Case of the iPhone Snatching

I recently got my iPhone snatched. Yup, a new one, barely a month old. I initially didn’t want to write anything on this issue because I was too pissed off. RM2,290 is a lot of money and it was one of the few nice things that I owned.

I’ve rerun all the ‘what ifs’ and told the story many times over. So all you need to know is that it got snatched from 2 guys on a motorbike who sneaked up from behind as I was talking on the phone. The execution was clean and simple; and before I realised what was happening, they were fast fading into traffic. I was not even by the side of the road, I was actually walking towards the entrance of an office building. Oh yes, it was only 10.30am in good old Malaysia.

iphone 4 rear
The Apple logo is worth a lot more than you think it does...

If you own a smartphone (especially the iPhone 4); please be very, very careful. They are in hot demand with waiting lists that stretch for weeks. I paid the price for being nonchalant, for having the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset. I hope none of you have to experience what I went through, so here are some pointers that will help you lower your risk of being a snatch thief victim:

  1. If you’re outdoors and have to make or answer a call, spare a few seconds looking around. People could be watching you and do not have your back to traffic, even if you are almost indoors; as in my case. Pay special attention to motorbikes.
  2. I was especially vulnerable because I could not retaliate effectively. Weighed down by a laptop and projector that I was carrying; they knew I couldn’t give chase. Trust me, I tried.
  3. If you wear glasses, be extra careful. As strange as it may sound, they snatched my glasses too possibly so that I could not see the registration plate of the bike. A few guys helped me look for my glasses after the incident but to no avail. Something tells me this was part of the thieves’ strategy. I must applaud them for doing ‘market research’.
  4. Cover up that Apple logo, because it says ‘take a bite’. I made the mistake of accessorizing my iPhone with a transparent skin with the Apple logo in plain view. Once bitten, twice shy.
  5. Stay alert. Thieves do this for a living. Imagine how good you are at your job, these guys probably are as good at theirs. They will strike when you least expect it and when you are at your weakest.

Ahhh… and how can I not put this on record?

Police Officer: Ok. You report is done. But the Investigating Officer is busy right now; he will call you in a while.

Me: But… errr… but my phone got snatched.

Police Officer: Oh yeah… errr… you got another number?


Got Facebook? Get Robbed!

According to the Star Online report on 17 January 2011, there were over 400 crimes involving Facebook reported to the authorities in 2010. Well, it’s no surprise really when you check out the following stats:

  1. Almost 10 million FB users in Malaysia. That’s close to 40% of the population, and growing! Where there are people, there are conmen.
  2. 18 to 24 year olds make up the majority of Malaysian FB users. Young, restless, yearn for acceptance/recognition and easily influenced.
  3. Malaysians have among the highest number of Friends in FB, an average of 233. How many people that you’ve never met are your “Friends” ?
  4. Most Malaysians have low privacy settings, which mean conmen can lift addresses, phone numbers and photographs.
  5. A total average of 9 hours logged in on FB per week. How many of us spent 9 hours with any of our real friends last week?

Now, when you look at the 400 crimes figure, it seems too insignificant right? I mean 10 million users and only 400 people got conned. It makes you wonder how many crimes went unreported.

Dangerous Key
What you put on Facebook could come back to bite your arse!

From identity thefts, fraud and harassment to recruiting drug mules and gang members, Facebook is sure becoming a bit of a nuisance. For now the problems seem petty… for example:

A headmaster in Malacca was apparently looking for a homosexual partner via a FB page he never created. Haha… classic!

But things will get serious when conmen adapt to the online landscape and become more sophisticated in their methods. Like when you return home from a weekend escapade to find your house robbed just because you posted “off to Phuket, 3 days of bliss!” on Facebook.

Not so funny now isn’t it?


How Malaysians Searched on Google

We Malaysians are generally a predictable lot. But the latest Zeitgeist Report – a run-down on most popular search terms – unveiled by Goggle for 2010 did spring some surprises. Apparently Proton Inspira is more popular than oh-so-creepy Justin Bieber and Rajinikanth’s Endhiran (a Tamil movie) is more popular than Leo’s Inception.

Here are other interesting tid-bits on what Malaysians searched on Google this past year:

  • There was only one Malaysian term in the Most Popular for 2010 list; which was “Malaysia”.  And why would Malaysians search for Malaysia just beats the crap out of me!
  • Where would we be without initializing everything? Think KL, CC, 7-E, BB, MC and the list goes on.  One of the fastest rising search terms was “FB”, short for Facebook.
  • Neither iPhone nor Blackberry was the fastest rising searched for mobile phones. That honour goes to HTC, which completes an admirable one-two finish. Something to think about perhaps?
  • Malaysians love their football… okay badminton can also be a sport that we favour. But the fastest rising search term in Sports was, believe it or not, “Australian Open 2010”. That’s tennis guys, freaking tennis!
  • Apparently we are also a sentimental, lovey-dovey lot. The romantic drama “Dear John” led the list for fastest rising searches for movies. It’s official… more women use Google than men in Malaysia!

The full list – plus tool to dig deeper and compare data – is viewable at Google Zeitgeist. And don’t forget to watch Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review video too, man how time flies!


Breaking News: No.9 in Google

In interrupt this blog to bring you a real scoop, well, in the world of Jay Krish anyway. For the first time in the relatively short history of this blog, it has managed to break into the first page of Google’s Page Results for the search term “Copywriter Malaysia”!

Jay Krish on Google's first page!
No.9 from out of 173,000 results... not bad!

Now, whether I stay there or drop into blog oblivion remains to be seen. But to think just 10 months ago I was nowhere to be found, it sure feels good! Thanks to my followers (the very few of you, you know who you are), those who stumbled on this site and those who mistook me for someone else.


Livin’ Up

Alright. To tell you the honest, brutal truth: I like this ad. It was amazingly shot, focused on a singular message and stirred the emotion. Ads like these are few and far in between in Malaysia, but it does seem that this piece of communication is a global effort coming from Shangri-La International.

Allow me, if I may, to repeat myself: I like this ad. However, nothing is perfect and it does present a few flaws.

  • The idea of a man freezing to death may not resonate with Malaysians. We are the type of people who drive up to Genting just to escape the heat if you know what I mean.
  • Equating Shangri-La’s hospitality with a pack of very friendly (and not surprisingly hungry) wolves is quite risky. It’s like saying “Shangri-La is intimidating at first, but we’re alright up close”.
  • The person in the ad – someone who’s lost in the arctic wilderness on his own – may not represent the kind of clientèle that Shangri-La is aiming for.

And most importantly is this:

  • The ad ends with this line: “To Embrace a Stranger as One’s Own. It’s In Our Nature. Brilliant, tactful and neatly encapsulates the storyline. But can they really, I mean really live up to the claim? This idea, which was conjured by the agency and fine-tuned by the marketing department is a general idea of the kind of hospitality one will receive upon stepping into the lobby of a Shangri-La. But will the bell boys and servers and housekeeping staff across the entire Shangri-La of the world embrace this level of service to its guests?

It’s easy to make a claim. But for a hotel chain as big as Shang, I think it would be a tough one to live up to. Can they guarantee that out of the thousands of guests they welcome, not even one will leave discontented?

Yup. I didn’t think so either.


The Mamak Stall Syndrome

Like all things Malaysian – such as total disregard for punctuality and being suckers for free things – loafing at Mamak stalls while sipping Kurang Manis tea (which is still manis anyway) is a popular pastime. You could hang out at a Mamak with your best buds, your significant other or just by yourself. It has a universal appeal, quite comforting and always welcoming.

But what separates a good Mamak from a bad Mamak? The atmosphere doesn’t really play a part. Food across all, if not most Mamaks are quite consistent. And prices don’t differ much from one stall to another. When you think about it, it’s the level of service that determines which Mamak stall you frequent. It’s the rapport you build with the servers and how it takes only 10 minutes to tuck into your favourite greasy dish every time, no matter how busy they are. This however may not hold true for everyone, but I think quite a few of us could relate to this observation. Service is important to me anyway.

Now that I’ve some sort established what a good Mamak is, let’s look at the bad ones. Imagine this scenario:

Bang, mari bang. Duduk bang. Maggi goreng ade, mee goreng ade, nasi goreng ade, nasi lemak ade, roti ade, murtabak ade, western ade, tose ade, chapatti ade, semua ade bang. Minum ape pun ade bang, tongkat ali ade, fres oren ade, neslo, horlo, koteh pun ade bang!


Come brother, come. Sit brother. We’ve got fried instant noodles, fried noodles, fried rice, lard rice, greasy pancakes, stuffed greasy pancakes, western food, Indian pancakes, Indian toasted pancakes, all we have brother. Drinks also we have it all brother, ali’s cane (an aphrodisiac), fresh orange, nescafe+milo, horlicks+milo, coffee+tea also we have brother!

Hmmmm… strangely the English version is longer than the Malay version.

Anyway, after this friendly Mamak fellow advertises his offerings, which in fact confuses you further, he leaves you to deliberate while repeating the same thing to the next bunch of walk-ins. While this strategy packs in the customers, it leaves the already seated customers out in the cold. I’ve been to places where they don’t even bother to collect my payment as they are still busy preying on new customers. Needless to say, I’ve never been back.

Now a question. What do many businesses in Malaysia have in common with our common Mamak stalls? Yup, you guessed it. It’s this unhealthy fetish to attract new customers, while neglecting the ones they already have. Even when it’s common knowledge that acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining an existing customer. And the new customer may not even be as profitable when compared to an existing customer.

While advertising is critical to attract new business and for brand building, not giving due attention to existing customers could have dire consequences. Because in the increasingly wired consumer world, one unsatisfied customer could deter many potential customers, no matter how good your product, advertising or brand is. For the uninitiated, the process of endearing yourself to existing customers is called Customer Relationship Management or CRM for short. Serve well, keep in touch and reward your customers occasionally. They will show their appreciation via word-of-mouth to their peers, friends, family and acquaintances. And nothing beats that.

Teh tarik kurang kurang kurang manis satu!


Malaysia Ad Spend 2009

Advertisers in Malaysia spent RM5.9 Billion in 2009. That’s an increase of almost half a Billion from 2008, which was at RM5.5 Billion. Advertising spend is perceived to be a strong indicator of a nation’s economy.

Well that’s what the Malaysian Advertisers are spending, but are the consumers buying? It’s hard to tell really, because sales figures are closely guarded secrets, so there’s no way of knowing for sure. But for discussion’s sake, let’s say that we’ve managed to make people spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need quite admirably in 2009.

Think about it. Almost RM6 Billion. That’s a six followed by 9 zeros – 6,000,000,000! And why are advertisers spending such insane amounts of money? Essentially, it is in hope that consumers return the favour. Yes, so that consumers consume more and ‘invest’ in products and services perceived to be of better quality.

ADEX in Malaysia by Media (RM Mil)

RM6 Billion spent on Media by advertisers in Malaysia in 2009
RM6 Billion spent on Media by advertisers in Malaysia in 2009
Source: The Star, 2 Jan 2010.

Please note that the above figures are only Ad spend on Media. Meaning creative cost not included.

So how much do you think all the agencies in Malaysia charged their clients for creative work in 2009? Definitely not RM6 Billion I’m sure. And I wonder how handsomely my fellow creative workers have been compensated last year? Well, if all the money is spent on media, what left the agencies?

Maybe because spending on good creative and strategies were so little, it didn’t even merit a mention. I guess it’s the norm. The middlemen get the dough, while the fishermen get peanuts. And they complain there’s not enough creative talent to go around!

I want to look for a job in media.