Do You Remember Your First Road Trip Or Even Your First Trip On A Plane?

PART 1 – The journeys of past

I was inspired to write down my thoughts today after reading a blog by the CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson. He asked a simple question – “Do you remember your first road trip or even your first trip on a plane?”

What a thought provoking question.

I cannot really recall my first ever road trip because I grew up in a family who loved travelling whenever we could especially during school holidays. These trips were all extremely exciting because you just did not know where you will end up at! My parents usually did not tell me about all these plans. Our road trips will usually involving them picking me up after school session ended, usually on the last Friday which was the last day of school. I will see the big travelling bag already in place on the back seat. I was supposed to change from the school uniform into something more comfortable at the back seat of the car and all the while excitement just get built up depending on what I saw in the bag….

Plenty of beach towel, swimming suit, slippers meant we will be heading towards somewhere with PLENTY of water, usually the beach. Sweaters and socks meaning were will be heading towards the mountains.

And mind you, these trips will take days and days and days. My dad with his trusty big camera will snap away plenty of pictures (back then they were in black and white). I usually get confused using his camera because the focus frame will show an upside down image. You can now imagine how many years ago was that….

Big trips to the beach will usually see us ended up in Penang, Port Dickson or Kuantan. The drive took forever as there was still no big highways back then. Those long, winding roads that passed through tiny villages and small towns were interesting. Sometimes we had to over night at some of these tiny places as it was already so late at night and Abah was too tired to drive. Remember, in the old days, the cars had no air cond and power steering.

Accommodation was usually something basic such as government rest houses. We could not afford expensive, fancy hotels although sometimes we ended in some Chinese-owned hotels with names such as Ak Keong Hotel, Excelsior Hotel, Champagne Hotel or whatever, where the bathroom is usually located at the end of the corridor. They will provide you with these basic necessities such as a room with a fan, tiny Lux soap bars and tiny guest towels. The room slippers, if provided at all, will have its back-end snipped away to discourage pilferage.

Meals were simple, usually eaten at simple restaurants or rest houses. No fancy fast food outlets back then. Or, my mom will pack some rice and dishes from home and this will be our journey meals where dad will stop at several places. Sometimes we will stop near a river and this became a mini picnic of sort.

Will keep all of you posted on Second Part of this blog. Will talk about my experience travelling on a plane for the first time…..

For those who wants to read Arne’s blog, click below:

Blog by the CEO of Marriott International


Note To Self


Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Khalil Gibran


GE 13 Is On 5th May 2013

Malaysians will go to the voting centre to start casting their votes on the 5th May 2013. Just one more sleep to get this over with and for the past few days, the FB and Twitters have been lambasted with all kinds of accusations, personal attacks, character blasting from all sides of contesting parties. I find this so disturbing that Malaysians have come to this.

Malaysia has come a long way to be where we are.  It is not easy to manage family members, let alone 28 million that comes in all shapes, sizes, background, religion, skin colour and such.

There is no room for experimentation in managing a country. The progress we are enjoying right now has come with a lot of sacrifices from many people from the day we gained our independence.

But sometimes, leaders being human, can forget and be too proud of their collective achievements. That the sky will never fall and that the rakyat will never speak.

Years ago when there was no influx of social media channels, leaders needed to walk across paddy fields and rubber plantations to get to the rakyat. Nowadays, there are all methods of communications. But, this lack personal engagement of which is crucial when you want to win the heart of hearts of the rakyat. There are still at least 50% of the population which falls below the Gen Y generation who I think will prefer the face to face engagement. But, there is now a good mix of the 50% balance that comes from Gen X and Y who are rebellious and want change. They have not experienced the pain, sufferings and sacrifices what Baby Boomers and the Older Generation had. But, that does not mean they are not the thinking generation. They like to be a part of this change and I think some of the efforts in engaging them by the current Government has done for the past 5 years may have come a tad too late.

My thoughts on some issues:

  • The seasoned politicians who think that all voters are the same as 30 years ago should resign and contribute from different platform. They are now more well-informed, connected to the world, are curious and sometimes pledge loyalty to only themselves.
  • There is now no more room for speeches on preferred racial proportions. The key word now is equality.
  • Those who are empowered to manage all the ministries, departments and key jobs should be trained in the best practices of government administration functions especially leadership, communication, diplomatic relationship and crisis management. Key competencies ought be to built across the board.  They ought to be profiled and assessed just as how big corporations are being managed. Not suitable? Then there is the door. Thank you.
  • Malaysia still lack a good crisis media management. Sometimes, all too many people speak at the same time, shoot themselves back at the foot and allowing the world to gawk at the circus, wondering how on earth these people get to be there.

I just got back from India where I spent one week there for work with the association that I represent. Great, exotic country. Met many wonderful people and created new network and opened new opportunities. But, I thought of Malaysia every day without fail. I longed to be home to a familiar turf where I can get any of my comfort food anytime of the day and without fear of walking in the city at 2 am.

The culture of learning is strong everywhere. I saw universities, colleges and research institutes. I was in a big room full of Phd holders and double masters for that one week. I was amazed.

On the tilted end, I also saw poverty where I have not seen in Malaysia. I saw street children, women living on the pavements, beggars were everywhere, people still bathing from street side water pumps and where switching on the air-conditioned in a taxi will attract extra charges. I am sure all these people want to be living in a better condition and not like that but it was such that they were like that. I saw this old man rummaging through a pile high thrash in front of a restaurant; once in a while stopping for picking up left overs and eating them.

Malaysians are pampered and spoilt lot. Those who are still complaining they do not have enough food ought be bundled and shipped out from the country.

The departure day arrived on that Sunday one week later. As I walked towards the plane, I saw the MAS logo, the familiar Malaysian faces and I felt overjoyed knowing that I am going home.

As we landed the taxiway 6 hours later I prayed a word of thanks to God for bringing me back home safely to my country and to my family. I do not want to be elsewhere. I felt that I wanted to kiss the ground. I will feel like this each time I am coming home from any of the travels.

I hope that after this 5th May 2013, I will still have a peaceful country that I love so and want to go home to.

Happy Voting Day my fellow Malaysians and vote wisely.