Monday, November 01, 2010

The Life Cycle of a Blog

Reference: A typical Sigmoid curve.

  • The Genesis- You develop your raison d'etre for blogging.
  • A time of discovery, mostly introspective.

  • Building momentum- Fueled by your convictions, you blog straight from your heart.
  • The blog begins to creep into your life.
  • You start to make connections and form a network.

  • Climaxing & Crescendo- At the height of your popularity, you gain a following. You have a community.
  • Your life becomes one with the life you live online. Reality and blogosphere is blurred.
  • It's quite a ride. (Vive la roi etc etc ad nauseum)
  • You might even make a small living out of it.
  • Eventually, your blog takes over. It becomes the driver for how you live your life.

  • Ennui- Disillusionment will set in.
  • You whore yourself and become yet another ubiquitous celeb blogger.
  • You blog for the audience, for the $$$ and no longer for yourself. Tsk bloody tsk.
  • If you've got more going for you in your real life, you might take a "hiatus" from your blog.

The second coming- You pick up your blog again or a different incarnation of your blog for new reasons. The cycle starts all over again.

Is there a limit on how many times you reinvent yourself? Like Apple inc., you CAN learn from each product life cycle (think early Macs in the 90's) AND use it to grow stronger in your next (think Macbooks, iPod, iPhone). OR, like Madonna, each subsequent reincarnation is never as strong as its predecessor.

This is the easy part: the formula of success. The tricky part of course is realizing and recognizing where you are on this curve.

Know yourself, your business, your organization.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Malays = Malaysians?

Australians tend to think Malaysians are all Malays. Even Chinese Malaysians and Indian Malaysians are Malays. And all those "other" races are also Malays. It's naive but it's a nice notion...

Girls from Tourism Ads wearing costumes of the main races in Malaysia:
The girl in the middle is Malay, she is flanked on either side by an Indian and Chinese girl.
While the two girls on the far left and right are from indigenous tribes (Iban and Kadazan).
The Malay girl is symbolically always in the middle. Always. And the Iban and Kadazans are sometimes left out, too.

I've always struggled to explain who the real Malays are to my Australian friends.
Malays in Malaysia are called "bumiputera"- Literal translation: "bumi" = soil, earth; "putera"= prince. But are they indigenous? Not really. As our Malaysian history books (Sejarah Malaysia) tell us, the Malay race is descended from the Javanese Hindu Prince Parameswara from Temasek (modern day Singapore). He founded the spice trading port of Malacca in 1402. It is sometime during his reign that he converted to Islam, so all his subjects followed suit, so Malays in Malaysia today practice Islam.

Do ALL Malays practice Islam today? YES. This is protected by law. "Marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is forbidden under Malaysian law. Under the Shariah/Islamic Jurisprudence; the non-Muslim is required to convert to Islam under Malaysian law."- Wikipedia. No Malay is allowed to embrace another religion unless the courts grant them permission.

"Bumiputera" status entitles Malays to have access to government contracts, company and land ownership, scholarships, loans... etc. entitlement to nearly everything under the sun in Malaysia. This affirmative action written into the constitution nearly 40 years ago to help Malay race economically. Until about 15 years ago, indigenous tribes of Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) who mostly practiced Christianity were NOT entitled to the same"bumiputera" status of Malays.

Go figure. Why indeed?
It is these same indigenous people in Sarawak who are protesting against their homes and land being torn down in the name of building progress. And NOT real progress either: it's the building of a huge dam (the Bakun Dam) that will ultimately benefit Malay politicians and their Chinese businessman cronies. If there is any trickle-down benefit to the people, it will be the people living in already developed urban locations around Kuala Lumpur. The indigeous tribes will not see an iota of return in exchange for their homes and land being destroyed. Read more about it here and here.

A documentary about the Bakun Dam (in Malay) that was aired on Malaysian TV.
Watch it here.

The Malaysian government forced its TV network to get this documentary off the air in April 2010. Write to Amnesty International. The situation in Malaysia is not all about tall glossy skyscrapers, land of smiles and multiculturalism. It is NOT "truly Asia".

I have mixed feelings. The result of mixed blood. Hahahaha...

Will debunk the myth of "TRUE MALAY" in a future blog post.
Preview: "Malays don't eat pork, right? WRONG!!!!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1 million Malaysians reject the proposed 100-storey Merdeka Tower.

Any Malaysian with a facebook account has probably come across this Facebook page with the same title.

Malaysia was once a young, new nation eager to prove its worth. Malaysia gains respect in the international arena in the 80's, buoyed by an economic boom, under its ambitious leader Dr. Mahathir. He urged Malaysians to "Look East" (post-war rise of Japan as an example to follow) and oppose western-style globalization. The leader embarks on mega projects-at first, infrastructure developments, then commercial developments. In the 90's, it became obvious some projects moved from ambitious to ridiculous. Many of these projects were handed over to companies owned by political cronies. But that's another story.

The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers had supposedly "put Malaysia on the map" in the mid 90's, just before the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. Malaysia had the tallest building in the world- lasted all of a year before the next few buildings like Taipei 101 and Shanghai World Trade Centre took over.... etc- you get the picture.

Nations in economic boom tend to produce phallic symbols of their supremacy in the form of these skyscrapers. This is true for China and Dubai UAE, both nations which experienced huge amounts of growth in every sector in every financial quarter in the last few years.

Now, just as the Burj al Khalifa in Dubai has finished, Malaysia announces in a fit of kiasu-ness plans to commence building the 100 storey Merdeka Tower next year. Read more about it here and here.
This tower will cost RM $ 5 billion or roughly just over US $ 1.6 billion. Who ultimately pays for it? The problem is: Malaysia is NOT experiencing growth rates like that of China or the United Arab Emirates.

A popular hypothesis is that skyscrapers are often seen as economic indicators for a financial downturn-
"Of course economic booms tend to coincide with real estate booms, if not bubbles. I think that the moment project developers start planning a new "tallest skyscraper" the beginning of the end is at least not far. It means that hubris has become a factor again and that money has become too easy."Ivar Hagendoorn writes about the correlation between architecture and finance here.

And, looking at the price tag, it's enough to send Malaysia into recession.

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel. (1563)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"All you Asians look the same."

Here we go again- yet another experience at the front door this morning.

Some background:
A new Asian neighbour is moving in and in the process of renovating in the last few days.
Their house is number "X" on our street- two houses away. Our house is number "Y".
My husband is in London. I am alone with a child.

Before 7am this morning, two burly guys show up downstairs at the door.
I answer the door, still half asleep.

Burly guys: We're a couple of carpenters- we're here to do the skirting.

Me: You've got the wrong house.

Burly guys: (Pointing at the name on our doorbell) It says "ABCDE" (insert Asian surname) doesn't it? Is this house "X"?

Me: (Points to the big number "Y" on our house) That says "Y". *slams door in their face*

I know, I know, I know........ AGAIN!!!
Confusing one Asian with another?
I am half Asian, so I look Asian but don't have what looks like an Asian surname to the average Australian. BUT my husband has an Asian surname and it's on our doorbell.

Get used to it, Australians. At this rate, we'll REALLY be everywhere in 10 years' time.

What will you do then?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yet another frou-frou hair post

Tired of my big 90's hair, I walked into a Korean salon in Chatswood and described an "Otome" (means young girl or virgin, neither of which I am) haircut in my best Japanese (two different and mutually exclusive languages, note to self).
An otome haircut:


And I end up with a bishounen haircut. What's that, you ask?
It's the haircut of choice for Japanese MALE actors/popstars/idols.
A bishounen haircut:


*time out*

I got rid of the blondie streaks so I don't look like a teenage asian boy (read: Ah Beng if you're from Singapore or Malaysia) who's into racing cars and manga.
No chance of looking like a sarong party girl (at least) now since my hair's too short and too damn layered!!! Grrrr.

This always happens to me at the hairdressers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tom Ford

Tom Ford is born with the maximum amount of design talent in a beautiful package.
His most memorable collection, to many was A/W Gucci 96:

I was obsessed with my long velvet jacket with wide lapels in the 90's. Dark maroon. I think I took a photo of myself for a blog post in that jacket last year. Yes, I'm still wearing it. I still have big hair. I love heels to death.

I am still faithful to the Tom Ford silhouette today, despite the assault of skinny jeans, harem pants, ballet flats and baggy tops. I'd have to be dead before I wear harem pants.

Women in the 90's were arguably split in two fashion camps:

Glamourpuss Gucci girls. Powerful girls and androgynous boys.

Arty farty Prada girls. Androgynous girls AND boys.

Tom Ford heavily objectifies women. But in this world, let's be honest- women WANT to be objectified.

In his campaigns: Images that make women and men BUY his products, into his philosophy, into his image of us. In his world, women are beautiful, luxe sexual objets d'art. And we BUY into it, big time.

He has been with his partner, Richard Buckley (former editor of Vogue Hommes) for 23 years.

Question: How does he see the men he designs for?

He designs for men only these days..... and recently showed his first line of womenswear since his Gucci days in a secret show for womenswear.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Furusato, 2424 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki

A view of Kalakaua Avenue (the main drag) from the corner table at Furusato.

Around Christmas last year, we were in Hawaii. In the artificially tailored for tourism (Japanese tourism to be exact) world of Waikiki. We kept going to a little sushi joint called Furusato.

The days were muggy and hot at best- sushi and sashimi were best washed down with Sapporo beer and grape soda.
Memorable days.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


So it's all ended again. In a 3D ultrasound, about 1.5 weeks ago, I saw my surviving twin 7 week 2 day baby. Without a heartbeat.

I had no bleeding or cramps after.
I did have a few great big crying sessions.

And after the D&C, I jumped on a plane with my daughter and took off to Malaysia. I am resting away in my grandma's house. My mother has joined me here too.

Good bye, swank hospital.

I have my beautiful daughter around me and she reminds me that there is hope. I've been hugging her so often in the last few days that she's getting irritated with me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hope emerges after tragedy

I went through one miscarriage earlier this year, just after New Year.

I was about 7 weeks along. I thought I would have a breezy pregnancy just like the one I had with my daughter 2 years ago. I took it all for granted. I thought nothing of the brownish blobs that showed up on my underwear along with mucus. I thought it was "old blood". Too much information? Tough luck. This is the part about pregnancy that they don't put in Johnsons & Johnsons ads.

I found out on Boxing Day, and as my Obstetrician was away, I went to my 1st ultrasound at 6 weeks plus and saw a single fetus with a heartbeat. When my obstetrician came back, I was already around 8 weeks. In his office, we did an ultrasound and saw a dead fetus measuring at about 7 weeks. My heart raced- I was alone. My husband was busy at work. I think I tuned out the world. I left an angry message for my husband, who rushed home, but it was all too late. My D & C was scheduled 1 week later. I carried my long gone baby with me for another week. I felt empty and I cried buckets- None of which I could bring myself to do in front of anyone. This was a baby I really wanted with all my soul.

I was angry at everyone. I blamed. I lashed out.
And........ I recovered.

Now, I am at that point again- about 6 weeks along. Much bleeding and cramps pretty much everyday in the last 2 weeks one occasion in the emergency room, too. I've had 3 ultrasound scans now- the first 2 very pessimistic about the one sac with no fetus. my obstetrician told me a week ago that I would eventually lose it because it looked abnormal. I was required to do blood tests every 2 days- showed normal hormone levels.

I braced myself for a blighted ovum at my 3rd ultrasound. For another disappointment.
It showed 2 sacs. TWINS. One was a blighted ovum, and the other had a 6wk fetus with a heartbeat.

I am now on bedrest and the bleeding has stopped. It is now light brown spotting.
The cramps are still here and I am still told to be cautious, to prepare for "eventualities".

There is no word in english that is the equivalent of the arabic "Alhamdulillah".
But the meaning is : "God is truly great- look at what he is able to create."
And I am in God's amazing hands. That sums up my feelings at this very moment.
For the 1st time in my life.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Puis-je encore parler français? Non.

Je ne veux pas oublier comment parler français, alors je vous écris ce message blog en français.

L'hiver est le moment le plus terrible de l'année.
Être à l'intérieur est une nécessité, je répandrai mon énergie dans la création d'une cuisine. Reconnaissants aux Masterchef! Et ma mère!

Mettra à jour bientôt. Probablement sur Twitter.

Toutes mes excuses pour ma grammaire imparfaite.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life and Death

To every person who has lived through watching someone die slowly before their eyes.

Nobody knows what comes after death.
Religions of mankind tell us of paradise, of rebirth, purgatory and of eternal damnation.

And perhaps it is the promise of a place. ANY place at all after death- the comfort in knowing that you'll still continue to exist at another level of consciousness. That you are not totally gone.

Different cultures treat death differently. Some funerals in Eastern religions are ceremonious- almost festive, heavily ritualized and symbolic. Some western funerals are subtle, quiet reflections on a life that once was. I've had the opportunity to experience both.
Some people say that funerals aren't really for the dead person- they are for the living that were left behind. The deceased do go to the place they were meant to go- on a journey, a life that takes place on the other side. The people who are left behind are the ones who need catharsis, healing and closure.

If psychic mediums are to be believed, a different type of life exists and learning does continue on the other side. Higher learning.