Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kancil Awards 2006

This was by far the most nerve-wracking Kancil for me : Hwa got me to be co-MC! AAAaaarrggghhhh!
(click on the title to see full results - read the judges' comments)

When Hwa first asked me, I wanted to turn back time and pretend I never received his phone call. I would even happily lose my phone, lose my line, lose my mind (!) so that I won't have to respond to this kind of invitation. But of course cannot la. So I had to decide whether to say yes or no. What made it worse was that Hwa said 'this should be no problem for you, you are a trainer wat' YA LAAA!!! That's the problem! If I screw up, who will send people for our presentation skills workshops anymore?

Well, after the initial shock became a cold twister in my tummy, I realised that I cannot possibly say no. It's an opportunity that has come to me - an opportunity to stand up and be heard - if I turn it away because I am so shit scared of failure, what message would I be sending out?! How can I expect our participants to face challenges if I don't? Aaarrggghhh...

So do lor...

As usual, the first thing I do to prepare myself is to look for the outfit. What to wear? Hwa said now I got excuse to buy a stunning dress - aaargghhh... more pressure! Anyway I decided that I have no time to lose weight and get into shape, and more importantly, I am not the star of the night. So I donwanna be all glammed up and desperately uncomfortable. I decided to wear a simple professional jacket and just buy a long evening skirt.

Humph, that was another adventure : I couldn't find any simple long evening skirts in black! Can you believe it? I thought it was the most basic piece of clothing, the most common. But no, there were sequins, and all sorts of weird cuts and frills and yuckky stuff. And you know what??? They cost between RM200 - RM880!!! Crazy ah?

Then, inspiration struck - I decided to buy fabric and get a tailor to sew something simple for me. And I'm so proud of myself for that. The fabric cost RM27.50 for 2.75 meters of black satin, and the tailoring (rush-job price) was RM40. AND the skirt looked alright - yay!

Once I got the outfit handled, the rest came slightly easier - went for the briefing and met my co-MC who was a seasoned pro. Phew, thank goodness! I could breathe then.

After the rehearsal on Friday itself, it was too late to run away or pretend to be sick - it was like the first time I sat on the Solero Shot in Genting - after the bar came down and we started rising, I was almost out of my mind with fear! Shit, no turning back! Then when we reached the top - the damn thing would stay up there for 10 secs, then can hear and feel the gears change and then we drop. Just after the 10 secs, when I heard the gears change, I was surprised to find myself experiencing a moment of peace - a moment of total surrender where I said, I'm all yours, God - do with me what you will. And it was so peaceful. Then I dropped and screamed my lungs out.

So after the rehearsal, I experienced my moment of peace. I surrendered and once again said to God - do with me what you will. And it was so cool...

When I arrived, lots of people were already there. As I walked in, I received so much support and encouragement from so many - Shinesters, 95% graduates, ex-colleagues, and the one that touched me the most was Neal Estavillo, the MD of JWT, such a sweet man. When I went up on stage, I saw the front tables - the 4As council members were all smiling up at me, giving me so much encouragement. Coool, after that, no problem oredi.

Well, I learnt one thing though - when I went up to the rostrum, I had a sweet in my mouth. I thought I had time to finish it - but the Co-MC started it off so fast that the only thing I could do was turn around, spit the sweet out and because I had no where else to throw it, I placed it on the rostrum. Aaargh... so shy, imagine what the pro MC thought of me!!! I hope I didn't gross him out.

After my opening comments - hmmm, what did I say ah? Can't really remember now. It always happens to me. When I'm speaking, I just let go. Then I can't remember what I said.

I think I shared what Neil French told me. He said : Once in a while, you may be struck by sheer inspiration - and you come up with a really good idea. It is fresh, exciting, never been done before. And it meets the brief, answers the strategy, moves people. It gets talked about, it gets remembered.

Now when that happens ... you have just earned your salary. That's your job - what you are paid to do. Why should you get an award for that?

You only get an award when you have done all that - and raised it to another level of greatness. Only then do you deserve an award.

I remember when I heard this, I felt so humble. And also so hungry to push my work that far. Neil is such an inspiration.

After my opening comments, it was a breeze. The rest of the night was just announcing the results, and although it required focus and concentration, it was such a thrill, to see 95% grads Andrew, Chris, Norman and ex-colleagues Fiona, Christie go up on stage to collect their awards. So proud, so proud of them all.

The highlight of the night for me was Hwa's 'speech'. That man is brilliant! He got his tea lady Aunty Foong to read out his speech, which basically said that Hwa not going to speak because no one wants to listen to speech! They come to Kancil awards to get mabuk and to take home awards, not to hear long speech!

The applause she (and Hwa) received was tremendous - it almost lifted the roof! Hwa should win Best Copywriting for that little stunt. Brilliant!

Here's the guru besar and me with our breathtakingly lovely Shinesters : Joanna, Nik and Amy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


That was Boogey's attempt at blogging. He's been watching me work and like most cats I know, he's absolutely fascinated with the keyboard. rdddfgvvvvvv. His spelling isn't that great though.

On his first day at 95%, Boogey edited my copy, re-configured Raz's desktop, and took charge of our reception. He studied all the handouts we place on the front desk and chose the SIP one to sleep on. Then he supervised Yanti, our cleaner. He didn't seem too happy with her work so he took it upon himself to wipe the hidden nooks and crannies clean... with his fur. By afteroon, Raz and I noticed that his white paws were as grey as his ears.

The night that Peter gave a talk was Boogey's big coming out party. He was so excited when Andrew and I were arranging the chairs - he ran over and under and around and around until guests started arriving.

Was he shy? Oh no, Boogey is ccccccccccc;/ghhh-ppppppp6

OK - I'll stick with his description of himself.

Anyway, I think he really went all out on Friday night cos on Saturday, he just slept!

He slept and slept and slept.

I think there's something wrong with him. Doesn't seem like he has any bones - he'll sleep with his head hanging over the edge of the chair and then slowly slide off - like a puddle. He just flops and melts into the chair.

And he is soooooooo manja. How to be a footballer?!! I wondered - That's the guru besar's dream for Boogey.

Well, today is Sunday and it looks like Boogey's had enough sleep - he's very busy today! Now checking the printer, probably wondering why his writing isn't being printed yet.

OI! Get your paws out - there are no fish in my mug!!! gotta go ...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Here's my Wabi Sabi

His full name is Wabi Sabi Bo Balian. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that recognises the perfect harmony of nature's imperfections. We named him that because as you can see, when he is right side up, he looks like a decent black & white cat. Mostly black if you look at him from behind.

But when he is belly up (as he usually is), he presents a very different picture. He sleeps with total surrender. What bliss it must be! I love watching him sleep - makes me feel like there's nothing to worry about in this whole world. My stress just evaporates. Problem is, I just cannot leave him alone - I must, must bury my nose in his soft tummy. Cannot restrain myself.

Bo is for Bo Bice, and Balian is for Legolas in Kingdom of Heaven.
My usually sensible husband actually got him an email account and even made name cards for him. When I asked "Name cards? Why???" Sonny looked at me as though I was so du-uh and he said "so that when he meets other kittens he can give it to them la" Hmmm... I wonder how many cards he's actually given out.

Look la, how to feel tense when Wabi's like this ...

sigh... and when he is blissfully sleeping in my arms, I marvel at the wonder of God who has created two species that are so very different but can still find comfort in each other, and can be so connected. Amazing!

To see more of his photos, click on the title.

We are Cat-Sitting!

Yay-yay, we are looking after the guru besar's cat Boogiemeister while he's in Bali (his third honeymoon this year. With same wife tho)

He's soooo soft and cuddly and likes to be around people. So unlike the owner.

Anyway, I've always felt that a cat makes a home complete. Now I feel that Boogie has brought so much warmth and homeliness into 95%, that I don't mind cleaning up over after him.

If you'd like to meet him, better come over before guru besar comes back on Wed!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


so much to write about, so little time. I've got to rush home for dinner, cos I'm sure dear old mom will be waiting (even though I tell her not to). So I am writing this to remind myself to write about : Wabi Sabi (Sonny has emailed me lots of photos at last), more on Bali, and also excerpts from the amazing book I'm reading now : Paulo Coelho's Flow Like The River (or something like that)

But now, I'm gonna shut down and go home.

The Cambodian Street Peddlers

Here's the story I promised to write :

My friend Pow visited Cambodia and she was surprised at how savvy the street peddlers are. Like many Asian countries, the street peddlers are children who have mastered the art of tugging at your heartstrings with their big melting eyes and persistent pleading :(

But these children are smart. Pow said that when she didn't want to buy, one of them came back with "If I can tell you the capital of Malaysia, will you buy?"

She was taken aback - and in her surprise, she agreed. Only later did she realise that it was probably a well thought out strategy!

So the next day, when she was once again swarmed with child peddlers, she challenged one : she said "I will buy only if you can tell me the capital cities of FIVE countries. And I will name the countries."

Guess what? She ended up buying again.

Although it's sad that they kids are doing this, I have to admire and respect their strategy for getting the sale.

You guys got any similar stories to share?