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  1. Today
  2. kotmj

    Shirts

    Interesting collar
  3. kotmj

    Gloriously off-topic

    I was awoken this morning by birds. But not by the usual chirping. There was a persistent and uncommon bird sound. I wondered why I've not heard this sound before. And then it came to me. These are cries, not chirps. The cries of vultures circling very close above the house. Max was dying. I woke up, and went out. Max was shivering and couldn't stand up. He was very, very weak. He has been lethargic for the past two days. My dogs sometimes get ill, but they bounce back. Last night, I could see that Max was quite ill, but he could still walk around. I tried to figure out how best to get him to the vet, but thought I'll leave that decision to tomorrow. They're all closed anyway. I cancelled my morning appointment. Max still managed to climb into the car by himself, but he was very uncoordinated. At the vet in Batu Caves, the lady Malay doctor--- UPM trained---interrogated me as though I was an animal abuser. How was his appetite? she wanted to know. I said I don't know. My neighbour feeds my dogs, I told her. I don't know how much he ate. With what? she asked. Table scraps. No kibbles? she quizzed me. I said they no longer touch the kibbles since the neighbour started feeding them scraps. How are his droppings? she wanted to know. I said the dogs are free to wander around the housing area which has lots of greenery all around and I do not observe their droppings. She found my replies to be bizarre. Is this your dog or is he a stray? she wanted to know. It's my dog. She was disgusted with me. They did a virus check to make sure he's not infected with it. It was clear. Then she did a liver and kidney function test. Max' kidneys have mostly failed. Sky-high urea levels. In a situation like this, she told me, we have to determine if it's an acute or chronic kidney failure. An acute kidney failure normally comes about through poisoning. The poison, I told her, I know what it was. So what was it? she asked. Taktic, I told her. https://www.msd-animal-health.co.za/products/taktic_dip_for_dogs/020_product_details.aspx Taktic is a ticks and lice killer for dogs produced by Bayer. Historically, Max has reacted very poorly to Taktic, and Taktic-like chemicals by other producers. In fact, it was the reason why he was the last of the litter to be sold: even as a puppy, he was very lethargic. But, I told her, that was due to the Thai-produced vials of Taktic-analogs the breeder applies to the skins of the dogs. Once I brought him home and the chemicals were not applied, Max became normal again. Other dogs have no such reaction to the chemical. In the past, Max would lose his appetite for a few days after I bathed him with diluted Taktic. He always bounced back. Over time, I used a more and more dilute solution on him. A week ago, I used a strong solution on both dogs (Max and Puppy). I bathed them with my bare hands. I have no problems. Puppy showed no adverse reaction. Max, on the other hand, is dying. He's now on an IV drip at the vet. I hope he pulls through.
  4. Yesterday
  5. "6"

    The suiting thread

    Enjoy your cigars
  6. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    It occurred to me a great fitter is like a great auto mechanic. He can diagnose problems with your car, as well as work out---on the spot---a plan to fix it that minimises cost just in case his diagnosis is mistaken. A great auto mechanic is always very aware that he may have misdiagnosed the problem, and is always looking for ways to confirm or disconfirm his diagnosis. While doing all this, he's also dealing directly with the customer, who actually drives the car, uses it to get to work, and pays for the repair work, a.k.a. the biggest stakeholder, who is very emotionally invested in the car. The mindset that typifies the great fitter (and auto mechanic) is well described in "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Tangentially to this, there is a group of humans who almost never directly engages creatively with the physical world but who have strong opinions of that act. They are the sort who can't sew a button even if I taught it to them, but have a great deal of philosophy as to how it should have been done. They may be accountants, or lawyers: what defines them is zero experience making things with their hands. If they were to try making something, and remember the experience, they would be much humbler. They are like these obese football pundits who think they can play better than those actually playing on the field---who got there by rising through thick competition.
  7. Last week
  8. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Was actually thinking of bringing back Lebanese sewing tailors. Anyway, meeting up with him tomorrow night. It's actually my off day. But the call of duty... no actually the greed of selling many suits compels me.
  9. "6"

    The suiting thread

    In return he can provide a gray market import route for those cloth brands.
  10. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    On Friday, a young Lebanese came to the shop. He's the 3rd generation of a cloth distributing family in Beirut. They are sole agents for Dormeuil, Loro Piana and Scabal in Lebanon. He studied accounting and worked for Del Monte in Qatar making USD2000/month, which he said in Qatar is a starvation salary as rent alone is >USD1K. So, he is thinking of joining the family business. Except, there is not much of a business to go to. Revenues have been sliding inexorably. There are only 8 bespoke tailors in Beirut, so that's the limit to your customer base. All of them are crooks according to his father---they never pay you. So he's thinking he should become a tailor and by doing so become his father's best customer. He asked me if it's OK if he spent a month or so learning from me. I said, sure, I have no problem with that. There is also the possibility of JT trunk shows to Beirut, I said. He was much taken by the idea. Anyway, he's at Doubletree KL till Tuesday. I wonder if I should go visit him to explore the possibility. He said, let's have a cigar there.
  11. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    No wonder it is said most people take 10 years to learn to sew a jacket. For people like my part timers, absolutely. That's the minimum time. You have to repeatedly teach them something explicitly before they learn it. Since there are so many things to learn in order to sew a jacket, it will absolutely take them 10 years of full-time hours to learn it. Even then, they will suck, because they don't understand the why of what they're doing. It's all very disappointing.
  12. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I'm typing this while waiting for my body to calm down after a disastrous performance by one of the part-timers. The first time he worked here maybe 9 months ago, I taught him to sew buttons. It is one of the simplest sewing task in tailoring. Once I saw that he had learnt it, I let him sew buttons to a variety of garments, mostly shirts. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed something about a button he sewed. I took a closer look and saw that I could pull the button off with my fingers. It was not done the way I taught him. This is the infamous regression, or regression towards the mean. Over time, most people get WORSE at what they do, to the point where the deliverable starts to fail. I communicated in a very obvious manner my disgust at the unacceptable performance, and again showed him the right way to sew a button. Today, he sewed some buttons again, and I had a look at them. They had the same problem. I could work a button loose with just my fingernails. I wanted to fire him on the spot. Tell him it's fine, why don't you just go home; it's not necessary to come back here to work. Not only that, sewing buttons on a shirt is a 30-minute task. Yet, in the whole morning, he did not manage to complete even one shirt. I find such underperformance just staggering. Others, will just laud their "great team".
  13. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    That's because they are awful. You have no idea how useless they are. This is the truth.
  14. "6"

    The suiting thread

    J - you could be the tailoring house which only begrudgingly has a team.
  15. "6"

    The suiting thread

    I was struck by how normal and charismatic Ming came across. I hold this notion that geniuses are not always as developed in the interpersonal / social space, clearly I am wrong. Although I loved the undertone of contempt he had for the person he shared the stage with (just my opinion). They occupy polar opposite spaces - one super niche, reliant on designing unique products which have not previously existed. The other a mass market juggernaught which entire company was setup based on market research into consumer trends/habits. I.e. one has to create demand, the other creates to cater for changing demand. Overall, I was hoping to hear more about fantastical next gen retail analytics or consumer experience tech, innovation, and insight. A hint of the next 5-10 years of retail and consumer markets space. By far the most impressive (and concerning) one was the story shared by the Facebook ad marketing lady where they track peoples offline spend patterns back tp online ad impressions. The insight which impressed me the least was by a retail consulting firm which shared these gems: Malaysian consumers prefer mall shopping as the weather is hot, and that malls are also used as social gathering spaces.
  16. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I wasn't so optimistic. Today, I attended the BFM Enterprise Rocks convention. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bfm-enterprise-rocks-2019-tickets-54841965796# What surprised me was how smart the people there were. You see, ever since I left university, I am left puzzled at how dumb the general population is. All I saw left and right were dumb people. But today, it felt like being at uni again. The panelists are almost supernormal beings. I didn't know people like that existed, and am surprised they are congregated today right in front of me. The founder of Ben's Grocers (I forgot his name), Ming Thein, the "agency boy" who founded Tarik Jeans, the founder of Kinder Soap, etc. Except perhaps Ming Thein who is like a thing which dropped in from a different realm (completed his Theoretical Physics studies at Oxford at 16), you'd think the others are just regular folks who founded microbusinesses. They are in fact shockingly smart. Even the audience was special since they asked thoughtful, intelligent questions. The founder of Oxwhite was in the audience. The investors in Ming Watches (Ming Thein's watch brand) were there too. "6" was there too. All kinds of CEOs, CFOs, and CMOs. It was a high calibre audience. The moderators are the presenters of BFM Radio: Fredda Liew etc. The conference expanded my views on business, but the greatest takeaway was this: I noticed the panelists kept talking about how dependent they are on their "great team". It surprised me because I am pretty sure their teams are very mediocre by any objective standard. What sort of "great" people work in grocery retailing? Really? What kind of great people take on supporting jobs in a local jeans startup by the name of Tarik Jeans? The people who do admin work in an artisanal soap company that is only begrudgingly a company? Great people do not do those jobs. It occured to me that it is because of their delusion of how great their teams are that they HAVE teams. If you do not hold those who work for you in high regard, they eventually sense this and will leave. And undeniably, it is better to have a mediocre team that you delusionally regard as a great team than to have no team at all. So Jeremy: Have a team. Try not to look too hard at their staggering weaknesses. Convince yourself this is a great team. Then, you will have a team. It is the only way to win.
  17. carbman

    The suiting thread

    I knew you'd eventually come up with something!
  18. sid11111

    The suiting thread

    On one of my trips to an established old-school tailor, I was perplexed as to why he kept pushing cheaper poly-wool blends when I asked for the more expensive books. Upon further slightly painful probing, he showed me pair of pants that had worn out at the crotch that he was mending. "See? No point. Wool will wear out. Mixed wool no such problem."
  19. sid11111

    Shirts

    Personally not a fan of spread button downs. Otherwise I think the fit looks pretty spot on. What would your critique of this shirt be?
  20. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    You'd think by now I'd just be looking at the ledgers, like how some chefs no longer actually cook after giving their names to an international string of restaurants. Jajaja, so what am I doing with shears and cloth? I'm solving real problems for real people! Overweight people have thighs that rub against each other when they walk. This abrasion quickly destroys trousers, as you can see above. Below a certain BMI, such a thing simply never occurs. It only took me eight years to come up with this solution: A sacrificial barrier in the same cloth or a similar cloth slip stitched to the crotch. When this patch of cloth wears out, it is removed and replaced with a new patch. I've never seen anyone do this solution. It's an original JT solution.
  21. kotmj

    Gloriously off-topic

    I did a calculation of how my investing has turned out. When I first started in the fourth quarter of last year, the KLCI was at 1800 points. Today, it is at 1680; a drop of 6.67%. In the same period, my investments went up 4.38% when I total all dividends, realised and unrealised profit and loss, and minus out transaction fees. Interestingly, I now have about double the amount in my investments compared to when I started. This came about through additional savings and the value increase mentioned above. My holdings currently: AEONCR GENM SCIENTX YOCB DRBHCOM ELKDESA TIMECOM STAR Each is an interesting story. You have those with incredible growth like AEONCR , TIMECOM, SCIENTX, and ELKDESA. You have the severely and perpetually undervalued propositions like YOCB. There is the turnaround situation represented by DRBHCOM, which owns Proton, which is actually not Proton but rather Geely SEA which sold 7000 pieces of X70 since it was introduced in December last year. STAR is an asset play/turnaround: It's business model (print advertising) has been disrupted, and it is in search of a new business model. While it searches for a new CEO, it is facing steep declines in revenue. But it owns a lot of land. It is selling for a small fraction of the land it owns.
  22. kotmj

    Shirts

    Customer sent me this picture in order for me to make adjustments to his pattern before proceeding to make his Alumo shirt. Over the five or six years I've known him, I've made him countless shirts. Every so often, he would want me to relook at the fit, oftentimes in person, or via a photo as in this case. I think of all the customers, he has the most perfect shirt fit I've made. Shirt above in The Embassy Topazio, which is really a Testa.
  23. Earlier
  24. kotmj

    Casual shoes

    I would buy a new pair at this stage. The boots have reached their end of life.
  25. sid11111

    Casual shoes

    Great post, but wow those are some ugly and poorly cared for boots. Cracks of this level scream neglect and are beyond repair.
  26. "6"

    The watch appreciation thread

    Antonio wears it loose on the right hand for teh sprezz
  27. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Dealing with an endless flow of patterns. One after another. Well, they deal with it. I sip coffee and photograph them doing it.
  28. holymoly

    Casual shoes

    Leather quality and how it wears over time. I have not decided if I should save these boots. Certainly the cracks are pretty substantial. The inner sock lining has also been damaged in several areas (not shown).
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