’m not good at.

The next big decision is what I’m going to do next. What’s my career choice? What kind of business do I want to build?

I’ve come to these 3 thoughts.

1) Forget about paper wealth

In the past decade money has been cheap. Startups are raising money at all sorts of valuations, minting more young millionaires than ever before. The one thing we gotta realize though is that net worth calculated from a startup’s valuation is paper money.  It’s not real until someone pays real money for it in the form of an exit or IPO and in this part of the world, there are few opportunities like that.

So I’m resolved to make sure I’m not distracted by paper valuations by playing the corporate finance game of raising money round after round for bragging rights till we achieve “unicorn status”. No.. I’m not.

What I am resolved to focus on is in my next point.

2) The business must be able to make an ENORMOUS amount of money in profits

The key word here really is ENORMOUS. There are a lot of SMEs that make good money. Maybe they make RM1-10 million a year in profit and this money gives them financial freedom and a very very comfortable (even luxurious life). They can buy big houses, have expensive cars parked in their driveways and travel business class when they go for holidays.

That’s a lot of money and heck RM10 million is more money than I have ever made in a year. But that’s not enormous.

ENORMOUS profits to me are companies that make profits of RM100 million a year and above. That’s when we’re really talking. That’s when it’s BIG. The problem with building a business like this though is that it totally goes against our startup culture.

Startup culture says build fast and fail fast. Look at the businesses that make RM100 million a year and above. Most of them have taken not years but decades to get where they are today. Decades of successes, failures, joy and hardship. If they lived with the “fail fast” mantra many of them wouldn’t have made it to what they are today.

I’m under no illusion of what I want to build. I don’t want to build something to be sold or IPO’ed in a few years. I want to build something that lasts. The only way businesses last is if they eventually make good profits.

Different businesses I do will require different amounts of capital, different people, different skill sets but they all require the same amount of time and commitment from me. So if I’m going to invest the same amount of time in a business, it better be something that could be BIG.

3) The business must be IMPACTFUL.

What I’m going to do next is not going to be in the media and advertising industry where I spent the past 10 years building experience and a network. That was a hard call for me because advertising is a great industry. The people there are awesome to work with and it’s a lucrative industry. Many many people build great and rewarding careers and businesses in the industry.

So why is it I don’t want to go back to advertising?

Because I don’t feel I really make a change in my work there. We spend a lot of time working on great campaign ideas for clients and sometimes we do a great job and meets their objectives: ie sell a lot of products as a result of our campaigns. Once that’s done though we start again and move on to the next campaign, and the next and the next.

Compare that to the other end of the spectrum where Elon Musk with SpaceX is taking gradual steps closer to his master plan of having a human colony on Mars.  Allowing humans to be a multi-planetary species  and save the species should our Earth eventually fail on us.

I’m not saying I’m gonna do something like that but heck maybe something just a little more impactful than what I’ve done in the past. If I’m going to do something or offer a service I’m going to ask myself, whose lives do I impact, whose lives do  I improve as a result of the service or product I just sold?

Shorty and I have decided to work together on two different projects that we’ve shortlisted. One is more unconventional than the other. We’re not ready to announce it yet but when we do we’re going to need help.

We’re going to need to hire a great team with common values and a mission to do something greater than we already have right now.  In the past few weeks I’ve been getting a number of emails from people who want to be part of whatever I’m doing next and I’m really flattered to get all that when I haven’t even asked anyone to reach out.

Today though I’m going to ask you guys to reach out to me if you guys want to be part of this journey with us. If you’re tired of your job, if you want to do something different, if you want to make an important impact on human life… drop me an email at lengmoublogs@yahoo.com.

Do include your background, what you do for a living now, what you think you’re good at and what you think you’re not.  :)

An EtonHouse Group School is Opening in Penang and it aims to be affordable

Remember when I mentioned on Dayre that my brother was opening a pre-school in Penang. When I was back in Penang over Chinese New Year I paid a visit to the pre-school just before its opening.

First let me give you a bit of a background of my brother. I’ve never talked much about Patrick because he’s social media shy but I’m gonna do it now. Patrick is my older brother who spent the past 10 years as a Goldman Sachs banker in Singapore. He has a family of four kids. Yep four. In Singapore. He jokes with me how every dollar he earned in his Goldman years was spent on his kids.

Last year though he left Goldman Sachs and decided to try something new on his own. He was interested in education because he has always been a very involved parent. In Singapore his kids went to EtonHouse and he marvelled and how well served the pre-school market in Singapore was. There were all sorts of options that satisfy difference prices and learning approaches.

He then came back to our hometown of Penang and found that this wasn’t the case in Penang:

  1. In Penang most of the great schools were congregated around the north of the island; Leaving a vacuum of major pre-school brands in the south.
  2. Even in the schools in the North there wasn’t enough supply to cater to the demand. The pre-school my parents sent me to when I was a kid (St Christophers) is known to have a long long waiting list.

So  with this in mind and with family in Singapore, my brother decided to take a leap of coming back to Penang to start a preschool.

He didn’t want to simply start any school though. He wanted to make sure he brought a great brand in so he talked to EtonHouse about opening a branch in Penang. The thing about EtonHouse though is that it’s pretty high end. My brother wanted to be able to offer something affordable to working parents in the free trade zone area of Bayan Lepas and the likes.

So he convinced EtonHouse to bring their more affordable brand to Penang. It’s called E-bridge and it’s opening this April 2017.

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Here are some pictures I took of the school when I visited.

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This is an indoor playground area for the kids. I like how they built like a track around the playground.

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They also have these kind of baby gyms. The kind of thing Penny and maybe even Fighter still enjoy playing.

The school is pretty big with 8 classrooms. Here’s how the classrooms look like.

  IMG_20170127_114406 If I brought Penny and Fighter I think they might have want to brought one of these colourful balls home so I imagine the number of balls on this table would slowly get less and less.   IMG_20170127_114501

Another classroom for all the kids. Love the cute little stools.

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Which is kinda different from the stools that some of the other classrooms have.   IMG_20170127_115531   It’s like every classroom is a little different.   IMG_20170127_115015   I particularly like how the classroom has a sink with different types of taps.

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I didn’t notice it at first but Shorty was telling me how it’s intentionally done this way so that kids learn how to turn on the different type of taps.

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From turning to pushing upwards to winding.

IMG_20170127_115551   I came across this classroom that had a lot of art material in it.   IMG_20170127_115313

I also noticed all these figurines on display representing the different type of jobs that people have. I imagine teachers using them to educate kids on all the different jobs.

There’s also a nursery here for all the babies to nap.

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And this classroom that looked to me like a science room cuz it had microscopes and stuff.   IMG_20170127_115150

Lots of toys around the school too.

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And neatly packed building blocks. Something I think Fighter would appreciate.

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EtonHouse and E-Bridge both adopt inquiry based learning, and is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. This is very different from our Malaysian education system, which is based on the British system that is more structured and didactic.

In Malaysia, we are very used to listening to the teacher-  teacher is right, kids wrong. However – with Reggio Emilia, the school recognises the child as a sophisticated independent individual. My brother’s own kids are brought up with this approach and he says it surprises hinm what they know and the opinions that they have. The Reggio approach looks to harness those views and structure projects around them. The lessons are led by the children where the teachers are there to facilitate and learn together with the children.

If you’re keen to check it out, visit their website here.  You can also give them a call at +604-3701788.

They’re having an Open Day on the 12th of February so feel free to pay them a visit. Here’s the address:

Address: E Bridge Childcare PLT,  Arena Curve, Jalan Mahsuri Unit 72-1-73A,

How Malaysia Airlines fucked me in just in time for the year of the cock

I used to be a huge supporter of Malaysia Airlines. Like it’s always my first choice of airline even though their planes are getting old and even though there’s a safety stigma to it. I stuck with it through thick and thin.

Not anymore. Here’s why.

Today was the day I was supposed to fly back to Penang with the kids.  I packed my wife and two kids into the car as we headed all the way to KLIA. I proudly marched to the check-in counter and served up our ID and our air tickets.

The lady behind the counter punched away at her computer only to look at me a few seconds later and say
“Sorry Sir your flight is full.”

Naturally my response was

“What do you mean it’s full? I booked it long before. Here’s my itinerary”.

She then replied
“You checked in too late.”

I first looked at my watch to confirm I was 1 and a half hours early, then at the bunting next to me that reminded passengers to check in “60 minutes before departure”. So okay I was 50% early in terms of minutes. Once certain that I was indeed early for check-in, I relayed that to her in which she replied

“Oh check-in opened 48 hours before departure time. So everyone else checked in before you”.

The logic of that dumbfounded me. I grabbed my head and banged it repeatedly on the hard counter top in front of her… okay I didn’t really do that but instead I gave her this look.

She then said the flight was overbooked and they had to put me on the next flight which is 4.20PM. 6 hours later. I asked for business class instead then but even that was full. So I went

“What am I supposed to do here for 6 hours with my two kids?”.

I don’t know what I expected her to say. Maybe something like “How about I give you shopping vouchers to Mitsui Outlet or a free 3 hours spa session that will leave you with jelly limbs”. Instead, the response Malaysian Hospitality gave me was “I can give you lounge access”.

I looked at the Enrich Gold card in my hand and thought “Lounge access….. like the one I already have with the card in my hand?”.

My imaginative mind flashed to a scene where invading Mongolians were pounding at the Great Wall when the Emperor of China at the time came out and said
“MONGOLIANS! STOP! DO NOT INVADE CHINA!  Go back where you came from and I shall make it worth your while. I shall give you…. wait for it…. SUNLIGHT! (But only for 12 hours a day).

Back on Earth I looked at the MAS lady behind the counter and said “I can’t spend 6 hours in the lounge even with my kids. Can you just cancel my flight and fully refund me?”.

She said okay she’ll check and she darted away for  while. Meanwhile my Supreme Leader (aka wife) approached me and asked me what was going on. When I told her she took a bottle of 12 year Chivas, smashed it on the counter and pointed the jagged edge of the bottle in the air in anger. Okay fine that didn’t happen, but it might as well have…  every sip of a 12 year Chivas is like a kick in the throat. Seriously Chivas what do you put in there?

The Supreme Leader was angry and possibly even more angry considering that I was so calm and casual about the whole thing. Well I’m normally not, these kind of things normally piss me off and I go all apeshit and all but these past few months I’ve been trying to control my temper and be zen and all. Supreme Leader made no such commitment though, so without being able to find anyone to scold she hunted around for the nearest male wearing a green suit jacket or a lady wearing the MAS batik.

Fighter trotted next to her on to her next battle while Penny stayed with me at the counter.

A few minutes later MAS lady came back and she told that I have to write a letter to get a refund. Okay… annoying but I was still zen so I appealed to her to not inconvenience me for having to do that when I’ve already been inconvenienced for coming to the airport with my family only to find out we’ve been kicked off our flight.

She sheepishly said “I’m sorry this is company policy” and then looked away, She looked scared. Something told me she had been through this before and she knew that the words “Company Policy” brings out the “FUCK YOU UNDERSTAND” in any customer. So she was waiting for me to blow up… but instead I curled my palms upward and touched my index fingers with my thumbs.

Next thing I know I saw her printing out a boarding pass and I realized she was checking me into the 4PM flight. I told her woah woah I can’t wait for 4PM. Please cancel my flight in which she again said she can’t… company policy and shit.

Still zen about the whole thing I asked

“I know I know this is not your fault. It’s your company and you’re just doing your job. Can I speak to your manager?”.

She then brought my family and I (Supreme Leader had just returned from her hunt of anything in green) went to see her Duty Manager. There we sat down and after explained our situation the Duty Manager that went by the name Jeffrey basically said:

1) It’s not our fault. It’s the airline’s fault. We did nothing wrong.. But there’s nothing they can do (Actually there is but it’s just too much effort Tim… too much).

2) Yes they could have informed us ahead of time that they moved our flight but they didn’t. (Neh neh ni boo boo)

3) Because my flight was redeemed with points I won’t get a refund. (That’s right Tim. FUCK YOU! Because we can).

4) This happened yesterday too but today is worse (So don’t be sad you’re not the only one that got fucked today).

5) Oh by the way the 4PM flight is now overbooked so our earliest flight is 7PM (and because you came here to complain to me here’s another FUCK YOU).

Sitting across from me I could see Supreme Leader heating up. Her face was flushed red like she had just emerged from a volcano and she shouted in her cute voice at the guy. I say cute because Supreme Leader doesn’t seem to have a loud voice box. Shouting to her is like talking loudly to an average person and while she normally speaks in a low voice, Shouting Shorty is high-pitched.

After Supreme Leader completed her artillery small arms barrage I stepped in and asked Jeffrey
“Okay are you sincerely telling me that there is really nothing you can do?”.

He nodded. I said ok, thanked him and then rounded up the family and left.

We ended up taking a car back to Penang with the kids. When we called their customer service to ask for a refund they told us the people on the ground said we requested to change our flight time which is not true.

I later found out that I wasn’t the only one affected by this. I remember overhearing one guy on the phone apologising to his mom in Hokkien (probably same flight to Penang as me) saying he won’t be able to make it home in time for the dinner. He sounded like he was getting a full blown fucking over the phone from his mom because he was just taking it like a man. After he was done he called up the customer service officer and I heard him doing the fucking then.

So much fucking here and there… what a way to start the Year of the Cock Rooster.

By the way here’s Supreme Leader’s account of the incident.

Birthday Present: How my wife decided between Chanel earrings and….

Shorty’s birthday is coming up next month and I’ve been asking her what she wanted. For the past 6 months we’ve been going through a bit of an “austerity drive” to try cut down our expenses. Considering that I’m technically unemployed and any new business I start is going to take time before it properly makes me money.

We cut down a number of stuff like the number of holidays we go for, the times we eat out and the stuff we buy. Shorty has been great throughout this whole time, helping me save money. So for her birthday I said lets splurge a little. I asked her what she really wanted.

She asked for a pair of Chanel earrings because the cheap earrings she has always worn in the past tend to irritate her skin. So she thought she invest in a good pair of earrings. The Chanel one she was looking for isn’t any of the really fancy and expensive ones.

But rather this fairly common (almost sort of entry level) ones.

She estimated it would cost RM1K or so. Okay totally doable.

Then a couple of days ago Shorty decided to go get some glasses made because her short sightedness seemed to be coming back even after her lasik. Her optical shop of choice is this shop called Seen in Sunway Putra Mall. We heard about it because the owner follows us on Dayre. She offered us good discounts the last time we went there and hey if we were going to buy something anyway might as well support our own readers right?

So we went there and alongside buying her pair of glasses, the owner brought out this pair of Gentle Monster sunglasses that Shorty wanted from before. Shorty had initially asked the owner to keep one for her since this one in particular is out of stock but along with our austerity drive she decided not to buy it.

The owner was nice enough to still keep it for Shorty though. So she brought it out and Shorty showed it to me. When she put it on I went WOW. Of course when she told me the price of RM1,600 I went WOW again.

The owner was super nice though and was open to giving us a great discount for the pair. Apparently the last time I talked about going there on my Dayre, a number of you guys went there to buy stuff. I said I could happily buy her this for her birthday instead of her earrings and this was when Shorty had a bit of a dilemma.

On one hand she really liked this pair of sunglasses but she already had another pair of sunglasses that she bought some time back. She didn’t have earrings though. So from a utilitarian point of view, it would make sense to buy the Chanel earrings. Confused, she asked what I thought and I said

“I’d buy a pair of normal (not cheap) earrings and buy these sunglasses. Why? Because I’ve seen a lot of people with the pair of Chanel earrings you like. It’s fairly common whereas I don’t see as many people with these sunglasses. So if you’re going to spend more money, spend it on something that really stands out, rather on something that blends in.”

She decided the sunglasses was what made her happy so she did it anyway. We walked away from that store happy. Oh and as for the sunglasses…. here’s how it looks.

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I think they make my already beautiful wife look even more beautiful.

I’m very grateful to the owner for the great price we got so hey if you’re looking to buy a pair of Gentle Monsters or if you’re looking to get any glasses made, please go to Seen at Sunway Putra Mall. Quote “Fourfeetnine” and you’ll get a 10% discount ok.

How I feel like before I go on a holiday without the kids

For the first time in like… a year or something I’m going on a holiday without the kids.

Without this little boy and my little girl Penny.

 

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Here’s how the whole process started for me.

  1. The idea of  a holiday is born

My friend asked me to go on a short trip with him. Said it’ll be fun, we’ll get some other friends along. A short time to get away from our daily responsibilities and recuperate.

I think it’s a FANTASTIC idea! So we go ahead.

2. Booking the flight and accommodation

We book the flights and accommodation. Go through the itinerary and get more and more excited about it. Even more excited when a group chat of everyone going is created. WOOO!

3. Three days before the trip

Reality hits. Oh no I’m going to be away for a few days. I’m going to be away from my kids. What if they need me? What if they hit a new milestone, learn a new word and I miss it all.

4. Two days before the trip

Okay time to start packing. As I put my clothes in my luggage bag I think to myself “Why? Why am I doing this? Did I really have to go for this trip? Maybe I should’ve brought the kids.

5. One day before the trip

OH NO IT’S ONE DAY AWAY. OH NO OH NO WHY DID I AGREE TO GO ON THIS TRIP?! WHY?!?! AM I A BAD PARENT?!

SHIT NO TIME TO THINK ABOUT THAT NOW… GOTTA SPEND EVERY LAST MINUTE OF THE DAY WITH MY KIDS.

6. The day of the trip

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!! I DON’T WANNA GO I DON’T WANNA GO!!.

*Hugs Penny and Fighter*

Please don’t grow up so much while Daddy is away ok?

*hops into car and car moves away*

By the time I reach the airport it feels a bit better. The hardest part is done with and I’m just focused on the trip now. On the trip Shorty and I normally have a great time as long as it’s not too long a trip and we miss the kids a little too much.

That’s the funny thing about having kids. Before I had kids, my older friends used to joke and tell me you lose your freedom when you have kids That’s partly true, I mean I can’t just go on a month long holiday now that I have responsibilities with the kids. So why is it partly true?

Well because a good part of losing that freedom is losing it willingly. That I myself don’t want to go on trips or leave the kids for long periods of time. I myself want to spend more time with them.

I read a lot that it’s important for parents to go for trips on their own so they can relax and have their own space. It’s just so hard to say goodbye each time we go… but the good thing is the hellos feel great.

I’m going on a holiday tomorrow. Wish me luck!

The main discussion point of the movie Passengers

A few days ago, Shorty and I watched what was the best movie we’ve seen this year. Okay fine you got me.. it’s so far the only movie we’ve watched this year but really we really liked it.

We watched it even though Rotten Tomatoes rated it a shitty 31% but the good thing is that I never let Rotten Tomatoes throw me off. I can’t help but feel that the critics there are really out of touch with what a more mainstream audience likes. A better measurement of how good a movie is though is IMDB and there it rates a decent 7.1.

So we decided to watch it and we loved it. One of the things that Shorty and I love to do immediately after watching a good movie is read the Trivia on IMDB and read the discussion threads on Reddit.

Here were the main discussion points about the movie and what my thoughts are. Please note that the following includes SPOILERS so if you haven’t watched it yet then stop reading now. Oh and go watch the movie because it is in my opinion really worth watching.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Jim Preston is an asshole for waking Aurora up

Many of the comments I read online found it unacceptable that Jim woke Aurora up to the extent that they hated the movie just because of that. I think this feeling partly stems from the notion we all have in movies that the good guys are pure good guys. They can’t do any bad or selfish bad thing.

Increasingly though in recent movies we’re seeing good guys and bad guys that aren’t plain good or bad but kinda grey. Like there is a reason why they do those bad things they do.

The thing about what Jim did though was in fact perfectly understandable in my books. There is a man who is surrounded by people who are sleeping and has nobody to talk to. Literally solitary confinement which alone drives many prisoners crazy.

But here’s the kicker… he has a choice. A choice to do something unethical to wake someone up to keep him company and sane. As unethical as it was, I don’t think it was inhumane. In fact I think 90% of human beings in that same position would have done the same, just a matter of how much longer they would last on their own. The remaining 10% would probably have gone insane.

I liked the show because of this. Because the good guy isn’t plain vanilla good guy and the script writers could have taken the lazy way out. Have her wake up on her own or as part of a malfunction but I’m glad they didn’t. What they did sparked a whole lot of conversation online.

2) How scientifically accurate the movie is

I love watching movies like this because of how imaginative they are. The concept of taking a hundred years to reach another planet and hybernation to keep us young and healthy until then. Sure there are many things that don’t make scientific science, like how he could still cry a tear that ran down his cheek when he was in zero gravity.

But hey… I’m totally cool with that. We don’t have to really get everything do we?

3) The movie could have been so much more

I agree! I feel that Lawrence Fishburn’s part was kinda rushed and there could have been a lot more to it. Especially over the discussion of why Jim woke Aurora up but hey I’m okay with that.

I read one comment where this guy said the movie could’ve had a huge twist in the end where Aurora found out she wasn’t the first and only passenger that he woke up but the 27th or something. And the rest were dead after Jim got bored of them. Okay holy shit that’s quite a twist but I think that would move far way from romantic adventure to that is some sick twisted shit.

Overall I still really enjoyed the movie and heck it was a movie that I probably would be happy to watch again.

So yeah overall… I loved this poorly-rated-on-Rotten-Tomatoes-movie.

Fuck you 2016!

About a month ago I came across this video by John Oliver. Basically talking about how 2016 has been a really really shitty year for everyone.

He ended up getting a whole bunch of people and celebrities to say “FUCK YOU 2016!”.

I normally do an end of the year post and reflect the milestones I’ve achieved for the year but when looking at 2016 I’m like wow FUCK ME WHAT A HORRIBLE YEAR. So I’m going to instead list the bad things that happened to me this year.

Here are a list of the bad things that have happened to me this year.

1) Stock market still down this year so a lot of my investments are still in the red. Brexit happened and the pound dropped like shit and I used to have an apartment in London that I sold but kept my money in pounds and guess how much less that amount is worth now.

2) Business has also been challenging. NCL stock price has gone down so much the value of the company was equivalent or less than the cash it had in the bank at one point. I don’t really care for my own personal stake or net worth on this front but what I do care about is the investors that have put money with us.

3) I took the leap of leaving the company and out to try something new on my own. So for now I’m unemployed but have to see what I’m going to do next.

4) The tenant for the other house I own cut short his 2 year agreed tenancy and moved out in just 6 months of the contract. I mean technically I could have taken some kind of legal action but he was a nice guy so I decided to let it go. So now I have to find another tenant to rent my house… in a really weak property market.

5) Speaking of my stupid house, I have to spend like RM10K again now to do some repairs and stuff. More money out of the pocket.

6) The Ringgit has dropped in value against all major currencies. Even the Thai Baht.. so Shorty and I have cut out many holiday plans. Even our year end one.

7) We had a flea problem in our apartment that was so bad we had to evacuate for a day then get Ridpest to nuke our apartment of fleas.

Then there is all the other shit that’s happening globally like the Syrian refugee crisis, Princess Leia dying and more.

Well if I’m going to be honest with myself, among all the shitty things that happened there were some good times too. Like our family trip to Legoland, a trip I had with my parents to Japan and things like that. Also Shorty being away for her holidays in Croatia helped me bond with Fighter and in particular Penny.

I’ve also made and bonded with some new friends. So I guess even in the bad times there were some sliver of good times.

In any case FUCK YOU 2016! I don’t ever want to see you again. BEGONE!

Christmas in Penang!

Merry Christmas everyone!

It’s Christmas and I’m spending it here.

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My hometown of Penang. I don’t recall spending Christmas anywhere else all my life. Just about every Christmas is a time I spend back home in Penang. Partly because it happens to be my parents’ anniversary and partly because Christmas is a time of family reunions so I come back to Penang for that.

Christmas is a time of giving and the kids have been a big beneficiary of that so far getting all sorts of different presents. The best one of course was this playground thing that my Dad bought.

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That’s right my Dad. My Dad has never been the type to celebrate Christmas but for the first time ever, he yesterday decided to bring all the kids to Toysrus and buy them all a present. He then spotted this one that he thought all his grandkids would love and he ended up buying it. Helped that it was in discount.

As for Shorty and I. Well we didn’t really buy anything for each other for Christmas. She asked me what I wanted and I said a “drone” but the drone I wanted isn’t even in stock yet. It’s been such a long time now that I’m just considering maybe we should save the money and not buy a drone at all.

Speaking of saving money, we decided that it was too expensive to eat out for Christmas Eve. So my family decided to stay home and cook. This is what my sister-in-law managed to whip out after a few hours in the kitchen,

Some nice potatoes, fish, macaroni pie…. and….

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Steak!  

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One thing I didn’t do this year was a year end trip. Which is ironic because now that I’m unemployed I should have all the time in the world to go right? But well we decided not to because we’ve been traveling back and forth to Penang for my brother’s wedding and now Christmas.

And Shorty has been a little bit tired of traveling for long trips. This year was a good traveling year for her. She’s been to Croatia and to New York. We also did go to Japan this April and Legoland a few months ago.

So I guess we save money on the year end trip and will figure out where to go next.

Okay I gotta go now and babysit the kids. I hope you guys are having a fantastic Christmas. Merry Christmas to you guys from me, Shorty, Penny and Fighter.