Archive for July, 2009

Too much yellow?

yellow fellow

The cloth for our ‘Organs’ tee. We think the yellow is a little too bright. But we’re doing a test print anyway to see how it turns out.


How they do the sleeves

Draw the outline on the cloth. The rounded part is where it fits on the shoulder, at the top of your arm.

Draw outline on cloth. Avoid permanent markers.

Manually cut around the edges. It helps if you don’t consume vast amounts of alcohol the night before.

Manually cut around the edges. It helps if you don’t consume vast amounts of alcohol the night before.

Ideally, you want all fingers still attached to the rest of your hand after you’re done. Keep other appendage at an appropriate distance.

Ideally, you want all fingers still attached to the rest of your hand after you’re done. Keep other appendage at an appropriate distance.

Trim off the edges and viola! Great job! Just 50,000 metres of cloth more to go and you’re done for the day.

Carefully trim off the edges and viola! Great job! Just 50,000 metres more to cut and you’re done for the day.

Road bumps

So our first Sunday Morning tee is finally ready.

So our first Sunday Morning tee is finally ready.

Unfortunately, they printed the wrong label and the whole thing had to be sent back ...

Unfortunately, they printed the wrong label. The whole thing had to be sent back ...

Note to self 1: Mistakes cost money.

Note to self 2: Always leave instructions in black and white.

Note to self 3: Writing intructions down is useless if you don’t pass said intructions to printer.

My Yasmin story

Yasmin Ahmad. 1958 - 2009.

Kak Min. 1958 - 2009.

On 25 July 09, we lost one of Malaysia’s best and brightest creative minds. Yasmin Ahmad – creative director, filmmaker, storyteller, mentor – passed away at the tender young age of 51. She showed us that you could use your gifts not just to make brands famous, but to pull down walls, build understanding, love and unity; and in the process, make your country a better place.

The last time we met was more than a year ago in Bali. I was one of the judges at the ADOI Advertising Awards, and of course, Yasmin was the Jury President. I remember walking towards the breakfast table and there she was, having a bite. We made small talk, which soon led to her tv commercial for Singapore’s Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Since it was her first time working with MCYS, she agreed to make some compromises to her script. Didn’t say what though. Except that it was something she regretted after finding out that the Prime Minister himself had asked for her to direct the film. No matter. The result was a three-minute commercial about a widower bringing up his only daughter. Not exactly the most wholesome family unit – especially when your client is the Singapore government – but there you are.

Almost everybody talked about the film and a couple of months later, it went on to win the grand prize in the local Viewers’ Choice Awards.

The next year, as in this year, she was again invited to direct another commercial for MCYS. The newly-hired ad agency prepared several scripts and went through a few arduous rounds with the client before everybody was happy with the work.

Yasmin arrived, took one look at the script and threw it in the bin. The film director already had a story in mind and this time, she didn’t bother consulting the client. Whoever disagreed would have the less than pleasant task of explaining to the Prime Minister why Yasmin isn’t going to shoot a commercial. It opens with an Indian woman (a minority race in Singapore) giving a eulogy at her late husband’s funeral …

I won’t pretend to know Yasmin personally. But from what little interaction we have had – everything you hear about her being a difficult-to-please prima donna are probably true. The part about her being warm, generous, soft-hearted, sentimental, child-like – all definitely true. And yes, there’s that other thing. The reporters here are having a field day over it.

But lest we forget: Yasmin made us proud to be Malaysians. She knew how to connect with all races. She wasn’t ashamed to share ideas with and get the lowly makcik’s opinion. And she did some nice ads along the way too.


Today’s guest writer (like I have a host of writers on this blog) is my friend Alvin. Fellow believer and advertising mad man, he recently wrote about his 13-year marriage with Julie. I read it on Facebook and asked if I could republish his thoughts – since he says it much better and with more honesty – and like a good husband, he said he’ll check with the missus. She said ok so here it is:

Random thoughts about my life with Julie
by alvin teoh

On the 28 of Dec this year, I would have been married for 13 years.
My married life, though not exactly the most perfect on the planet,
is doing well.

As I write this, I feel a tinge of pain that quite a number of my friends
are going through shit in their marriages. Some are on the verge of divorce,
some are having affairs, some are not on speaking terms,
while some are keeping and hiding the hurts, and trying to suppress
or ignore the anger building inside.

There are even a few who have become enemies and the hatred is so great,
they are bent on taking revenge.

As all these are happening, I have learnt not to take my marriage for granted.
If I am not careful, I can mess up and the union may end up shattered.
I am human, flawed and broken, and I am not immune to all the bad stuff
that have befallen so many of my peers.

So, as I reflect a bit, I figured, maybe, I have done something right.
I will not pretend to offer any advice. My hypocrisy has it’s limits.
And that is a good thing I suppose. But if I have done something right,
what is it? (Pardon me if I speak in singular terms. This is about me
and I will not speak on behalf of my wife.)

Ok, in a sea of mistakes, what is that ONE thing (or two) that I’ve gotten right?
Let me start by explaining, that all that I’ve picked up about marriage,
I picked up from watching my parents. And though I am unable to practice
the art of marriage at their level, I do live out some of it.

So, in my opinion, the ‘secret’ that makes marriages work,
(like in all relationships), is selflessness.

For me, that means, I try to eliminate selfishness from my life.
I won’t ever succeed of course, but if I try real hard, I can’t go too
far off from the target.

Selfishness is destructive. So in my marriage, to eliminate this bad spirit,
I try to consider the feelings of my wife in all of my decisions.
It’s a form of self-denial. It may sound unhealthy, and to some degree ,
it probably is, cause it may cause you to explode. But still,
we need this discipline, I think.

And the best way to live this out, for me, is to believe in a higher power.
It’s a belief that tells me that my feelings are not the centre of the universe,
and with this belief, I try my best to stop serving my feelings.

So, my feelings, as a chief deciding factor in the process of decision-making,
gives way to principles, principles becoming the higher power.

And what is that one principle?

Well, it’s the belief that I exist to fulfill my wife’s life. (well, I try lor).

I give her space, respect, support, affirmation, with bits of sacrifice
thrown in here and there. I do my part of being husband, father,
bread winner, friend, companion, and when the time is right, advisor.

From the outset, this sounds like slavery, and maybe to some, it is.
But you know what? I am happy.

And I feel, to some large degree, free, liberated and contented.

She has the freedom to love me back, or to abuse me.
To be selfless or selfish.
To live as my wife, or as wife, but with a single-type-mentality.

No matter what I feel, I choose to stick to my principles.
That to me is real freedom lor.

I don’t know if I make any sense, (or how far I’ve succeeded)
but this is what I believe in, and this is what is kinda working for me
and my marriage.

So to my one and only lophor, 13 years alrealy lor.

Hope the journey ahead is a long one.

Happy 13th anniversary guys!

Happy 13th anniversary guys!

Here’s to harmony

The food had better be good!

Seen at Little India, Singapore

30th floor please

Press the button

One fine afternoon in an elevator.