Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Open Letter to Datuk Tony Fernandez and The People of Air Asia

Dear Datuk,

You obviously don't know me.

My name is Timothy and I run a blog advertising community in Malaysia called Nuffnang where two companies that you own: Air Asia and Tune Hotels have both advertised on.

As much as I would like to thank you and the people at Air Asia for your support of our humble dotcom, that is however a whole different matter altogether and is not why I'm writing this letter.

About a month ago, I packed my bags and flew Air Asia for the first time on a flight to Macau to visit the very talked about Venetian there.

It was the first time in my life that I ever flew Air Asia.This may come as a shock to many since I for one travel a lot and have yet never before flown Air Asia.

That's not to say that I don't fly budget airlines. I do.

I spent 3 years of my life pursuing a degree at UCL in London. As you can imagine, as a student I traveled a lot around Europe and also as a student... the only flights that I could really afford there were from budget airlines.

I actively flew budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryan Air, coincidentally the budget airlines that I assume Air Asia models after.

Yet whenever I was back in Malaysia I never once set foot on an Air Asia plane because of the ill-advised stigma that a local budget airline will not be very safe let alone comfortable.A month ago however, I finally mustered the courage and boarded an Air Asia plane. I was greeted with a rude shock.

Being used to Easyjet and Ryan Air, I was used to:

1) Massive flight delays: I once waited out a delay of 4 hours in Berlin for a flight to take me back to London.

2) Casually dressed air stewardesses: At Easyjet, I remember their on-flight staff wore casual clothes with an orange vest which really is not too much to complain about since after all, I was flying budget.

3) Small tiny seats which barely reclined: This made me suffer a little bit on the slightly longer flights but hey... I was flying budget!

4) Very very very little leg space: Which made it very hard for me to stretch any time during a flight.

And that was what I expected from Air Asia as well.

After I chucked my bag into the overhead compartment and sat down on my seat, I took a quick look around realized that I was TERRIBLY WRONG.
1) The flight left the airport on time: I may have heard of some delays before but for the two flights I had, there were no delays and everyone I have spoken to so far tells me that the flight is almost never late to leave.

2) The air stewardesses were very well dressed in stunning uniform: Which almost had me forget for a while that I was flying on a budget airline.

3) The seat was of a good size and to my disbelief was LEATHER. I have NEVER sat on a leather seat on an airplane before and I say this even after having been lucky enough to fly First and Business class on some other airlines before.


4) There was enough leg space for me to stretch every now and then.
I could not believe it.

The airline that I expected so little from, gave me so much more and for that I felt compelled to write this letter.

What I was even more surprised with was this.

Many companies in Asia grow big with the benefits of being either a monopoly or oligopoly in its markets. Competition for Air Asia exists but in the budget airline industry for this region, it is clear that Air Asia is by far the market leader.

In that market environment, one would expect to see a complacent airline with high prices and questionable service but that is not what I saw in Air Asia. Instead, the prices are low and affordable: everything down from the air fare itself to the delicious Maggi cup noodle I ate on board the flight and the service was fantastic. Really fantastic!

For that I just have to say to you and all the people at Air Asia who put together this wonderful organization (everyone from the stewardesses on board the flight to the ground crew, the admin, accounts, marketing and even sales people),Well done... all of you have indeed built a Malaysian company that I am very proud of as a Malaysian.

From now on, I will no longer look at Air Asia as the airline that simply took after other successful budget airlines in the UK and US.

I will look at Air Asia as the airline that took the budget airline model, innovated it and made it far better than the airlines it modeled after.

I can't wait to fly Air Asia X.

Humbly Yours,
Timothy Tiah

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boss Stewie's Makeover

Let me tell you how Timothy Tiah spends his Sunday mornings.

Sundays are the most relaxing days for me now for two reasons.

1) I can work from home and not head into the office.

2) I don't get too many calls from clients.

So here's what I do on a typical Sunday.

I wake up in the morning, wash up then walk out of my apartment and take in a deep breath of fresh air.

I live right in the middle of KL City so it's only on Sundays where the air feels free of any pollution.

Then I walk towards my car that will be quietly parked in my apartment car park, hop in and turn on my CD Player.

With Michael Buble playing in the background, I shift my gear and take a drive around KL City.

The roads in the city during a Sunday are fantastic.

They're always empty!

I sing away while driving around the empty roads.
"In this crazy life... and through these crazy times, it's you it's you... you make me sing, your every line, your every word, you're my everything."
After I'm done driving past the beautiful Petronas Twin Towers with the sunrising in its backdrop I head a whole different direction to a place in KL where even on Sundays there is a little bit more activity.
Straight for my Sunday morning Bak Kut Teh breakfast.

I have breakfast there with some friends who are more often think it's too early for breakfast and curse and swear at me for dragging them out in the heat.

Like little Samantha here who couldn't keep her eyes open throughout the breakfast.

The food at the Bak Kut Teh breakfast always seems to come in stages.

First, there are the tea cups that you have to wash yourself in hot water.

Then come the tau pok and yau char kuay

And then finally... the BAK KUT TEH ITSELF... a proud Malaysian delicacy.

After my hearty breakfast, I head home and spend the rest of the day watching Las Vegas on TV.

Or on catching up with my reading. I love to read.
And please... that magazine with a naked baby in front of NEWSWEEK ok?

Not Baby porn or something ok (If you even thought that then you are SICK!! SICK I TELL YOU SICK!!!!).

So that's how my usual Sundays are like.

Yesterday however, was not a usual Sunday for me.


A particular friend of mine whom I would refer to here as Rockingdandy thinks that I dress like a cow and he wants to do a "Boss Stewie Makeover" on me so I sacrificed my usual Sunday morning.

Instead of going for a pleasant drive around KL, I found myself here.

Taken to this nice place to get my hair cut because he says my current (now previous) hair looked like shit.

Rockingdandy did all the talking and telling the hair stylist what to do with my hair.

All I did was sit down and sip tea.

45 minutes and one orgasmic hair wash massage later... I became like this.

But even then it wasn't enough for Rockingdandy.

As far as he knows, I still dress like a damn hippie.

So he took my to Pavillion in Starhill and dressed me up.

So this is how Rockingdandy thinks I should look for the rest of the days that I spend on this Earth.

Ladiesss.... what do you think?

Do you think Rockingdandy just made things better or worse for me?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Present From a Reader

Long before Nuffnang launched, started reading a blog called "a long and arduous road of an entrepreneur".

That blog belonged to an anonymous Singaporean entrepreneur-blogger that goes by the name of Cobalt Paladin, someone that I have a lot of respect for.

Why do I have so much respect for this man?


Reading his blog gave me a very good insight on how the life of an entrepreneur is, not so much about the glory after you've made it, but more on the struggles in trying to get where you want to be.

Cobalt is so honest in his writings, it gives you a true depiction of how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur let alone a successful one. Even on my blog I censor out a lot of the struggles .

So why am I writing about him again?

Well...remember the time I lost my bluetooth headset to the washing machine and went to buy a cheap hands free set instead?

Cobalt Paladin apparently is one of the few people who read my blog each day.

He read about my bluetooth so he sent ONE for me ALL THE WAY FOR SINGAPORE.

I first found about what he was going to do when he e-mailed me for my address but I refused to give it to him because I couldn't POSSIBLY accept such a thing.

So he stole our Nuffnang office address in KL and sent it there (Yes, so if you guys want to send any hate mail, anthrax or bombs, go ahead and send it to that address. It'll reach me alright).

Now let me put this in perspective.

First of all, Cobalt is one blogger I have a lot of respect for and actually look up to. It makes my head grow big enough already having know that he actually READS my blog but also that he would send me a bluetooth headset all the way from Singapore?

That's like Brad Pitt telling you that he watches your home videos that you upload on YouTube and on top of that is sending you a contract to have a movie made out of them.

Cobalt dude, I don't know how to thank you enough.

If you're reading this, please at least let me buy you a good dinner the next time I'm down in Singapore.

On another note, the evil side of me is thinking that maybe ... just maybe... I should write about how I lost my iPhone in a washing machine. BWAHAHAHA

Maybe someone might just send me an iPhone... BWHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

So let me try now..


PS: The iPhone in the picture is not mine okay. I am not loaded. It belongs to a Danny Foo. Yes he's a rich sonofabitch so go find him and borrow money from him or something. He'll probably even forget about the hundred thousands he'll lend you. All chump change to him.

Timothy Tiah uses an old Sony Ericsson ok?
PS 2: If you guys are interested, read about Cobalt Paladin and his struggles as an entrepreneur in Singapore, click here, here and here.

Friday, October 26, 2007



Ah that is something all of us grew up doing and some of us grew up hating!

I never liked maths to be honest and I was never really good in it. That didn't mean I didn't always scored in it. I always scored A in maths back in school and even in A-levels but that's ONLY because I practiced so much till I was good in it.

Not like some of you out there who never need to practice much and can still get 100% all the time.

Now somebody e-mailed me something interesting yesterday and I thought I'd share it with you guys.

These are some real life answers that some of our students give.


Ok here's an easy one that we all can relate to.
Check out the model answer!


No need for all that

Menurut Teorem Pitagoras bullshit...


The next one is fairly easy as well.


Why didn't I think of that!!!

It makes perfect sense too... that's right Form 2 students... BURN YOUR BUKU SIFAR...


This is something I WISH I could've done in school.LOL LOL!!!


This is hilarious...



Check out the teacher's comments.

"Very funny Peter"...


These kind of questions make me dizzy.

And I can understand the student. I mean, all that dizzyness is bound to make you hallucinate what the real problem is.


Now I can really relate to this math problem because as much as I hate maths, I ended up studying a BSc in Economics at UCL where the math was so intense it would make a grown man's balls shrink.

Seriously, they're so crazy over there that if they could speak in Math, they would.

So believe me when I say that I understand how this student feels.


Read the question first.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

E-mail From A Reader About Entrepreneurship

Last week I received an e-mail from one of my readers and I decided to share it with the rest of you guys.

Now this is a very very text heavy entry (which is not really my style) so I know many of you might not really bother to read it.

But I get a number of these questions sometimes so I thought I'd just share it once and for all.

Hi Timothy,

How are you? I'm XJ and we met at the (was it?) last bloggers meet in KL. Do you still remember I wanted to pass to you some Mac software?

Anyway, if you still do not remember, I'm that guy in HELP doing A -Levels and it would be a great honour if you could spare me some time just to answer a question that has bugged me. To cut everything straight to the point without beating around the bush, I wish to seek the advice of an entrepreneur like yourself to weigh my options.

The question is:
Should I quit my studies to pursue business (work, not studies)?

If you don't have time then a yes or no would suffice for me. I would be grateful for your answer.

Considerations: (If you have time)

1. Mentors encourage me to quit.
a. My mentor evaluates that my character is more suited to employer than employee. I argue that his evaluation may not be accurate, and if accurate, then I shouldn't quit studying as a Plan-B in case my business fails I can still work. My mentor argues that I should start working immediately as I'm young and this is the time to make mistakes and gain experience. On the other hand, his idea of a Plan-B is to not have a Plan-B so that it will force me to think and innovate.

b. As I currently have a photography business where I'm self-employed as well as hire a couple of assistants and designers, my mentor encourages me to build the small business and gain experience rather than studying first as it would be a waste of time if business is the ultimate thing I want to pursue. I argue that I do not plan to run the photography business for long and merely use it as a stepping stone to pursue my other interests. He argues that all my other interests only interests profit-making.

c. My mentor argues that the hard way is the easier way to nuture an entrepreneur's mindset. As in, throw you into the deep end to force you to learn how to swim. I argued that I would drown as knowledge is lacking.

d. My mentor argues that studying may not be necessary if I intend to do business in the end. I argue that by going through university I will have acquired a set of knowledge and skills that may be useful. My mentor argues that the more I know, it would have a detrimental effect on my risk-taking spirit. I argue that I may be jumping off a cliff and not knowing it. He argues that better jump off that cliff when I'm still young so I would recognize it when I'm older.

2. Difficulties in financing studies
So far my results have been fair, as in fair enough to obtain scholarships. However, cost of living still has to be taken into account and if I do not manage to obtain a scholarship, I may have to resort to a loan. (For context, my parents refuse to finance my studies as they think it's a waste of time for me.) The problem of loan may be a pending recession and the availibility of jobs for me to finance repayment of it. Other than that, I would have much much less capital for whatever I want then. Another loan may solve the problem but credit restrictions may be even tighter by then, and a whole host of problems one could argue both ways.

3. Lack of direction.
There's no direction for me if I want to start a business. If I want to start a business, what business? If I continue studying, there is that definite course of studies normal people would go through- From A levels to a degree and after that an internship somewhere and a job at last. However if I drop out then I may be stuck with little idea what to do. The arguement against this is that the situation may cause me to think and be creative albeit in a hard way.

Thank you for your time and I'm sorry if this has taken up much of your time. If you have read until this point, my respect for you has really tripled. I apologize once more for taking your time if you had pressing matters. I value your opinion much.

Thank you very much.

My Reply to him

Dear XJ,



Hahaha no I'm kidding.

Here's my reply to him.

Hi XJ,

I am terribly sorry I took so long to reply your e-mail.

The truth is, I don't want to be giving you "YES" or "NO" answers, I wanted to take some time to draft out your answers so I needed to find some time between my days to write something.

Here are answers to your questions.

1a) Mentors Encourage You To Quit
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I finished my degree at university not really because I thought that was a better route to take but more because I never really knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur until a year before I graduated. All along I always thought that I was going to work in an investment bank like JP Morgan or Deutsche Bank.

That being said, my father who is a very successful businessman believes that a tertiary education is very very important. Not so much for what you learn from the books there but more on the character you will build there especially if you go overseas.


I'm not sure what you do here exactly so I'm really in no position to comment about this except that, whatever business it is, it has to be one that can make money. Robert Fong, the CEO of Mojikan once told me something that I felt was true to the bone: "Business cannot be built on passion".

Passion starts you off, but sooner or later when you learn the ugly side of things and you will, you may begin to lose your passion for it. The only thing that will keep you running by then is whether you make money or not.

It really depends on what your business is all about. Some businesses like property, I imagine will be impossible to start on your own if you don't first work for people and understand the basics.

Others like internet businesses are so new that you're not going to learn much from any other existing company. People like to say work experience is important but so is the experience of being an entrepreneur.

Every year you spend working for others is a year that you gain by learning from your bosses and also a year you lose by not learning from yourself by making your own mistakes as an entrepreneur.

Before I took the leap to become and entrepreneur. I asked a few successful businessmen I know for some advice.

One of them is a very very rich man who started off working for a few years before he became an entrepreneur and made millions.

His path has taken him from a nobody to a very rich man, then back to a nobody again after failing in business and today... he lives in a huge mansion with supercars that will make Jeremy Clarkson take his hats off to.

When I asked him whether I should work first before I jump into business, he said
"Tim, during my time, you had to WORK first to be able to see opportunity. Today, with the internet age, opportunity is everywhere and you don't need to work to see it which is why you see so many young entrepreneurs.

The difference however, is that during my time... 1 out of every 10 entrepreneurs actually make it. But in this time and age... only 1 out of 20 will ever make it. Do you like those odds? If you do... go for it


I agree with your dad but your way is not wrong as well. Like i said earlier, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.

2. Difficulties in Financing Studies

Having no money to run a business is an excuse that I see too many wannabe entrepreneurs use to get away from their complacency.

Take a simple example of Nuffnang for example.

Numerous venture capitalists have come up to us to ask if we need money, not just local venture caps but venture caps that have flown in all the way from China or Hong Kong just to see us to see if they could invest. Now we're not talking thousands or tens of thousands here... we're talking millions and millions that these venture caps are looking to put in.

My point is that today there is so much money floating around this region.

You just got to make sure people believe your dream as much as you do.

Whatever you do, don't take a bank loan though (even if you could get one). Especially if you're running an internet business and expect little revenue in the first two years... the interest will kill you.

3. Lack of Direction

If you don't have an idea of what to do then it's best to wait until you do. Why the hurry.

One thing though, you have to be sure about what you're getting yourself into.

Being an entrepreneur or being self-employed is not about enjoying the luxury of working whatever time you want, keeping all the money you earn for yourself and having all the glamour of being called an entrepreneur (Believe me, there is NO glamour in that and chicks don't DIG entrepreneurs... no they dig investment bankers and lawyers. Do you see me with a different girl every week?).

The truth is, in the past 7 months since Nuffnang started not too long ago, I have experienced the most traumatic stress that I have ever had to deal with in my life.

Nights go by when I can't sleep whether because of the stress that I'm faced with or whether it's because I have so many things on my mind I can't wait for morning to come so that I could go get them all done one by one.

Sometimes I may be out having fun with some friends and I may get a sudden call from a client or from someone with a problem at hand, and my whole night will be gone with me thinking deep inside how I can go about solving the latest crisis I was just handed.

It may be fun having employees and fun having a big team. But you can't help but worry that every move you make now is important because your life is not the only one at stake, you have people who depend on you for their pay cheques to come at the end of the month ON TIME.

Sales & Marketing is an essential part of any business you may run and it is also the most difficult. It is from your sales & marketing efforts that you will face the most degrading experiences in your life with people rejecting you because you are a NOBODY and like it or not, YOU are a nobody to them.

I've had it fairly easy because I got lucky and because I love sales & marketing, I LOVE pitching and I enjoy the rush... but if you don't feel the same way that I do... you're in for a very very hard road.

Imagine this, my partner Ming and I started off without knowing a soul in the advertising industry. The only way we got our advertisers is by cold calling people and begging for a meeting or a chance to pitch.

For every 10 calls we made, 9 turned us down and it is only after perseverance, hope and a lot of LUCK did we eventually manage to land advertisers from the likes of Nike, Air Asia, Nokia, Nestle, HUGO, Media Prima and the list goes on.

Whatever you choose to do.

Going into business is something you have to think about very carefully about.

But the good news is... as much as you will have many ups and downs... the downs will make you feel really really bad...but the ups... the ups will give you a feeling so good that I just can't explain with words.

I can't make this decision for you dude. You have to make it yourself. What's important is.. once you make the leap, don't ever look back.

Also, try to make it a point to ask advice from a successful entrepreneur. I may be a start, but I'm also young, inexperienced, still learning and far from successful.

PS: I get quite a number of these questions, you mind if I clean this up and publish this on my blog? (He said yes obviously :P)

Ok tell me honestly... how many of you actually managed to read this far? I say not more than 30...

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Helluva Birthday Party

One of my friends Audrey actually invited Nicole and I to her birthday party this year.

Now a bit of background on Audrey.

I had known Audrey since she was a reader of Leng Mou in the old days. We've always kept in contact for a bit and now she's starting up her very own events company.

Being in the 'events industry', it was only natural for her to plan a birthday party that had the closest attention to detail.

Audrey held her private party at Maya Hotel's Sky Lounge.

I arrived early enough to take pictures of the beautiful place!

When I walked in, I was greeted by some very nice comfy couches with lovely lighting and wonderful 'chill-out' music playing in the background.

The food there was really pretty as well!

Everything from the nicest satay to the most chocolatey chocolate mousse, so rich and sweet it make any girl squirm in delight.

Now great food and a classy place is something I've seen before in some other parties, but this party had some rather personal touches.

One of which is the photographer that went around with a Polaroid picture to take a picture of Audrey with each guest there, giving them a souvenir to bring home for the night.

My turn for a Polaroid picture with the Birthday girl came really quickly.

But the flash from that camera... seriously... NOT AT ALL FUNNY!!!

That was the brightest flash I have ever seen in my life.

After the painful flash, it was the fun part:

Watching the photo develop!

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Almost there...

And I can safely say with proof of photos that... no animals were hurt or injured in the production of this beautiful picture.

How much fun Polaroids are.

Now to add icing to the cake, Audrey wrote a personal message on each Polaroid picture.

And she did the same for Nicole too.

After we were done playing around with Polaroids, a saxophonist made his entrance to play music for the small but close crowd.

He was amazing!

Wish I had brought the camcorder Panasonic had given me the day before but being the turtle brain I was... I forgot!!!Now guys... learn this.... a man playing the saxophone makes the heart of ANY girl melt.

Nicole who was seated next to me had her heart melting away as well but I didn't manage to take a picture of that because... well.. I was melting away too.

But the fun part came when some of Nicole and my readers came over to say hi!.

Let me introduce some of them to you.


Now when I first saw Donny he said
"I actually saw both you and Nicole when I first came in but I didn't dare to come say hi".

I asked
"Why not?"

And the dude said
"Because you're both so famous".

In which point I nearly smacked him in the head and say

"Nicole is the fehmes one... not me.. my personal blog gets about 20 unique visits a day (including myself)".

but I refrained and decided to enjoy whatever fake recognition I was getting.

Bwahaha nevermind... let people think I have a popular blog and enjoy whatever credit that I don't deserve.

You know, life if a pretty hot girl like that comes up to you and says

You don't say..
"HELL NO!!!... what are you talking about?"

You LIE and you say

In any case, let this be a warning to all of you!

If ANY of you see me in public, at least come and say hi okay?

I promise I won't try to borrow money from you or something.

Ok back to the party...

From left.. Audrey (Birthday girl), Ah Ling , me and John the photographer.
At the end of the private party, we took a small group picture.

Oh and please pay attention to the second girl from the right.

Her name is Jess and is one of the most fanatical readers of mine. She has almost every blog entry of mine MEMORIZED in her head.
I wish I had a proper picture with just me and her but the bitch deleted every one of the those photos that I took with her thinking that the photo didn't make her look good.

She is in person the bubbliest person I have ever met! I lup you Jess!

Finally, thank you for the wonderful party Audrey.

Oh and if any of you want your parties or events organized by Audrey, drop her an e-mail at audrey.loh[@]

Oh.. and Audrey is single now (bwahahaha)... so if any of you guys want to get to know her.. just drop her an e-mail there too ok?

Pretend to want to do an event if you have to (bwahahahah) ... otherwise she might not see you :P

You know lar... girl in demand... hard to get her attention... hard to impress.