Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Company Zone Meeting

Our company has large scale meetings twice a year called the Zone Meeting by location whereby the operations are separated geographically as follow; Zone 1 - Latin America and Caribbean, Zone 2 - Europe and Zone 3 – Asia Pacific. Unlike the previous zone meeting where it was to wrap up the year, this was to present the company targets and mission for 2007.

My First Rock Climb


My First Attempt @ Rock Climbing


The office in Technology Park Malaysia where I am based is the largest of all the offices around the globe with a strong workforce of over 450 talented people. The perfect location to fit such a crowd was KL Convention Center which I took the opportunity to help out last night with the setup of the booths.

As usual, the day was a bit routine when it started off at 9.00 a.m. followed by a mimic of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Game with questions based on the company. Once the crowd was all warmed up, presentations started and followed by games. The first game that I managed to take part involves Rock Climbing. There was other games such as karaoke singing and dancing with Playstation 2, the traditional egg (ping pong ball used as a replacement) and a teaspoon race and throwing balls into targets like the ones in fun fairs.

In Roman Times


In Roman Times.. The Quality Dept Booth


Another interesting part of the Zone Meeting was the introduction of the Trade Fair which is made of 12 booths from different departments of the company to present their effort and on going projects. The standard of the booths were very high and can easily match or be even better than any other Corporate Trade Conventions. The only thing I felt wasted was that it would have been nice if it our stakeholder were invited to participate. This will be a brilliant platform to showcase what are company are about and also maybe even squeeze in a recruitment even to get talents.

Playing Drinking Game


After Event Party @ SkyBar


To accompany the whole event, refreshments and a dinner was served before the proze giving ceremony which I almost took home the DVD Camcorder prize in the guessing game. I was just 3 number short of the correct answer. Well, better luck next time. Other prizes given out during the event was gift vouchers, 2GB SD Card and a Sony Playstation. There is still one outstanding prize which is an iPod video to be given out after the completion of all the Zone Meetings which Zone 1 & Zone 2 are awaiting. Fingers cross for that.

The next Zone Meeting will only happen sometime in November after a mid year review which is a health check to see how the company is progressing so far.

Well, that’s all for now, till my next post. Take care.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nusajaya Launch

Today I was privileged to be invited to the official launch of Nusajaya “The World In One City� development by UEM in Johor. It is the key flagship zone of the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), a special economic zone under the 9th Malaysian plan.

 
Nusajaya Launch

The Center Stage of the Event

 

Nusajaya boasts 6 signature developments which are EduCity, International Destination Resort, Johor State New Administrative Centre, Medical City, Puteri Harbour, Residential Developments and SILC (Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters). It is the largest ever private sector development in Southeast Asia covering 24,000 acres.

 
Prime Minister Speech

The Prime Minister's Speech

 

It was officially launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah) which arrived on time. The whole event proceeded as scheduled which is rare.

 
The Food

The Food Served at the Event

 

We were served a selection of food as pictured which consisted of Satay, Otak-otak, Bread Pudding, Scones, Murtabak, Spaghetti, Quiche, Mixed Fruits and some other local delicacies. The catering was handled by The Puteri Pacific, Johor Bahru and the food was selected specially to reflect the key developments of Nusajaya. For example, Spaghetti had this accompanying tagline in the menu “Who didn’t eat pasta at Uni?� which represent EduCity.

 
Largest Tent

The Largest Tent in South East Asia

 

The tent that we were housed in for the event was apparently the largest in South East Asia and it could fit a Boeing 747. No wonder it could easily serve as a shelter for over 2000 guests in 200 tables. The launch cost UEM about RM2 million but I believe it could have been much more.

Another highlight was the goodie bag that everyone was given which funnily included a RM 5 preloaded Touch ‘N’ Go card. It would have been helpful if the amount covered the whole return toll fare for the journey from KL. I am also curious what was in the goodie bag of the VVIPs? A gold plated Touch ‘N’ Go card? Definitely one with bottomless credit for the honorable guest, our Prime Minister. ; )

Now I am all drained out from being in car for about 7 hours in total for a day trip to Johor. So, that’s all for now and until my next post, take care.

Benny Ong

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dolly Song and Other Russian Tracks

Greetings Bunch,


I would like to share a song that I kind of stumbled on watching on MTV Russia while channel surfing. I believe it will achieve cult status somewhat like the crazy frog. The artist is called Holly Dolly and the song is the Dolly Song. It was at number 2 on the charts when I was in Russia, no joke. Enjoy the music and video.



Here is another song which I was able to watch and remember the title of the song is "Columbia Pictures" performed by Banderos. A group of Russian rappers and a good quality video production.



Well, there is this famous male Russian singer I would term as the Russian Justin Timberlake. I did not manage to get his name but he is practically everywhere. On television, on the billboards and posters proudly showing that he won the award of best Russian singer for 2005 and 2006. I promise that I will do a similar post when I get the name.


It was good to be able to discover music abroad as this reminded me of the time I first heard of Juanes about two year ago in Berlin before it hit our shores. Well, that's all for now.


Benny Ong XXX

Monday, February 19, 2007

Grandma's 80th Birthday Celebration

Chinese New Year reunion suddenly played a more significant role in my life. I use to believe that the cultural festival has lost its touch in my life when I was studying abroad. What use to be a week where I look forward to Red Packets stuffed with money (Ang Pows) and fireworks (which is banned in Malaysia now) during my schooling days meant more to me now. I use to dread to meet my uncle and aunts that would compare my cousin’s achievements with mine and question me about when I am going to get married.

Grandma + Me


My Grandma


The celebration this year meant even more with my Grandma’s 80th Birthday. We tried to get everyone to dress in RED for the dinner at Sea View Restaurant but somehow the message did not go across as planned. However, the dinner went on pretty well over three tables and entertainment by live performers singing famous Chinese New Year tracks.

Sea View Restaurant, Batu Pahat


Some Other Family Members


The biggest achievement of the night was getting everyone for a picture which is very rare in our case. Although we do occasionally meet up with some, it is very rare that a majority of us turn of for gatherings as such. Hopefully this will last for many years to come and this becomes a lifelong commitment.

 Grandma's 80th Birthday


The Whole Bunch


That’s all the report from Batu Pahat, Johor. Till next time, take care.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

On Transit in Amsterdam

I am now awaiting my connecting flight to Malaysia via Amsterdam Schipol Airport. I do not know what to expect as the flight is a Malaysia Airlines code share with KLM. I flew KLM a few occasions when I was younger and for this trip to Moscow but it was never a long haul one. Well, I saw pictures in their in flight magazine earlier and hopefully I am not too disappointed with the in flight entertainment. Fingers cross for it to be on demand.

I am particularly excited this time to go home as I will be arriving on the first day of Chinese New Year and my family will be there to pick me up from the airport. I have already bought some candies which are nothing too special for my little cousins that I will be meeting back in Batu Pahat.

Earlier today in the Russian airport, I broke a bottle of Vodka belonging to my colleague which I really felt bad about. It was too late to get a replacement bottle because we were already about to board. Oh well, I just need to live with it.

Did I mention that an immigration officer approached me and my colleague to check our passports when we were queuing for our boarding pass? I believe it is an obvious reason why we are targets as Asians tend to stand out amongst a crowd of native Europeans. After seeing that all of our documents are valid, she told us to follow her. In my mind I was prepared for being questioning. She was carrying my documents in her hands and told my colleague to stand a distance away from me. Two further officers approach with a camera on their hands and the officer told me that they are going to take my picture. I immediately looked a bit puzzled and she proceeded to say don’t worry.

Using broken English and pointing at the signs which bare some English instructions on how to fill up the immigration card, I totally understood that I was suppose to pose as a tourist being helped by the immigration officer. That was most certainly a sign of relief.

Besides that, here is just a quick word or two about Amsterdam’s one terminal concept airport. It boasts of having the first ever museum in an airport (a Gallery in my own judgment) and a casino. I have been here about two years ago during my trip to Amsterdam but never had so many hours to walk around.

Back to this point of time, the crowd in front of the boarding gate is growing and the display board on top of the entrance of the gates keeps taking turns flashing the destination name as Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Just overhead the person sitting next to my bench saying that the flight is full. A bit uncomfortable now as I hate crowds and crying babies on planes. I better stop visualizing and worry less now as it is not helping.

Well, that’s all for me now… till my next update. Take care.

ÂÂ

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Moscow Report

The Kremlin


Red Square Next To The Kremlin


Russia Scenery of The Kremlin


Frozen River In Front Of The Kremlin


St Basil's Cathedral


St Basil's Cathedral

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Updates from Russia Office

Here I am sitting in the desk awaiting a Russian colleague that I am supposed to have a 2 hour session with. I am not totally angered or anything because I am confident that he has some necessary valid issues and other priorities to sort out. I woke up this morning once again welcomed by the never ending snow of Moscow weather which tucked me into bed as well.

It has become routine to get prepared by 7.30 a.m. and go down to the restaurant for breakfast. Well, I have two options really; I can dine for free at the executive floor which has a limited selection of so called continental breakfast or head on down to the restaurant. I tried to get a good mix of both with each on alternate days.

The shuttle will then be ready to pick us up at 9.00 to go to the office at Krylatsky Hills where BAT Russia’s main office is located at the blocked called not surprisingly flame. The other blocks are named after the elements as well, Air, Earth and Water. BAT Russia occupies 3 of upper floors of the sixth floor building. Other major companies with their presence are IBM and Intel.

Well, I better get back to work before I get carried away on this. I will be posting some back logged posts with some pictures and I believe a video as well.

Until my next post, take care.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day in Russia

St Basil's Cathedral


 St Basil's Cathedral



Restaurant Godunov



With Zsolts In Front of Godunov Restaurant



Godunov Restaurant



With Some Guys in Godunov Restaurant


 

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Moscow is Freaking Cold

Greetings bunch,


BAT Russia

 BAT Russia Office



 BAT Russia Office

Just a quick update of my well being. I have arrived safely in Moscow.


To sum up the condition at the moment, it is freaking cold.

Still haven't got a chance to go sight seeing. Will try to catch up on that.

Later guys...

Benny Ong XXX

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Going To Moscow For A Week

It is almost 9.00 p.m. now and once again I find myself in KLIA accessing the internet using the free Wifi available to update my blog (more of a photo blog I would say) which I have recently neglected a lot.

I am on my way to Moscow, Russia for work purposes which I have fixed feelings about. Don’t get me wrong but I am damn excited but the weather is a major turn off. I spend the early part of the day trying to hold of a winter scarf, ski cap and leather gloves which surprisingly was not available in KLCC yesterday. I got it at Winter Time in 1 Utama after a recommendation from Song Yia.

I am glad that I have got those gears because I do not want to get frostbites from my first trip to Russia. Some places besides the office that I want to visit are St Basil’s Cathedral and Kremlin’s Square. I do not know much about Russian History but I have printed some reading material about those two major tourist spots in Moscow which will be handy for the long flight.

It would certainly be a shame if I did not get snapshots of those places.

Well, I better get back to some work.

I will most probably be updating my blog while I am there so do stick around for more k…

Adios…

Friday, February 09, 2007

Spontaneus Drinking Session @ Velvet

Tasik Titiwangsa


At Taman Tasik Titiwangsa for the fireworks


Velvet, KL


With the guys at Velvet with a RM10 Carrefour Collar Shirt


Velvet, KL


Jin Siang, Me + Fui Cheng in Velvet

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Farewell Dinner


Khadir 's Farewell Dinner


Flickr Fun With Dumpr.net

Greetings everyone,

Apologies once again for the lack of recent updates. Well, this morning I was sent an invitation to join a flickr group whereby during my random surf, I stumbled upon a site called dumpr.net. What it does is that it allows you to mess around with the pictures you have in flickr.

There is roughly about 6-8 tools that ranges from effects of aging your picture, changing it to sketch and placing it in a gallery like below. Don't you come and tell me that this can all be done in Photoshop or some fancy picture editing tool. The reason that I am mentioning it is because it is online based and it automatically extracts your flickr collection.
Fun With Flickr

Everyone is looking

By the way, if you do not know what flickr is, it is basically a place where you can upload and share your photos.

 Give it a visit and a go.... I would try the other features later....

 Have fun!

Benny Ong

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kuala Selangor

Since Thaipusam is a public holiday, I joined some buddies at work on an excavation at Kuala Selangor which included a meal at New Beggars Delicious Restaurant at Ijok, Bukit Malawati and Kampung Kuantan for the fireflies.

The day started out with a drive to Kuala Selangor on the winding roads which I find quite relaxing as it takes me out of the city.

I won't blog much about the food at the restaurant in Ijok as you may read about it at his blog. Stay tune for pictures as I am awaiting for them.

New Beggars Restaurant


New Beggars Restaurant @ Ijok


As for Bukit Malawati, it is about half an hours drive from Ijok where we took a ride up the hill for RM2 which lead us to quite a stunning view. Here are some of the pics that I manage to take on top of the hill.

Me & The Cannon


The Best Spot For A View @ Bukit Malawati


The Lighthouse


The Lighthouse on Bukit Malawati


Batu Hampar


Batu Hampar @ Bukit Malawati


On The Peak


Group Picture On The Peak


Kampung Kuantan


The Jetty @ Kampung Kuantan


As a summary, it was a day well spent. Will update more pictures and musings soon.


Benny Ong XXX