Loan sharks diversifying business model to consumers friendly

05 May 2012

Loan Sharks Diversifying Business Model to Consumers Friendly

Klang, Malaysia – The ongoing global financial crisis and rise in unemployment rate is taking its toll on the local loan sharks business here. Previously, we would usually associate violence and high interest rates with loan sharks, however, a number of loan sharks here have reverted their notorious debts collection executives to customer relation officer and they are now sporting corporate wear. The English lessons they have undergone is finally paying dividends because they no longer say “No Money No Probrem”. Only a handful of loan sharks organization opted this approach.

Some have diversified their business model with less grim approach to debt collection. What previously was redecorating your home with paint is now torturing debtors with hours of watching lawn bowling. Most of the debtors would yield before quarter of an hour. Of course there are exceptional cases where ultimately, the customer relation officers have to resort to traditional methods. However, to avoid embarrassing moments, the hands are spared. This will ensure the debtors are still able to sign cheques.

Others opted for interest rates cut to stay competitive. This is categorically mentioned on their new business card cum 2009 pocket calender. Public phones booth are prime real estates for loan sharks advertising. When we called one of the toll free number, a voice said “Horse doll car call letter” and we hanged up abruptly. We called again and again the voice said “Horse doll car call letter” and we hanged up again. We are sure we did not call the wrong number and further journalist investigation is required to solve this piece of puzzle.

A visit to their premises revealed that they hire Asian celebrities look alike and they subscribed to various financial magazines. It is no surprise that they are following business and financial news. With world wide credit crunch taking its toll on established financial institutions; investment bankers like these loan sharks are still persevering. It is high time that established investment banks learn “what they don’t teach in ivy league business school” methodologies from their illegal counterpart. Our translator has informed us that it is “House or car collateral?”.

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Your writing life: are you a perfectionist

04 May 2012

Your Writing Life: are You a Perfectionist? the Pros and Cons

You’ve probably thought about your general temperament and how it impacts your relationships. For instance, you have some idea about what kind of friend you are, what kind of parent or sibling or spouse or significant other. But have you ever thought about what kind of writer you are? Finding out can tell you a great deal about your relationship with writing and can reveal ways you can be more productive.

Honestly assessing your writing temperament and holding an awareness of it as you work can help you avoid time-wasting tendencies and reaffirm routines that are already working. And since so much of writing is putting yourself on the page (regardless of your genre or subject), if you have a clearer picture of your writing self, your finished product will be richer for it.

Here’s the complete list of the most common writing temperaments:

1) Sir Starts-a-lot

2) The Perfectionist

3) Fool for a Deadline

4) The Island (includes (a) The Over-confident Island and (b) The Fearful Island)

5) The Tofu Artist (a.k.a. The Feedback-Dependent Writer)

I’ll devote a separate article to each temperament.

(Note: to avoid s/he overload, I’ve decided to alternate pronouns from article to article. In no way do I mean to imply that certain genders are more likely to exhibit certain tendencies at the writing desk.)

2) The Perfectionist 

Like Sir Starts-a-lot, the Perfectionist doesn’t get submissions in the mail either, but for very different reasons. The Perfectionist just never believes her manuscript is really, really ready. If her work-in-progress were a preschooler on the verge of Kindergarten, she would hold the little dude back until adolescence passed him by and he was shaving every day, still claiming she could do more to prepare her son for the rigors of school.

Okay, as hard as it is, at the right time we have to let them go: human offspring and creative offspring alike.

If you socialize with other writers, odds are you know someone who has been working (really working, not slacking) on the same piece for years and years.  Your writer’s group encourages her to send it out (through clever e-cards, decorated cupcakes, even the chilled champagne you smuggled into the bookstore where you meet), but she insists it’s not ready and tweaks it yet again.

The right dose of perfectionism (in short, temporary bursts) can actually be a good thing, because it pushes you to insist that your work be the best it can, but too much perfectionism can lead you down the road toward obsession, prevent you from getting published, and ultimately keep you from ever starting anything new. Don’t fool yourself into believing that if you focus all your time and energy on finding the elusive “Perfect” in your work you’ll be rewarded with something flawless. Remember the words of Gustave Flaubert, “Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.”  

If you’re a Perfectionist, odds are your manuscript will never feel 100% ready. But push yourself to take the plunge and submit it when it feels “good enough.” If your critique group is begging you to send it out (if they try to steal your flash drive so that they can do it themselves), you know you have to relax your unrealistically high standards so that you can add your words to the conversation known as the printed word.

Listen to the little voice inside that’s trying to remind you of how much time and effort you’ve spent on the work. Sure, you could always find more to do, but it’s time to wrap this one up and begin something new.

The BENEFIT of this temperament: Your piece is GOOD. Really good. You take pride in your work. You have high standards and insist on meeting them. That in and of itself sets you apart from many people who want to write for publication but think revision is optional.

The COST of this temperament: But if you keep your manuscript chained to a treadmill of never-ending revision, no one but your immediate family will ever get the chance to admire your high standards. Further, you’re not stretching and growing as a writer: unless your revisions include major overhauls, new chapters and a substantive amount of rethinking and rewriting, you’re only using one side of your brain when you edit (the logical, organizing side).

You can afford to hang around Sir Starts-a-lot’s table in order to remember what inventing new ideas feels like. Writers get better with each article, story, poem or book they finish. Don’t limit yourself to perfecting and polishing the same thing and thereby condemn yourself to editorial limbo.

(Rule of thumb: if you’re memorizing your novel – without trying — you’re spending too much time on it.)

And remember: If writing is important to you (second only to a select group of humans), you can succeed with the right attitude, no matter what writing temperament you are.

Check out the first article in the series, “Assess Your Writing Temperament and Be More Productive, Part 1.”

Coming soon: Watch for the next discussion of writing temperaments with number 3, “Fool for a Deadline.”

To discover other ways to make your writing habit more efficient, satisfying and fun, visit and sign up for “Write Through It,” the FREE monthly newsletter that offers practical writing advice and anecdotal wisdom. 

Top three h

02 May 2012

Top Three H.P. Lovecraft Monsters

Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft created his own fictional universe full of creatures and beings that he would often references his works. He seemed to have created a fully formed mythos, with a hierarchy of these creatures, and a loose back story and creation myth for many of them as well. There are many creatures in his mythos with some making frequent appearances and some of the most popular being only mentioned briefly but with little description of what their role or place is in the hierarchy and history of the world. Here is a list of the top three H.P. Lovecraft fictional creatures.


This often mentioned, but rarely seen Outer God, Azathoth is often mentioned as residing in the center of the universe and is said to be “blind and mad.” Sometimes said to be the “leader”, Azathoth is referred to as chaos personified and one glipse of the god would drive them insane. Some artists have drawn and put on display easel artwork of Azathoth as a mass of swarming, tentacled chaos with no real “body” or form. Azathoth is one of the most strange and frightening of the creatures in Lovecraft’s mythos.


One of the less creative of Lovecraft’s monsters, and the one with the closest relationship with an actual diety worshipped in Middle East history, Dagon is the god of the sea, and the leader of the Deep Ones, a race of half man, half fish-like creatures. The image and idea of a serpent, fish-like or dragon-like creature in the sea known as Dagon has been around since early man, with Semitic peoples reported to have worshipped a god with the same name making Lovecraft’s use of Dagon all the more interesting in his mythos.


These horrid, strange creatures and described by Lovecraft as “terrible, indescribable thing[s] vaster than any subway train…shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, fainly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes…” They make a famous appearance in Lovecraft’s novel “At the Mountains of Madness,” where they drive the explorers from the Elder Things cave and are revealed to be very old “worker Bee” type creatures created by the Elder Things to build their underwater cities. They are hostile, feared and loathsome and one of Lovecraft’s best monster creations.

Writing short stories – from amateur to professional status

01 May 2012

Writing Short Stories – From Amateur to Professional Status

Writing short stories or poetry is where most writers begin their long journey towards publication. It provides a perfect creative outlet for those who have the feint stirrings of a story to tell and wish to transfer those creative thoughts to paper. Crafting a unique and well-rounded story is not easy and there are many pitfalls but with a little help, success is only a few steps away. When writing short stories, always consider what you are trying to achieve. It is very easy for the writer to become lost in the depths of their own imagination and a 1000 word story can easily be trebled. Writing short stories is an art form and it deserves a great deal of recognition as the writer must be focussed and dedicated to the task at hand.

There are many different story lengths available, writers can choose to write flash fiction which can be anything from approximately 50 words up to 1000, although many fiction magazines seek out stories which also have had the chance to develop and grow and these can be around the 2000 word mark. Identifying a market for the story is the first step and then once this has been determined, it is time to plan the story in its entirety. Writing short stories that will sell readily requires additional planning, so extend the market research around the intended publication. For example, what do you know about the readership? A story about a teenage pregnancy is not going to be of interest to publications aimed at those in their senior years unless the writer can make it relate to them significantly.

Many writers fail at the first post by writing solely for themselves. There is of course, nothing wrong with writing for the sheer joy of creativity alone, but as many writers would like nothing more than to see their story and name in print, it is vital that those writers change their mind set from that of an amateur to a professional and this will then afford them much more opportunities and in fact, fuel that creative fire even further.

When writing a story with a minimal word count, many writers neglect to develop their characters fully but it is important that the reader begins to connect with the characters and start to care as to the outcome, otherwise the story will lack interest for them. Allow the reader to identify with a strong human interest angle and this will help keep them interested and following through to the end.

Stories are around us all the time but it is our own unique interpretation that makes the story come alive. As writers, it is important that any witnessed mannerisms, characteristics and events are all stored away for future use,  as aspects of events can be used in short stories, for example  an old creepy building that you may have observed in passing could be used when trying to picture a haunted house for a ghost story. Life produces unlimited opportunities for story tellers everywhere but when writing short stories with a serious intent, we have to make good use of this free material and then we can go from amateur to professional quickly and easily.