Monday, 30 December 2013

Holiday of Meh

So here we are, closer to the end of the year, much to be happy about all that has happened.

Planned to take a bit of leave for some personal holidaying but the wish got hijacked by a greater want. So drove home, and just killed time doing things i didnt really feel like doing.

A whole week passed me by filled with errands and driving from one destination to the next. Strangely like every other day for the past year.


I need a holiday from my holiday really. Oh well.
Syukur anyways.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 23 December 2013

Random Things About Tokyo

Here are a few of the stuff I noticed while I was in Tokyo.

  • Japanese experience Earthquakes/Tremors so much they have learned to apply a 'Meh' filter to it. Many dont even break a stride when a shock hits.
  • Tokyo is clean! Like really clean.
  • Many of them cycle everywhere either on full bikes or battery assisted ones.
  • They love convenience type foods. Ready to eat is the name of the game here. Even slow food is fast!
  • The locals are not as short as you think they might be.
  • EVERYONE bows, even tourists. And it comes very naturally even to foreigners after a few moments interacting with Japanese.
  • The elderly are very independent. They do everything themselves and are quite able to manoeuvre obstacles and hindrances like a Boss!
  • Food is expensive when converted back to Ringgit. My full convenience lunch was a tidy 4500 Yen. (Roughly calculated to about RM140). 
  • Japanese love pets. Especially dogs. Toy dogs, regular dogs, and even big-ass dogs.
Pony sized fluffy doggy!
  • Only about 5% of the population of Japan is under the poverty line. A staggering 80% are middle class citizens. Huge buying power there.
  • They also love Coffee. They have coffee shops at every turn!
  • Vending machines galore! Cold drinks come out cold. The coffees and teas come out deliciously piping hot!
As a rule, teas and coffees will turn out hot
unless specified otherwise!
  • A restaurant that seats only 8 persons is NOT unusual.
  • No one jaywalks, spits, or intentionally litter. Much to learn here.

Out & About in Japan!

Last month, I was invited to join our company’s 10th Annual Hotel Managers Conference to be held in Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Tokyo. Initial trepidation of having to meet up with the top bosses and board members quickly evolved into excitement as it was to be my first time travelling to Japan.

In my previous capacity with MH, I never actually got the opportunity to do work in Japan as MH was not managing its own premium lounge. My colleague/counterpart (I did the food, she did the ground handling & management) did fly there repeatedly though, much to my envy.
Sure, there was the fact that I was to present the 2013 operations and management report of my resort, which scared me shitless (but I was confident I could do a good job at it), but the prospect of going to Japan trumped everything else.

The day came and we flew out to Japan on a late evening flight as a group. That was a fun 6 plus hours, with my In-flight Entertainment System(IFE) not working the whole bloody way. Luckily I came prepared by loading up my Fonepad with movies. We landed fairly early on Saturday to nice and cool 7 degree Celsius Tokyo weather.
To my surprise, the Saturday and Sunday were essentially fun-filled tourist days!

My First Japanese lunch was some store bought sushi/sashimi and salad meal. This was really good, leaps beyond the usual sushi offerings at the supermarkets. I dare say it certainly trumped even most Sushi restaurants back in KL.

I took Tuna Sashimi and a box of chopped Negitoro Maki rolls. What a delight they were!
Maguro Sashimi! The best i've had so far!
Ohhhh, I am in heaven.
Negitoro Sushi! Plump perfectly cooked rice with
sweet and slightly oily flavour of minced tuna belly!
Such reverence and care for the quality of ingredients was paid in making each morsel. The slices of raw seafood perfectly plump and succulent, completely devoid of any off odours, and accompanied with real Shiso and Bamboo leaves (these 2 leaves has antibacterial qualities that help manage the quality of the raw seafood. None of those plastic atrocities masquerading as leaf!

Dinner was a Chinese Private Dinner. It was fairly a formal event, so I opted to not snap pictures our of respect to the evening’s proceedings. It was however a wonderful event despite the so-so food, because I was seated next to wonderful conversationalists.

The next day, we were brought for shopping and a jaunt to Mount Fuji. Shopping at Gotenba was a blast despite the fact that I did not really exercise my shopping muscles. I came away with a pair of Mesh Nike tennis shoes that I will use as walking shoes.

I did manage to offer my help and opinion to 2 gentlemen in my group who were interested in buying a DSLR each. A quick price consultation from Photog buddies back in KL later (Thanks Yan & DiT!), the 2 guys walked away with a Nikon D5100 (with lens and 8gb SD card) costing ony RM 1260 each, which a huge discount from the retail price of RM 1800 back home! Even I was excited for them. Hahaha!
Mr. P & Mr. M with their new cameras!
After that we went for a Japanese Bento Lunch at Gotenba Kameya located along the way to Fujiyama’s foot. Lunch was fun too. I so loved the combination of stewed and fresh accompaniments, the steaming bowl of Udon and the lovely, lovely Roasted Rice & Green Tea as hot beverage.
Clockwise L to R: Stewed Vegs and Mushroom, Daikon Relish with Marinated Eringgi Shroom strips, Sweet Bean, Omelette & Salt Grilled Salmon and Tempura Shrimp with French bean and Pumpkin. 
Exceptional Udon! So plain, so honest, so SEDAP!
Small bowl of japanese rice (grown along the foothills
of Fuji herself, thank you very much!)
and twin breaded Shrimps.
Gotenba Kameya Obento!
Green tea with roasted rice! It imparted such a depth
of smoky flavour to the tea it was unbelievable!
Much happy! :)
And a tiny swirl of Honeydew ice-cream. Yeah! 
After Lunch came the slow drive to a local spring water village to take a visual bite out of olde worlde Japan.  Our Malaysian guide suggested trying out the spring water and it was strangely sweet. Like as if it was lightly fragranced with sugarcanes! Very Nice!

This village was just chock full of tourist, and mainly Japanese tourists at that, which to me illustrates the spending power and love they have for their own culture.

Then it was a quick frolic at station 4 on Mount Fuji herself. Snow! We played with snow!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Down For The Count

So here we go again. More upheavals at my former workplace.

Apparently the decision had been made to reassign for 4 staffers into another area. While the right to move personnel around lies with the management, it should ideally be done after taking into consideration the affected personnel's contribution and background is suited for the new area.

It will not do for the management to just willfully plonk staff into area that is not suited to their skills set. service personnel with food and beverage expertise would do best in an area with similar needs. This will ensure the staff and the intended target area both benefit.

It is folly to force a carpenter be a butcher, as much as it is folly to turn a race car driver into a fisherman overnight. Would you ask an electrician to fly an aircraft?

So, the issue here is why did this happen? My guess, supported by my own learning and experience, is that the powers that be has failed to understand the core competencies of its own manpower, and therefore failed to effectively utilise them.

Now, in an effort to disguise this inability, the seemingly ineffective staffers are 'redeployed' to an area requiring extra hands. training can certainly be provided to the affected persons, even proper career planning meetings to delineate the company vision and strategy for the staff, but all this still comes with the added sacrifice of employee morale and time. Reality however, is often in the negative end of the spectrum; minimal training, most cursory briefing and

I can not make the accusation that this move was done with other intent as i havent any proof, but it certainly can be construed to reek of nepotism and the ultimate result of misdirection. Affected staff often have to deal with the unsavoury perception of being unwanted bad apples or non-performing workers. Their former contribution becoming less than a footnote.

Surely the powers that be are not that unseeing right? A leader who should be involved from end to end in an operation such as customer management & food and beverage service must realise that their manpower is wasted by not assigning the right tasks. If steps are not taken to remedy the underlying problem, then penalising the staff is the easiest way out.

It is my fervent hope that the leaders concerned use the opportunity to look back and fix this problem, and for the staff to also look inward and analyse what they may have done (or not do, if such is the case) so that both parties can have a common ground for reconciliation. Assuming of course both sides still care enough for one.

Otherwise, perhaps being rejected is indeed a positive thing. New challenges can be good for the soul.

Why do i even care one could ask? Because watching something beautiful fall into ruin is a horrible thing. Letting it continue is even worse
posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Forward Ho!

A few moments ago I made a decision that will change my life.

I don't know if it would be a success or a disaster.

All I know is that both outcomes will be better than the situation I had put 
and allowed myself to be in before.

I am moving on. 

Thank you friends! You guys are the best!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Post Get Together Feels

Eclipse by zyOrg

The stars must have aligned or something.

I got to meet up with my friends from my ex-Department in MAS for a dinner at Pappa Rich in Citta Mall. 

It was lovely really, seeing them, although we didn't really seem to say much (well, for me I was somewhat subdued this night) but we certainly revelled in each others presence over lashings of local kopitiam food. 

One just went for a promotion interview (which I am confident she will get). Another is stuck with a dead weight of a superior and it makes me sad. At least another two chaps are doing just fine, dealing with the work with their usual gusto. One seems to be totally unencumbered by the professional & emotional disasters surrounding all of them. I was told by one, that another former colleague had an incorrigible I'll-knife-you-in-the-back attitude (this is a shocker!).

Many new things are happening with MAS, and I am happy about that, which makes the possibility of coming back somewhat more appealing. But of course, reality being what it is, I must certainly weigh all the options before I do make a decision.

I think I am happy with my new job (Am I really?), it has its own unique challenges, but oh, I really do miss the crackling energy of working on large scale project development the way I did formerly. 

And the deadline is looming closer still.

I know you guys will wish me the best.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Videographing A Talent!

Another first today. I was nominated by my boss to be one of the faces of the company for the group wide re-branding.

Let me tell you it was a surreal situation. All them host of cameras, vid-cams, wires, microphones and director and filming crew, did not make it easier at all.

I had already memorised the text, and I wrongly thought I breeze through it. Uhhuhh!

Man was I so wrong!

Sure, we made some text adjustments on the fly (in fact, I suggested some of the changes) but my pretend preparedness was quickly blown sky high by what was actually required.

They must have thought all I could muster were varying degrees of solemn!
Everything needed to be amplified - bigger smiles, sitting straight, talking clearly and sufficiently loud, composure and head angles, all in the desire to simulate a ‘spontaneous‘ & ‘natural' feel to the end result.

I don't think I ever worked my 14 smile muscles as much as I did today.

The director was thankfully very forgiving, and so were the video team, coaching me along the way, so it wasn't all bad in the end.

Shooting was done in bite-sized pieces, allowing me to suppress my camera-shyness.

I wont be able to see the video until well after the first week of November, after the re-brand unveiling.

Hope I did a good job!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Langkawi Chronicles: A Sea So Bold

A sea so bold

Awash foamy angst

Loss and hope


Thy name will last
posted from Bloggeroid

Langkawi Chronicles: Beronok Breakfast

Game on!

On a whim, I decided it would be fun to sample the local delicacy 'Beronok' as fresh as it could be had, raw.

Woke up, got ready and drove to the wet market and snatched a small bag for 3 Ringgit. Thought that it was ridiculously cheap, but my colleagues who are locals thought that it was a tad expensive (Really?). I got a total of 27 sausages for it, which works out to 11.11 sens a Beronok.

Got to the kitchen, unloaded the pack and boom!
This thing is edible? Really? Errr... Okay.
 They are said to be a similar life-form to the Sea Cucumber, and yes, just as ugly! To prepare it for consumption, you slit the belly open and rinse out all the gungy bits and mud (scraping it with a knife works well).

The Beronok is a bottom feeder ingesting bits of food found
in the sandy/muddy seabed, so yeah, slimy gross insides.
Rinse the whole thing under running water and toss it in a colander. Try not to leave it in liquids as it will quickly lose moisture by leaching its own juices. Slice the thing up into thin rings (for older, firmer specimens) or fingers (for younger, tender specimens) and use it as needed.

Generally locals do not have it cooked in any way due to massive shrinkage brought about by moisture loss, so it is eaten raw, or tossed as an ingredient in a Kerabu or Urap.

I have had Beronok (Kerabu style) and Sea Cucumber (Stewed with Shrooms, Chinese Style) in the past, but never raw like this, so it was a little weird, being watched by 2 Beronok-eating colleagues, as I took a big bite out of another one I cut into 2.

(o_O)  ......... Eewwwww.

Perhaps having it Sashimi style would be wonderful.

A dash of Kikkoman soy sauce and Wasabi.
To be fair, I guess, I was a tad put off by the ugly appearance of the creature itself and the fact that it was still alive after I slit open the belly! Despite the interesting looking innards. there was no off odours at all, which was a relief, just a faint murky seawater/squid like aroma.

Beautiful briny bites!

Biting into it was the biggest joy and surprise, it was at once briny fresh and clean tasting. Its texture squarely between the resisting crunch of jelly fish and the density of Ika (cuttlefish) Sashimi. In fact the flavour too, is closest to Ika, complete with the slightly gelatinous finish.

So,the next time you come to Langkawi, give Beronok a try. Cultural experience and all that!