Monday, 16 March 2015

From Penang to KL

Over the weekend, we took off on a random flight to Penang for a mini getaway and to also visit Aiman's grandpa (we call him Tok Ayah). He is sooooo cute and such a businessman at heart. We Aiman was told off for spending 'so much' money on flights and hotel. Hehe. We explained to him how times are bad these days...haha! You know...with all the price of oil being topsy turvy and all and nothing like the price during his time and GST kicking in soon, so prices for things are going up and all.

Just a btw note, GST will actually be a substitute for the existing sales and service tax you guys are being charged now. But on what sellers are marking up post-GST, God knows.

Anyway, we had an amazing great getaway in Penang with loads of food adventures and of course a visit to the beach. I'm starting to think that I'm a beach girl. I just don't like the sun, although for picture purposes the sun will come in handy.

We decided to head back to KL in the evening because we had a meeting for Double A at night. Guess who made it possible for us not to have the meeting? Our Airline.

Our flight was at 5pm, and we were making our way to the gate at 4.45. Hurriedly we went straight to the door, thinking that we were already late because there was no queue and there was a huge sign on the board saying CALLING. I thought "s*** we're the last, it's gonna be so embarrassing to walk into the aircraft last". Turned out the plane has yet to arrive. So we thought it may be on its way. Spoke to some disappointed passengers and they said that actually the flight has been delayed to an unknown time.

My first thought: Then can you please bring that freaking CALLING word down and put DELAYED instead?

20 minutes passed and we started seeing a mini commotion at the counter. Feeling a little left out, Aiman decided to be a little nosy and started joining the commotion. Found out, the flight has actually been CANCELLED. Not delayed.

My first thought: Make an announcement.

I asked the counter why no announcement. They politely explained that they wanted to, however passengers already started attacking their counter so they did not feel the need to.  -_______-

We were then promised a flight 3 hours later at 8pm (did not bother fighting with the rest of the passengers who wanted to get on the 5.20pm flight to a different airport) and was assured that it is confirmed. So Aiman and I requested for a slip to go back out. I thought this is probably God's sign to allow me another round of Nasi Kandar before I head back to KL :D Btw, we got to McD and found out that there is a special lane for delayed flight passengers, but of course we did not get that coupon which upon checking later on, they said "oh kami ada coupon untuk delayed flight". Why thank you.

Long story short, at 8pm when they called for all passengers to board, we still have yet to receive our new boarding passes! The person in front of the queue was passing the message to tell us that the Airline now may not have seats available and we may be pushed to the 8.20pm flight.

My first thought: You bring your Manager to the ground and manage this crisis. Don't go and call the poor counter girl and tell her to tell us sorry no more seats.

There was no point in getting angry to the person at the counter. She cannot make the call about who and who gets to go on the plane when there are a hundred people in front of her requesting for the next flight out. I went to the front of the line and said that they should have their manager down on the ground now to manage the many angry passengers ready to probably eat them alive by then. It is unacceptable that you promised me a seat for an 8pm flight and now you're telling me that there is no seat. It's either you take someone off the plane or you do not make a promise that you are unsure of, no?

She quickly took our boarding passes and assigned us seats in the 8pm flight. They did not even issue us new tickets. Oh well, as long as I get back to KL I'm all good :)

My point is, I am ok for a flight to be delayed or cancelled. In fact it probably saved my life if there were real problems with the aircraft and I definitely have them to thank for. But have the courtesy and better trained employees to manage crisis. Do not cancel a flight without notifying passengers because they may have already made plans for a connecting flight and stuff. And do not promise passengers something you are not sure of. I'm sure passengers would be more understanding when you tell them about your crisis management process, step by step.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Train Money

The other day Aiman was around the office area for a meeting and we decided to have lunch together. 
He doesn't work in KL, so on those rare days when he is back in KL for meetings and conveniently the meeting is around my office we will go for lunch together. He decided to take us to some nice lunch as he did not have anything to rush for after lunch. I on the other hand had a meeting at 3pm in the city, so Aiman offered to drop me off a little early after lunch before he goes off for his next meeting. 

Turned out we finished lunch way earlier than we thought we would. So I told Aiman that probably he can head back first and I'll find my own way to the city later on. At least I can finish up some work and pray in the office first before I leave for meeting, and Aiman on the other hand would not have to wait too long. Plus, there is easy access to public transport from where I was. 

He obliged and we headed to the car for him to drop me back off at the office. As I was about to get out of the car, he took out RM10 note and gave it to me. 

What's this for?
"That's your train money"
Train money?
"Yeah. Cause you never have to pay for anything ever again"
Oh no need, I'm using my staff tag to get on the train. 
"Then reload your staff tag"

Awww! Too cute and too sweet! Where did I find this husband of mine again? 

Of course as a working wife, you try to catch that waiter with the bill first before he gets to Aiman when you go out (but it's like an auto pilot thing sometimes for waiters to go to the guys to take the tab). Or pays for something behind his back and by the time he finds out, it's too late for him to pay for it. 

Sorry, did I hear you say supplementary card is on the way? 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Thank YOU!

Starting up a cafe is not as easy as just making sure we have coffee in the shop.

That's a good starting point no doubt. However, Aiman and I are cracking our heads to think of how to make this cafe different. Different from what is already out there. 

I love the idea of having a prayer room - sometimes I don't end up going for coffee because I have not yet prayed and that cafe that we want to try does not have a surau. So yes, I want a prayer room at Double A. And then Aiman the practical-one-who-thinks-about-everything (good thing I married someone like him!) asked me "but sayang, where will the source of water come from?". He usually asks because he already has an answer for it and wants to test how innovative I am. Pffft. Testing the wife.

So now, we're brainstorming ideas on what to have and what not to have at our little dream cafe. It's not easy, but it's nice to have a balance between having loads of ideas and having a person who comes up with a solution for just about everything, thank god :)

Recently, two of my good friends, Vivy and Kimmy posted up on their instagram about Double A. They've been so supportive from the first day Aiman and I had this cafe idea, giving me tips (especially) on how to take better pictures and take better pictures and take better pictures. LOL!

Responds were continuously flowing in with amazing amazing new ideas - some we've never even thought about like lone ranger. That little space of your own. I never knew there were high demands for this! And then the idea for a kid friendly corner which of course being a kid-lover, I jumped at that idea was all YES YES YES! but Aiman was asking me to justify my YES (he's like that auditor that checks every cent that comes in and goes out, my kids will never get toys so easily in the future).

Humbled by the overwhelming responds really, Alhamdulillah for such great and supportive friends and people who shared and gave great comments and ideas for our Double A. May Allah grant you guys His blessings for spreading kindness to a stranger like me and Aiman :))) We will definitely jot down every single idea and give them all some thought on whether it is doable or not at Double A.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Which way should it be?

Recently we went through some reshuffling in terms of seating in the office - we had a few colleagues joining the floor so we had to make space for them.

As the secretary was trying to finalize the seating quickly for new joiners on the floor I looked around and saw everyone making rounds-on-the-spot. So imagine me standing on one spot and twirling like those in the traditional musical box...

...but with a compass in my hand.

Everyone was looking for a good 'feng shui' and where their seats should face. Some used the compass to see where North was, some used the compass to see where the Kiblat (direction for prayers for the Muslims) was. Turned out the arrows were pointing in so many directions at one point, it was such a cute sight!!!

God definitely made space for everyone because every single one of us found a spot we wanted. As for me, I did not need to move. Maybe I should open up that compass to reconfirm... :))

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Khao Lakkkkk

So Aiman decided to take me away from work and fly me to Phuket for the loong weekend last weekend.

Sorry, no. Not Phuket. 

Khao Lak. 

MasyaAllah, it was too pretty there that I couldn't stop snapping photos of everything I set my eyes on. Even the fishes in their pond looked pretty! Unfortunately, the phone camera can never quite capture what we see right before our eyes. So I thought why bother, it's probably a sign for me to put my phone away and have some husband and wife time.

....FULL BAR WIFI at the beach?! Seriously?!

Aiman who?
hahahaha! Thank god I married someone who understands my crazy need to always have access to my phone. Once we went for Kim's wedding at Janda Baik, we were supposed to stay over. But we eneded up driving back down to KL that night itself after the reception because there was no network up there in Janda Baik! I know it's supposed to be romantic and all but...but...

Aiman knows I'm that psycho who needs to have access to my family 24 hours - even if I don't talk to them every minute, I know there is connection and I can call/whatsapp them anytime. Before boarding a flight, I'll be whatsapping with the family group chat till that very minute when they tell us to shut off our phone. With Aiman, every week when he's about to fly back to Johor for work I'll be on whatsapp with him till he flies off (well, not that he replies till the very last minute la) :P

Back to Khao Lak, we decided to stay at JW Marriot and my goodnees when we arrived we surely were treated like kings and queens. We got to the airport and the Marriot taxi was already waiting for us to take us to the hotel and on the way to the hotel the driver received a call from the receptionist who called to actually check if Aiman and I are doing ok. Service tip top! Mind you we have not even paid for the hotel.

Upon arrival at the hotel we were attended to from the checking in all the way till the room. The hotel was a PARADISE! I went ooh and ahh whilst the receptionist patiently explained to us that Marriot has the longest pool in South East Asia. So imagine, everything in the mega huge gorgeous beautiful perfect hotel is connected through the pool, no gate no doors whatsoever! How awesome is that?! It's like a gateless community but in the hotel. #jakun. Got to the room and the first thing we were shown was our room access straight into the pool - the drinks bar and jacuzzi was just a few backstrokes away. Spoiled much? *haihhhhhhh*
Each room came with a float and of course my dearest husband was kind enough to blow it up for me. We decided that the first thing we should do was to swim around the entire hotel. It has this unique thing about it where you basically get to see people swimming around at all times but at the same time you don't feel like it's crowded but instead you still get that personal-space-private feeling to it.
The beach area I was told was rebuilt post tsunami and MasyaAllah, everything about the beach was just so so so perfect. Yup, we could swim our way from the room to the beach area :P The beach was clean and just nice, not too crowded and well designed with the palm trees and comfortable beach chairs for us to just get some sun tan. Not to mention, there was also a restaurant by the beach that sells ice cream and shakes and pizza and salmon wraps and cold fruits and....full bar wifi.
All in all, I would so recommend this place for honeymooners! We literally did not leave the hotel. Well, there was no need for it though. Definitely going back there! :))

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Aiman is one who is very very (and I mean VERY) passionate about coffee. If coffee was human, he'd probably end up marrying each and everyone of those coffee beans. He's so passionate that he joins coffee-making classes and even bought himself a manual coffee machine to be used at home. Since then, goodbye 3-in-1, you've lost Aiman's heart to the coffee machine. 

I on the other hand have always loved the cafe-hopping-and-coffee lifestyle since my London days. Not quite a coffee drinker though, but I love everything about coffee - the aroma that wakes everyone up in the tube every morning, the sight of people having the happiest conversation over coffee and cake, my boss buying all of us coffee to prepare for when the market opens,  the gorgeous latte art on each coffee cups and the warm comforting feeling it gives out during winter. Everything about coffee and cakes are beautiful! :)

Put together, a day after Aiman's birthday few weeks back, he mentioned about opening a cafe of his own and I just happened to have a location in my head with a very excited eager tone. Few hours later, we went to sleep that night DETERMINED, MOTIVATED and with a name for our then only-a-dream Cafe. 

Alia. Aiman. That makes up our company name - ALIAAIMAN VENTURES

First letter of our names combined - A and A. 

Follow us on instagram at @doubleacafe to check out how we're progressing! 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

3rd National Aspiration and Leadership Symposium 2015 (#NALS2015)

Last weekend was my first time speaking in front of 1,600 young student leaders at the National Aspiration & Leadership Symposium (NALS). When I first got invited to speak at the event, I was shocked. I thought maybe they were actually looking for a different Alia Ishak. I had a look at the list of speakers, YB KJ, Dato' Seri Hishamuddin, Saiful Bahari Baharom and....they definitely got the wrong Alia!

Jokes aside, I was impressed from up on stage seeing the number of young leaders who made time on Saturday to attend NALS. Their level of energy was just amazing! Reminded me of YCM and I guess that's probably what the speakers usually feel. Proud to see so many enthusiastic young blood ready to learn, feel motivated and get inspired to rule the world!
On the panel with me were Michael Teoh, Rahman Hussin and Rizmel. So you can see the demographic of the session - political leaders (Rahman and Rizmel) vs non political leaders (Michael and I). We had to share our thoughts on Credibility in Youth Leadership. Whilst Rahman's and Rizmel's were more skewed to the political goals, Michael and I touched more on the corporate and entrepreneur side. 

I shared my thoughts about the importance of having Integrity, especially when working in a Banking and Customer Service sector as well as my experiences as a student leader in UKEC and Chairman of YCM. I've always believed that you have to do what you love, only then would you wake up excited, eager and happy to go to work every single day. When you're happy, every negative becomes a positive. Additionally, to do more than just study whilst you're in University - be proactive, get involved and boost up that CV of yours. 

My experience working in London tells me that paper qualification for Asian students doesn't really mean much because everyone scores string of As these days! What can differentiate you is your extra curricular and how those experiences further build your character. These value-added characteristics are what (potential) employers look for in a person. 
All in all, I had a priceless experience speaking with the very energetic and inspiring line of youth leaders moderated by the ever so cheerful Danni Rais. I'm not a fan of politics, not a fan of even talking about politics (I will become that person who will question you whichever party you are for, just because haha!), but I have to give it to Rahman and Rizmel - they shared some very crucial points about doing something you are passionate about and going down to the ground and getting your hands dirty. 

I've learned that it doesn't matter who you work for, what is important is you have to always make a conscious effort and have the best of intentions in making sure you do things the right way and InsyaAllah you will go far - (slowly but) surely. Religion has taught me that Allah SWT will always know your truest intentions. Humans tend to always remember that one bad thing but have less capability in acknowledging the good and right deeds that you do. Just do good (deeds the right way) anyway. Allah SWT knows all your intentions :) 

Once again, thank you for the very kind invitation NALS! I had a blast with the 1,600 attendees :)))

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Happening Today!

3rd National Aspiration & Leadership Symposium 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Leadership - Just a random thought

I get inspired very very easily.

I love seeing people achieving success just by doing things the right way. I love seeing people doing work happily. I love seeing teamwork and cheerful team working together. How long it takes to achieve something doesn't matter (of course unless you have a deadline then that is no exception), what is important is doing things with the highest level of integrity and passion. No doubt we've seen people get away with doing things the not-really-right way just because - just because they may be related to someone. Just because they may hold a certain position somewhere....

...And nobody does anything to stop it. Sometimes not because you don't want to, but because you cannot do it alone. And well, you probably have better things to do than to battle and tell someone not to do something wrong. 

By something wrong, I mean doing something unfavourable intentionally.  

Over the weekend Aiman and I had a random conversation about leadership and we agreed that sometimes, people do things just to gain popularity and attention, without thinking of the implication to the wider group.

When heading  YCM previously, I did feel that if anything happens to YCM internally and externally, no matter whose fault it is, it will always be MY FAULT. Why? I was then the Chairman. I was the face of YCM and I am called a Chairman for a reason, and that includes the responsibility and accountability that I need to take if anything ever went wrong. I was taught a lot about leadership then. It is more than just a title, and if it is the title that you are chasing for, then don't. Believe me, staying home with people not knowing you because you are not active is much much much better than being a leader for designation sake and is not ready to take accountability and responsibility.

You take on the positions because you want to make good, happy, positive and  great changes or even share happiness through your high-integrity actions and you know you can. Not because you want people to know you. The more people know you, the more haters you'll have too btw. And if you are not careful with your actions, that so-you-think-is-glamorous position will bite you back hard.

 First rule of leadership - everything is your fault.

(Even if it was your inefficient staff or even the cat who stepped on that computer keyboard and accidentally sent a deal-breaker email).

If you can accept this, you are ready for the (popular) designation. It's a lot of hard work and very little hours of sleep mind you.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

#aliaaiman: Our little baby

No, I am not pregnant.

As I am typing this, Aiman is fast asleep next to me and a little feverish after our final event, slightly less than 24 hours ago. Last night was yet another amazing reception that went very well, which also marked the end of our one-month wedding saga, we're one month old today Alhamdulillah! :)))

Happy one month sayang!
Ever since Aiman and I got married, we have been discussing crazy ideas to motivate and further improve ourselves - as a couple. Somehow rather, marriage has changed us both a little, if not drastically. If previously we both took on roles as Chairman of YCM because we had crazy ideas to contribute back to our Corporate Malaysia, we now feel the desire to do something, together.
What I love most about being married is because the both of you will start understanding the crazy side of each other. We both can be so crazy with each other that the crazy random ideas we have during our random chats sometimes translate into adventures that we want to explore - no matter how crazy (or sometimes impossible) it may sound.
One weekend last year, we had this random idea to start something together. Of course not knowing if it was possible or not la. We're no guru in new startups, we've only run YCM if anything and that probably gave us the confidence to kickstart something. After all, you never know if it's meant for you until you give opportunities a try. We actually started off talking about Plan A and before we knew it we were thinking of next steps and what is required in order to make this random idea work.
Of course soon after (probably right the next day) we forgot about it and was so caught up with wedding preparations.
But hey what do you know, in January and in between our 2 receptions, on my birthday and after many thoughts and months put into this
we finally registered our little baby, our little company.
May He continue to guide and protect both Aiman and I in exploring this crazy world.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Becoming an Aiman by the day

Brad Pitt once said that "a woman is a reflection of her husband".

I'm starting to believe that it's so true. If previously I used to get annoyed that Aiman whatsapps me using a lot of emoticons (and confusing me about how he exactly feels about something because I always ask "what does that emoticon supposed to mean?"), I now find myself using those silly yellow-round-I-cannot-read-what-emoticons-mean-smiley faces. Somehow when you use it often, you'll have this little secret chemistry going on with the emoticons. Haha! 

Seriously? You're angry? Nahhhh....That's cute. 
How am I supposed to take him seriously?!

And then...I never used to drink coffee much. However slowly now, I love little shots of caffeine that is carefully engineered into a cup of loads-of-chocolate topped with a pretty heart shaped latte art all done by my very own barista (when he's around) - my husband. So spoilt that I can no longer go out to drink coffee prepared by anyone else. Unless I REALLY need that dose of caffeine.  

They're small changes that I never realised until it became a habit. On weekends, I can spend so much time in the kitchen with Aiman watching youtube videos on how to make perfect latte arts and drinking up all the mocha that he makes! He'll make so many cups of mocha just so that he can practice his latte art and I will just sit down like a good wife and enjoy every single cup of it. 

Afterwards, we'll just spend time climbing up chairs and moving curtains to get natural lightings in to capture the best picture, and just start laughing at each other for being so kiasu. From making a perfect latte art to taking a perfect picture. 
So perfect :)))

Saturday, 17 January 2015

NIVEA In-Shower Skin Conditioner

I once wrote about being brave in taking on new opportunities - even if you're not sure whether you'll make it through to the end. Cause sometimes, certain opportunities come only once. 

So a couple of months back, I was called up by the Production house and was told to come for casting for NIVEA advertisement. Didn't think much about it nor did I ever thought that I will be selected. Never in a million years. All I remembered was there was no pressure during the casting and so I was more confident than ever during the whole session. Plus I had nothing to lose :)

Came shooting day, I remembered we were all working so hard through the day which started at 6.30 am and only ended at about 2.30 am. My goodness, hats off to all those product ambassadors and actors and actresses! IT IS CRAZY HARD WORK! At one point, all I could hear was 



....and that went on for about 70 plus takes? Nearly gave up, but thank god for an amazing working team that was with me till the end :))))

Never ever think that someone else's job is easier than yours. It's never true. Not even half true in fact. But well, I survived and I can tell you this, I HAD AN AMAZING TIME! It was all so priceless and fun and a lot of hard work from the very beginning, but they were all so worth it. Plus, I really could do with the smoother softer skin prior to my wedding, so thanks for prepping me up before my wedding NIVEA!

Well, here it is now! I do sound somewhat like a chipmunk. And every time I hear myself.....*cringe*

Monday, 12 January 2015

Magical - #aliaaiman2015

Prior to my solemnization, I remember feeling anxious at random times. It wasn't all the time but when it hits me, I remember asking myself if I am ready for marriage. I was so certain that when Papa gave me away, I would cry buckets. 

Guess what happened? It was like a solemnzation I've never seen before - everything on schedule, things were on time as per by-the-minute itinerary and everyone was just so calm and composed that when Aiman finished doing his 'lafaz', the jurunikah went straight to the Dua and before we knew it everything was done and we were already husband and wife. It almost felt like we were executing the Annual YCM Summit. I believe Aiman and I were beaming from one ear to another instead of feeling sad. 

To be honest, it takes a while to feel like a married person. The first few days of being married felt like we were still dating (unless someone starts referring to you as a Puan Alia)! In fact on one of the days, I was at my parents house whilst he was at his.  

Being married has a very magical feeling to it. You get to really know a person better because you start living with them. Believe me, I never knew Aiman was very entertaining, he would sing and dance for me! He was probably too shy to show that side of him to me when we were dating, just in case you know.

You start appreciating the little things they do for you like making me a cup of Mocha just the way I like it - single shot with more chocolatey taste. No guys, he doesn't do 3-in-1, he bought one of those complicated coffee machines and becomes my personal handsome barista every morning! 

You wake up seeing the same person you saw when you went to bed the night before - it feels complete in some magical way. In our case that's the usual for us only on weekends since we both work in different states on weekdays :)  Constantly feeling thankful and blessed are part of the marriage package too! If I knew it was going to feel this magically-great, I definitely would've told Aiman to propose earlier :D

Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015 - A New Beginning # aliaaiman2015

2014 for me, has been a very good year, Alhamdulillah.

Mostly for the new opportunities and experiences I've had :) YCM was just so amazing, and exploring what is outside there away from work can be rather refreshing too! I've come to realise that sometimes, things can be much better outside your comfort zone, especially when you give something new a try. Did my first shoot for advertisement this year as well as a lot more photoshoots and TV appearances. Have to say, they were really fun experiences!

Additionally, after coming back from London, YCM has allowed me to widen my network so much in Corporate Malaysia - which I am and will forever be very grateful for.  I've come to realise that the dynamics in Malaysia when it comes to professionalism can be very very different compared to abroad. But hey, all is a stepping stone I guess.

For now, what's most important is for us to continue to pray that He will protect us, InsyaAllah. 2014 has been great and filled with loads of ups and downs, all of which have shaped me to become a better person. I'm very very thankful. To move on to 2015 now.

I'm surely starting my year on happy feet alright - with a Prince Charming, my best friend and ex-fiance.

A husband :)
# aliaaiman2015

Saturday, 29 November 2014

YCMS Next Week!

I've never in my life felt this extremely busy that I've lost all patience for people who tells me "Sorry I cannot do this, because you's bedtime" at 9pm. That's really just asking for it. 

But that aside, having deals landing on my table is all great whilst I also try to catch up and learn new things at a bullet-train-in-Japan kinda speed. That, on top of YCM summit next weekend and a wedding to to attend in a few weeks! Gosh! 

Good stress. Good stress. *chants to myself*

I'm forever doing something that when I have that 5 minutes rest, I feel restless not doing anything. A little lost too, weirdly. Let me try to explain this - a resting period is exactly when I take myself away from doing A and do B and C instead. Rest = doing something else and not what you were doing just a while ago, technically still doing something. 

I know I rely a lot on adrenaline these days and at some point wish for time to stop for a while to let me sleep. But I know I'm going to miss (in fact crave) for this busy time in the future! :))))

Anyhoooo, Just in case you guys don't know about this, it's next week, so head on to our website and register if you want to reserve a seat!