TimothyTiah.com

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.


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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.

Thank you for doing the survey

It’s been a few days since I posted the survey and I got almost 500 responses. That’s a fantastic sample size but the results that you guys contributed me just saved me from a potentially really bad business decision.

I now have a much better idea of what to do and what NOT to do so thank you very much for helping me out everyone. That 5 minutes you took to do the survey, made a big difference to me.

 

I’m doing some soul-searching… can you help me?

Mann my updates here have been getting a little sparse lately. Heck it’s not just here but my social media updates here in general. I know what you’re thinking… shouldn’t I be updating more now that I don’t have a day job?

Well I thought so but actually I’ve been spending a lot of my time soul-searching. That’s time doing a lot of reading online, meeting up with old friends and talking to people from different industries.

The reason ? I’m trying to find my next calling. The next business that I’m going to commit the next 5-10 years of my life to. And it’s been hard.

Decades ago during our parents’ generation I think starting business was a bit of a land grab. If you see someone else having a coal mine, try to get your hands on one and you’re ok. If someone has a plantation then start a plantation too and you’re ok.

In today’s world all those easy land grabs are all taken up and are now owned by families that have become really really wealthy. So in order to make it big, our generation can no longer just “land grab”. We have to create something that people want… not something that people NEED, because all the NEEDS are already being fulfilled.

To make things even more complicated, today we live in a world where we want instant gratification, and we’re very fickle. So what we want today can be very different from what we want tomorrow. That’s why you see trends come and go so quickly. That’s why a cafe that does so well in the first few months suddenly dies a year later.

So I’ve been carefully looking at what to go into. I think business is hard and choosing a business to go into is really really hard. There are just so many uncertainties and so many things that are really hard to predict because very often we’re creating new industries. So there isn’t any past data to make predictions on or anything like that.

I have a number of ideas in mind, and some of them with Shorty. But it’s still something that we’re still carefully thinking so I’m not sure if I’m ready to announce something like that yet.

I do however want to do a little bit of market research and I was wondering if you guys could help me. I’ve created a short 7 question survey about working in KL. If you’re from KL or if you know anyone from KL, could you send them this survey link? It’ll take like 2 minutes.

Thanks very much guys. Please click here for the survey.

Why we should NEVER do what’s expected of us but instead…

Here are the two realities we live in now.

  1. We’re constantly surrounded with people with opinions.

2. We’re brought up learning that reputation or what people think of us is important.

As a result of these two things, we are often told of the things we should or should not do. Not because you believe it personally is the right thing to do, but because it is EXPECTED of you. It’s hard to deal with this pressure of expectations

But before we decide to succumb to these expectations, we need to remember these few things:

  1. Reputation is a fickle thing

The saying goes that reputation takes a lifetime to build but only a moment to destroy. What does that tell us?

It tells us that reputation or what people think of you is fickle. It’s even more fickle when you consider that it doesn’t take lifetimes to build a reputation anymore. Think Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos. Five years ago few have ever heard of her. Then a year later she was very quickly built up as the poster girl of entrepreneurship. People put millions into her company and she attracted the praise of people like Sheryl Sandberg. Her rise didn’t take a lifetime. It took a few years.

Her downfall of course was quick which validates the truth in the second part of the saying. So reputation doesn’t take a lifetime to build but it does takes a short time to destroy.

Steve Jobs would know. One day he was viewed as the erratic Apple CEO that was killing the company and some decades later he was the champion bringing back Apple to its glory days.

This realisation brings us then to the following point.

2. Should we base our life decisions on a fickle thing?

Good or bad things that happen to us in life aren’t often the result of one good decision or one bad decision. They’re the result of a series of good or bad decisions. That’s hard because that means we have to consistently make good decisions to make it rich, or be happy, or whatever good outcome we want.

In making these decisions we need to be really squared on what good decisions are. We need to be sure we’re making the right calls and we need to be cutting out all the unimportant factors in weighing these calls.

3. Only you know what’s best for you.

Nobody else does. We owe it to ourselves to get as many perspectives as we can, gather all the facts we need but beyond that nobody else can make a better decision about our own lives than ourselves. Why? Because nobody else cares about you more than yourself.

Everyone else potentially has some other agenda. Others might have something to gain from your failure or some might be envious of you and want to see you go down.

So you gotta make your own call and in making your own call, considering what everyone else expects of you or thinks of you is a distraction. It is not just a distraction but it’s outright unhealthy. Why? Because as I said before what people think of you is a fickle thing, and the last thing you need is to be making a decision based on is a fickle thing.

This applies to our every day struggles. Say you have a poor reputation at work because of some past failures that you may or may not be responsible for. Everyone expects you to quit. Well don’t quit just because of that. Quit if you think it’ll be best for you and understand the fickleness of what people think of you.

Today they may think poorly of you but just one success of work and you could all of a sudden be the rising star all over again.

So don’t do what’s expected of you. Do instead what’s best for you. In doing so you’ll achieve your own success in life, and your reputation will follow.

How our changing eating habits led to the success of this convenience store

Last week my friend Lik Khai invited me to the opening of his second Family Mart store in KL.

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This one in MidValley.

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The first store opened in Wisma Lim Foo Yong about a month ago and was met with great fanfare. The store is constantly packed throughout the day and night. I was there at 1AM last Friday and it was packed. KL is a city that isn’t short of convenience stores.

Throw a stone anywhere in the territory and you would probably hit three. So what’s the deal? How does Family Mart expect to stand out against the incumbent 7-11 that has some 2,000 over stores in Malaysia.

IMG_20161201_100536 The answer is pretty simple: Food. One trend that Lik Khai spotted was the rise of “convenient takeaways”. Today Malaysians work longer hours and families often have two income earners with both husband and wife working. So less of us have time to cook especially on weekdays.

The alternative is takeaway. Traditionally we’d go to any roadside store or economy rice shop to takeaway something for lunch or dinner and bring it back to our office or home to eat. The rise of food delivery services too capitalise on this trend. There are a few issues though:

              1. Takeaway food is often unhealthy – They’re often deep fried and stuff.
              2. Takeaway food from delivery services are expensive.

Here’s the gap that Family Mart looks to fill. Instead of the usual convenience store stuff you can find like chocolates, sweets, condoms… whatever.

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You’ll also find a lot of fresh food that’s delivered daily like this.

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That you can take it to the counter and just have them heat it up for you. Voila a hot meal in a few minutes and some healthy stuff too.If you’re more snacky and less concerned about healthy stuff like me there’s also this.

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Or the popular Tom Yam Oden.

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Or if you want to just grab something really quick that you can eat later you can get my wife’s favorite Onigiri.

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Once you’re done picking your main course, there’s of course the drink. In addition to the usual soft drinks and all you’ll find a whole range of Japanese drinks that in the past you would only be able to find in Japan.

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Drinks is another big plus of Family Mart for me. Many times I walk into a convenience store and I feel like a cold drink. But here’s the challenge. Try to go to a random convenient store and buy a cold drink that isn’t sweet.

There isn’t. Just about every drink on the shelf of a convenience store in Malaysia is sweet apart from milk.

In Family Mart they have lots of non-sweet drinks like their own range of tea.

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I personally like the Jasmine tea.

Or you could have their freshly made coffee too without sugar.

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Now if you don’t care much for watching sugar and you’re a sweet tooth, they also have a shelf for dessert.

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I liked the Green Tea Panna Cotta.

The best part is that all these things are really reasonably priced. The Onigiri cost about RM4 and two of them are enough to fill me up for lunch.

Well the tea from Japan is expensive at around RM8 a bottle because they’re imported from Japan but you can always pick the local options for the drink.

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All in all my wife and I love it. Just the other night after our movie we were looking for something to eat and settled on dropping by the store and picking up some Onigiri.

The bigger lesson for me here with Family Mart is the business lesson. That no matter how crowded a market is, if you manage to find a need that people have and introduce a solution to that need you’ll do really well.

That’s why Family Mart’s success is inspiring. Their slant for fresh food that you can takeaway is no accident. It’s planned and that’s why they’re the only convenience store in Malaysia with lines that would make Apple proud.

How I courted my way back to my daughter’s heart

Since Penny was born she has always been really sticky to Shorty over anybody else in the house. When mommy is carrying her nobody else gets a chance. When anyone else carries her and she sees mommy she makes a dive for mommy. And when she’s sad and crying she only calls out to mommy.

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I used to feel kinda sad about the whole thing. You see Fighter gets a lot of attention because he’s really sociable and enjoys talking to people so I’ve always made it a point to pay special attention to Penny. That extra attention however has been hard to give.

Every time I ask Penny if i could carry her she says “No” and runs away with the quick steps of her little feet. Sometimes I would feel sad from all the rejection I’ve been getting but I realize that just meant I needed to try harder.

So here’s what I did:

  1. I constantly asked her if I could carry her no matter how many times she said no.
  2. When she called out for mommy when mommy wasn’t around I would say “Mommy’s not here but Daddy’s here”.
  3. Whenever I see her on her own alone at home I would play with her. When I see any opportunities that Fighter gets I make sure she gets it too.
  4. I make it a point to read her a bedtime story every night before she sleeps.
  5. I look at what she enjoys doing, and then I make it a point to do it with her.

After many months of trying the above, here’s where I stand today.

  1. She still says no but in at least 40% of the time I ask she raises her hands signalling for me to carry her. I don’t know about you but that’s progress to me.
  2. When I say mommy’s not here but I am she doesn’t ask for mommy anymore. Instead when Mommy is around I hear her sometimes ask for me.
  3. When I’m reading, or playing games or doing things on my own I notice her coming to me to give me attention too. Whether to offer to play something with me or just to sit on my lap.
  4. Today we were at a book store and I sat on the floor while I got out a story book. Without asking she immediately came over to me and sat on my lap, ready to listen to the story. She does that every time I open a story book now.
  5. I realize she likes being chased. Yep… being chased. So I would pretend to be a monster and try to catch her and she would run away in her quick tiny steps while laughing until I finally caught her.

If there’s one thing I think I’ve achieved this year is I think I’ve won my way into Penny’s heart. I now feel really really loved by her and all that effort, all that rejection… was just worth it.

I’ve learned a lesson here. That is no matter how much our kids reject us sometimes, just keep trying… and soon enough they’ll see you for what you really are.