29 Nov 2006

The Same Ole Porter


In the seminar organized by Magister Management UI in Jakarta today, Porter spoke about one and half an hour in front of Minister Sri Mulyani and 1,000 participants about the Porter recipes that created when he was 32 years and have lasted 3 decades.

Despite of the idea block and the lack of new publications from the Professor post his prime years, he displayed strong presentation skill and stamina to enliven the seminar - which moderated with a zest by Director of MM-UI Rhenald Khasali.

During majority of the speak, he criticized Indonesian mentality that we are more interested in fighting against each-other rather than collectively solving the problems to improve the country's competitiveness; reason why this vast nation with large population could only have GDP equal to a single state of the United States.

Wait for more of Porter, Porter-ize, his critics, and why the Olympic swimmer Matt Biondi is being linked analogously to the Harvard Professor' theory.


















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25 Nov 2006

Fitness Frenzy

It was just my luck.

My friend and office colleague went window shopping in a mall, and visited Celebrity Fitness (CF) promotion stand. After she has been coaxed into joining the club by a high-spirited super- enthusiastic CF salesperson, she put my name on the list of people should be informed, telephoned, SMSed, invited, offered free trial and all special packages, an opportunity of a lifetime - by high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF salesperson.


Then the pursuit started. I was being called, SMSed few times a day, rain and shine. If I managed to shrug-off one high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF salesperson, another high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF salesperson would called me in the same frequency, with the same talk, the same offer, a gift and chance that I should not miss, or I will be irresponsible and neglecting my health, exposing it to the high-risks of cholesterol and fat, cardiac arrest, and passing off the chance to improve my sagging and overweight bod to a robust-chest triangle shaped bod, with chance to achieve a beautiful six packs if I have what it takes. I would lose all those unnecessary bags that make me
tidak pede in swimsuits, lingeries and thongs.

The risk of cardiac arrest frighten me, since there have been many muds and muddy things that get on my nerves lately. I haven't scaled down my calories and fat intakes, what else - Indonesia santanized foods are so good.

So I walked to the nearest CF, and immediately being attended by a high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF salesperson who showed me all facilities and explained to me the chart how I could improve my flat and un-exciting life to the level of begitu bahagia in 9-12 months.

He explained that I've been offered a life opportunity that he only charged me some Rp 231,000 for administration and Rp 479,000 something a month which other people paid millions 2-3 months a go. If my skeptic hubby is willing to join, he will give me special treatment in form couple membership, the same condition and fee times two (no, I did not hear wrongly).

His boss was called upon when I didn't take the bait as conversation started to drag, and the expatriate guy, whose selling skill is actually rate only a quarter to our local high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF salesperson but with authority to give discounts that I need. He splashed in a generous waive of administration fee for the second entry - specially and offered only to me because he likes me so much.

I was not that flattered, but I did sign-up because, what-else, the fright of cardiac arrest.

After my credit card is being tied to a one year membership and monthly charge, I was introduced to the all muscles toned chief trainer for a deeper pocket-dig. I was shown a picture of woman twice my size, who with support of high-spirited super-enthusiastic CF Personal Trainers, has amazingly shed her weight to half my size in unbelievable short span. He told me the cost is just a mere Rp 250,000-300,000/session - and well, of course he would give me discount so I could only need to pay Rp 175,000-225,000/session depend on combo I choose, which only valid for today.

I used to join health club operated by Clark-Hatch and Joanne Drew, offered mainly by hotels and part of hotel facilities. And also that club in West Jakarta with huge swimming-pool, hot whirlpool and cold plunge, where your every cents worth. The services are standard to good, with ambience and experience as if we are walking into community club and exercising in our community yards.

Today's health-clubs are more feisty and modern, with many TV screens, endless techno-music and phosphoric lightings similar to nightclub and bar. They operate in malls with expensive rental of hundred dollars per-sqm, with those enormous 18 hours/day non-stop electric consumption and exorbitant investment costs of equipments and decorations - the marketing approaches are way too aggressive and most of time, harrassing.

In less than a month, I've been phoned by a high-spirited super- enthusiastic CF salesperson again, offering another special deal for me to improve to Platinum bla-bla-bla. And these diehards seem take turns in calling me, sending sms and leaving messages on my mobile that I should make the booking today before late. While actually every months there are always new offers and promos under the sun.

I haven't even joined for 2 weeks and worked-out more than 5 times, and I've been offered to pay 2 years membership fees upfront to get 4 years membership.

In the launch of the outlet in PIM on Sep 2005, CF boasted 11,000 membership in 9 months operating. Divided by about 5-6 existed clubs at that period, one club may have 1,800-2,200 members perclub. My high-spirited super- enthusiastic CF salesperson told me that the outlet where I join has 2,700 members. And they keep recruiting and recruiting.

Once, during the peak hours of 7-9 pm, the club was so full that most of cardio-equipments were occupied and I had to queue. It was so crowded like Sea-World on the first opening day that I lost my mood to exercise and even for shower, I had to queue. The dispensers were ran out of supply, toilets not flushed and trashes scattered un-attended in changing rooms. The smells of sweat were thick in the air while people barely abled to walk around without being bumped by others.

The club was only some 2,000 sqm. If the equipments are some 150 pieces and one person occupy 2-3 sqm of gym - it could only fit 300-400 visitors at the same time. If the turn-up ratio is 20%, would it be sufficient for 540 members ? Frankly speaking, everytime they announce bigger membership base, everytime I feel that my convenience and interests are being compromised.

The earlier entrees are being discriminated. As more promos and discounts being created and offered - not only that they have paid higher for what discounted today, they also have to put up with larger crowds and lower comforts, as the service quality decline with each additional masses.

The marketing system with commissions for salespersons turn them into relentless team and individual with single aim to bait customers into their webs, you would be chased ferociously and once you have succumbed to the maximum - Platinum, Diamond, lifetime membership, you are of no use anymore. Just queue for towel like communist folks while the crowds grow and personal spaces narrowed.

Once I asked my nephew to accompany me to exercise in EX. He shrugged me off, saying that he has been to the club with his friend - who tried to recruit him for extra CF hat. I was petrified. My 17 years old dependent nephew, whose most healthy sport activities should have been provided by school facilities and extra-curricullars, is target of CF suckers too ? He told me that many of his friends have been members, and he may have to be members too if he wants to keep hang-out with them in cafes next to the clubs - the kind of peer pressures that could send teenagers to devastation and a gulp of Dettol . It has become more and more expensive raising kids nowadays.

If they renovate and replace worn-out equipments it is for the sake of attracting new members. In their calculative world sometimes they make blunders like what happened to one reader in detik.com. Would there be transparency and guarantee at what maximum members they are going to stop marketing for the sake of earlier customers ?

And, oh, in that crowd would we still be able to cuci-mata, beside there are really not many celebrities or celebrity look-alikes. Or all of us are non-celebrities and non-celebrity look-alikes being fooled into believing chances to see any.

Plus that whatchamallit Malaysian model looks more like the daughter of YongTaufu seller in Ampang Jaya hawker centre rather than somebody really exercise.

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24 Nov 2006

Surabaya Paradox

There have been paradox in Surabaya. A skyrocketting inflation and rock-bottom deflation.

Liabilities starting from U$ 106 million to indefinite, price : U$ 1 million.

Loss of livelihood, price : U$ 250.

Loss of life, price : U$ 200.

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Condolences to all victims in Pertamina gas explosion, Gempol-Porong toll, Nov 22, 2006.



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23 Nov 2006

He Says, They Say

Since last Friday, it has been very confusing who is going to be responsible for Lapindo recovery costs and compensation for victims. Even as the relief team fight to resolve the gas pipe explosion problem and PLN is losing Rp 4.7 billion/day, the ring of circus is in Jakarta, when previous owner of Lapindo, current owner of Lapindo, and government officials are divided in opinions as to who in charge of the liabilities.


Immediately after the announcement of the sale of Lapindo to Freehold, Vice President Jusuf Kalla implied on Nov 17, that the new owner of Lapindo must be responsible.

It is quite strange, since Minarak Labuan Co, Ltd. Director Jay Abdullah Alatas stated on Nov 17, at the same day with the Vice President, that Bakrie Group would still be committed to provide all the funds needed in Lapindo recovery and compensation. This is a small consolation, since we've heard less and less of Bakrie as the time progressed, compared to few months ago when the majority opinion was Bakrie should be responsible. The inquiry by Bapepam on the new owner, haven't been replied with positive response from EMP management.

The situation become more complicated after BP Migas Chief Kardaya Warnika said that even though Lapindo has been sold to the new owner, the previous owner and the three contractors of Brantas Block : Lapindo, Medco and Santos, could not shirk responsibility on the damage, recovery process and compensation, on Nov 17.

Meanwhile, Medco has been engaged in arbitrage suit against Lapindo, the purpose is to shed responsibility on the ground that they were non-operative partner.

In the same tone, echoing his boss and fellow Golkar, Coordinating Minister for People' Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, whose group is a majority owner of Lapindo, has stated on Nov 22, that the new owner of Lapindo would bear the responsibility, after commenting that Bapepam Chief should not make unnecessary comments.

And Pertamina gas pipe exploded on 8 pm, Nov 22, left 7 people killed and 14 injured. Geologists and relief team had warned since 2 months ago that the pipe should be relocated as soon as possible to avoid disaster.

In a bold move, or desperate one, before the call of special cabinet meeting tonight, Coordinating Minister for People' Welfare declared that the explosion is a natural disaster, thus government would be responsible, and the victims would be compensated Rp 2 million per head. He said since government and relief team didn't anticipate the possibility of explosion and failed to relocate the pipes, this would be reasonable conclusion.

After cabinet meeting, tonight Nov 23, President indeed declared the explosion as disaster, and that the government should be involved. One more confusing statement and further overhang, would the statement means that government will take over the resposibility from Lapindo ? Unclear. To end the fracas and uphold justice for the people, he must decides. Soon.

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22 Nov 2006

Bouts of the Week


Bapepam Chief Fuad Rahmany said yesterday, that Lapindo sale is improper and the main issue is not transactional but due to inclarity about who would be responsible on Lapindo related claims such as compensation to the victims and operational recovery costs.

Today, in rebuttal to the statement, Coordinating Minister Aburizal Bakrie warned that the Bapepam Chief should not make unnecessary comment, without confirmation first. A confusing claim, since Bapepam has been requesting information about the sale and the new owner Lapindo immediately after the announcement hit the headlines.

It is also unclear whether they speak in the capacity of bourse authority and Coordinating Minister, or personal.

There are truths in EMP spokeperson' previous statement, that the transaction is immaterial and there is no element of clash of interests; thus they are not obliged to ask permission from Bapepam. But it is paradoxal that the statement of Fuad Rahmany is made with concern to public interests, while this should be the job of the Coordinating Minister for Public's Welfare. Is Bapepam Chief trying to perform other people's job ?


In a more confusing jesting, Aburizal Bakrie said that he doesn't know who is behind Freehold, while Freehold owner James Belcher admitted that he is a 25 years friend of the family. If Belcher is indeed stranger, then Bakrie must be very generous to lend a whopping U$ 106 million - the estimated amount of Lapindo mudflow handling costs - through Minarak Labuan Co, Ltd, an entity owned by Bakrie.

What's worrying most is, these few days we've been listening to statement that 'Lapindo's owner would be responsible', first by the Vice President on Nov 17, then by Bakrie today stated that the new owner of Lapindo would be held responsible; compared to few months ago when the main opinion is Bakrie should be responsible, as demanded by not less than the Vice President Jusuf Kalla himself.

It was reported that Porong-Gempol toll in Sidoarjo is still critical and muds have been flooding into the toll road by 100 meters. While in the capital, parties involved in Lapindo Brantas : Medco, Energi Mega Persada, are jousting rowdily to pass off the mounting liabilities.

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Juvenile Bond

Pierce Brosnan was reportedly asking for a brazen U$ 42 millions to return as Bond; and Barbara Broccoli’ answer was ‘Remington Steele ain’t worth that much’. Thus, she and Wilson from EON embarked on a search of new Bond, and after many more established names turn-down the role, Daniel Craig lands himself as the new biggest spy of movie industry.

Why he is chosen is unfathomable by Brosnan’ fans that they set up anti-Craig website and petitioned to abolish Craig; spreading worldwide opinion that Craig is more like villain than the suave agent ought to be.

It’s a Herculean task for Broccoli and Wilson to outperform the last Bond movie, Die Another Day, that grossed U$ 430 millions worldwide; so they pull in Martin Campbell who directed ‘Goldeneye’ and screenwriter Paul Haggis who just scored writing Oscar in ‘Crash’.

The result is a new and re-invented Bond, in the no. 22 of Bond series which actually based on Fleming’s first Bond novel.

And there are some that returning and many that not.


Judy Dench is back as M, in a performance stronger than ever, creating circular logic as Bond’s last boss as well as the first boss who recruited Bond and issued him the license to kill.

The soundtrack is still used, some lavish gadgets such as Aston Martin remain, the sequences, the stream of girls : brunette, blonde, Italian, and some minor recurring roles.

Other than that, expect too much then get ready to be disappointed.

Firstly, diehard Bond fans will miss the flirting between Bond and Moneypenny. Instead, M has a nerd male receptionist, or Bond would simply crashed-into her home, opened her laptop and used her password.

Q’s presentation is also absent, as his most updated gadget would be the new agent himself.

There is still Vodka Martini but when the waiter asked ‘shaken or stirred ’, Bond gave him looks that he wouldn’t care a damn.

The new Bond is not only far from suave, with his boxy face, cold piercing blue eyes, two pointy ears; and yet with the bod to die for many men – he is quite a sore to eyes. When he walked out the sea in that blue tight boxer, his back’s hunched reflecting his low self-confidence. He just learned how to wear a tux.

It seems forced when some women are shown giggled and turned when he passed – probably coz all other men in this movie : Dimitrios, Le-Chiffre, Mathis, all are either old or ugly lot.

The sex scenes are a lot tamed, worse than ‘The Living Daylights’ and more awkward than Lazenby without his mole. Craig is so lack of sexual charm that Pussy Galore will miss him in table for two. According to anti-Craig gossip, the poor guy even requested for a stand-in, until Aunt Judy convinced him that he is not that undesirable – at least to a seventy years old woman’s standard.

The girl department is not too disappointing. Eva Green is quite hot if you can stand her Nosferatu style make-up, and Catherine Murino’s actually looked very beautiful as the wronged girl Solange. Yet Bond left her cold in a hotel room with champagne and caviar while he eagerly chased a flight to Miami. Come on, Connery and Moore would still make the time to take what’s up for grab.

Timothy Dalton has been long recognized as the most vegetarian Bond, due the AIDS rampage period during the filming of his two movies. But the new Bond is Jablai jarang dibelai, not because of any bad influence the producers wouldn’t want to be accused of; our Jablai Bond is simply more engrossed in his new issued license to kill rather than smelling roses in the pathways.

The body is not untuk dibelai, but to be banged, crashed, slammed, pounded, tortured. He is more like a thug for hire than a special spy who enjoyed each of his assignment as rendezvous with wine, devouring women while saving the world at the same time, as Roger Moore has made us to believe.

Bond is described as enjoying his first kill, not by utilizing any superior gadget but by bonking a guy’s head repeatedly to wash-basin in a dirty toilet until he bled to death.

Up from the moment it was issued, Jablai Bond has been exhausting his license to kill in no time. Bodies are piled up from Geneva, Nassau, Africa, Miami to Montenegro, Bahamas and Venice. Shot at the head, executed, banged, stabbed, slammed, crashed, bombed. The guy is like a walking time-bomb, relentlessly chased his target in construction site only to execute him in a neutral zone of Embassy in front of CCTV for the world to see. MI6 may have to spend millions in Public Relations to clean up the mess by one of his most decorated agent, who acts more like a hitman than a spy.

This time Bond also deals with an enemy who doesn’t care to blow-up the world or such. Gone are the megalomaniac drives and outlandish villains. Le-Chiffre is simply a crooked gambler who wants to recoup his loss. He is described as one of those terrorists’ banker who handles their money - investing in terrorism related disaster such as betting against Airlines stocks pre-911, surely not without insider information.

He was betting against Airlines stock again, and ordered a hit-man to torch a prototype plane in Miami airshow, using a LED flashlight size Semtex. The incident was expected to send the Airlines stocks crashed, to his gain. How convenient. Except when Jablai Bond has a thing to say on it.

The movie is fast-paced in the start, but after 30 minutes it starts to drag. Too many confusing and unrelated scenes, except when Bond are showing his muscles and not dealing with cards. The scene in casino is too long and not well-executed. Judy Dench is the pearl in the gun, every time she appears, she shines, her lines would give us a chuckle or two. Same like M, we miss cold war too, coz 007 of that is most affable.

Whether Daniel Craig is Bond or not, it shall be decided by how much it grossed in North America and worldwide. Die Another Day, with Halle Berry’s spell, scored $47 million on its opening weekend. Casino Royale may not fetch that much, but many may be curious enough to see how Craig fares while in England the hype is all about supporting the only English Bond.

If you think Bond is only about a good action movie, go for it. But if you think Bond is that glamorous spy with knacks for women, you love his tux when he orders his drink or you simply adore Brosnan – go watch the slapstick Rob-b-Hood instead (it involves throwing shits to face) and wait for the DVD.

Daniel Craig is opposite of most jingoism and idioms popularized by the five decades long franchise. He is down to earth a spy should be, with his weaknesses and insecurity, a mortalized Bond.

It has been said that this is Bond that most faithful to Ian Fleming’s book. But we don’t know that Bond. Bond to us is all that glitter : a casanova with Gun, Girls and Gadgets. Casino Royale isn’t. It is a Bond in body but not soul.
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Razak Baginda

It started as a very archetypal story.She was the beauty. He was the power and money. They met up in an event, being introduced by other people. Then the relationship set in motion.

After some time, the flames faded. Reality checked in. He wanted out. Have I mentioned that he has a family ? Yes, the guy always been married. Beside, he has reputation he could not afford to ruin, especially when the brain’s no longer clouded with lust.

That is when the demands of woman scorned intensified. She wanted to stay, and when it failed, she starts to seek for financial compensation. It is stereotypical. But it is the ending that different between stories.

We know that Monica lives. Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones live. Chandra Levy died.


And Altantuya (she is not that Mongolian model Toya) also died, in a scandal that rocks both Malaysia political elite and people bystanders.

Her remains were found in a forest near Shah Alam, and anywhere near Shah Alam means still in the close vicinity of the Selangor capital. Her body was blown to bits by what identified as C4, and according to Polis diRaja Malaysia, not before she was executed with two point-blanks in the head. She had been reported missing for almost 3 weeks, last seen when she was abducted in front of her ex lover’s home in the posh Damansara Heights.

The man in the heart of the scandal is one Abdul Razak Baginda, a Malaysian scholar who has published number of books. He is the founder and lead political analyst for a defense think-tank : Malaysian Strategic Research Center (MSRC), and most importantly - has been known for years as Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak’ man.

He is no regular guy. He is not Rahim Tamby Chik picking up underage girl. He is UK graduate, a member of Global Economic Forum Leaders of Tomorrow. The Star daily cues him as urbane and debonair intellectual. Currently he is working on his doctorate with Oxford. In Indonesia, he may be an equal to Dino Patti Djalal or Denny JA. If you search Amazon, you will find numbers of his book with price tag of U$ 40-50 a piece.

I once attended his session during one of ASLI event in Kuala Lumpur, where he talked fluently of Malaysia in transition and Mahathirism. Among the ardent bumiputera views, he is one moderate voice of rationality.

As Jeff Ooi said in Screenshots : ‘’.. there’s so much still about defence and foreign affairs that need analysed and developed’’, then why this so called debonair intellectual would involved in such unnecessary megawatt sex scandal ?

The whole story is very confusing and splashed with red herrings. I am amused. I really smell that prawn behind bakwan.

Imagine yourself as Razak Baginda. Say, with brain-size half of his and much less at stake.You met this girl, yes, a venus de millo compared to that old napkin at home your child call mom. It is a nice escapade, being a bachelor again with those sojourns to Europe and Alaska with the beauty; but surely you know sooner or later it should be ended or you stand to lose so much more.

She is foreigner and it should came handy, yet you still brought her into close proximity of home, checked in those luxurious service apartments in the heart of KL. May be the rate per-night is much cheaper than two-room flat rental in Hongkong. But average man would still call the act as stupid.

You sent her money, bought her jewelries which receipts her father keeps. All those trails. What happened to cash ? And on top of that, you failed to procure your own Durex.

Now that she refused to break-up with you, you changed your phone number and disappeared. But Malaysia was no strange place for her thanks to you; she came, she hired Private Investigator and tracked you down. Then she started to harass you, called your office and home, sent barrage of SMS, embarrassed you in front of family, friends and colleagues. Worse was she started to appear in your front gate and made a lot of noises. You could not stood the terror you even lodged a report with Brickfield police station.

Yet, with so many people knew and involved : your colleagues, private investigator, police, public; you, Razak Baginda, decided to eliminate this woman – worse, with such obvious method equal to Italian mafia kidnapping in 1960s New York : you ordered people, who loosely known as your police acquaintances, to snatch her and push her into car, in a broad daylight, in front of public eye, and not before she was able to make a call to her sister on her whereabouts. Knowing that with so many witnesses, if she lost a strand of hairs, you will be the number one suspect.

Is it a foolishness or sheer arrogance, that political connection guarantee freedom at will ? In my opinion, it is just plain dumb, even for the average Joe.

Would it be better if you just gave her a little of what she demanded, say $10K then coaxed her back to Mongolia; or if you already made up your mind not to let her live – bought some time then have her killed when people have forgotten her ties with you, in location faraway that less likely it would be linked to you. Even that tennis coach guy in Woody Allen’s ‘Match Point’ knows how to handle the situation well all by himself.

In dedication and proficiency that surpass America’ CSI, Polis diRaja Malaysia in such a short span are able to identify the remains as poor Altantuya. Two members of police force had even been detained and questioned before the remains were found. And immediately all fingers point to the beleaguered analyst, who was whisked in handcuffs from his office while police seized bank books, statements, documents, hard-disks and laptop from his home. One day after they recovered what were left of Altantuya, Razak Baginda was arrested. If only our police or Amsterdam authorities possess half of Malaysia’ aptitude, Munir’ killer would have been brought to justice long ago.

However, there are still few mind-boggling questions :
· How police members are involved ? It was police members who sloppily handle Altantuya’ kidnapping and murder. It was police too, with their super high efficiency, seems have solved the murder instantly.
· Who procure the C4 ? Should be someone from police force.
· Why police have to seize documents, hard-disks and laptop ?

There are too many police here. Police who attended when Razak lodged his report. Police who kidnapped Altantuya. Police who procure the C4. Police (may be) who executed the Mongolian beauty. And finally, the brilliant police who was able to identify blown-up remains in a day and solve the murder in the matter of less than a month.

And why on Nov 19, Internal Security Minister Fu warns publications not to carry any news on the investigation ?

The detention of Razak Baginda, would be a heavy blow for DPM Najib Razak, who already lose many closest aides since the departure of Datuk Alies Nor and Rohana Mahmud. Razak Baginda is at par of Khairy Jamalludin for Badawi to Najib. This may be another episode when Khairy finally outsmart Najib again in stripping him off his most able men.

Najib, the crown prince of ‘Razak-Onn’ dynasty, is a strong candidate to be Prime Minister one day after Abdullah Badawi. But it has been no secret that Badawi’s son in law, the super-ambitious Khairy wants the position for himself and after Endon’ passed away – Badawi is sort of Soeharto, losing his pillar of strength to curb the insatiable demands of his family, children and son in-law. Such weaknesses that, left Mahathir panting in fury.

As cited from Harakahdaily, Razak Baginda was a key mediator and negotiator in Malaysia weapon purchases for Najib during his tenure as Minister of Defense. He is key to Najib’s past dealings that Khairy has been aiming for months.

Whatever the truth, Razak Baginda is a lost case, his life and sparkling career have ended short; in a nation that may tolerate corruption but always tough on sex scandal. Now, people are anxiously waiting for DNA result of Altantuya’s baby boy. I would like to think positive and bet it would be positive, same like Anwar and Sukma’ DNA on the infamous mattress was positive.

The slapdash scandal delivers like movie with poor plot, but Malaysian politic is always delightful to watch.

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21 Nov 2006

10 Reasons to Stay Away from MLM

Talking about MLM is firework of pros and cons. The fact is, there is always more pros than cons.

Those MLM-pros, may happened to be people who have enjoyed the super-juicy ‘passive-income’ from MLM. They could be couples locked in eel-squeeze embrace in Amalgam cover. My observation is, the higher their position in the pyramid, the more lovey-dovey the poses. Those who have reached Executive Diamond, for example, even with whitened hairs and double chins – strutting like lovebirds compared to the sour expression of couples in entry levels.

But there are also many that haven’t received favors, less the seven to nine digits income, defending MLM practices with all its lyrics : passive income, retire young, success stories, your pipeline is your lifeline, etc; these only shows the rate of success of MLM practitioners in brainwashing people who are desperate of big income, people who are depressed with their low paying jobs – the success of exploiting human weaknesses : FEAR, SECURITY and GREED on luxury things that they do not have.

I have made it my personal mission not to be silent. Where ever I see MLM’ is ballooning – I will be the tiny sharp sparkling needle that immediately punctures it flat.

Next are the 10 reasons why I dislike and would at any time, any place, any opportunity, any chance, any weather, suggest people to stay away from MLM. And MLM here is not only Amway, but also Oriflame, CNI, Nuskin, Matol, K-Link, Elken, Tiens, Nu, Chi, Cosway, Bestway, name it.

1. MLM methods induce its followers to ‘LIE’ when they recruit downlines. I experienced the same manners where ever in Indonesia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur … When they are trying to seduce you into attending MLM gathering, they are using reasons like ‘Training’, ‘Seminar’, ‘Discussing Business Opportunity’ and the likes. Only when we arrive in location, we find out that we have been tricked into MLM Gathering.

Why ? Because if they tell us straight : MLM, Amway, Network 21 – we will opt to a NO thus able to save our precious time, fuel and parking ticket.

2. MLM methods turn our friends, siblings, in laws, colleagues and all their extensions and variants into vampires who capitalize our affection, care, brotherhood and friendship into a form of ‘business relationship’ and ‘source of passive income’ that benefit them.

How many times people are being coaxed by friends, siblings, colleagues into buying starter-kit that end up as scraps; when all of us are in need and should not spend carelessly.

MLM is not for everybody. Not all people have the talents in marketing. Many of us do not have broad networks. Not all people have the decency or simply thick-faced enough to call high school friend who we did not see in 10 years or university ex girlfriends just to extend network.

3. MLM encourages materialism and consumerism.

What MLM generally offer as bonus ? The most common is TOUR. Annual distributor meeting in Alaska. A trip to corporate headquarter then sailing home aboard Caribbean cruise. If you have been to main tourist destinations, worry not, they will offer you places you never thought of : Canada, South Africa, Finland, all that covered by Google Earth … as long as not troubled places where scuds may inadvertently land on your head.

Others are CARS. Big cars. Flashy cars. Luxury cars. They have in their list Honda Jazz to Jaguar. Mercedez. BMW. Lexus. Range Rover.

Imagine this, the lucid fact. To carry one Executive Diamond, there should be legs of 1,200-1,500 Platinums and 300,000 members. 300,000 people with barely adequate income and on the bottommost of the line, each spend about Rp 50,000 – Rp 100,000 a month their family budget; so that the Executive Diamond could be on trip 7-8 times a year – safari in Kenya and skiing in Alpen, staying in 5 stars hotels with first class dinners; while owning a Jaguar, two Lexus and earning 9 digits passive income.

Our children’s education fund and food money, to be wasted in exorbitance for upline. What would you term it but a cruel business?

Do your MLM mentors tell you that 'Diamond is NOT for everybody? I bet not.

In the ideal principles of product marketing, we are being told to deliver QUALITY to customers. Customers are king.

MLM does not. What uplines discuss is only about US, not our customers which are downlines. About how to enrich ourselves. Passive income. Retired young. Work from home. Flexibility. Profit. Bonus. Tour. Not what the customers get.

4. MLM sell low quality products with pricing up to 40% above similar products in the market.

MLM only distribute sentimental products, with immeasurable outputs and satisfaction levels. The justification is only from testimonials of the regulars – uplines and members, the Independent Business Owners.

Unknown brands. Scanty packaging. Stuff that you won’t put in your trolley, product you won’t buy, if being displayed in Carrefour. Except when mother’s stepsister’ cousin came to your house and babbled for half an hour about its omnipotence. You have a tough time deciding whether you will buy Maxim pan in supermarket or China made Jojo pan that you haven’t heard before.

May be the long existed Amway or Cosway have several recognized brands. But currently there are too many MLM with multifarious brands – mostly are low-end, low grade products, production excesses from China which repackaged in Seremban or Tangerang, then being marketed as Tian-Yao, heavenly medicine more supreme than Pien Tze Huang by Great-way MLM Network with premium price where 50%-60% commission goes to distributor.

5. MLM push on products that customers don’t need.

Observe how many variants of Artistry and Oriflame. How about chlorophyll drink, spirulina pills, squalene, turtle oil, magnetic pantyhose, crocodile’ tooth balm.

Imagine a mother, for MLM which she is a member and a dream of fixed income without working – use money mean to buy a book for her children to purchase a set of anti-aging from Artistry.

Yasser Arafat’ coin from Goldquest. Diamond the size of silica sand from My Seven Diamond. Detox pills from Nuskin et cetera et cetera.

6. MLM is marketing method that does not bring ADDED VALUE to products that benefit customers.

Marketing discipline teach about Promotion Mix, which includes among others Advertising, Sales Promotion, Sales Discount, Reward Points; are methods of manufacturers and distributors to channel parts of their margins to customers.

There is opinion that distributor’s profit is replacement of advertising cost. I digress. In cost context for manufacturer, it may be true. But in the context of benefit for customer, the statement is definitely incorrect.

Porter describes VALUE CHAIN that each process or stage should generate added value for customers. When product is being advertised, it will heighten brand recognition, customers will be proud of using product that wide-recognized and endorsed by – for example – famous movie star. If product is sold with discount, customers
pay less. When product is promoted by giving out other product, customers get two products at one price.

In MLM these are not happening. All values are enjoyed by distributors, by IBO, by upline. Customers get mediocre products at premium price.

7. MLM is a profligate marketing method.

Many MLM principles pay commission up to 5 levels. This is overspending. The statement that MLM is a future business model is a blatant lie.

In the future, margin has to be narrowed because customers are growing smarter, competition is tougher because technology could zap information and output in milliseconds. Layers that bring many costs have to be cut and eliminated. All regular industries are moving to reducing bureaucracies, not supporting business method that incurs high costs for multi-layer marketing intermediaries.

8. MLM deliberately using methods that confuse customers.

The terminologies are very advanced and cutting edge : consumer direct marketing, one-to-one marketing, personal franchising, network marketing – very progressive but actually misleading.

To describe PYRAMID they use complex expressions like stair-step breakaway, legs, binary & trinary, PV & BV and many more. Anything but PYRAMID.

In their guidelines and starter kit, they use many complex tables and diagrams that make Hajah Merry the SMP drop-out and Atong the SD graduate, nodding heads understand in misunderstand.

They have many levels to describe ‘HOW PROSPECTIVE’ and how much carrier advancement, it could reach 12-15 level with names like Ambassador, Regent, Platinum, Diamond, Ruby, Blue Diamond.

The bonus come in many forms and packages with name like leadership bonus, breakaway bonus, production bonus, multiple commission level, and many REBATES.

Rebates, which is a discount for member’s purchase, is called INCOME. Would you call your Carrefour groceries discount and Credit Card cash-back your income ?

There are ‘Suggested Retail Price’ for merchandise that never retailed, and ‘Distributor mark-up’ which is retailed price being sold at wholesale price etc – it turns the marketing you learned in school
upside-down.

Honestly, the methods are more complicated than economy mid-term in university; and how many members that actually understand all those terminologies and rule of game ?

9. MLM is a Networking business where hijacking uplines are normal practices.

Sadly, in the end of the day, MLM is not about selling product, but the business of creating network by accumulating downlines.

The good news for entrepreneur-hopeful, establishing MLM is not that difficult. With correct strategy (and a good deal of capital) we could be able to develop a profitable MLM with thousands of members in the span of 2-3 years.

In order not to make it looks like a blatant networking, or worse – pyramid, but product distribution, you will need products. Then look for products, and necessarily, internationalized it – buy cheap and reject products from neighboring countries. Repackage them, design brochures and fliers that praising the products qualities and supremacies.

Create a profit-distribution method, make it more aggressive, daring, if you want to attract many members possible. Remember that your business is not created to be sustainable, why build house from concretes when you can use cards ?

Avail abundant cash to hijack other MLM’ uplines; give them offer that they cannot refuse. If in their incumbent MLM they get X income, increase it by 20%. If they get Mercy C-Class, splash-in the E-Class. If they only travel as far to China, bring them to Europe Esplanade.

These uplines will pull their downlines in the same manner, and the downlines will pull in their lower ranks. Big sweep. You will spend more than their current MLM, but look at the silver lining : your organizational structure and network are established instantly.

Due to these reasons, the Diamonds, Founders, Ambassadors whatever in the top of pyramid are very precious. It is on a par with executive hijacks and professional hires, these people fetch the high price. The difference are when executives are being hired due to their individual skills and advantages, these MLM uplines are being hijacked because of the loyalty and sacrifices of people in the bottom, thousands of people who coaxed into buying various overpriced products.

10. MLM is exploiting poverty and insecurity of people.

Why MLM is very successful in Indonesia and many third world nations ? Because it is a disguised un-employment : have jobs but not. Beside keeping your dignity intact, you are given dream and hope : of stability, money without working, cars, globetrotting – imagine the effects to people who are jobless and desperate with low paying jobs, people saddled with burden and gloomy future. MLM is cheating their last dimes in dreams that never accomplished.

The method to relish the dream is easy, as MLM agents always say : just bring friends as many possible, then you will climb to the top and get money every time they spend.

What to say, but a cruel method of business.

Tips to Survive in the MLM Infested World :

1. If you haven’t joined any MLM and don’t have intention of joining any, put your antenna on and beware everytime you hear these : people asking you to unknown training or business opportunity, a business model that yield more than 50% a year or 5% per month (even when you are playing stocks or future you are bound to lose sometimes. These unbelievable profits could only happen in credit card, loan-shark and pyramid). Remember the agent could be your closest friend, sibling, family member, wife, girlfriend – don’t bash their knuckleheads ! They don’t mean to cheat you. They are simply being na├»ve, or stupid, or both.

2. If you are a nice person who believe success come in hardworking, already in a MLM and don’t know you are in a pyramid, GET OUT NOW !! If many close people suddenly avoiding you, it’s a wake-up call. Put aside your starter kit and catalog, or lose them.

3. If you decide ‘anjing menggonggong kafilah berlalu’ and you are hell-bent in making it in MLM; here are my tips on your key to success :

  • Join a relatively new MLM, thus you will still be quite high in the pyramid. Do not join Amway. Robert Angkasa is already Triple Diamond – that means Amway already has hundred thousands of member, probably even your second cousin of aunt’ distant niece have joined Amway. There is almost zero chance to extend network not to say being a Diamond! Your position in the hierarchy will be as well as in the depth of palung Sunda.
  • Join MLM that offers best commission.
  • Prepare sufficient capital to be spent on visits, calls, gathering, name card, brochures. Sometimes you need to sponsor and pay for starter-kits for the prospective downline potentials. Do not be petty.
  • Expand your social life : join whatever group that you could fit in : church choir, biro jodoh, karimun-owner-club, fishing club, kelompok pecinta perkutut, tango course, spiritual club, yoga lover, body language, save the orang-utan. Sometimes you have to pay hefty sum for the memberships, course fees etc – but do not be hesitant coz there are where all the prospect downlines might be. Be creative. Join a Ferrari club even though all you could afford is only the hat, mug and tshirt.
  • This is advance tip for those with established network : always be flexible. Once your MLM has reached its peak and have too many members, this is the time you should leave for good, and never leave alone. Ensemble your most precious downlines, and move to new MLM the whole group, lock, stock and barrel, and deal for higher benefits and packages for all of you. You will be appreciated higher as group than individual. Anyway that is what networking business is all about.


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