Friday, July 23, 2010


When I mentioned Cape Town, the reactions from my friends and colleagues were all the same - did you see the majestic Table Mountain or ate seafood in Hout Bay or watched the cute little penguins in Simmon's Town or went to touch the water where the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans meet?

Yes, and yes and yes.

But what striked me the most was none of the above because I read and heard all about them before I went and therefore expected them to be gorgeous and wonderful experience, and they all lived up to their good reputation.

So, there was no element of surprise there, really.

What I love most about Cape Town is the healthy lifestyle. Even as early as 6 in the morning, there were so many people running, doing weights by the seafront. The cafes, even the simplest ones, have healthy food options with serving portion meant for ordinary people. The sea is littered with people surfing despite the cold water, the beach with kids and adults playing beach volleyball or football and the mountains with hikers of different fitness level.

The lifestyle was really contagious. Even Tasha got into it and joined me for the runs.... even when she had to get up at 6 in the morning on her holiday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The team building for my Asian team members which took place in Broga Hills in June 2010 was a real eye-opener for me.

Carrie from Hong Kong, is really petit with a small voice, so small you could hardly hear her speak during our regular teleconference. But of all, she surprised me the most. She was on my team and boy...was I eventually glad to have her on my team! She was really the bravest of the hearts!

Then I have Feby from Indonesia, who was afraid of heights but went on to climb a ladder 60 feet high and did a flying fox from that height! She made everybody laughed constantly and had so much confidence that she could even laugh at her own faults. That is 5 star quality right there.

Beybs is the "most serious" of the lot, or at least that was the image she wanted to project and I really believed it. In fact, I now know that of all, she is probably the one who knows how best to have fun! Her dance move is world class...but then again she is a Filipino and I believe every one of them is born with music in their head.

My Indian fellow, Mithoon is the coolest and the most collected of all and remained that way through out while we were shouting, yelling and laughing our heads off. It is always good to have a sensible head in times of euphoria.

I remember my phone bill last year was enormous because of the constant calls to Riaz in Pakistan. This is the person who used to confide in me on all decisions, big and small. This year, he did a turn around and in fact during the team building, went on to take the lead when we had to build a raft to save the team members' lives.

Unfortunately, Nattha from Thailand injured her ankle in the beginning of the activities, otherwise I am sure she would have wowed me as well!

As for the PMO team, Edric's knotting skill that he acquired during his boy scout days came in handy when we had to build a raft, Ganesh didn't wash himself up as often as I thought he would given the mud and dirty water that we had to play in (which is a big achievement for someone who is anal about cleanliness - I know this because I live with one) and Terence participated in almost all the activities despite his health condition.

So kudos to all SKM Shell Asia Procurement team and thank you to the SKM People Team for the organising such a fun event.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Running...such a sweet word - It was something that we started out for fun but I think it is turning into an addiction.
Between Franco and I, almost monthly, we scour the net looking for a run to participate, making sure that we will not miss out on any, like a scrounger looking for valuable recyclables in people's trash bins.
Just a few months ago, we didn't care which category we competed in, but now Franco would frown and moan if I registered him for the Open Category instead of Veteren category as it minimises his chance of getting a medal!
This year, we ran in Putrajaya, Bukit Jalil, downtown KL twice and will be going to Singapore and Penang after Raya. Our holidays are now dictated by where and when the run will be!
E-mails and Facebook traffic is busier than Jalan Sultan Ismail before the event as we try to hook up with friends and family who participate in the same even and after the event to share the wonderful experience and achievements.
And I guess the give-away of the addiction is when we are not even bothered by some runs that start as early as 2.30 a.m!!!


Can't help but to let this one out after staring at the award that I had received just a week ago for "outstanding performance".
It was supposed to be a recognition of outstanding work but I guess the operative word "outstanding" is not really understood by the Section Managers as they dished out rewards for staff who delivered the project on time, or for handling a difficult client, or for putting a system in place.
I am still trying to figure out where the outstanding element in all of these? Isn't it expected of them to deliver on time and to deal with all hardship and difficulties?
In my world, delivering a project on time is a prerequisite for a half decent Project Manager. However, delivering a project ahead of schedule in remote areas such as the islands of PNG where the tsunami occurence is as frequent as the rain in Malaysia - that's outstanding performance...
Putting a system that cut time spend on a particular activity by 50% - that's outstanding performance, but putting a system in place which requires more work by the users because it requires more useless information - that's a freaking waste of everybody's time.
Am I missing the plot again?