Gunner get my MBA

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Money can't buy loyalty

What a relief it is to hear that in this day and age, not all footballers are motivated by money. I'm referring to none other than the fantabulous Cesc Fabregas, who came out and pledged his loyalty to Arsenal and Wenger for trusting him at such a young age. He basically said he's not interested in a big money move to Real Madrid. Contrast that to a few others who've made headlines recently, most notably Jose "homesick" Reyes and Cashley Cole (or Mr Tweedy). Reyes's case is very confusing in that he seems certain to leave(according to the Spanish press), but he and Wenger has come out with denials. If he ends up staying, then I'm fine with it as long as his heart is really there. Either way, we shouldn't keep him if he's not happy, and I'd rather see someone else who really wants to play for Arsenal brought in.

Cole on the other hand is a different story. He has betrayed the club which supposedly he's supported since he was a kid, and literally spat into the face of the management of the club, which gave him the chance and made him the player he is today. I frankly can't wait to see the back of him, and with Clichy, Flamini and Hoyte, we've got enough there to be ok for this position.

Another shocking example of the money talks attitude of players is William Gallas, having turned down an offer to double his salary to 75,000 pound per week, and ask for 90,000. It's ridiculous money in any case, and now I have reservations of him coming to Arsenal (in any supposed swap deal with Cole).

Well, frankly all this transfer rumours stuff is getting really tidious, and I can't wait for the real football to start. 9 more days to go till the first game, and hopefully we'll be in for a great season.

Finally, I've just realised that after tomorrow, I'll have about 60 days of work left (counting my leave & also holidays) before I finish my work here. Then it's a month or so with the baby before jetting off to France. I'm so slack that I haven't done any preparation work as yet. Gotta start soon.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Long, Long Overdue Post

Finally, I got to sit down and write this post, which I have to admit, has been long overdue. Actually, I was planning to write earlier, but time has flown by these past months at an alarming rate, that I haven't had time to stop and think about my future much. To summarise what has happened, after I received the INSEAD decision, I also received some other good news - i.e. that my wife and I are expecting our first baby. Thus our decision to defer to the January intake and amidst a hectic trip to Japan, we finally received approval for the deferral. Next, work became more hectic, as there were a lot of changes happenning at the office and also new projects beginning around the same time. Once that settled down a bit, my pace actually picked up with the World Cup 2006 starting, meaning many many sleepless nights. Overall, the tournament was great in my books, except for the Final, as I supported France (due to INSEAD connection, and also because of Henry). Finally, had my family back from Australia, so had a lot of catching up and family get togethers.

Now that they've gone back to Perth, life has slowed down a bit, and I am beginning to plan for the next phase of my life. My son (yes, we confirmed it at the last Ultrasound scan!!) hopefully will be joining us sometime in November. I will quit work (officially) either end of October or Mid November, and will have about a month and a half to pack and move, and learn how to be a daddy. I'll probably head over to Fonty either end of December or early January (actually haven't thought about this much as the original plan was that I'll be starting in August), which I hear will be very cold . I will therefore go first alone, and sort out all things including accomodation, before my wife and son will join me sometime mid or end of January.

Just thinking about all this makes my head spin, with so much to do before I go. I should really have a plan and checklist going, but i'm too much of a procrastinator to do so. One thing I do know that I have to sort out is the accomodation, and with the baby around (along with visiting Grandparents and Uncles/Aunty), I think we'll be looking for at least a 2 room appartment/house to stay in whilst there. This means additional cost, and therefore a disruption to my initial budget. I'm thinking of supplementing my original budget with a loan, so that again adds to the checklist.

Another important matter to sort out shortly is to have my Deutsche exams at the Goethe Institute to satisfy my 3rd Language requirements. I studied German for 5 years during high school but right now it's very rusty, so I probably have to take a refresher course before I take the exam. My dilemma is now whether to take the exam before baby comes, or after (where I presume I'll have more time to study - but i've been told to expect a lot of sleepless nights). Right now I'm trying to push for end of October exam.

One thing I find very fitting and amusing is that the change in my life, is occurring simultaneously with the change at Arsenal Football Club. They too will be moving to a new home (first game is this Saturday), and hopefully exciting times await all of us. I already plan to share stories with my little boy about watching the legendary "Dennis Bergkamp" (who is retiring and having his testimonial match this weekend), and hope success will continue into the new era in the brand spankingly new Emirates Stadium.

Oh yeah, and a return to the red and white jerseys will be very welcome in my books. I promise to update again soon. Cheers.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

We're going to Paris!!! (times two)

Well, as the title suggests, I'm over the moon right now. In this case, there're two things to be excited about.

Firstly as I've said before, the Gunners are going places, and they confirmed it by qualifying for the big Cohuna of Cup finals, i.e. the European Champions League final. The game will be played in Paris, on the 17th of May, and I have a strong feeling that this will be Arsenal's year. In a way, I'm relieved that we got through to the final, after seeing the limp display in Spain last Tuesday night. I guess it's because so much was on the line, that our players (who've switched between the sublime to the ridiculous from game to game) had a bout of nervousness. In the end, I'm glad that it was Lehmann who won the tie for us with his superb penalty save in the 89th minute, and if there was a need for an experienced member of the team to stand up and be counted, then I'm glad it's our German No.1.

So on we move to the final, and to make it even better, we'll be up against Barca, with Ronny and his band of merry attackers who'll be looking to make life miserable for us Arsenal fans. I know that he's officially the world's best, but I see this as the perfect stage for Henry to lay to rest any comparison between the take on the mantle of the world's best player. I also feel that this tie suits us, as we play better when we're underdogs and are written off by critics. We struggled against Villareal when they predicted that we're favourites, so I think that there can't be a better team to cement our underdog status as Barcelona. The way they ripped apart Chelsea and Milan was beautiful to watch at times. Yet.. my prediction is 2-1 to the Arsenal with Henry and Fabregas (ex-Barca youth player) to be the heroes of the night.

Secondly, I've just confirmed that I'll be attending INSEAD. Only that it's not going to be this year but next year. Yupps.. i've got a deferral to the January intake. That's why I've been silent all this while, as I didn't want to say too much before I received confirmation that they allowed my request. INSEAD, like most business schools do not usually give out deferrals, and in this case, they made it clear to me that mine was a special case which given the circumstances would be better for both parties if I started later. I'll elaborate on the reasons later, but some of you readers already know why.

Though I had originally planned to start my MBA this year, and i'll be envious of fellow bloggers who start their program come September, I guess it won't be so bad as INSEAD's one year program means that I'll graduate earlier quickly anyways. Also there's the added possibility of a summer internship and furthermore, I get a bit more time to do a proper handover at work. Not trying to blow my own horn but I know that it will be hard for me to find a replacement and hand over all the work in 3-4 months.

oh well.... I guess I've got enough to think about these next few weeks... till then.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Japan Photos

Some photos from Japan (as requested)

Could this be a real Geisha (or Maiko)? Taken in Kyoto upon our arrival, near the Ryokan we stayed in.

Beautiful Sakura at Maruyama park on a rainy day in Kyoto.

Sakura blooming with A-Bomb dome in background - Hiroshima

bamboo forrest at Arashiyama (Kyoto)

Friday night crowd at Shibuya

Tsukiji fish market, 6.00 a.m. wholesale auction of Tuna.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Back from Japan

Actually was meaning to post earlier, and I actually typed up a short post whilst in Japan but unfortunately all the controls of the web browser was in Japanese, and hence I had to navigate through the blogger website from memory. When I finally when to save the post, I must have deleted it and sure enough everything was lost. Bad luck I guess. Actually, I was posting to say what a surprise it is to be nominated for the best of bloggers, for the MBA applicant blogs. I didn't expect it as I felt my blog was too general to be thought of an MBA blog, and also the fact that I rant on and on about Arsenal every so often. Anyways, I am honoured to be thought of in the same league as some of you established bloggers.

Secondly wanted to let you all know that the Japan trip was great. I had a great time, and experienced both the historical and modern Japan. Sakura was in full bloom (in Kyoto), and though it was chilly, you could definitely feel the freshness of springtime (something which I miss, living in tropical Malaysia). Highlights, would have to be the seeing the Cherry blossoms in the beautiful surroundings in Kyoto, waking up at 5 am to go to the fish market and have toro sashimi at 7am, and meeting Jon bon Jovi at the Park Hyatt New York bar (the bar which Bill Murray spent most of his time in "Lost in Translation").

Overall my wife and I had a great time with our japanese hosts, as well as four friends form Australia which we met up with there. I would definitely want to go back there as there is much more to see, and the food has been great but I think I would need to give my wallet a lot more time to recover from the trip.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

From Baku to Kyoto

Enough about football... as promised here are some pictures from Baku - Azerbaijan, where I just came back from a trip. For those who don't know, Azerbaijan was part of the old USSR, and now an independent state. It's located on the Caspian Sea and is brodered with Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. It's part of the Caucasus. Anyways, it was freezing cold when I got there (it's supposed to be Spring too!)

Above is a picture of the Caspian Sea and you can see all the oil rigs (or whatever you call them). The country is rich in oil, and you can actually see these rigs all over the place - even near the airport.

A scene from the Pedestrian mall. In front of the big tall building in the background is a McDonalds, so I guess it is part of the "developed" world now.

A small picture of the camp site where I stayed. The vehicles are all for sale as the project is finishing, so those of you looking for a deal on a used Hilux pickup, head over to Mugan camp in Azerbaijan.

I won't post any more pictures as it's taken ages to upload these. I'm also going to Japan for a holiday with my wife and some friends. It's been a long time since I was last there (I think more than 20 years - except for a brief stop at Narita airport 8 years ago). It will be very exciting, and I hope I can post some pictures of the Sakura blooming when I get back. Will be flying to Osaka, then on to Kyoto, Hiroshima and finally a few more nights in Tokyo. It will be a whirlwind trip but made all the sweeter due to the good news that has come these past weeks.

I'll update on the trip when I get back. Till then my friends, Sayonara!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Absolutely Fab-ulous!!!

CESC FABREGAS!!! What a wonderkid. What a magnificent player. Last night, the decision to let Vieira leave us was fully justfied, with a performance which belied the kid's age. He was omnipresent, starting our counterattacks, and getting on the end of good throughballs to finish with aplomb. At 18, he is probably already one of the best midfielders in Europe. I shudder to think how good he will be when he turns 20 (which is incidentally the age which Vieira join Arsenal). If we get 9 more years out of this wonderful midfield maestro I think that the future at the new Emirates stadium will be very bright.

This is turning out to be a good year, but I would not want to presume anything until the return leg is done in Turin next week. If all goes well, this will be the Gunner's most successful season in Europe, and the prospect of playing Inter or Villareal in the Semi's definitely seem mouthwatering. The fact that we limited the best team in Italy, to a few pot shots at goal from long range showed the marked improvement in the team over the last few months. From a team in turmoil, to one which has kept 7 straight clean sheets in Europe. It was by no means a one man show though. A brief rundown on the performances as follows:

Jens Lehmann - dealt with what he had to do comfortably and wasn't really troubled except for one chip by Camorenese which went wide.
Kolo Toure - the rock of the defence and probably the second best performance in an Arsenal shirt. He led the young backline superbly, and often came up with important tackles to deny Trezeguet & Ibrahamovic a sniff at goal
Philip Senderos - the young Swiss centre half played well, and dealt with most that came his way. a solid game.
Emanuel Eboue - rampaged down the right wing countless of times and put in a few good crosses. Dealt with Mutu comfortably but sometimes too over-eager and did get caught out of position.
Mathieu Flamini - makeshift leftback performed admirably. Joined in the attack and hardly put a foot wrong. Showed us that we don't have to worry if Cole does leave as long as we have him and Clichy around.
Gilberto Silva - protected the back four well, and strengthened his claim against Emerson of Juve for the Brazilian team.
Alexander Hleb - a quiet game for his standards but played a superb pass to release Cesc for the second goal.
Robert Pires - he was determined to run the show and he did it really well, tackling hard and joining with the attack from the center. Winning the ball off Vieira to set up Cesc (via Henry) for the first goal was the best moment of the match.
Cesc Fabregas - simply superb. Good vision and awareness. Tackled hard. Scored 1 and set up Henry for the second. Man of the Match.
Jose Reyes - full of tricks, and caused Zebina plenty of problems. Sublime move to nutmeg Vieira and cause a reckless tackle which caused Vieira to be out for the return leg.
Thierry Henry - A good game as a captain, and his usual self at finishing. Left defenders for dead a few times, and highlighted against one of the best backlines in the world that he is definitely the best attacker in the world.

The sleepless night last night was well worth it. I can't wait to watch the return match in Turin. Till then - buona notte a tutti a Torino