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kotmj

The suiting thread

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I obtained the so-called "ulang-alik" permission from the police. Today, I stepped foot for the first time in the workshop since MCO. It looked exactly as I left it. Mostly, it looked disorganised.

So you see, I've been working out during MCO, getting quite a bit of sun, and eating what I think it is a pretty good diet. I'm maybe at 15% body fat. This may be the best it will get, because I start seeing customers from tomorrow, which means I will no longer have the time, energy, or attention for myself. Unless I make the conscious decision to eschew tens of thousands of ringgit a month in exchange for more time for myself. Would I? IDK. Seems expensive to me.

I'm hungry now, and will drop by 1U for lunch. I kept casting my mind around for food options in 1U, but I cannot think of anything healthy to eat. Our food culture is so irretrievably broken. The leading cause of death in Malaysia, and in lots of places, is heart failure due to clogged arteries. There is only one way to get clogged arteries. Through the food. In other words, the no. 1 cause of death is the stuff people habitually swallow. Simply eating, kills you. Because our idea of what is food is so wrong. When people try to eat healthy today, like my brothers occasionally do, the stuff they conjure up leads inevitably to the usual causes of death.

I'm still wondering what to get at 1U. Nothing there is worth eating.

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I told myself this morning I will get back to Bukit Tinggi by 5pm. Absolutely. Get back early, walk the dogs, work out, prepare dinner.

It is now 6:45pm and I am still waiting to get some things done in PJ. Running operations just consumes your life. I've tried to find a solution out of this for many years but it evades me.

It took me hours today to reply to a simple price inquiry, because it is not about a price inquiry. The customer wants a solution. I consider the context in which the question was placed, and then I have to sometimes do many things to produce a reply that really solves his problem. I can always tell when other people do not do the work to produce a quality reply. I fear that if I were to hire a sales guy, he wouldn't know what a quality reply looks like, nor is able to produce it. Most employees are useless.

There is a seller who sells absolute ethanol at RM30/l. But, he also sells hand sanitizer at RM40/l. The hand sanitiser, he writes, is alchohol-based, non-viscous, and is a whopping 70% alcohol. To me, his hand sanitiser is just 70% ethonal mixed with 30% water.

I think he sells lots of that hand sanitiser, and very little of that absolute ethanol.

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What I ate for lunch today. I had to improvise. I had a third of that broccoli (yes, raw---no microwave oven in the shop), the entire can of beans, and a handful of the walnuts. It's much better than any prepared food sold in 1U.

I realised while in the Aeon supermarket in 1U amongst what are the most highly educated, well informed, and prosperous demographic in Malaysia that something about shopping puts people into a quiet frenzy. It is the state of mind some people go into when they are eating. They get lost in the act of eating, and you see them almost wolfing down the food in an unselfconscious way. You see this particularly in dogs, but it is a trait of humans too. 

Shopping puts people into that state. They become primally focused on the act of acquisition, and are oblivious to their surroundings. 

There was no social distancing. When people are out to acquire food, they become like animals. 

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After writing here that heart disease is the no. 1 cause of mortality in Malaysia, I became curious as to just how many people die from it. Is it far and away the leading cause of death, or is there a close second?

There is no close second. Both of the top two causes of death in Malaysia in a study by the MOH are caused by clogged arteries. About 15% of those who die each year die from heart attacks. Another 15% die of stroke. Both are caused by clogged arteries.

In 2010, they caused about 85,000 deaths. Notice how much more deaths this is than what was caused by covid. Moreover, many of these people are not that old. In fact, anectodally, many of these people are at the peak of their productivity and contribution.

Clogged arteries are 100% preventable. It is even reversible. It is non-contagious, unless you see it from a cultural perspective. Yet, it is regarded as a normal way of dying. There is no campaign against eating animal products, which is the no. 1 reason people die from the no. 1 cause of death. In fact, chicken is a price-controlled "basic necessity". Why do people eat chicken every day?

Without resorting to ultrasound and CT scans, the best numerical predictor for clogging in the arteries is your blood pressure.

The no. 2 cause of death are basically infections that cause you breathing difficulties. It's really a sign of a weak immune system. These people are normally quite old. In fact, I think it is quite a successful exit. In their earlier years, they would shake off these infections without any problems. But, age has made them frail. About 13% of Malaysians die this way. This is the classic "death by old age".

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I have been whatsapping with a friend. He lives in mortal fear of covid. He freaking loves MCO. He is very affected economically by the MCO, but he loves his family a lot more than money. 

I tell him in 2018, more than 14% of deaths in Malaysia were caused by breathing difficulties. That's tens of thousands of deaths that were preceeded by intubation. Ventilators were not invented for covid. Thousands of Malaysian die every month with a tube down their throat. That's how you die. It's normal. It has never been any different. Dying from the flu is very normal. Nobody talks about it, but it happens all the time. 

What's abnormal is to shut the economy down for 2 months for something flu-like. 

But he has tremendous difficulty in regarding covid the way I do. He can't view it rationally. He keeps thinking he will lose his sons or his parents. 

I, too, understand how dangerous this is for old people. I, too, have parents. But that's just life. What happens to old people? They die. It has never been different. With or without covid, they die. That's the fate of old people. 

Look, dying is fine. Losing loved ones is fine. It has always been like this. 

What is not fine, not normal, is to die from the stuff you mistake for food. That is sheer stupidity. To die of your own fault. To die of stupidity. That, I will never accept for myself. 

He celebrates his children's birthdays at Pizza Hut and KFC and such. That is just towering stupidity. You worry about covid, when you expose your children to the very foods that kill 30% of Malaysians? 

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A British customer was telling me how we should Zoom at 0800 GMT tomorrow. He previously had a 3-piece suit made by me, and for his second suit, would like some tweaks to the fit. 

I had to Google to check the local time. The clock app on my Huawei lets me tell the time around the world right now, but it doesn't tell me the local time for 0800 GMT. I wonder if something like the JLC Master Geographic would be helpful in such a situation. Obviously, I am too distracted to add or subtract such and such hours in my head. I need a RM50k device to do it for me. 

watch-club-jaeger-lecoultre-master-geogr

It would be my first time doing a remote fitting via Zoom. 

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^I need it in 36mm, and no thicker than 10mm. 

I did the Zoom session with the customer today. It turns out Google was wrong on the time. 0800 GMT is not 1600 hours Malaysian time. It is in fact 1500. 

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Luckily, the customer could do it at 1600 Malaysian time. 

Yesterday, finally, I suddenly realised what I'm supposed to manage for in these times. I did periodically try to put my mind to work to find the best way of managing JT for 2020. But, the mind was unresponsive. It's difficult to think deeply and creatively of work when you are enjoying home life. Work seems so distant. 

It changed when I was sitting by myself in the shop yesterday. I realised that I must manage JT for profitability. Even with a starkly reduced revenue, JT must at least break even. The way you do that is to shrink the cost base. 

I'm sure lots of managers have realised this long ago. But, it was new to me. 

Just now, I looked at, for the first time ever with this level of detail, JT's costs both fixed and variable. In good times, and times have almost always been good for JT, I needn't really look at costs. Now that I have, I see so much potential for turning fixed costs into variable costs. And, I see a way to reduce the cost of logistics (by taking activities in-house). I had always put off these measures because there was no pressing need to. Well, now is the time. 

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Apparently, UK clocks have switched to British Summer Time (BST) at the end of March, making UK effectively GMT+1. Since Singapore and Malaysia are GMT+8, 8am plus 7 hours time difference is 3pm. Google didn't get the time wrong; the search you made was wrong in assuming UK is at GMT right now (this time of year).

Anyway, my Samsung world clock app could save you the 50k for said watch, but other 3rd party apps will do. Far less stylish and pleasing to the eyes, though.

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Indeed, I suspected daylight savings would be involved. 

I was at the post office in 1U to send parcels to HK and Austria, but was told that regular airmail isn't functioning in Malaysia. I will need to use Poslaju/EMS. I guess flights now go to the highest bidder. 

Having schleppt parcels, I thought I needed a fortifying coffee. I stopped at Cafe Bene. This is at 3pm. As I approached to fill the contact tracing form, I realised I was the first customer of the day. For the whole of yesterday, there were only 3 customers. 

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The way things are going, Muhyiddin will have to declare private dwellings banned for a few hours each day in order to get people to consume again. 

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In other words, if you're found to be in your home between the hours of 7pm till 10pm every weekday, and 12noon till 5pm every weekend, you will be fined RM1000. 

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In Malacca itself I prosecute almost 600 people for breaching MCO. The most interesting cases is one fella being caught outside of his home at 11pm for playing Pokemon Go.

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They should use the system provided by Selangor State Government.

 

www.selangkah.my 

 

 

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I have only ONE DAY off in the WHOLE WEEK: Monday. I was so looking forward to coming Monday, but have to meet with the lawyer. She said Tuesday cannot. 

"Mr Jeremy would it be possible to affirm it on Monday? As the CFO and our despatch are operating in limited hours due to CMCO & fasting month. We will try to serve the affidavit to Court and opponent on Tuesday morning itself." 

BTW, I always thought it's either Jeremy, or Mr Tok. Mr Jeremy is not supposed to be correct? 

The only consolation is the lawyer is cute.

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Today, I was with a coatmaker I was in the process of firing. He has worked for me 4 years. Why fire now? If he was good enough for the last four years, what has changed? 

That's the problem. Not enough has changed. I realised that lodged deep in my brain is the expectation that things must improve over time. Quality, efficiency, creativity must all go up over time. Threading water is not acceptable. We CANNOT be making the same product the same way year after year. We must make an increasingly more sophisticated product with greater efficiency over time. So a worker who is good enough today, may be perceived by me as deficient if he merely remains the same.

So I gave him one last chance. If he wants to continue working for me, he has to do so in the shop, not from home. He will still be paid by the piece, but that piece must be made in the shop. By being under my constant supervision, I hope he will improve. 

He immediately agreed. 

I just changed the name of the business in Google. It's now called Jeremy Tok Tailoring Workshop. 

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I saw a heart surgeon this morning for a fitting. We chatted a little about covid. My exposure to the medical fraternity is quite limited (and long may it remain so). In particular, I never want to be the customer of a heart surgeon. They mostly just cut open your ribcage. 

I realised after a while that he's really quite smart. It's a very specific kind of intelligence. I mean, I also have repeated exposure to, say, people who produce news media like producers and editors, but they always struck me as little parrots. They have no original thought. 

This surgeon has a very specific way of thinking. He does quite a bit more thinking than most people. He communicates the result of his thinking short and well. 

I should try to be more specific. He has a wandering mind. Most people, when they "think" of a topic, call to mind only what they have read, or were told. A person with a wandering mind looks at a topic from many perspectives, and he encircles a topic from increasingly larger radii. He looks to history for precedent. He looks for analogous situations. He generates many "what if" scenarios. He challenges his own ideas in his own head.

Very few people do any of these. 

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So a very senior central banker came just now to pick up some stuff and to order another jeans; the one we previously made for him, he says, has become his daily driver. I'm not actually sure which bank he works for. As we all know, there are so many central banks around. Several in every mall.

Of course I had to ask if there will be another big stimulus package. I said the US is really printing the money. Malaysia has mostly used other people's money, and not even that much of it. He didn't look at all optimistic. He told me why. But I can't tell you why. He liked to talk about the abuses of the current assiatance package.

I said what about the airlines? Will there be assistance? You leave Tony to hang in the wind, or what? I'm not sure if I should say what he said.

We talked about graduate unemployment, which he says is 3X higher than unemployment in general. Half a million graduates become available for hire every year. This is very worrying to those in power. Nobody really knows what to do.

Talked about the compounding interest for the HP loan moratorium fiasco, which he said affected him personally.

Talked about Singapore's response, and how our response is hampered due to Muhyiddin's extreme reluctance to face Parliament.

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18 hours ago, kotmj said:

So a very senior central banker came just now to pick up some stuff and to order another jeans; the one we previously made for him, he says, has become his daily driver. I'm not actually sure which bank he works for. As we all know, there are so many central banks around. Several in every mall.

Of course I had to ask if there will be another big stimulus package. I said the US is really printing the money. Malaysia has mostly used other people's money, and not even that much of it. He didn't look at all optimistic. He told me why. But I can't tell you why. He liked to talk about the abuses of the current assiatance package.

I said what about the airlines? Will there be assistance? You leave Tony to hang in the wind, or what? I'm not sure if I should say what he said.

We talked about graduate unemployment, which he says is 3X higher than unemployment in general. Half a million graduates become available for hire every year. This is very worrying to those in power. Nobody really knows what to do.

Talked about the compounding interest for the HP loan moratorium fiasco, which he said affected him personally.

Talked about Singapore's response, and how our response is hampered due to Muhyiddin's extreme reluctance to face Parliament.

I would suggest maybe we should have a thread on investment or financial related stuff. Would be interesting to hear opinions from people here. 

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I've been hearing a lot lately about how the world will never be the same post-pandemic, in particular how the demand for office space will shrink as some staff permanently work from home, and how business travel will never rise to pre-pandemic levels because people will use Zoom instead.

So much nonsense. If you're in sales and you do not visit your client in Togo, but your competitor flies out 3X a year to woo that client in Togo, eventually you will have no client in Togo.

If there is an annual fair in Hanover that all your competitors exhibit at, but you don't, thinking your Zoom sessions are so hot...well, bye bye to you. 

If your semi-retarded employees work from home, but your competitors' semi-retarded employees work in cubicles under the supervision of a non-retarded manager, your competitors will pull ahead of you over time.

Centralised office spaces and business travel, as well as business suits really, have always been about a matter of competitiveness. Those who do it, exist. Those who don't, you do not hear from them anymore.

 

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