April 24th, 2006

In Washington


20+ hrs but finally arrived safely in Washington. All I can say is I really love SQ22, the direct non-stop flight from Singapore to New York. By the way, here are some breath taking photos I took while we fly over the north pole.



I also love attending a conference where the organizer actually provide wireless all the way to your room :-)


April 23rd, 2006

Going to US


Packing my stuff right now for a long trip to attend the Internet2 meeting in Virginia. Haven’t being back to US for a while and I dont really look forward to the jetlag :-(

Oh yea, a friend told me I should also dropped by Digital City Expo since I will be there.

April 14th, 2006

PIKOM PC Fair 2006


I wrote this couple of days ago but didnt publish because I am concerned about the sensitivity. But heck, I think I think too much…

I went up to KL yesterday to catch up some friend and found out PIKOM PC Fair start today at KLCC. PIKOM is the Computer Association of Malaysia and they held one of the largest PC Fair (something like COMDEX) in Malaysia yearly. This year, they decided to hold their PC Fair in 25 venue (across multiple states) at the same time!

Anyway, I went over this morning only to be stopped by the guards :P Luckily, made a phone call to a friend in PIKOM and whee, I am in ;-)


The guest of honour is Y.B. Dato’ Sri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications. Dr. Lim is a seasoned politician and has been the Minister for Primary Industry for the last 20 years. Most people would associate rubber and palm oil with Malaysia and you know whose credit it goes to :-)


This is the first time I hear Dr. Lim speaks and I really enjoyed it! He is an extremely funny and entertaining speaker while at the same time able to bring across his points. Like “When I first took over the Ministry, Malaysia broadband is 0.4%. 2 years now, we are at 4%, 10 fold increase …wah..all can sit back relax play golf huh?”. The room burst into laughter when he added “4% my foot!” Or like how he challenges the reporters to “stop talking about the crooked bridge and talks about THIS! (broadband in Malaysia…or the lack of it)”

Funny aside, it is also quite clear he meant business: That he wants broadband to grow, ICT industy to grow, more investments and definitely more liberalization (“you think i dunno who is the toll keeper?” :-) It is also quite clear he is all for industry self-regulation but if they dont play nice, he wont hesitate to step in.

And the catch phrase for the day: “Come dream with me”
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April 12th, 2006

Japan trip

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This is why I love coming to Japan :-)

This is why I (or anyone) shouldn’t go to Joi Ito‘s lab, ever :-(

And before I forgot, this is the latest FOMA P901iTV – watch TV on the phone :-)

Beside the little hiccup of calling Martin Varsavsky‘s room only to get his tired and very annoyed wife hanging up on me, I think the trip went well. (Luckily, I found Martin wandering at the lounge trying to look for me so we managed to hook up :-)

Thanks to all my friends who spare their valuable time with me this trip.

April 9th, 2006

In Tokyo

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Okay, I have to eat my words: 13 base stations around my house isnt really that bad because this is what you get in downtown Tokyo.


46 base stations! O_O

Yes, I am in Tokyo right now. Tokyo is one of my favourite city (not the cost of living tho). I always like Japanese people and their culture. One of the things that impressed me most is the “common sense” in their society.

Take a simple thing thing like escalator. I am sure all of us experience some people standing on escalator while others trying to walk. If you are in a hurry, it is pretty irriating to manoeuver around those standing on the escalator. The solution is simple: There is an unspoken rule in Tokyo that if you want to stand, stand on the left so others who wants to walk can do so on the right. That’s just common sense.

Of course, if you are in Osaka, then you stand on the right and walk on the left. Thats also common sense :-)

Anyway, it is sakura season in Japan. Hopefully I have some time for that :-)

March 24th, 2006

Impression of Cambodia

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First, let me congratulate Boon Leong who has successful setup Resolvo office in Cambodia. It is incredible to have a local partner who can with a phone call get the folks from the company registry to come to your office to register the company, bank clerk to turn up at your office to setup your bank account. And any business partners you want to meet all at a phone call away. (And they say “guanxi” is a Chinese thing ;)

I also have to change my perspective of Cambodia…before I come over, I heard stories about how lawless Cambodia is with guns and stuff. If those were true a couple of years ago, it certainly wasn’t today.

Anyway, this is an exploratory trip for me. Getting accurate data is probably the most difficult so I better record what I found before I forgot them.

1. The average salary for people in the city is 300-400 USD/mth. Yet, you will find people driving the newest 4wheel drives, lexuses and using the latests models of mobile phones. Some may jump into conclusion about corruption until you realized this is a huge segement of middle class. This is puzzling to me until someone explained two things to me (a) while corruptions may occurs at the top, the money stays within Cambodia and thus spur the economy growth (b) many people also do part-time business or hold multiple jobs but only declare one income. This is why officially, the GDP per capital for Cambodia is only 300 USD but the purchasing power per capital is 2300 USD. Go figure!

2. I nearly bursted out laughing when a director at Mobitel I met this morning used the word “incumbent” to refer to the only fixed line operator. There are 20,000 fixed line users but Mobitel alone has 800k (out of 1.3M) mobile phone users.

3. PC pentration is estimated to be at 300k out of 14M population. Not too shabby but lots of room for growth. The sweet spot for CPE (including computer) is 200-300 USD so the 100$ PC would really be great here. While IT engineers are hard to find, people generally knows how to use computer. Internet cafes are popular (0.5 USD/hr).

4. 10 licensed ISPs but only 4 are operational. The latest one, AngkorNet, a 60-40 joint venture between the Anana and MediaRing, is offering 128kbps 5Gb cap for only 230 USD compared to Telesurf (part of Mobitel) 350 USD per month. This is going to be interesting to watch. (Oh, thanks for sharing how AngkorNet deploy their wimax network! Fairly interesting and good luck!)

5. The growth is incredible with the GDP estimated to grow at 7% year to year. As a reference, the land downtown cost 2-3 USD/sq meter 3 years ago is now worth 200-300 USD/sq meter. A friend bought a piece of land for 15k USD 4 years ago and it is worth 125K USD now.

6. The politics also look very stable. The US has the largest Embassy in Asia right here in Cambodia. In fact, I was having dinner with some folks from Intel and they told me they need to get clearance from various bosses before they can go Jakarta but none from Cambodia.

Oh yes, the best office I being to today goes to the Supreme National Economic Council of the Office of the Prime Minister (somewhat like EDB in Singapore). It is a small villa with a huge garden and a private tenis court right in the middle of downtown. I was told they are the think-tank for the Prime Minister on economy issues. I wish I have taken some photos.

And in case you wonder, yes, they are extremely professional. The director I met could pass off as an EDB scholar in the the way carried himself got his master in Australia and PhD in US. Young and smart people are in charge ;-)

March 23rd, 2006

Holy Cow


Holy Cow! Thats dinner!


March 23rd, 2006

Phnom Phen – Cambodia


Okay, I am in Phnom Phen, Cambodia right now. Its a really last minute trip as a friend of mine is setting up his office in Cambodia and asked me if I would come along. I also have some friends here in Cambodia but guess I wont be able to catch them this trip.

The telecom industry here looks very exciting (at least growing very fast). 1.2M mobile users, 10 ISPs and 2 more coming up. 300 cybercafe and wireless broadband providers are poping up :-) Got to go..maybe update more about it later.

March 20th, 2006

On the road again

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I left Vietnam a couple of days ago .. I didnt stay for the whole event as it is really depressing. If we believe everything that is said, my PC is probably infected by a dozen of (undetectable) spywares with maybe a stealth ‘rootkit’ or two, part of being a botnet participating in DDoS against Ebay while sending paypal phishing spams right now. Some of the slides showing what these spywares and rootkit collect and send back are worrisome (they even able to latch up ssl encrypted https so bye bye credit card #s).

CNCERT alone, for example, reported 125,000 security incidents and found 300+ botnets. To put it into perspective, thats 350 security and 1 botnet incident per day! Now, that with 110M internet users of course but if we scale it to Singapore size, we should expect about 1000 security incidents and 1 botnet. I am most concerned with that 1 botnet which we never found…especially we know the # of botnet is directly related to the broadband pentration.

Anyway, I am now in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of meetings. I didnt stay at a fancy hotel this time (hey, I am on my own now!) so I have to hunt around for wireless hotspot. Luckily, that proof to be pretty easy as most building has two to three hotspot operaters: Airzad, Timedotcom and

Sitting at a Starbuck in PJ, I noticed a lot others also have their notebook open. I could count 10 notebooks in this tiny Starbuck. This is quite unusual because I dont see that much of this Singapore (except maybe Holland Village starbuck where NUS students gathered). More importantly, Malaysia has a lower notebook pentration than Singapore….I wonder why….

March 15th, 2006

Hanoi Day 1


Before arriving here, I was pretty worried about Internet connection. The last time I was here 3 years ago, I remember I have to do IDD dial up back to Singapore to get my mail. So I was really happy to know there is a broadband and the hotel is wifi-enabled. I also have a chance to speak to their deputy manager yesterday evening and he told me they are paying about US$800 to US$1,000 a month for 640kbps. That’s not too bad at all!

The presentation was well-received altho I have a feeling the audience (mostly government kind of people from ASEAN countries) going to hear similar story again and again over the next couple of days. But it never harms to have people repeating the same story, esp. if they come from different people. :)

I learnt from Mr Kim, Head of KISC that there is no phishing attacks against Korean banks. His explaination is that Korean banks had implemented two factor authentication (single-sign-on and/or PKI solution). And before you are able to logon, the banks will scan your PC if you have anti-keyloggers and spywares and if not, will install one for you. How cool is that?

There could be another possible explaination: the banks dont report the phishing. Afterall, you really do not want to tell the world you just lost X dollars of your clientee money especially if you are a bank. Most banks will sallowed the loses quietly (which makes even more sense to target the bank if I am a phisher btw). But I rather believe Kim’s story. :-)

I should also spend some more time talking to Meng Chow. I enjoy the discussions we had, many we agreed but more importantly on issues we don’t agreed. When you speak to a smart guy that don’t share some of your ideological belief, you get your brain screwed around and really start thinking and questioning. :-)