The Goblet of Confusion
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 29, 2005 Posted: 7:25:45 PM EDT

I attended Lee Chuen's wedding last Saturday night. Lee Chuen was 'an original cast' of XiMnet during our startup years. She's gone to work for Intel. Lee Chuen has got a pretty fun husband for herself, if his 'performance' on the dinner reception was any indication of his character. 

All the best, Lee Chuen.

At around 10pm, I took off and brought my entire family to watch 'Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire' at AMCORP Mall (...but I like a less crowded place). Li-ann loves the series and had asked me to take her to the movie. Now here was what happened that night while the movie was unfolding in the darkness.

Li-ann : She had a running commentary of what was going to happen, this and that. She must've read the book a hundred times. She enjoyed the movie a lot. Good for her.

Saoda : She slept through the whole movie after 15 minutes of trying to keep awake. ZZzzzzzZZZZZzzZZ. Harry Potter hensem!

Christina : She was the most normal audience in our group. She enjoyed the movie but didn't quite understand the whole thing.
Very complicated storyline...

Wesley : He demanded to go home about 25 minutes into the movie.  He wriggled like a catfish while I was trying to make him sleep so that he would not be a nuisance. He survived the movie.
'Ehhhh...I want to go home la..., Harry Potter NOT NICE!!!'

Me : I was bored by the whole thing. All those competitions, what were they for? Between the great set, stunning animation and cinematography, I couldn't really connect with the story-telling. The entire plot felt like a frivolous excuse to court mischief. I told Li-ann I won't watch another potty-movie anymore. That aside, I liked the animation of the dragon. Very well-done, almost life-like.


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Are you afraid of Eckhart Tolle?
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 28, 2005 Posted: 4:32:59 PM EDT

Eckhart Tolle

Who's Eckhart Tolle?  

He's the writer of the bestseller called 'The Power of Now'. And he's got a new book. It's called, 'A NEW EARTH : Awakening to Your Life's Purpose'. 

When you see how religions get pitched as spirituality and used by self-righteous fanatics of all shades, you wished someone can speak beyond the framework of a worldview that brought us so much strife and sufferings.

Eckhart Tolle speaks in those terms.

He thinks a lot of our religions are poor copies of their original messages. The 'enlightenment' is lost in 'translation', says Tolle. 

So, who's afraid of Eckhart Tolle?

I am... 

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by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 24, 2005 Posted: 6:12:12 PM EDT

A couple of days ago, I was talking to my kids. It was about 11 o'clock at night. I remember it was drizzling heavily after some thunderous pourings before that. Then I thought I heard the beautiful sounds of frogs croaking.

Image taken from USGS National Wildlife Health Center

Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek!

Ah, I said to myself, such lovely sounds of nature coming alive. I do love the sound of frogs croaking in unison, big bullfrogs intone in slumberous pomposity and small frogs fretting with maniacal intensity.

Imagine this...the rain was falling steadily outside, it was cold, and you can hear the symphony of sounds on the roofs and the drip-drop of raindrops. Then you hear the beautiful sounds of frogs celebrating the coming of the glorious rain season. 

Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek! Wek!

And I said Wesley and Li-ann,

Me : You know, I really love the sounds of frogs on a rainy makes me think of the times when I was your age...

Li-ann : What frog?

Me : Listen, can you hear that sound?

Li-ann : What sound?

Me : Listen, the wek! wek! wek! sound. The frogs make such sounds when it's the rainy monsoon season. They know the monsoon is here. I guess they like it very much.

*Everyone paused and listened intently...

Wesley : No papa, that's the car laa...Uwit! Uwit! Uwit! Uwit! The car spoil redi...
(At this moment, the car alarm stopped to a 'chirp! chirp!' locking-unlocking sound)

Li-ann : That's the car alarm-lah. Papa, you so silly!

Me : ... is it?

Well, what can I say...since when have I forgotten that we don't have frogs croaking in USJ, rain or no rain? 

'Do you remember
after the rain,
the river whispers softly by, 
and the tall reeds,
how they bow and dance 
with the dragonflies? 
And at dark, the sudden cacophony of calls 
rise from the 'payar' 
to the coconut trees rustling in the wind,
thrilling, calling, resounding
under the starless skies,
like a symphony of unforgotten memories, 
awakening a nameless longing,
as the water rushes by.' 

This rain...

It's making me heart-sick. 


5 Comment(s)

Finding the EXIT
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 23, 2005 Posted: 9:43:40 AM EDT

A door...
image source unknown

'...[We live in a world caught in a...] Erisychthon scenario, where business consumes itself and all that we value about humanity along with it. To escape we need to expand our whole concept of wealth. we need a concept of wealth that enriches rather than impoverishes the human spirit, a notion of wealth that inspires people to give of their best in creating it. To avoid the shadow, or dark side of capitalism, we need a notion of wealth that accrues from a responsible and compassionate inclusion of the have-nots, and from a committed resolve to meet basic human needs.

Ignoring this has led to the violent reaction we see against capitalism on the streets of Seattle and Davos, and to the hatred that fuels anticapitalist and anti-Western terrorism.

For those who work in business, we also need a notion of wealth that reflects meaningful and fulfilling personal and working lives.'

~ Danah Zohar, Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By.

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A Monster Consuming Itself
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 22, 2005 Posted: 11:00:19 AM EDT

Some thinkers are predicting the beginning of an end of the so called 'Western Civilization' that has been shaping the world since its rise with the Renaissance period. And some say we are in the end of a new beginning. The 21st century is the milestone marker for the flourishing of a 2nd Renaissance. The tsunami of globalization forces and the Internet are reshaping and redefining our world as we know it. A new consciousness is breaking over the distant horizons and soon a whole new world might dawn upon us. 

But where are we headed? Is there fertile space beyond this box we inhabit that will foster the hope of better world? 

The driving force of our societies for the past 500 years or so had been the need to feed the hunger of the people and to add some years to what was a short and brutish existence. In many ways, those goals were attained. A average person in our world today have access to abundance of food, proper health-care and luxuries of all kinds previously previously unheard of. But we have walked into a perfect dilemma. We have made great progress but it came with a great price. The mass consumption engineered by the exploits of capitalism have caused great destruction within our own habitat. The natural resources that drove the progress are now depleted. While a small group of people live in abundance and consume the majority of the resources of this world, others die in hunger and deprivation.

To see that unfettered consumerism and material wealth bring so much existential sufferings to people of the rich nations is to understand there's a flaw in the main strand of our civilization . To justify the killings of innocent human beings in the name of obtaining peace or a better after-life is to know how unjust and unfair our world have treated those who are marginalised and oppressed and how rotten is the state of our world today. 

We are, as a people truly 'a monster consuming itself'
The Ghost of Consumerism
Screencap from Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away'. A movie with a similar theme on 'the search for meaning in life and the corrupting and destructive forces of greed'.  

Spiritual Capital by Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall
SPIRITUAL CAPITAL: Wealth we can live by using our Rational,
Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence to transform ourselves and corporate culture

I picked up a book by Danah Zohar called, SPIRITUAL CAPITAL: Wealth we can live by using our Rational, Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence to transform ourselves and corporate culture' at Kinokuniya, KLCC on Sunday. Zohar is a Physicist, Philosopher and Management educator. She is the proponent of Spiritual Capitalism. Spiritual Intelligence, a key concept in the book, has always been a topic of interests for me. It is especially worth reading since the author attempts at constructing an alternative road-map to our collective future as the human race. 

Here's an interview with Danah Zohar by Pegasuscom. 

Danah Zohar
Dahah Zohar, Physicist & Philosopher

A New Capitalism We Can Live By: An Interview with Danah Zohar
from Leverage Points Issue 54

Danah Zohar, author of the bestselling books The Quantum Self, The Quantum Society, and ReWiring the Corporate Brain, will be a keynote speaker at the 2004 Pegasus Conference, Building Collaborations to Change Our Organizations and the World: Systems Thinking in Action®, to be held on December 1–3 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. A physicist, philosopher, management thought leader, educator, and author, she teaches organizations and executives how modern science can transform how they think and lead. Her work to extend the principles of quantum physics into a new understanding of human consciousness, psychology, and social organization has led to her current groundbreaking books (coauthored with Ian Marshall) on spiritual intelligence and spiritual capital.

In SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence, Danah presents scientific evidence for the existence of spiritual intelligence (SQ), a center in the human brain that lies at the core of innovation and creative leadership. In her most recent work, Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By, she takes the concept of spiritual intelligence and applies it to the business world. The sustainable vision for capitalism she provides is rooted in a values-based culture in which businesses generate a decent profit while acting to raise the common good and ensure the sustainability of their enterprises.

In the following conversation between Danah Zohar and Leverage Points editor Kali Saposnick, Danah discusses the influence of quantum physics on her thinking and how, by building spiritual capital, we can create effective, sustainable collaborations. 

Leverage Points: How has your scientific background influenced your thinking about systems thinking, collaboration, and spiritual capital?

Danah Zohar: My scientific background has influenced all my thinking, even the spiritual thinking in my personal life. I discovered quantum physics at 15, and it stood my whole world on its head. The ways things based in Newtonian physics differ from those based in the quantum physics paradigm has been the whole substance of my work and runs through it completely.

Newtonian physics conceives of the universe essentially as little billiard balls, atoms with hard boundaries. According to this principle, there's no way to change an atom—scientists in the early days didn't know about subatomic particles or any of the things that have so radically changed our way of understanding nature. In the Newtonian model, when two of these billiard balls meet, they bump into and knock each other off course, but neither changes the other.

Ideas such as individualism and replaceable parts in industrial settings emerged from Newton's idea of atomism. So did the notion that I am essentially alone in the world, isolated from people. Even Freud said, you are an object to me and I'm an object to you, and we can never meet each other.

Quantum systems, on the other hand, are thought to be concretized balls of energy that take on different forms as they relate to each other through participating in the system together. When two quantum systems meet, they overlap and combine their total identity. All the patterns of dynamic energy within these systems change dramatically in relation to each other, leading to the emergence of a whole new thing that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Human systems are also patterns of dynamic energy. Our bodies do not have hard and fast boundaries like billiard balls. What we interact with changes us, even at the psychological level. For instance, stress can make us ill and cause physical disease in certain body parts. Similarly, being in a successful relationship changes us in positive ways. My hair color and so on stays the same, but our interaction changes my character, my aspirations, and so forth.

From this perspective, it's no longer about 'me and you' but about 'us.' It's not separation; it's integration. It's not isolation; it's an understanding that we're all part of one great big interwoven system. These new ideas are critical to understanding how we can make shifts in organizational culture, collaboration, and teamwork.

LP: How does your concept of spiritual intelligence apply to these ideas?

DZ: Spiritual intelligence is how we understand the deeper meaning in life, the deeper purpose, the deeper values that underlie our behavior. It is the part of us that asks questions such as, how do our systems differ, and how do we use our meanings and purpose to build collaborations that behave more like quantum systems? Why is that working for a common purpose fosters a more creative, integrated, holistic team? And what does this type of work do to the members of the collaboration as they participate at this level?

When we act like a collection of bouncing billiard balls in a box, we're often acting against each other. There's a lot of conflict, competition, jealousy, grudges, and anger. I argue that today's business culture is operating from the four negative motivations of fear, greed, anger, and self-assertion. If you want to create holistic collaborations where team members become systems within a system, allowing them to become creative and emergent at every level, then you've got to act from the higher motivations. Those are the more 'quantum' motivations if you like, whereas our negative behaviors stem from the more 'Newtonian' motivations.

In a quantum paradigm, two systems are so overlapped and combined that they're interwoven with and bound up in each other's identity. You don't get the same kind of conflict, grudges, and anger because you've all become part of one system working together. You grow together and you create together. Everything becomes more positive. When we come together for a common purpose, we become nicer to each other because the common purpose binds us.

LP: What is the relationship between spiritual capital and collaboration?

DZ: Spiritual capital is the wealth or power an individual or organization has, based on their deepest meanings, values, and purposes. It is reflected in what that individual or organization exists for, believes in, aspires to, and takes responsibility for. We build spiritual capital by asking spiritually intelligent questions, such as why do I exist, what is the purpose of my life, what do I really want to achieve?

If the spiritual capital of a collaboration is high, that is, if a group has a common aspiration for its existence that they take responsibility for, then their collaboration will be an organic synthesis of the people participating. If the spiritual capital is low, it means you either don't know what you aspire to or you don't aspire to anything very high. It means you don't know why you exist or you just exist to make a profit. It means you don't think about what you take responsibility for because you're caught up in your immediate goal, your short-term thinking. Spiritual capital, if it's low, can tear a collaboration to pieces. Spiritual capital, if it's high, is the glue that holds it together.

LP: In your book you write about 12 principles of transformation that constitute spiritual intelligence. Are any in particular especially crucial to embed in one's behavior?

DZ: I think all 12 are quite crucial. Remember, they're not Newtonian principles; they're holistic principles in that each is internally related to the others. They don't belong in any particular hierarchy (see the '12 Principles of Transformation' in the right-hand column).

Bearing that in mind, there are a few we can focus on for purposes of collaboration. One key principle is self-awareness, to know what you believe in and value, what deeply motivates you, your deepest purpose in life. Being vision- and value-led is also important. This means acting from principles and deep beliefs and living life accordingly. If I had to stop at three, I would include celebration of diversity, which is valuing other people and unfamiliar situations for their differences, not despite them. In natural complex adaptive systems, the presence of the different other causes the system to evolve and leads to good mutations, adaptations, new situations. If you just meet others like yourself, then your own system doesn't change, and it might even begin to atrophy from lack of stimulation.

Ideally, a collaboration needs to be open to many points of view while being grounded in common values and purposes. We need to realize that every individual on the planet has a different way of going about living these values and purposes, and your difference can teach me something, can make me grow.

LP: How do you get a critical mass of individuals to act from higher motivations and evoke those qualities in others?

DZ: One way is the impact that an inspirational leader who walks the talk can have on those who work for him or her. People recognize when he or she practices most of the 12 principles of spiritual intelligence, and they're influenced to aspire to those principles as well. Another way is by conducting dialogue groups at various levels—a team, an entire organization, a culture, a nation—to uncover the motivations of the people involved.

Most of us are usually not aware that we're acting from lower motivations. If I asked you to take a motivations test, you'd probably come out smelling like a rose, because we all think our motivations are high. But in a dialogue group where people are listening to and observing each other, the group can help each other become aware of what is truly motivating their behavior.

LP: Many people might have a hard time embracing the concept of spiritual capital—especially those who strongly believe in modern capitalism. How do you sell people on the concept?

DZ: The big link is sustainability. Do you want it to last or not? Do you care about anything beyond the next quarterly return? And deeper questions too, such as can you afford not to care about anything beyond the next quarterly return?

We all know that most Fortune 500 companies go under within five years. We know that we're raping the planet. Harbingers of an impending global crisis are in the paper every week. For example, we're having oil shortages, we're not finding new fuels, and the high price of oil is going to affect our ability to grow economies. Capitalism as we know it today is a monster consuming itself. It's not sustainable, and it's going to lead to a major global crisis.

By building spiritual capital, however, individuals and organizations can become much more sustainable. Sustainability depends on building up the foundations of your collaboration, your life, your organization. If we make the changes I recommend, if we develop the kind of capitalism that has wider concerns, deeper values, and higher purposes, it will not only be sustainable, but I think we will find it makes more profit.

Copyright © 2004 Pegasus Communications, Inc.

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Flightless Helicopter, Flying Pretzels, etc...
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 21, 2005 Posted: 8:00:10 PM EDT

I took my kids to the Petronas Science Center, KLCC yesterday.

Yes, I know how dull it can be inside there for us adults. But for the kids, it was another experience. When Wesley heard about the helicopter ride, he was all fired up to fly. He made so much noise about 'flying in the helicopter' we all had to do it just to keep him quiet. And so there I was going through this maze of primary school science class stuffs on a drizzly Sunday afternoon (I'd rather read a book) and trying to amuse myself while the kids tried out all the gadgets and stuffs.


When it was time to board the helicopter (the highlight of the trip!) to fly to the oil-rig, I gave it a miss (I've done that with Li-ann on a previous trip) and crossed to the 'landing pad side'. 

If you don't already know, the 'helicopter' is a flight simulator that will 'transport you from 'a little takeoff area to the oil-rig in the middle of the sea'. You enter from the left door of this helicopter, sit down and 'fly-off'. When you have 'landed', you exit from the right door of the helicopter onto an oil-rig . While you are inside the helicopter, you look into a large video screen that plays out the events, from taking off, to being hit by a tropical storm and finally landing on the windy oil-rig. It was pretty real as I remembered it.

As I was saying, I walked through the side-door and sat on the other side, the supposed landing pad on the oil-rig. There were a couple of people waiting along with me for the 'helicopter to land'. I sat and waited for about 10 minutes as I watched the flight simulator doing its stuffs; tilting, vibrating, shaking and rocking with its set of hydraulic controls, my family inside, locked in another world. I guess it must be really fun inside the cabin

From the outside, it all looked pretty ridiculous.

Still after 10 minutes, it was amusing to see how Wesley came out of the helicopter all wide-eyed, smiling in a confused but quite delirious kind of way. I guess he really thought he flew from the Twin Towers to an oil-rig far from the coast of Sarawak. Now, that's worth all the money I paid for at the entrance...

Anyway, what made the trip even more worthwhile was Aunty Anne's Onion and Sour cream Pretzels. It was so good I ate 3 all by myself!


That was Sunday for me.      

I guess yours must be slightly more exciting...

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Carpe Diem!
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 16, 2005 Posted: 2:46:09 PM EDT

This is posted for a friend.


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing our true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before the crowd is to risk loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try at all is to risk failure.
But to risk we must,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The man, the woman, who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing,
Is nothing.

~ anonymous

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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 15, 2005 Posted: 12:30:46 PM EDT

What made our trip to Singapore worthwhile (a saving grace) despite the DesignEdge 2005 debacle was meeting our friend there. We met our '1st class Lion City's ambassador', Michelle for dinner on Thursday. She suggested a little restaurant at Chinatown. We took the MRT there. Chinatown Singapore looks like a much much cleaner version of Petaling Street. Less people though. 

Dinner at Chinatown, northern Chinese cruisine. Nice ambience.

Andrew & Michelle. Yeah, we did the tourist thing a bit.

Michelle made us promise to take her on a 'makansutra' trip in KL the next time she comes by. Our pleasure...BKT, Roast-duck, Fried Koayteow, Mee Mamak and the whole list.

4 Comment(s)

DesignEdge 2005, Some Pics
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 15, 2005 Posted: 12:26:49 PM EDT

DesignEdge 2005

DesignEdge 2005

DesignEdge 2005

DesignEdge 2005

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DesignEdge 2005 was a Flop!
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 12, 2005 Posted: 12:12:27 AM EDT

DesignEdge 2005

I've been here in Singapore for 3 days for DesignEdge 2005 Conference. I've attended 2 days of conferences. What can I say...I am disappointed.

DesignEdge 2005 IS NOT what it was made out to be.

It's a shame! IDN GOT IT WRONG! DesignEdge 2005 has no EDGE.

The organizer is unimaginative and the organization of DesignEdge 2005 is seriously flawed. So flawed it was that the MC, Shiek Haikel got boo-ed this afternoon.  

I don't have reliable connectivity now. (I can't get access to a decent connectivity with good rates here. And Starbucks doesn't offer free wireless connection!!?) I will blog about the issues I encountered here and also reflect on the design initiatives taken by the government of Singapore when I get back.

Till then, check back for a more complete post.

Note : I've decided to quit talking about this event. Unless IDN is honestly keen to hear from the attendees, I think we all have better things to do than talking about how rotten DesignEdge 2005 was.
16th Nov, 2005  


rijac said...

aiya.. should have asked me... macdonalds is free


HT said...

2 years back i attended the IDN conference in S'pore and was really dissappointed. my money would have been better spend in magazines and books. when i received their invitation this year, i gave it a pass and bought myself an oct/nov issue of frankie.


Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin said...

Yes, I'd expected it to be mediocre. It turned out much worst than that.


LeGod said...

The just concluded DesignEdge 2005 was a total mismatch of sorts. Made out to be the mother of design conferences, it turned out to be a pauper of monumental proportions.
They lost the plot from day 1.
The speakers that turned out went through a slideshow of their portfolio without ever explaining their creative process at arrving at that juncture. The Expo was more a marketing gimmick than it was a showcase of talent. A majority of people seemed to have tired and gone shopping instead! They lacked imagination, treated their audience like school kids paying for cheap ice-creams! I feel the criticism on the speakers was unjustified as I honestly felt the poor chaps weren't briefed properly on what was expected. If I wanted to look at a portfolio, I'd have surfed through their website!
The manner in which the stage was set up, was as if they brought in Michael Jackson for a concert and we'd have screaming fans pouring forward! The speakers must have felt so detached from their audiences, so uninspired! Can you imagine working on ground-breaking work and not at all having your audience participate. It's the death or art! On a whole, an utter waste of my time and money to say the least! A design conference that lacked any form of spark, totally devoid of imagination and makes a mockery of our intelligence.
I honestly think the sorry people who organised this should post an apology on all their national newspapers!


Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin said...

Hi LeGod (wow what a name)

You are right.

I have wanted to write a critical review of the conference and how they got things wrong. For an organiser of a Design Conference, they were sadly unable to 'design the interaction space and manage the experience' of the event. It was like walking into a warehouse. Some top hats said on the first day it was supposed to be a 'market-place'. That's a sorry excuse for bad organisation.

I will write about this in full in a day or two.

The only thing worth the while was the short session with the panel of advisory. I asked them a question and within context, some of them were honest enough about the issues of destructive consumerism. But even that was messed up by the moderator who was bent on making all those big names look like animals in a zoo with fancy tricks, sketching and cracking jokes to please people below. The artists were much abused. They were framed within a setup that did not allow them to be their best. Not their faults, but you know, I don't think any of them will want to do it again. At least if I am that Japanese guy, I won't ever want to do it again. 

Apology in national paper? Your call, I am a Malaysian.

I only hope that IDN will only wake up and not trivialise this event and insult designers with such bad organization and un-insightful plus unimaginative attempt at 'sharing great design ideas' with designers.

It's a shame.


scylark said...

It was a good call for sure to have left the conference on the eve of the second day.
For my friends and I, the only good thing about the whole shebang was seeing Delta, Mode2, UVA and DFuse. Although sadly, I must comment that there is a blatant ignorance on the part of the organizers to fully showcase the talents of the invited guests. what's up with 'sitting' while the interactive music performance was being played... it is suppose to be enjoyed to be fully felt and understood! Should have removed all the chairs and silly bean bags and put those installations in the middle of the arena... let the crowd, crowd the place... damn... also, what we paid for and flew all the way to Singapore, is to know what we cannot get from just visiting the websites, so there should be more about the creative processes, development strategies, future interest.
Speaking from the industry, I did got really annoyed with the presentation, the way the 2 host converse with us was just insulting-like we are teething kiddies with no brains... and I think that chubby host did not know what he was talking about, digging his own grave-giving rude comments to the crowd-that was just giving their honest suggestions. Yes the Japanese speaker earned his right to be there, but we as the audience also earned our rights to get our $ worth. My friend and I ended up writing up a 'presentation Do and Don't' while that silly Q&A for kazuki Karaishi was going on... Come on IDN-stop the misleading promises...


Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin said...

You are absolutely right, scylark!


LeGod said...

Either I'm a sympathetic chap or I'm just all out on an assassination of the organisers of DesignEdge 2005. I'm honestly undecided. See, I somehow sympathize with the host ( yes, even that dude! His name's Sheikh Haikel in case you were wondering) and presenters because I'm sure that if these dudes were given a proper brief, they'd have come up with the goods. That Japanese presenter who got culled on stage should be livid with the organisers because he didn't deserve the flak that was coming his way. They probably told him that since you have an exhibition way back in the back, just handle a “simple” Q and A session. What a silly bunch of idiots to firstly underestimate our intellect and secondly of ridiculing a man who's worked hard to get where he is! The host was only ensuring that their guests didn't go home with the feeling they were left for dead on stage by the organisers. I think the calls of disgust are being channelled down the wrong funnel.
I can't understand how the organisers imagined us to be content with such mediocre presentation and even worse organisational skills. When you brief creative people, you should always specify an example of what a paying audience would like to hear. Not leave them in the dark and pray everything works out! Even primary school concerts are organised better! It also seemed like they were more eager to sell their “merchandise” rather than actually run a meaningful event. But, on a more critical note, I'd also be critical of the “groupie” attitude of the people who waited in queue to get posters and DVDs signed by the artists. Fine if you've been following their work for a period and have admired their creative expression over the years. Ask any random “groupie” standing in queue and they haven't a clue of the person they're waiting to get an autograph from! They're just doing it because everyone else is doing it! What a pathetic, “kwai-lo” worshipping bunch of delusional beings! It's no wonder these 20 cent organisers felt they could have gotten away with such shoddy organisation.
The reason I asked for an apology in their national newspapers is so that they accept they've made a mockery of their country's reputed organisational abilities. They should apologise to their people for having let them down in the eyes of the world. Of course, I'd love to have a personal apology letter from them and a refund, but if only frogs could fly...


Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin said...


I am just sad we are trapped in this 'art and culture consuming-mode'. We are consuming design and 'culture', almost mindlessly.

It doesn't make sense to me to ape what these people are doing. They have their contexts. They respond to their cultural landscapes. I would be excited if I can hear them explain why they did this and that.

We have our contexts. We have our cultural landscapes. I think some of us designers have lost our sense of self.

Design Drones?


9 Comment(s)

The Carpenter's House
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 8, 2005 Posted: 1:26:37 PM EDT

I get occasional good stories and parables from friends through emails. The one below is worth posting. The theme is the same I've been talking about.

Your work is a reflection of who you are. You sow what you reap.


An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter.  'This is your house,' he said, 'my gift to you.'
What a shock!  What a shame!  If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, 'Life is a do-it-yourself project.'

Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.


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DesignEdge 2005
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 5, 2005 Posted: 9:41:38 PM EDT

Heading south for this event with Andrew. DesignEdge 2005 at SUNTEC, Singapore.

Read about THE FLOP >>

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Coldplay in X&Y
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 4, 2005 Posted: 6:13:02 PM EDT

Trying hard to speak and fighting with my weak hand
Driven to distraction, so part of the plan...
~ Coldplay X&Y

I thought I was over with rock music.

If somebody had told me last week that I would spend hours listening and reflecting on a new band's album, I would have told that guy to get a life. But I guess there're some sparks that are still ready to be rekindled inside my head. 

X&Y ColdPlay
ColdPlay X&Y Album

I bought ColdPlay's new album X&Y and got hooked on it after a 2nd listening. I must admit on 1st run, the songs sounded plain or just rehashed melodies. After a 2nd listening, the melodies began to grow on me and Chris Martin's lyrics of tired achings and floating falsettos hooked me up.

ColdPlay, the foursome band
ColdPlay, the band.

Compared to their previous album (A Rush of Blood to the Head), this one seems more tight and polished in arrangements and execution. The lyrics also seem to glimmer a little more and echo shades of emotions and meanings not previously apparent.

I especially enjoy the song X&Y with its theme of alienation and a spiritual search within a world spinning seemingly towards dissolution. Chris Martin's wistful falsettos rise to the lonely strings hummed by a church organ and brought into sharp contrast with an electric guitar's mimicry of an Indian sitar. Can an electric guitar learn the spiritual harmonies of a sitar? Indeed, a great metaphor that perhaps reflects the central theme of this album.   

Other good songs in the album:

~ Talk
~ Fix You
~ White Shadow
~ What if
~ Speed of Sound
~ Till Kingdom Come

The album seem to have a blend of great rock influences such as the introspectiveness of John 'Double Fantasy' Lennon, 'sitar-ised' Beatles with Maharishi Yogi, U2 with driving bass and blazing loopy licks and Bob Dylan of raspy poetics wrapped in strummy ditties.  

Here's the lyrics for the song 'Talk' for your enjoyment.

Talk ~ ColdPlay

oh brother i can't, i can't get through
I've been trying hard to reach you cos i don't know what to do
oh brother i can't believe its true
i'm so scared about the future and i want to talk to you
oh i want to talk to you

you can take a picture of something you see
in the future where will i be?
you could climb a ladder up to the sun
or write a song nobody had sung
or do something that's never been done

are you lost or incomplete
do you feel like a puzzle, you can't find your missing piece
tell me how you feel
well i feel like they're talking in a language i don't speak
and they're talking it to me

so you take a picture of something you see
in the future where will i be?
you could climb a ladder up to the sun
or write a song nobody had sung
or do something that's never been done
do something that's never been done

so you don't know where you're going but you wanna talk
but you feel like your going where you've been before
you'll tell anyone who'll listen that you've feel ignored
nothings really making any sense at all
lets talk
lets talk

lets talk
lets talk

More ColdPlay Lyrics here>>

You can check out 2 of their mtvs here>> ( 'Fix you' & 'Speed of Light' )

Anti-Dumping Promo Pic of Chris Martin

Click here to read about ColdPlay's support for Oxfam's Fair Trade political stand>>.
Make Trade Fair is part of the global call to action against poverty.

Read ColdPlay's Tour Blog to catch a glimpse of ColdPlay's political stirrings here >>Click here to learn more about the fight against poverty on Oxfam's Website.>>

Make Trade Fair : DOWNLOAD Full Report 

Read Guardian's interview with Chris Martin here>>


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Flight of Deception
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 2, 2005 Posted: 5:31:03 PM EDT

Master of deception
Moths are masters of deception. In order to survive a hostile world, this fragile insect camouflages itself among trees and takes to growing fearsome patterns on its wings to frightens off predators.

Oh, there's another thing. 

Have you seen a moth fly? Or should I say 'have you seen a moth attempting to fly'?

For the longest time I have been puzzled by the flight of a moth. You see, a moth doesn't exactly fly in the sense of the word as we know it. A moth in flight has as much elegance as a scrap of newspaper blown by a sudden gush of wind in an afternoon thunderstorm. 

As a kid, I used to watch helpless moths struggling to prop-up their heavy wings and flap randomly in a florescent-lit room or under some staircases after a night of rain. And it used to make me wonder. 

'How can such a dumb and clumsy insect, with the survival instinct of a sausage, qualifies itself as as one of the many survivals in the Darwinian world populated by stalking predators and cunning preys'.    

That was until a week ago.

I now understand why this creature has such a 'logic-defying' flight.

It was Monday morning. I think the time was around 8.30am and I was exciting the NPE into Jalan Templer. The sky was cloudy. I can't remember exactly but I think it was windy outside and occasional raindrops were being wiped away from my windscreen. Up in the sky about 50 meter above, I saw a big moth flapping its big wings clumsily and seeming to struggle in its flight, dipping and surging randomly in the wind. I was thinking; 

'What's that silly moth doing up there on a windy morning, flying like a drunken driver in the air?' 

Suddenly I saw a bird swooping down to attack the moth. It flew straight at the moth and 'miraculously' I saw it missed its target. The bird turned back (I think it's a myna) and headed towards the moth again, but it missed one more time. The moth continued to flap and circled up in the air and the bird seemed defeated for that moment as I drove pass the scene.

All of a sudden I was struck by an 'Aha!' moment. It made sense now!

In an instant I understood why a moth 'flies' so randomly. It is a flight of deception, a Darwinian dance of survival to confuse its prey. It might not be graceful. It might not be pretty. But it serves its purpose. 

Now let me hold on to that thought. This applies to all those 'interesting', seemingly unfathomable people I've met and I've worked with, who manifest unpredictable behaviors and seemingly 'senseless actions' and responses to the people and the world around them. Ah, so it is a giddy dance of survival after all. Some of us display an adapted set of behavioral patterns that is woven to shield or hide a person's emotional vulnerabilities through disguise. Yes, it is a very clever survival instinct indeed, irregardless whether the person is conscious or unconscious in its adoption. 

Oh but there's one final thing.

Think about this. Would you rather be a vulnerable moth or would you want to be an soaring eagle instead? Are you happy playing the part of weak prey till death or perhaps you might want to conquer the skies like the awe-inspiring eagle?

Unlike the physical realms the moth lives in, our emotional states can be transcended? Now is there another option within the food chain? 

Darwinism in this as good as it gets?

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Getaway with Family
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 2, 2005 Posted: 12:57:57 PM EDT

Sunset at Pangkor 2005
I sneaked away for some family time last weekend. Here's a pix of the sunset we witnessed. Like they say, there's a time for everything. Last weekend was the time to bond with the people who make my life especially meaningful.

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Dinner at Marche Movenpick, The Curve
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - November 2, 2005 Posted: 12:42:57 PM EDT

Images from

We are in a celebratory mood.

Yes, it is Deepa-Raya and all that. But more importantly, we have had an exceptional year, 2005. Everyone of us worked really hard and gave the best we could for this special year with plenty of challenges and significant milestones.

So I am gathering all of XiMnet's Dragon Slayers for a feast at Marche, The Curve, tonight. And that includes our very patient and supportive investor who stuck with us through it all.

For 2005, cheers till it lasts!

2006, here we come, with bigger dreams and all, never forgetting where we come from and where we are headed.

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Wiley Chin
Chief Alchemist
XiMnet Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

An alchemist of the Internet and marketing strategies, leading the charge to put our creative and software talents into serving companies who are out to slay the global giants. Also known as Chief of Caffeine Consumption and hallucinates between projects. Yes, that accounts for his “giant slaying” stuff.

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