Monday, June 28, 2010

Sponsoring Asean training 3

Right up to the point we got to Subic Bay, we took the good with the bad. Just before we left, we were informed that CS Solutions is charging us double of what they charge others. I am sure there is a good explantion but we have not been able to meet with them to clarify since a meeting which we had confirmed during the National Close was cancelled at the last minute. This is after we had SMSed to confirm a couple of hours earlier. Apparently another meeting came up but we were not informed. But that's another story. Another meeting is being arranged.

Subic Bay was by and large a good experience. On the whole everyone cooperated and we got a good team spirit going although we were outclassed. But we had something good for awhile. A promise of a better tomorrow. Till then, I was also fairly confident we could engage MCF and get an undertaking from them to carry their own load in future undertakings after Subic Bay.


2 senior MCF officials arrived towards the end of the tournament and everything changed. It started with the Head of delegation getting certification for the delegates. Somehow a parent and Adzlin's husband, Zuhri, were issued the certificates as delegates. I immediately said this was wrong and Zuhri agreed. The Head of delegation said that she had been "instructed" to do it this way. After a fuss and the denial by the senior MCF officials things were rectified. And certificates were issued to Adzlin and I.

We then found an opportunity to talk to the 2 senior officials when we saw them sitting in the Hotel foyer. The conversation with them was the turning point.

This is what was said. One of them told me point blank that I was not "allowed" to talk to Ignatius Leong as First GM was their supplier. Now supplier means MCF is paying us. Doesnt make sense. As far as I know, we have been paying for them. We even carried their work load. Consider this. First GM is a private commercial entity and can engage in any business opportunity it sees fit and secondly we sponsored this event. How did they manage to twist this in their minds?

But the crunch was when we were told by the other official that MCF does not have to listen to anyone or consult anyone in its decision making. Now this attitude is very very damaging. Consider this. What was MCF meet the parents at NAG all about? Why cry for sponsorship if you do not need anyone? Does MCF think it can go it alone?

Now this couple of statements put a whole new complexion on the whole issue of partnering. I am beginning to see. They cry for help. They then sit down and do nothing to help themselves. They then try to squeeze every cent they can out of the sponsors. The sponsors leave. And then MCF do it all again. Cry for another sponsor. Is that about right? That is their winning formula! So all that talk about transparency, accountabilty is just meant to deceive.

And they are still looking for future sponsors. Hmmmmmmm. No transparency, no accountability, not even a modicum of respect for the sponsors. In fact the opposite, they act to ensure the sponsor cannot achieve its goal.

MCF, you need to have a good and long hard look at yourself. You are an organisation that is very close to failing. You have no results and no sponsor will touch you given your inability to deliver. Currently as I see it, your only hope is that Dato Tan has put aside a large amount of money for you to spend as you wish for another 30 to 40 years.

So wake up MCF. Fulfil your responsibility to the parents and players that have supported you for all these years. Do something that can make all of us proud. Stop being the parasite. To the new Secretary of MCF. Show some back bone. You now have the helm. Stop listening to those that are trying to frighten you. Be the example you want our players to be.

Reality check. You are responsible and accountable to First GM for the sponsorship. You have things upside down. And you cant run on your head. A good start is an apology for the sabotage and insults. Better still is an attempt to make restitution. They say, only the strong can change. So be strong. Over to you.


  1. "One of them told me point blank that I was not "allowed" to talk to Ignatius Leong as First GM was their supplier. Now supplier means MCF is paying us. Doesnt make sense."


    Hey who said supplier must receive monetary rewards. In Malaysia, a lot of business dealing where supplier does it for free (small projects) in a hope of other benefits like mega projects etc.

    In your case, the benefits are as follow:
    1. First GM got the recognition of being the CHOSEN ONE for ASEAN project. This immediately elevated your status to National Academy, at least from perspective of parents who didn't hv much knowledge about chess in Malaysia.

    2. First GM is creating a footing image on par with more established Academies in Malaysia although you have not produce any result since u r a new start up. >>> Many others more deserving "supplier" envy on this fact alone. That's where cronyism been accused. Remember the old fact that I mentioned, no other academy was given a chance prior to FirstGM.

    3. FirstGM can hv the right to claim on anything in future results of these 8 "1-day stint" students for the groundwork that was done on them.

    There are some other fringe benefits that comes along which u will find out soon / already enjoying it if you have let this saga passes.

    In the name of greater transparency, u hv decided to tell the world on things that had gone right and wrong plus pointing the spears at MCF. Is this a good move !? At least, u hv cleared urself from cronyism accusation.

    Btw, I do not think MCF actually recognise u as a supplier which lead to one of the personnel telling u not to make such statement to Ignatius. If my guess was correct, then what they said may hold water afterall. Another point to ponder !?

    One of the anon's writer.

  2. I guess we come from 2 different worlds. You seem to imply that First GM ought to be grateful that it was the anointed one and be grateful for that. So good money was paid for that priviledge but with no results. That is the world of patronage.

    I come from the world where every venture has a clear objective and an expected return on investment. I come from the world of results.

    MCF probably thinks like you. I come from the business world. I have written on this before if you look back.

    So from the viewpoint of sponsors, this is a failed event. There is no functioning team capable of producing results nor does there seem to be the will or the effort.

    Look carefuly, First GM engaged and paid the existing Academies. First GM was acting as the sponsor. Clearer now?

  3. Ha ha ha... I had pasted this comment onto a different topic... but anyway, back to business...

    Since it has been made public, the only right thing to do is to correct some statements that were made in this blog. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that it is important for us to check the facts before printing any statements or comments, either implied or otherwise, because if the information is incorrect or misleading, it can be very dangerous

    Foremost, please check the brochure that was forwarded to FGM as we never charge double the amount that we charge others (as you had commented). The 4 hour rate that we have published for chess classes to a company (or for a group of 4-10 persons) is RM800 which is equivalent to half day's rate. For a full day rate of 8 hours, please do the math… Hence my simple question, did we charge FGM more than this amount for a day’s rate?

    This rate also applies if the training is conducted in DATCC and not at other places out of DATCC as we have to include transportation chargers. When a request was made for a change of venue, we did comply and with that I am asking another question, did we increase the chargers? As FGM is aware, we continue to maintain the quoted price.

    Why I mentioned “quoted price”? FGM came to us asking for a quotation and “the opportunity to make money” together. A quotation was forwarded and FGM agreed with the amount that was presented. In business sense, one have to remember that a quotation may differ from the published rates – willing buyer willing seller – and as the supplier, we have to take into account other things that we may have to prepare, hidden cost such as preparing exercises, materials and books, and other prerequisite works (which is time consuming) such as reviewing players game prior to the session (including a change of venue). Questions: Did we not maintain our quoted price? Did we go over our published rates?

    When it was clear that there were some issues with getting people to participate in the Subic Training program, there was a request to further reduce the price and we complied by giving another RM 1,000 discount, so now, the final question is, where during this entire proceeding that we charged you twice the amount?

    We understand that this is a "special" program which we are very happy to be a part of but now....

    All in all, despite the published rates, this was a quotation made to First GM, and it was accepted regardless what the brochure says (anyway, the price mentioned in the brochure was in accordance to the quoted rate)... and again my question, where did we charge FGM additional from the quoted rate? Or the published rates?

    Najib Wahab

  4. I must agree with you Najib that this is most undignified and I do apologise for my slip up in mentioning CS Solution in the above posting. But since it already out, lets have the meeting here anyway, if you dont mind.

    Before I start this meeting, let me just say that we have had a meeting on this and First GM will honour to the full the amount contracted. So payment is a non issue.

    Also as a point of clarification. You did not send to me your brochure and I was even aware you had one until Adzlin brought it up to me after the training. Apparently you had sent it to her in reference to Amier's private classes.

    So no question of published rates. Agreed?

    I also want to acknowledge here your agreement to a RM1K reduction when the numbers were disappointingly low. So that is a plus point for you.

    The bone of my contention is how your program was structured. You announced yourself as the program manager and made several attempts during the course of the training to take over the running of the program, asked for post mortem from the players directly even after I had called you aside and said it was inappropriate. You even said at the training that you would have to give a report to MCF on the training in front of the students upon which I again had to inform you that it was First GM that was running and responsible for the program.

    Now that was the confusion that I wanted to clarify with you. As far as I knew, you were merely the supplier of Ziaur and you submitted a tentative program which was not used as we found it inappropriate for the training.

    Of course we were concerned when we found out that you have charged differently to MBSSKL for the same number of hours contracted and for maybe less responsiblity since I would assume you are actually the program manager there.

    In the Asean training you clearly were not since you were not even there to manage nor should you be.

    Now since I also contracted Ziaur for a 2 hour session with Mark, I am aware that the hourly charges for Ziaur is RM75/hour. Given that we engaged you for 24 hours in 3 consecutive days, a reduction is not unreasonable. But we will not go there.

    Now as far as I know, for a supplier to quote a higher price there usually is some justification in the form of additional services. But I cant see it. Maybe you can explain here.

    So you can see that it was reasonable for me to think that you may have misquoted given the confusion and I only wanted a chance to bring this up with you. I am sure you would want to be given the opportunity to correct an oversight should that have proven to be the case. And I even brought the check to the meeting, as you were informed, but you were unavailable.

    As for your point for moving it from Datcc, a fee was imposed for the use of the premises for which I considered better spent at Jax's. There was no objection nor was I made aware of additional costs to move premises since I did not have your brochure and you did not bring it up.

    I absolutely agree that the contracted sum must still be honored, but you must agree we also have the right to query the contract even after the fact for the simple purpose of understanding how the quotation was put together for our future reference.

    I hope this clarifies our request for a meeting.

  5. "I come from the world where every venture has a clear objective and an expected return on investment. I come from the world of results."

    I think u r looking from the aspect of consultancy. Then what u said is true. Every consultancy project does hv specific objectives and end day will make their client to hv the feel good factor on engaging consultants to look into potential project investments.

    This itself is positive ROI for client regardless the recomendation given by consultants which either save client's money in big way on non-feasible projects or make more money for clients in doable projects. Nevertheless, there is no surety on definite positive result in business world.

    At times, patronage does help in growing the business especially for small fry like FGM at this stage. If FGM is a big timer, then u did not need to suck up to this patronage concept.

    Why do u think some established Academy/Individual didn't even bother to offer this sort of program for past event? U should hv the answer by now.

    Another point to ponder !?

    One of the anon's writer.

  6. We each choose our own path. But actually no, since most of the points you have raised have already been covered. But I can see where you are coming from.

  7. "So from the viewpoint of sponsors, this is a failed event. There is no functioning team capable of producing results nor does there seem to be the will or the effort.

    Look carefuly, First GM engaged and paid the existing Academies. First GM was acting as the sponsor. Clearer now?"

    "I again had to inform you that it was First GM that was running and responsible for the program. "

    I'm really confused. Firstly, u keep refering FGM is a sponsor and engage GM (CS Solutions) for the expertise to run the project. So, it looks like FGM (client) - CS Solution (supplier/vendor).

    Next, it was stated clearly by you that FGM is responsible for the program, not CS Solution. Now, FGM has acted as supplier in the project, while CS Solution is like sub-con in a project.

    Didn't u see a disparity here?

    Ray, I think urself can't even decide whether r u a Sponsor or Supplier/vendor or Program coordinator . U hv just place too many hats on urself.

    One of the anon's writer.

  8. A Program coordinator may work working independently or dependantly between Sponsor and Supplier and other-related parties.

    One of the anon's writer.

  9. Yes, First GM had a dual role. It both sponsored and was also managing the training camp.

  10. I would like to correct the amount which was quoted to MBSKL and to correct your "assumptions" ... yet again.

    First and foremost, the cost that I have given to MBSKL is different to that of FGM - different quotes for different situation. Further, MBSKL is a school, a non profit entity. And the class was only for 3 students (they eventually add 2 more students but I maintained the pricing). And it was also a long term engagement which started back in April and will end in July - pending them continuing. Again, the situations are different

    Secondly, the first quote we made to them was much higher than what was finally agreed. A quotation was made but NOT accepted. We discussed again and MBSKL mentioned that they had only so much budget to use and so, in the interest of providing our services to the school(s), we agreed to keep to their budget which was much lower than our published rates.

    On the training with Ziaur, I am managing his program. Agreed I was not there, because I had an event to run hence I was absent but at the same time, FGM also seems to not want me (personally) to be there to get involved so, where do I stand?

    Next, as in any training, there is a need to find out how the training went - was it effective? Did it achieve its purpose? Did we provide ample scheduling? Hence, I conducted the last feedback session in the interest of finding out what I can improve, and also to prepare my report which you have requested. I have no interest whatsoever to interfere with your program

    As for the use of DATCC, there is an understanding for the usage of DATCC for any of Ziaur program because if you look at our brochure, DATCC is our partner.

    Finally, I also realized that you also requested some "time" for the GM to go over some games with your son during Selangor Open (and also one other time I believe....), and we provide that to you free of charge. Of course, I also do not want to go there....

    And with that, I leave it to the readers to be the judge.

  11. Thank you Najib for your clarification. Please note there there were no assumptions on my part. Merely a query. Decisions are made on assumptions and no decision has been made yet.

    Also please do not refer to brochure or published rates as there were none provided to me. So that is an assumption we need to dismiss from this equation.

    There is credit in your assistance to MBSSKL and I acknowledge that.

    However the Asean training was for the National squad, a national service so to speak. That same spirit would have been welcomed for the effort. Maybe a profit would have been generated for future ventures if all had done their part and carried their own load but that is not in your control.

    As for your relationship, with ziaur as program manager, I do not dispute that. But at the Asean training you were the supplier. The program was managed by FGM. I was there to personally see that the players got what they needed. And so the program was changed many times when I found that your tentative program was not working.

    So under those circumstances, the feedback you require should come from me and not the players. And the feedback you should be looking for is how you can do better as a supplier next time. You seem confused on this point and that may have lead to how you constructed your quotation. I suspect that you have factored in program management when there was none. Otherwise your quotation doesnt make much sense. Do think on this.

    Now, supposing there was something that happened at the training that I would have wanted some time to reflect on and you directly ask the audience for feedback and inadvertently cause damage to the program manager/organiser since you were not there, how would you account for that? I hope you do see that it is not the suppliers place to ask for feedback but the organisers. I hope you also learn from this.

    Lastly there is nothing free my friend. Your accounting of every passing interaction between Ziaur and the players speak of who you are. Think on that also and consider how much you have benefited from your interaction with FGM. We have sent you a fair number of students from which we never asked for a cent.

    So for all intents and purposes you now have my feedback on your performance as supplier.