Archives for Roger's Rant…

Goodbye 2012… Hello 2013…

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Once again, we have reached that moment in time where we sit back and reflect on our life at large… … and then perhaps set some New Year resolutions that we will forget all about in just a week or two 🙂 Anyway… what I can say that this year end, I could at least spend an hour penning this on ‘cyber paper’ before the year is through! Well… I could have at least wrote this 3 hours ago if life isn’t so complex…

 

Life Is Complex. Period.

fb_toshiba_laptopLess than 24 hours ago, I purchased a new Toshiba laptop, so as to have longer lasting battery life — they say that the battery these days can last up to six hours — as compared with my existing Fujitsu Lifebook which battery can only last me 30 minutes at best.

However, much to my surprise — sitting at a café — I simply cannot get this red beauty to connect up to the Internet whether through my broadband dongle or via my personal hotspot!

No matter how I fiddled despite my over ten years of computer system integration experience does not help. However, when I got back to office, the laptop connects seamlessly to my broadband router without even a whisper 🙂

Well… we have really reached or shall I say, exceeded the James Bond age!

Want proof? Only last Saturday have I conducted a workshop where I teach people how to make home movies, not even on their laptops, but on their mobile devices like iPhone or iPad!

Now… We Can Make Movies On The Go!

Isn’t that fascinating? Making movies on the go!

That was something totally unthinkable two to three decades ago!!  Just a few years after the IBM PC launched in the mid to late 1980s, I dreamed about shooting videos on my tours, putting them into a movie, adding sub titles, etc but the price tag was exorbitant and proved to be beyond my budget which would be a hefty 5-figure at least!

Today, you can just buy any tablet (Apple iPad or Android) or even smart phone in some cases (eg. Apple iPhone), download an app for just a few dollars (only USD4.99 in the case of Apple iMovie app), attend a short workshop and voila! you can make movies on the go! Anytime, anywhere!

Having said that, I just made this video last night in just a couple of hours, just before going to bed:

Facebook INSPIRATION Video

Well, as far as business goes, we had a fulfilling year building up Autoprofit Marketing Pte Ltd which is a new age NON-MLM, referral marketing business. In fact, we doubled the number of vendors as well as marketers working with us in this win win business!

How does it work? Here’s the low down…

Everyone is sitting on a Gold Mine!

 That’s because everyone has at least 250 contacts in their network even if they do not deliberately go about networking. For those who network at least once or twice a week, after a few years, they will have at least 500 to 1,000 contacts!

And Robert Kiyosaki of ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ fame has mentioned that ‘your network is your net worth’ So, what can you do with these contacts?

That’s the reason why we built this platform whereby we work with a bunch of vendors who provide high quality service and willing to share a portion of their revenue with people who make successful referrals to them. So, in that sense, they are spending on marketing but only when a sale is made!

Plus, since we do not charge them upfront but help to market them, they have zero risk as compared with spending thousands of dollars on traditional advertising like TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, flyers, etc!

So, on the other hand, we have a few hundred marketers who are happy to recommend their friends to use the services of our vendors and earn a thank you or referral fee. It’s simply a win win for everyone.  If you wish to find out more about how this works and even be a part of this, visit www.autoprofit-team.com

What’s worth remembering this year also is that

We had three wonderful holidays…

Firstly, we went to Beijing in March…

then a longer trip in the middle of the year to Vancouver, Canada (and visited Steph Soh, my good friend) and visited Seattle and San Francisco, USA.  Oh yes, that period, I was much too busy to make any videos, so here are some pictures:

With my wife at Vancouver, Canada

With my wife at Vancouver, Canada

With Steph Soh at Vancouver, Canada

With Steph Soh at Vancouver, Canada

With my wife (centre) and Steph Soh at Vancouver, Canada

With my wife (centre) and Steph Soh at Vancouver, Canada

At Pike Place Fish Market, Seattle

At Pike Place Fish Market, Seattle

At Pike Place Fish Market, Seattle

At Pike Place Fish Market, Seattle

At the Gay Pride Parade, San Francisco

At the Gay Pride Parade, San Francisco

 And then to Seoul, Korea to celebrate my birthday in October:

Seoul Changing of Guards

With a royal guard in Seoul

Enjoying my fav noodles at Myeongdong

Enjoying my fav noodles at Myeongdong

Visiting the Korean Ginseng Center

Visiting the Korean Ginseng Center

Last but not least, I have made a lot of wonderful friends, both in Facebook as well as in real life. Frankly, if you ask me, that’s what makes life worth living – to know another fellow ‘traveler’ on the same journey from cradle to grave on Planet Earth. And what else can I ask for, making at least a dozen good friends in 2012!  (You know who you are, so I rather not mention you by name ^^ ).

To me, 2012 is a fulfilling year! Frankly, I’m contented to have another year of 2013 just like the one in 2012 where I can make more videos, continue to do some teaching, and see the Autoprofit referral marketing business continue to grow and we continue to travel. In fact, we have plans to tour Europe and China again in the coming year and really looking forward to it!

See you in 2013!!

Have you watched Sand Art before? Recently, a friend introduced this to me…

A few weeks back, an old friend visited me and introduced me to this beautiful art form called sand art.  To me, all I know is building sandcastles in the air and never can imagine one can do such a magical thing with just sand!



He said it was first introduced to China during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the audience of spellbound!  Today, a handful of artists specialize in this art form and either give live performance at events or create videos on behalf of clients for occasions like weddings, children’s journey, product launches, opening ceremonies, tourist attraction highlights and the list goes on…

Visiting Seoul, South Korea for the first time…

Finally, I am in Seoul, South Korea for the very first time…

Seoul Changing of Guards

With a royal guard in Seoul

As you are probably aware, the K-drama and K-pop phenomena has catapulted South Korea to an unprecedented fame in the world of entertainment in recent years!

In fact, in just three months before I landed on Korean soil, the ‘gangnam style’ debut by celebrity rapper PSY has taken the world by storm, garnering some 500,000 million views on Youtube!!!

Anyway, we took a city tour the day after we arrived. And we found that Seoul is really impressive with a mixture of history and its modern day’s ‘no small’ achievements as you already know:

  • Gyeong Bok Gung Palace & Chang Deok Gung Secondary Secondary Palace were both built during the Joseon Dynasty in 1395 and 1405 respectively shortly after the dynasty was founded. (By the way, the Joseon Dynasty lasted till 1910 when Korea was annexed by the Japan Empire by force.
  • Shopping & Eating in Korea There are lots of places to shop and eat in Korea such as Myeong-dong, a well known shopping Mecca, just minutes away from where we stay at Hans Suite in downtown Seoul (which by the way, is highly recommended, convenient and affordable), the Insa-Dong, the cultural art market for antiques and artworks, the Gangnam district which is one of the most affluent districts in Seoul comprising the famous COEX Mall, the Yongsan Electronics Market which is the largest electronics market in Asia, etc.
  • Seoul has a comprehensive subway network with over 10 lines that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas, and having the longest circle line of over 60 km and over 50 stations!
  • Seoul is a leading global city, ranking eighth in the Global Cities Index of 2012 and seventh in the Global Power City Index of 2011. It is also one of the world’s top ten financial and commercial centers and home to major multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia.

Fortunately, we decided to spend the entire week in the capital city itself instead of venturing off to faraway places like the Jeju island or even up north to the DMZ which will take up a few precious days!

Myeongdong Gyoza noodle restaurant

Gyoza noodle restaurant

If you will be visiting Seoul for the first time, here is my list of TOP 5 places to visit:

  1. Gyeong Bok Gung Palace, the former seat of power and is probably Korea’s most famous royal palace, built in the late 1300s, and has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times. Be sure to be there by 11 am to witness the changing of guards.
  2. Myeong-dong is a well-known shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. Be sure also to visit the noodle restaurant (I’m an absolute noodle lover!) located opposite the M Plaza. The restaurant is well-known for their knife-cut, handmade kalguksu (soupy noodles), the mandu (dumplings), bibim guksu (spicy noodles) which also come with fiery kimchi!
  3. Namdaemun Market is seemingly open 24 hours and is a fantastic place to pick up inexpensive clothing, housewares, fabrics, jewelry, accessories, toys, food, flowers, stationery and appliances.
  4. Cheonggyecheon Stream A walk along this nearly 6km stream is almost as good as a spa for clearing one’s mind as this stream is very serene with small waterfalls and around 20 overhead bridges.
  5. N Seoul Tower is perched atop Namsan mountain, accessible from the Myeong-dong subway station, and offers panoramic view of the megacity created almost from scratch after the Korean War. If you go before the sun sets, you can enjoy both day time views as well as watch the great city transform into a galaxy of lights.

Visiting Vancouver, B.C., Canada for the first time…

With my wife (left) and Steph Soh (my good friend) at the lookout, Gastown, overlooking Vancouver

We have been planning to visit Vancouver for a good number of years but somehow never materialized…

…until this year, 2012 where we finally decided to just book a flight from San Francisco (SFO) since we are visiting SFO for the fourth time and have covered most bases here.

Plus, I can kill two birds with one stone as Steph Soh, my good friend just migrated to Vancouver earlier this year and we could visit her 🙂

The flight from SFO to Vancouver took just 2 hour 15 mins and during the taxi ride to our hotel in downtown Vancouver, I have a very good impression of the city as it is clean and beautiful even though we were riding close to midnight.

The city is pretty built up… with many highrise buildings and shops too — where we live is at Robson Street, their version of Singapore’s Orchard Road where one cannot miss the big brands like Coach, LV, etc — amidst vast expenses of parks and nice beaches.

The entire population is just over 2 million in metro Vancouver — covering more than just downtown (or the city centre) —  enjoying fresh air, lots of space, and a nice cool temperature! No wonder, it is often quoted as one of the top ten most livable places on the planet! Now, I understand why there are so many immigrants in recent years!

Here’s an EXCERPT from our good old Wikipedia:

Downtown Vancouver (looking from our hotel in Robson Street); Stanley Park is on the left

“Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded more than 603,000 people in the city, making it the eighth largest among Canadian cities. The metropolitan area, with more than 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. With 5,249 people per square kilometre (13,590 per sq mile), the City of Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality among those with 5,000 residents or more. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada, with 52% for whom English is not their first language.”

For just two days, we visited lots of places, thanks to Steph Soh, covering many places, restaurants and stuff including:

  • Stanley Park
  • Lions Gate Bridge
  • Granville Island
  • False Creek
  • Chinatown
  • Gastown
  • Lookout
  • Steamed clock
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory, Water Street
  • Greek Restaurant, near Metrotown
  • Metrotown Shopping Mall
  • Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  • Chocolate Arts (1620 west 3rd avenue www.chocolatearts.com), the only store in the world and they sell handcrafted designer chocolates, nice, unique and palatable!
  • Vancouver Galleria Italia (1033 Venables Street www.lacasagelato.com), the only shop serving 218 different gelato, sorbetto and yoghurt sensations!

Well, on the third day (tomorrow), we will be visiting the Victoria, the capital of British Columbia (B.C.) province. Victoria is located on the HUGE Vancouver Island, which will take over 2 hours by coach and ferry. And I heard that the famous Butchart Gardens there is an awesome sight and I can’t wait to get there! 🙂

Revisiting USA: Berkeley, Oakland & San Francisco Part 2

Jack London Square

After checking out from Berkeley City Club, we took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) over to Oakland which is just a few stops away…

The weather was exceptionally hot yesterday, around 27 deg C, much like Singapore, so we decided to go near some water to chill out and went to Jack London Square, which was named after the  Jack London, a famous American author who lived about a century ago.

The place is a stretch of beach with many yachts as well as a few dozen of restaurants.

Lamp shades in Bocanova Restaurant, Jack London Square

We managed to find one quite nice restaurant called Bocanova that plays beautiful Jazz music in the background, serves some kind of fusion food as well as have a nice decor with the use of colorful lamp shades and stained glass.

The food was good and the ambience was nice, as we ate inside without aircon… as Oakland (like the other cities like San Francisco and Berkeley in the Bay Area) is cool all year round, how blessed they are!

Revisiting USA: Berkeley, Oakland & San Francisco Part 1

Berkeley City Club

Entrance to Berkeley City Club

It’s early Saturday morning here as I sip my coffee and soon go around Berkeley and nearby Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco.

As I flew in a couple of days ago to join my wife (after she attended a conference here) for a short vacation, I find myself waking up around 3.30 am the past two days!

THAT the world is round can really be quite a hassle for modern jet setters like you and I !  Anyone has a quick fix to adapt quickly to different ends of the world, I would gladly listen 🙂

What I miss most here is:

WELL, you probably guessed it right…

… is our variety of food in Singapore as well as availability round the clock in many parts of the island that we tend to take for granted sometimes.

In fact, the very night I arrived at the Berkeley City Club after a long flight from SG to SFO via HKG, there’s really nothing much to eat, not even our beloved 7-11 that is so abundant in our part of the world… and I had to settle for some instant noodle 🙂

Anyway,  if you were to visit San Francisco Bay Area, I would highly recommend that you stay in this ‘historic hotel’ called Berkeley City Club, which is like a little castle with a beautifully decorated ‘ambience’ of the old English days and yet the place is so well kept and sparkling clean, with an almost continu0us supply of caffeine, and Wi-Fi spots. And guess what, I even found two pianos, one a Yamaha Clavinova digital and the other a nine feet grand to play!

Alright, I got to go for some breakfast and then off to downtown Berkeley as well as the Oakland area to spend a day before heading up north to Vancouver tomorrow 🙂

It’s been over six months and two vacations since…

As I write this post and reflect, it’s been over six months and two vacations since my last post…

Well, certainly modern lifestyle is super busy and hectic for most of us what with the increasing popularity of social media like Facebook that ‘rob’ us of a lot of personal time, I would say 🙂

Since my last post during my trip to Taipei last October, I visited Hong Kong to celebrate Christmas last December as well as traveled to Beijing to spend a week there in March.

I made two videos (see below) for my Hong Kong trip, where Part 2 captures the interesting array of what to eat and buy good stuff in Hong Kong. If you prefer to check out a ebook of the food and good stuff there instead, visit http://www.rogerloh.me/hongkong

As for Beijing, there is still so much to see and I have finished 2 of the 3 videos I planned to make (see below).

Revisiting Taipei, Taiwan after 35 years…

Roger Loh in Taipei, Taiwan

GREETINGS from Taipei, Taiwan

Sipping an iced latte at the world renowned Grand Hotel 圓山大飯店 in Taipei that I visited 35 years is truly a rare experience…

While it’s a blessing to revisit some place after more than three long decades,  it also reminds me that time flies and will never return back!

There was no MRT here back then nor was there any Internet at that time. Certainly, there was no shuttle bus to ferry us from this hotel to the nearest MRT station but just a barrage of motorbikes ferrying passengers along the sloping side roads up and down the hotel.

Anyway, here’s my impression and highlights of Taipei after spending almost a week here:


Read more »

Highlights of Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, Vietnam

Last month, in August 2011, I visited Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, Vietnam…

Though many of my country mates have visited in the past decades since the war, it was my first!

Frankly, it’s been a long while since I learned much about Vietnam from Anthony Grey (a journalist)’s book, ‘Saigon’, a novel that helped me understand the Vietnam war. That was back in the 1980s. Time flies.

Well… as you would expect, since so many had gone there before me, I already knew what to expect even before the trip. But still, it was an interesting trip and experience and I will be delighted to visit again 🙂

In this short article, I’ll share with you my thoughts and experience of HCM, Vietnam:

  • HCM is touted by many to be like Singapore back in the 1970s. Well, I agree to a certain extent because the city is ultra modern in some areas. In the ’70s, the most popular shopping centre here was People’s Park Centre and then later People’s Park Complex whereas now, in 2011, there are some huge and modern office-cum-shopping complex like Vincom Center. Having said that, there are indeed old-style markets like the Ben Thanh market (which is much like Chak Tu Chak in Bangkok).
  • There are millions of motorcycles there which is pretty much unseen here (not even in the 70s!) and it was an amazing sight to me 🙂 Crossing every street becomes a challenge of guts and estimation. And the interesting thing is… they have people at some places like hotels, restaurants, etc who are watching tourists and will volunteer to come hold your hand and lead you across the street otherwise being  Singaporeans, we might end up standing till the traffic wanes at night.
  • Coffee places are everywhere! That is something pleasing to me as you might be aware. Plus… iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk is unique and tasteful! Thus, it’s an excellent place for tired feet whenever you need a break or if you just want to have a more relaxed pace.
  • Vietnamese food is healthy, by nature as they use plenty of vegetables. Particularly I like their ‘pho’ which is a white-flour noodles which is smooth as silk. I happen to eat a bowl also at the world famous Pho 2000 Restaurant at District 1, just opposite Ben Thanh market because former US President Bill Clinton visited in the early 2000s!
  • We had international buffet at the Atrium Cafe of the Legend Hotel which was touted as the Mother of all buffets! I fully agreed as the spread is truly generous, with lots of varieties including sashimi, oysters, mushrooms, chocolate fondue and lots of desserts laid out in terraced displays… what a feast for the eyes in addition to our taste buds 🙂
  • We visited the Ho Chi Minh City Museum which was kind of a letdown because we expected a lot more. But still there are some artifacts to explore as well as a cross-section of the Cu Chi Tunnel during the Vietcong days.
  • Hotels, toilets and streets are generally quite clean. In fact, the budget Hotel Lavender is highly recommended at less than US$50 per night and they provided excellent service by sharing tips of where to eat and go to the guests like us voluntarily. There is also a foot massage joint in the hotel which provided a very good service which is definitely recommended.

For this first visit, we deliberately stay in District 1 (which is their ‘Orchard Road’) for the entire week to experience the hustle and bustle of the city rather than going outbound into popular tourist spots like the Cu Chi Tunnel or some sea food places a few hours away along the Mekong River.

Overall, it was a memorable trip… and surely I’ll go back to relive the experience, the coffee, the pho as well as the international buffet which is really superb! Plus, there are so many outstation destinations with fresh seafood I heard that must not be missed! So… till the next time 🙂

An EXCITING Week Went By :-)

Last week was pretty EXCITING for me…

Here are THREE updates to share:

UPDATE #1: My FIRST iPhone workshop

I conducted my first iPhone workshop last week. It was supposed to be a mini workshop from 7-10 pm. Guess what time we finished?

Well… it was the LATEST workshop I ever conducted!!

The class left at 11.30 pm!!!

There was SO much to teach and I promised the participants that they will know about the iPhone MORE than 80% of the iPhone
users out there 🙂

Frankly, I’m not sure if I fulfilled my promise in such a short time but they all got:

  • 15 pages of notes
  • an Video Tutorial blog on the iPhone!

And all that for just $45 🙂

UPDATE #2: I sold a SECONDHAND iPad

I helped my nephew sell his iPad because he seldom used it. It was the ORIGINAL model.

Well, at least this iPad (only 6 months old) went to someone in need of it who will use it to DOUBLE her productivity!

Why am I so sure?

Well, because she’s going to attend my FIRST iPad Productivity workshop on 2 July 11 🙂

UPDATE #3: G.O.A.L.S. Networking

On behalf of WIN WIN Networking, I invited more than a dozen people for a SPECIAL brand of G.O.A.L.S. networking which stands for:

G = Goals
O = Occupation
A = Achievements
L = Leisure
S = Skills

Participants had to share their G.O.A.L.S. with one another and as a result, got to know each other rather quickly, thus speeding up the networking process. For more information on networking, visit

http://www.Autoprofit-Team.com/winwin

NOTE: The above website is being revamped, so please visit again soon.