Friday, September 28, 2012

My McDonald's Samurai Burger Story

Well, it is not so much about my experience eating the burger, I can't (due to religious reason) and I won't.
Earlier today, I responded to McDonald's Malaysia's post in Facebook, a post regarding on their Samurai Burger.

Succulent looking burger, no? Too bad, I can't take beef and this was my simple response, along with other comments on that particular post.

The comment I made did not contain any racial slurs, derogatory statements, political sensitive items isn't it? I did not direct this statement to anyone, look, no names mentioned right? McDonald's Malaysia Facebook did a good job explaining their reasoning behind just promoting the beef burger.

Then this occurred in the afternoon via my Facebook messaging.

Before I could respond any further, the fella conveniently blocked me. Well, if I could continue though, this would be my response.

Disregarding your 1st and rather incomplete question, I think I have answered your second question with the shortest comprehensible way possible (note that you're a stranger to me, and I don't have any obligations to answer you whatsoever). And if you have been reading the comments on the Facebook post, you would've probably seen that I am not the only one who has been querying or responding to why there's no chicken Samurai Burger. 

Not to patronize your education level or upbringings whatsoever, but I am pretty sure that you know that there are myriad of races in Malaysia, each of them with their particular religious restriction(s). The Hindus particularly do not take beef and certain Chinese  don't take beef either.

So when you decided to irritate me further with your smart alec respond, 

"Y can't? Y won't? Just eat it n stop complaining!" 

I can't help but to respond sarcastically. Before you go on judging on how insensitive I am on what I typed, do note that respect goes both ways. If I am not getting an ounce of respect from you, don't even think of getting any from me. I am perfectly aware of what I typed, I know that pork and alcohol is haram for Muslims. as a humble Malaysian myself. I was about to 'return' the "Y can't? Y won't? Just eat it n stop complaining!"  statement just for you to taste the same medicine. Y U NO LET ME FURTHER RESPOND AND CONTINUE COMPLAINING? The world does not revolves around you and that sucks isn't it?


That's just my two cents. I have no problem respecting anyone as long as the respect is reciprocated. 
And feel free to have a McDonald's lunch with me in the near future, just get  me a Spicy McDeluxe would do :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paris Day 2 : Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi, Ce Soir?

24th August 2011, Wednesday

We woke up pretty early, and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast from the hostel. Pretty decent breakfast, and the breakfast lady was stern in food allocation to prevent people from taking one too many of any items.

Traveling via the Parisian Metro is unlike Asian countries, there don't seem to be morning rush hours where not many people were seen rushing to the trains. Anyhow, we managed to get to Tour Eiffel metro quite early to climb the Eiffel. The queue was considerably long when we arrived, luckily the sun wasn't scorching just yet. It was not a long wait, approximately 20 minutes plus before we managed to buy our tickets.

The view from the top of Eiffel is simply breathtaking. I had a sudden weird fantasy of jumping off the Eiffel, bungy style.

Anyhow, upon landing & camwhoring taking pictures in front of Eiffel, like a tourist, we continued our tourist streak by cruising through the Seine river. The greatest sights aside from the aerial view is arguably from the Seine, we passed by most of Paris' famous buildings, notably Eiffel Tower, Quai Branly, Orsay Museum, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame and more. There were commentaries from the cruise attendants when we pass by the notable locations along the way.

Alighting the cruise, we then made our way through to Paris's Panthéon, located in the Latin Quarter. Unlike the Pantheon in Rome, this building was originally a church dedicated to St.Genevieve but it has now become a mausoleum that holds the remains of a number of France's distinguished citizens. 

We then made our way to Jardin du Luxembourg, parks like this is what could motivate me to do a morning jog, cycling in the park and have a nice cuppa coffee, without the humid weather back home. LOL. That is why air conditioned cafes are doing so well back home, oh well.

Notre Dame, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world was our next stop. Its French Gothic architecture is simply amazing. My friends Larry and Johan took the opportunity to have a confession session in Notre Dame, a great experience for them I guessed :)

On the opposite of the spectrum of Paris' older buildings is the Centre Georges Pompidou, state of the art architecture and it functions as a vast library there. Christa was excited about coming here, architecture fetish I supposed :)

Oh, we met a friend of mine, Vincent whom I met back in my university days, who was back in his hometown then. He took us on a walking tour, so to say, and arrived at the Lourve not too long later.
Unfortunately it was pretty late when we arrived and it is already the closing hour. We did however spent quite some time outside the Lourve, and reenacting the scenes of The Da Vinci Code.

Before heading back, we stopped by at Trocadero, for the night view of the Eiffel. There's more to Paris than we anticipated, and we can't wait for the Versailles and other famous locations visit the next day :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Celcom Cupcake Challenge - Do your votes really matter?

Democracy is a funny thing. On one end it is supposed to reflect the people's voice and the power should belong to the people themselves. On the other end, it does not fully reflect the majority of the people's choice. One's sensible choice would be illogical to the other. 

Same goes to voting contests. How do we dictate who has the best entry for a particular contest? It is easy to use the 'people's vote' as it guarantees transparency and lifts the heat a little of the juries' shoulder, as it is very easy to blast them if they make a decision that will not please the majority. But do think again, does highest likes actually reflect one's entry as the best among the others for something this subjective?

Take this scenario, assuming there is no right or wrong answer. The contest question goes like this... "What do you think would be the best way to promote tourism in Malaysia?" The most voted and most creative wins RM10,000!

Participant A : Restore heritage buildings to utilize it to its fullest potential & attract tourists at the same time.
Participant B : Cupcake

Remember, there is NO right or wrong answer. Sensibly, which one do you think is the winning entry and that would keep the integrity of the contest itself? Now, let us look deeper into the scenarios. Assuming that Participant A is a 30 years old cashier who works shifts and comes online periodically, that is when she is not attending her to her family's need. Participant B is a 30 years old stay at home unemployed man who goes online at least 12 hours a day. Participant A relies on sensible voters who does vote for the integrity of her entry. Participant B can pull off 100++ votes by exchanging votes around the world, creating proxy accounts to vote for himself and pulls strings to support his entry.

Remember, there is NO right answer, and by the end of the contest, Participant A manages to pull 200 votes whilst Participant B pulls 1230 votes. Now is Participant B wrong? Not unless he is being caught!

Celcom Cupcake Challenge, despite numerous oppositions to the method of choosing its finalists (Most Voted 55 will be deliberated by the judges), they went along with it as it is an 'inconvenience' to change the contest mechanism. After all, who likes admitting to flaws that they have?

The thing being stressed out here is, with so many strong opinions against it, how would Celcom ever escape from this sticky situation?

"Why use the most ‘Liked’ cupcakes as the 55 finalists? Well, because we want your say! Only at the finals will the top 3 winners will be selected based on creativity, uniqueness, design and 100% match to the submitted picture. So continue to vote for your favourites and let’s have fun in the togetherness this contest has brought us!"

If Celcom INSISTS of public votes, fine, they can have public votes for all they care, just don't make it a heavy determinant factor. The public has very strong opinions for Celcom, but I doubt that they are being heard at all. 

As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them! Same goes to this situation. Celcom don't give hoots on what you people got to say, if you want to join, join, if you don't want to join, complain all you want, it does not make a difference.

At the end of the day, I predict that the finalists who makes it all the way to the top would be the sensible winners, e.g. that has the ability to produce a stunning impact through their entry. However, imagine the travesty of many good entries being sidelined just because mediocre entries excels better in voting rigging obtaining. Such a shame it is not a battle among the best, but c'est la vie, as long the people knows how to play the game, it's an all fair battlefield. Now, like I stress on earlier, the votes are subjective, but not necessarily sensible.

I actually enjoyed reading a comment from Najee Razak, one of the commentators on the Celcom Cupcake Page.

By the end of the day, what can be done has not been done, what has been said might not be taken into account at all. Social awareness goes a long way, and this is just my two cents on how has the contest reflected itself to me. I am not a participant by the way, just an observer in this case. It is very interesting to see the actual winners when this contest ends. 

One more thing before you shut your browser tab/window, let's play a game. The following images are taken from the Celcom Cupcake Challenge page, I won't reveal the pages and participants name, they are public information for you to find out. I will however, reveal the votes obtained by those entries as per September 24, 2012 - (249, 555, 681, 715), try matching the votes with the images below, the higher the votes, the better the entry supposed to be. The next time you see me and if you guessed the votes correctly, cupcake is on me :) Have fun! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paris Day 1 : Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler

23rd August 2011, Tuesday

We came a long way from London, Madrid, and Barcelona and our next destination was none other than Paris, France. We booked a very early flight, departing from Barcelona T2 airport at 8.35 am. Buses starts at an ungodly hour schedule, but we were lucky to catch the bus to the airport, otherwise we would be stuck in Barca, which is not really a bad thing actually, but we wouldn't want to waste the air flight ticket, no?

It was at the terminal we met two friendly Indonesians, whom coincidentally went for the World Youth Day as well heading towards Paris. We immediately clicked, coming from almost similar backgrounds and neighboring regions back in South East Asia. 

Upon landing, we bought our tickets to the city, which easily costs us a few hours just for waiting (for the bus). Unlike LCCT back in Malaysia, the buses to the city are scarce, almost 45 minutes per wait. There were a number of agitated and impatient Spanish who were complaining all the way during the wait. Fortunately, we only waited for 2 cycles before boarding the next bus.

The journey to the city took us around an hour or so, and the first song I heard over the bus radio was Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler, which was the only French song I have in my song playlist in my Mp3 Player, how coincidental.

Reaching Porte Maillot Metro Station, we immediately bought our daily train passes to travel to our accommodation. We traveled to Jules Joffrin Station, went up the Hermel street and turned to Rue Ramey to  Le Montclair Montmartre Hostel. 

Play + Waiting Lounge. There's a kitchen located on the right and the reception counter is right behind
Different in many ways compared to Sant Jordi over in Barcelona, this revamped old building was converted to a low budget hostel that conveniently accommodated a number of backpackers. Because this building was  old, there was no lift to our room on the 5th floor, we had to traverse the flight of stairs up with our huge backpacks.Quite a work out I would say :)

The receptionists are very helpful and friendly, which is a tremendous thumbs up, I highly recommend this hostel by the way. The Indonesians, Johan and Christa are staying at a different hostel, so we agreed to meet at the first designated location, the Sacré-Cœur.

... and more stairs! Taken near Rue Foyatier.
It is located in Montmartre, so we decided to walk there, after all that was what recommended by Montclair as well. Upon reaching there, yet again, flight of stairs up to the highest point of the city. The Sacred Heart of Paris, a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
An awesome architecture at a summit that over views the Paris skyline. Breathtaking! 

Paris overview
Sacre Couer
Of course, once you are there, do visit the Montmartre market, you can find dainty Patisseries and street artists who would paint your portrait for a fee.

We had our dinner around the area as well, nothing too fancy though but sufficient to call it a satisfying dinner. 
Westerners do love their Nutella, don't they?
Raise of hands, how many Macaron fans out there?

Our last stop before calling it a day was Moulin Rouge, the world famous Red Windmill located at the district of Pigalle, pretty much a red light district over in Paris.

Wind machine from below for that Supermodel effect. Fail, no? :)

Voulez vouz coucher avec moi, ce soir? Tempted to hum that but we were kinda drained out from the walks earlier. Also, we needed the rest since we planned on visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower first thing in the morning. Another day, another adventure :)