Blog Posts by Faisal Shah

  • Apa lagi you mahu?

    Formula 1 racing fans and the sporting media are up in arms over the issue of tyre degradation but Pirelli says it’s just doing what we asked them to do

    Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends ceased being true sporting events decades ago. Ever since Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA decided to play up to the millionaires who inhabit the paddock at any given race, it became a commercial enterprise that just happened to provide a bit of gladiatorial racing action on a closed-off piece of tarmac.

    It’s a truism of Formula 1 that the richer you are, the less likely you have to pay to attend the race. Rich and important people (and sometimes the media) get in for free and watch the race while sipping champagne and eating steak in the Paddock Club or sponsor hospitality suites while the millions of true fans who paid exorbitant ticket prices have to make do with plastic seats on concrete stands and eat RM30 stone cold hot dogs.

    Somehow, such an imbalance hasn’t affected the popularity of the sport but to

    Read More »from Apa lagi you mahu?
  • The awesome power we hold

    A connected world has given all of us the ability to touch more lives than ever before but are we mature enough to be given such a burden?

    “With great power there must also come…great responsibility” - Ben Parker Amazing Fantasy #15 August 1962.

    Strictly speaking, the quote is attributed to Voltaire, a French man in the 19th Century but I doubt many of us even know who he is. I certainly don’t and besides, I’m more comfortable quoting Spidey comics. It may sound clichéd but I think the saying has never been more relevant to Malaysians than it was during the run up to GE13 and on the morning of 6th May 2013.

    I’m not going to talk about the results, because there have been and will be billions of words dedicated to dissecting, analysing and postulating about events leading up to, during and after GE13 but I would like to discuss the role social media played in it and will continue to play in the forming of society in the future.

    Simply put, with the power of the Internet and a multitude

    Read More »from The awesome power we hold
  • Can we please move on?

    Malaysia is now gripped by GE13 election fever but some of the tactics to win votes is leaving a bad taste in my mouth

    Like the majority of Malaysians, I am a member of the silent majority. I don’t get worked up about politics even though I can talk shop about it for hours. Yes, I will complain about policies and political happenings that yank my chain or I think are idiotic, but I’m not going to attend rallies (unless it involved cars going fast in rubber plantations), I can’t be bothered to listen to speeches by my MP or ADUN and I think marching under the hot sun or trying to occupy Dataran Merdeka are best reserved for anarchists and people who have nothing better to do. I’d much rather spend my weekends driving cars or spending much needed quality time with my family.

    I do however know which side I prefer to support. Part of that is due to my upbringing when my grandparents were politicians but the other part is because I don’t think there is too much to be unhappy about. Yes,

    Read More »from Can we please move on?
  • The greatest drug in the world

    Sebastian Vettel returns to action this weekend in Shanghai after his faux pas pass in Malaysia but will he be in a more cooperative mood? Don’t bet on it.

    Nearly three weeks have passed since the 2013 Petronas Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix, time enough you would think for the controversies of the last race to have died down, but you can bet the first question anybody asks Sebastian Vettel will be about Mark Webber and ‘that move’.

    Are you sorry you did it Seb? Did you and Mark have long midnight phone conversations to heal your relationship? Are you still in Christian Horner’s doghouse? The real question they should ask is – How does it feel to be a winner and then pretending to apologise for it Seb?

    Anybody with even the shallowest insight into human behaviour could see Vettel meant to overtake Webber in Malaysia. He muscled past and if the Aussie didn’t yield he would have pushed him off the road. It wasn’t an error because if it were, he would have ceded the position

    Read More »from The greatest drug in the world
  • A matter of simple mathematics

    Want to start a business and make loads of money? Don’t start a car dealership.

    Eddie Jordan is a canny Irishman. He made his money in motor racing, started a successful Formula 1 team and then had the good sense to get out of the sport when he discovered he couldn’t compete against manufacturer backed teams with manufacturer sized budgets. Now he’s a TV pundit and is often seen wearing floral shirts matching his lightly burned Caucasian man with a few too many beers complexion. Nice work if you can get it.

    Eddie is also a businessman and one of his famous quotes was “To make a small fortune in Formula 1 you need to start with a big one”. Read between the lines and it means the only people who make profit from the sport are Bernie Ecclestone and the drivers with everybody else lucky to break even.

    A car dealership, even one of those new multi-million Ringgit glass and steel monolithic dealerships, is a far cry from the glamour of the premier motorsports event in the world. Formula 1 is

    Read More »from A matter of simple mathematics
  • You’re better than you think

    Car companies can spend as much as they want on brand building but public perception will always decide where a brand stands in the hierarchy of desirability

    At some point during a new car launch you will hear the words ‘with this new model we’re targeting a sales volume of XXX (insert number here) units per month’ and it’s usually followed by ‘the car will attract a new class of customer who will appreciate our premium features’.

    Unfailingly the attending media leave such comments where they belong, on the speech handout, but you have to wonder how much of this corporate PR spin is actually believed by the people who read out the speeches. Do they even know where their brands stand in the eye of the car buying public?

    Here’s a fact everybody who sells cars in Malaysia should know. Because new cars are so expensive, Malaysians mentally sell their cars before they even buy them. Sure, we look at all the usual things car buyers look at but one of our determining factors is how much the

    Read More »from You’re better than you think
  • You know you’re a Malaysian driver when

    Each country has its own set of driving rules but we Malaysians seem to make ours up as we go along.

    As someone who gets paid to write about cars, one of the things I have to do is drive an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar country on unfamiliar roads with unfamiliar driving rules. You get used to the first three bits with experience and a little bit of research but the last part is as confusing as watching Inception after you’ve had a heavy night out with the boys. What is the meaning of those flashing lights, why is he waving his fist at me and how does the bloody top spin endlessly?

    A case in point is India. I’ve never been there on a media junket but having experienced it as a tourist, I never want to drive on public roads without a guide and a steel cage around my car. How they get 10 lanes of traffic to fit on a two lane road is beyond me but they’re also the most patient drivers on earth as nobody bats an eyelid if you smash a wing mirror while trying to squeeze by.

    I’ve been to

    Read More »from You know you’re a Malaysian driver when
  • It’s the season of giving

    Car companies in Malaysia have suddenly turned into Santa Claus as they push as much metal as possible before heading into 2013

    “Psst…hey you. Yes you! The person reading this. Would you like to buy a brand new car? No-no, I’m not trying to sell you stolen goods and please stop trying to lead me into the alley. I’m not offering that kind of service. Seriously. You want to buy or not? I can get you massive discounts and you’ll still get a lengthy warranty and probably free servicing too. Interested? You know you want it!”

    Alright, I’ll admit to not being a good scriptwriter but the scenario above seems to be playing out on front of my eyes every time I read the newspaper. Yes, I still read newspapers, but that’s a different story. What I’m trying to get at is I’ve never seen so many offers from car companies to buy cars. From freebies, to discounts to free instalments you can literally get the car sales people to lick your shoes if you’re buying right now.

    How has this come about? Well,

    Read More »from It’s the season of giving
  • And the award goes to…everyone

    Is it better to received a well acknowledged award or do car companies just want to fill their trophy case?

    We're heading towards the tail end of the automotive awards season and there are some brands out there looking very smug. They've collected an armful of trophies and titles to the point where their marketing teams may run out of space to run acknowledgements in their ads.

    Imagine the headline "The Hyper-special family sedan by Company X" and then in small print "winner of Car-Of-The-Year for Boy Toy mag, Seond Gear mag, Caravans Daily mag, Dog Lover mag, Manualcar mag as well as Best Ad campaign in Ad Campaign mag, Best Car PR Agency in IndieCars mag and Best Door Gifts by FakeMedia & Co".

    It sounds ridiculous but car companies and brand owners care about the recognition they receive regardless of how made up it sometimes sounds. Why? Because everybody wants a nice year-end performance review to tick off the KPI list. It's much easier for marketing and PR folk to say they've done

    Read More »from And the award goes to…everyone
  • The post-launch press conference

    With so many launches occurring each calendar year, a clear pattern emerges at press conferences.

    Do something long enough and you'll easily notice patterns emerging in the activities you do. As a motoring journalist, I attend enough launches for it to become almost second nature and the itinerary is always the same. Guests and the media arrive, there's an opening gambit, the product planners and bosses make a speech, a VIP sometimes gets face time and everybody then gathers for the all-important unveiling followed by cheesy pictures showing a thumbs-up sign.

    Then again, such a programme is probably the easiest to follow without resorting to doing something expensive, or worse, crazy. Try to be too creative and you run the risk of some journalists lambasting you on their Facebook account or nationally read blog so perhaps doing literally nothing new is the safest bet. Unfortunately, such cookie-cutter practices also prevail in the inner-sanctum of the press conference, or as I like to

    Read More »from The post-launch press conference


(14 Stories)

Friends' Activity