Tuesday 31 January 2012

One Day Excursion at JPO (Johor Premium Outlets)

Last Sunday, being the last day of my long Chinese New Year Holiday, we (with my wife) decided to explore the recently launched Premium Outlets in Malaysia, called Johor Premium Outlets (JPO). All in all, it takes us about 2 hours journey from Singapore to reach the destination (inclusive of the custom checks). 

We reached JPO at about 12pm, without wasting much time, we started to zoom around immediately after gotten the VIP coupon booklet from the local tour guide. There are about 70 outlets scattered along 2 whole floors of 2 adjacent blocks. For your easy reference, following are the floor map and shops listing (click on the images to enlarge):

JPO - Floor Map
JPO - Shops Listing
We spent about 4 hours + to complete the whole "shopping spree". The outcomes are 2 pairs of shoes, some cosmetic products and a lanyard from Coach (effectively not a very satisfactory outcome). If you are looking for cheap and heavy discounts from the branded shops like Coach, Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors etc..., prepared to be disappointed. Other than some selected value buys, the prices are not much cheaper than those in Singapore or other Premium Outlets oversea.

Following are some snapshots of the JPO (sorry for the amateur photo quality as I was using my iPhone for the shot):
Salvatore Ferragamo
Michael Kors
Nike Factory Store (the Man-In-Blue is ME)
Lacoste and Fossil
One of the 2 escalator/staircase
Shanghai Tang
The Food Court - Food Channel
Zegna Outlet Store
The child-trolley rental station
Another M-I-B shot in Singapore's Kallang Bahru Bus Terminal
For latest promotion and update, check out their official site at JPO. If you have been to JPO, do share your experience with us here.


Friday 20 January 2012

SPECIAL: Magic Show!

Since the "David Copperfield" era, magic show has been gaining ground and popularity from all over the world. Many self-proclaimed magicians or illusionists are springing out at every corner of the world. Those more successful ones are gaining lots of followers and apprentices and some even have their own TV shows. It's one of the fast-lane to stardom or becoming a celebrity magician.

Of course, magic show has it's merits and entertainment value (be it online or offline), that's the reason why there are more and more different genre of magics being uncovered along the way. I must say that some of them are really "eye opener" and seems unexplainable to me! It is also a great business opportunity for the show business as well as individual magicians. For the latter, they are mainly magicians for hire to perform at birthday party, company event etc.

At this information age, most of the magicians (both corporate and individual) have some kind of online presence (e.g. through their own website and/or social networking profiles) to promote and market their talent. For example, I have chanced upon some interesting ones, like Magician Clinton W. Gray, Vancouver Magic Productions, Norden The Magician, Comedy Magic Of Chris Yuill etc...

During my "research" exercise, I chanced upon a piece of information regarding the magic show industry and the potential risk of offending the Canada's anti-competition Laws for certain such sites (for full details, please refer to the text in blue at the end of the post). I am not sure how true is it but I guess it is always prudent to do more research and comparison before you click on "Add To Cart" or "Buy" button (if you are a potential magician hirer residing in Canada).

Lastly, just like to clarify that I am not into magic show or magic show business, this post is for pure sharing purpose only.


Full details of what I've chanced upon:
Is this group of Vancouver Magicians offending Canada’s anticompetition laws? We asked members of the legal community for their opinion, and got this reply..
Whether HOW this syndicate/cartel (see link provided) of Vancouver BC high-priced individual magicians via their self-described "non-profit organization", with a unified pricelist, potentially, or actually breaches Canada's Competition Act (formerly known as Canada's Anti-Combines Act).

I’m very familiar with this and we were laughing in the office about this order because we just wrapped up a 9 month case in Toronto over the Competition Act so we’ve become very familiar with it.

I’ve done some research on your question and the company in. The price page is a little confusing because it states that those prices are for performers not on the site and is the general average price, not the price of the performers. However it’s a dirty marketing technique basically and switch and bait. They show you how expensive it is and when you contact a performer from the website you as the customer are relieved to see a discount of around 15 percent. For example, for the best it states it’s 1500 plus. We called 4 performers and the highest price was 1400 the lowest 1200, not much of a difference from the price sheet but enough to make a customer feel they’re getting a deal.

The website states that it’s non-profit. Under the law a non-profit company must be for the good of the people as a whole. This company is not “good for the people” so saying they are non-profit is a direct violation of law.

They state they collect NO fees or commissions from the customer which is true. However they do collect a fee from the performer which is booked from the site. By doing this they are now a profit company because nowhere on the site does it state where any money collected helps the people as a whole. Whenever you are a nonprofit you MUST state clearly what you’re doing with the money and how you’re helping those you are targeting. You must also disclose to the public how much money you collect goes towards the cause, to payroll and how much goes into the general ledger.

Looking at Section 76 of the act, this company has broken many of the laws outlined under fair competition. Not only the company but the performers as well. As you may or may not know, this act can be civil or criminal based on what sections of laws are broken. 

I would write a detailed letter along with a copy of this “answer” and send it to the following address so a full investigation can be conducted! Make sure to include the company name, address, what they’re doing, stating their non-profit when they’re not and so forth!

Legislative Services Branch
284 Wellington Street, SAT-3
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8
I hope this helps and answers your question(s). If you need anything further please don’t hesitate to ask. You really need to do something about this on your part because it’s not fair to the other performers trying to make a living and doing it right.

Thank You,

Saturday 14 January 2012

Lunar Chinese New Year 2012

In slightly more than 1 week's time, all the Chinese from around the world will be celebrating the Chinese New Year (to be specific, the first day of Chinese New Year falls on 23/01/2012 [Monday] and it will last for 15 days). As usual, this year I will be going back to my hometown (Taiping, Malaysia) for the reunion. However, basing on the Chinese customary , we cannot celebrate the Chinese New Year during the first year of our immediate family's passing. So, this year will be a quieter reunion for us.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2012 is the Year Of Dragon (a mystic and auspicious creature from Chinese Mythology, see photo below). There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac representing the year of your birth. Thus, all Chinese belongs to one of the 12 animals (for me, I was born in the Year Of Boar/Pig).  
The 12 animals of Chinese Zodiac
Usually during this period (few weeks before the Chinese New Year), most Chinese from across the world will be busy doing the annual spring cleaning, buying or making the New Year decoration, cookies and of course, exchanging the new notes (money) for Ang Pow (red packets) packing. Basing on the Chinese Tradition, married couples are to give Ang Pow (with money inside, of course) to the juniors (those who are not married yet) as a sign of great start of the year in terms of their study or work.  
Sample of Red packet
To spice up my blog, I've snapped some photos relating to Chinese New Year items from my recent marketing trip. Enjoy...
This is the god-offering food/item
Chinese New Year dried fruits in Dragon Packaging
This is what inside the Dragon packaging


Wednesday 11 January 2012

CES 2012 - First Day Highlights

The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2012 is currently being held in Las Vegas (from 10/01/2012 to 13/01/2012). This annual event likened to the Oscar in Show business. It is the time the heavyweights of the consumer electronics/technology products providers are showcasing their new wonders (or at least showing some of the working prototypes) to the world.

I know my blog is nothing to do with electronics or technology stuff, but I think it is important for all of us to be aware of the forthcoming eye opener(s) in the technology space because we are more connected than we thought. Just ask around, who do not own smartphone nowadays?   

As the show is still on-going, I would not be able to provide any complete summary of the event, thus, I am trying to identify some key highlights that would potentially impact us in 2012:

1. Mobile payment systems is here to stay -For example, Google Wallet allows you to make payments with the tap of a smartphone. More devices are outfitted with the crucial Near Field Communication (NFC) chip that makes these transactions possible.

2. Facebook IPO will happen in 2012 - This forthcoming monster IPO (in billions) will sure to cause a stir in the market. 

3. Tablets will continue to soar - A recent spate of Apple rumors suggest that iPad 3 could be arriving as early as February and may be accompanied by a smaller “iPad mini.”, Other coming soon competing products are  Android-powered tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Kindle Fire. 

4. Ultrabooks will gain traction as viable tablet alternatives - A perfect alternative for someone who likes the sleek, lightweight quality of a tablet but wants a full keyboard. Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo all offered ultrabooks.

5. Voice Recognition Technology - Siri is just the beginning, more are in the pipeline from the competitors. Wonder would Siri be able to communicate directly with other "counterpart"?

If you happen to be at CES 2012, do share with us how you find the show as compared to the previous years and which products/services you think are worth checking out in 2012?


Friday 6 January 2012

How Did You Spend Your First Week of 2012?

First weekend of 2012 is just around the corner. How did you celebrate the new year count-down last weekend? Did you spend time holidaying in far far away land, like many other Singaporean here did or....?

For me, it's a usual annual brunch with wife at the usual restaurant called The Line (at Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore). Surprisingly, this year the place is quite crowded (I thought we are supposed to be having economic downturn? No?). Anyway, we enjoyed the food, the ambiance and the companion of each other. 

Also, managed to catch 2 movies (DVD) with my wife at our cosy home ("No String Attached" and "X-men : First Class"), both are deemed watchable and entertaining but no classic materials though. After which, it's all workdays until now... However, I am grateful that my works are not that demanding at the moment and thus able to spend more time with my loved ones. 

Hope that you folks have a wonderful first week of 2012 as well and do feel free to share your new year celebration here.

Just to get a little bit more up-close and personal with you guys/gals, I am sharing herewith some photos taken from the brunch session with my wife:    
First Champagne in 2012

The mix (Japanse Soba and chilled lobster)
That's my wife and me in MIB theme
That's me in solo
This one is outside the restaurant. How many birds are there?

Tuesday 3 January 2012

What Make You Happy?

This morning, as usual, am listening to the Mandarin Radio broadcast while having my breakfast. But this time round, I pay more attention to the radio than the breakfast. It is not because of the song or the broadcaster, but the heartfelt sharing by one of the listener about the topic "What Make You Happy?"...

The conclusion that I derived from the sharing by the listener is as follows:

"To be happy, we need to be grateful for small little things that happening around us" 

(For example, we should feel happy when the train is running smoothly; we should feel happy when someone we don't know give us a pleasant smile; we should feel happy when we watched a nice movie or listened to a good song etc...)

This is the exact principle that I am practising until today, I am pretty sure that I will continue to use this principle till the day I call it a day. My reasoning is very simple, BIG thing is hard to come by or at least would not happen so frequently as compared to the small things, which is happening around us every day. So, would you choose to be happy everyday or just once in the blue moon? The choice is yours to make as happiness is in your hand and not others.

This bring me to the topic that I want to discuss further: Being Optimistic! I firmly believed that an optimistic person is happier in nature (as compared to the person who are pessimistic). Again, no rocket science here, an optimistic person response to/deal with every situation with positive connotation whereby the pessimistic person doing just the reversed.

In summary, my recipe for "What Make You Happy?" are:
1. To be able to feel happiness for the smallest thing around you.
2. To be optimistic

So, what is your take on happiness in your own country? Do share it cross in the comment lines below.


Monday 2 January 2012

SPECIAL: Time To Plan For Your Next Trip

Time really fly, the first day of 2012 has just ended by the time this post is published (Singapore Time). However, we still have 365 days to go in 2012 because this year is a Leap Year! If you were at work last week, I believed you do noticed that the office is almost half empty, that's because it's a typical long holiday period and most people will take this opportunity to do one thing.... and that is... travelling.

Talking about travelling, I read about a national survey (in Singapore) sometime back regarding the favourite hobbies of Singaporean, and you know what? Travelling is ranked Number 1 in this survey. So, saying travelling is the national hobby of the locals here is not an overstatement.

If you are a local frequent traveller, I am sure the most exciting time for you is during the Natas Fair (National Association of Travel Agents Singapore). As this is the time for you to hunt for the best travelling deals in town. Usually, there are two travel fairs in a year. In 2012, the first Natas Fair is scheduled from 24 to 26 February 2012 at the Singapore Expo.

You might be just back from your trip not long ago, but it is always good to plan ahead for your next trip. This will minimise any potential hiccup for planning it at the last minute. Besides sorting out the itinerary and get your ticket(s) as early as possible, the next key step is to get the appropriate level of Travel Insurance. Of course, usually there are Travel Insurance Promotion at Natas Fair, thus, it is advisable to take advantage of all these promotions during the fair and get all your travelling needs under one-roof.

As the saying goes, failed to plan is plan to fail, this applies to travelling too. Thus, do plan ahead and hope you have a fruitful 2012 and enjoyable trips ahead!


P/S: For more details of the the Natas Fair and the Travel Insurance Promotion in Natas Fair, do click on the above links to find out more.