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Don't Try To Steal Our...

20 May 2017


It’s equipped with an “old” smartphone!

Old Phone Save Cars

Wait, what?

Malaysia has a serious car theft problem. We’re ranked 6th in the world for stolen cars, with an insane average of 60 cars stolen per day!

What’s worse, going by the stats, the issue mainly affects car owners of the lower income group.

Modern car theft deterrents and systems are expensive. Most car owners opt to rely on the traditional methods like cheap steering locks and standard door alarms.

It’s no wonder why vehicle theft is such a lucrative activity here. It’s super easy to steal a car!

On the flipside, we Malaysians love smartphones. It’s such a commodity these days that it’s easy for everyone to upgrade to the latest models. This has created a landfill of “old” but perfectly usable smartphones in nearly every household.

The Cheapest Vehicle Tracking Solution

OPSC (Old Phones Save Cars) enables car owners to repurpose their “old” smartphones by turning them into a simple yet modern anti-theft car system.

It’s an affordable easy-to-install DIY kit that makes it possible for car owners to:

  • Track their car location at all times
  • Get notified of any suspected activities
  • Send alerts to authorities and social networks when their car is stolen

Best of all, the kit costs less than a regular steering lock!
(Ideally below RM50)

Will it counter theft?

Obviously, this won’t save everyone from getting their car stolen. But it’ll help give them a better chance of recovering it, no doubt.

Furthermore, with a healthy adoption by car owners of the lower income group, it was also intended to collect valuable data and evidence for a crackdown of the vehicle theft syndicates.

RE: Changing of the guard at TBWA KL creative leadership

30 Apr 2017

Dear Eleanor Dickinson

There was NO changing of the guard involving me at TBWA KL.

Which means that your piece of “journalism” on 29 March, published by Mumbrella Asia with the headline Changing of the guard at TBWA KL creative leadership, should not have involved me in any way.

Eleanor Dickenson - Editor, Mumbrella Asia

Allow me to explain what a change of guard typically means by way of example.

When Sid Lee took over the advertising for Absolut Vodka from TBWA – that was a change of guard.

When BBDO took over the advertising for Visa from TBWA – that was a change of guard.

Actually, if you use the term “change of guard” as loosely as possible, when Gigi Lee took over the role of Chief Creative Officer for TBWA KL from Sa’ad Hussein, that is also apparently a change of guard.

But no matter how far you stretch the term “change of guard” it can never refer to my departure from TBWA KL to be replaced by Hex, Shireen and Siew Voon.

I resigned from TBWA KL in early January 2017. I had no issue concerning ethics before my resignation. I accepted an offer to join an agency that’s better aligned with my passion as a digital professional.

I was neither the brand guardian nor the creative leader for the Tealive account. My involvement in the incident was only that I am a supporter of Mutha Puaka and I had protested to the use of Mutha Puaka’s slogan “Never Fear The Strong” by TBWA KL to service TBWA’s client, Tealive.

Since I was already on the way out, I had no problems leaving before my notice period had ended. Sa’ad Hussein, Chairman of TBWA KL, personally approved my request. That should have been the end of that.

However, on 28 March, I received an email from you asking me whether my decision to leave TBWA KL had anything to do with its dispute with Mutha Puaka. I clearly informed you that it had nothing to do with it and that I had resigned in January 2017 and was serving out my notice period.

Then came your piece of “journalism” on 29 March 2017.

You have given so many people the impression that I was the one responsible for the Mutha Puaka dispute with Tealive when that is not true at all. I objected to the use of the Mutha Puaka slogan “Never Fear The Strong” when the problem was still only in TBWA KL. I objected after that and I continue to object because in my opinion, it is unethical. I may be wrong in my opinion, I do not say I am the only right one here, but at least my opinion is an honest one. Something that informs rather than misleads.

Your first publication was so harmful to me because it did not even mention that I was not working on the Tealive account.

I wrote to you and then only you amended your publication to concede that “Azman himself was not involved with the Tealive account.”

But a lot of damage had already been done. Many people in the advertising industry in Kuala Lumpur had started questioning me on whether I was the one who caused the Mutha Puaka dispute with TBWA KL. I got lawyers to write to your employers and we are still waiting for a positive response.

This open letter format that I have chosen is to let you know what you have done. People deserve to be rightfully informed.

There was no “changing of the guard” at TBWA KL involving me.

From what I know, until now, there is no change of guard at TBWA KL since the Mutha Puaka dispute erupted.

A post shared by maharis (@maharis) on

Did I Copy?

13 Apr 2017

There have been rumours going around the advertising industry that I need to address. It all began with a misleading article published on Mumbrella Asia that followed on an ongoing controversy involving the agency I recently left.

Few points I would like to clarify here:

  • I’m not a copywriter.
  • I wasn’t part of the team that worked on the Tealive rebranding exercise.
  • I was never directly involved in the legal row between Tealive and Mutha Puaka.

Please read my press release and do help me spread this out. Thank you.

Maharis Azman – Press Statement 13 April 2017 from Ari (Maharis Azman)

#BeforeDigitalMischief: Project WSMY (2006)

14 Feb 2017

In a previous post about one of my first web projects in 1998, I rolled back the clock to re-discover a time before my digital mischief-making adventures in adland. Here’s part 2 in the series.

This one is about a movement and project very close to my heart. But first, a lil TL;DR warning. It’s crazy long haha!

Preamble babel

As much as I’m a kid at heart, the reality is I’ve been designing and coding for the Web close to two decades now. And that’s a lot in internet years.

Some time ago in the early-mid 2000s, I saw firsthand how the Web evolved from an exclusive playground for geeks to a place people of all walks of life are getting themselves on.

The movement

Accessibility and usability issues, along with the Web’s long-term viability, were a rapidly growing concern.

Different people with different needs. Different browsers with different codes. Different tools with different plugins. Different devices with different technologies. Different locations with different internet speeds. Etc etc.

Simply put, it was like a human body that’s experimented on and abused without any limits. Its organ system was breaking down, and in treating symptoms rather than the cause, was headed towards terminal illness (cue dramatic music).

To address the mess and move forward, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), led by the man who invented the Web, formulated the guidelines for everyone-and-everything Web related to comply with. But it would’ve hit a brick wall without the support of a grassroots movement.

The Web Standards Project (WaSP), co-founded by the man who wrote the “bible” for modern web design, made it their mission to get all the guilty parties on board. Which they eventually did… and the rest is history.

Fuhhh, now that the intricate part is out of the way… introducing…

Project WSMY, 2006

Web Standards Malaysia, or as it was fondly dubbed WSMY, was set up with the sole purpose of reaching the local web community on the benefits of web standards.

Web Standards Malaysia (2006)

That’s a snapshot of wsmy.org when it was launched 11 years ago.

Wait what… “Responsive Web Design” in 2006? In the era of not-really-smart-phones!? Well… not really. While it was how we were approaching web design at the time, the term itself obviously weren’t even coined yet. If I recall correctly, we called it future-proofing our websites.

Fundamentally, that’s what web standards was all about. To make sure the contents published on the Web are accessible and usable not only for all (if not most) users, but also on the devices we’re using now and in the future.

And therein lies the problem. While some (like myself) embraced adopting web standards in the way we work (and with that said, it required major adjustments in processes and thinking). The same could not be said about most web designers and developers at the time.

In anything that involves change, there will be resistance. Not everyone took kindly to the advocation of, among many other things, the end of Flash. Neither were everyone of us able to foresee next generation of the Web take place.

So to open minds and soften hearts, we (re)focused our efforts at WSMY in showcasing and discussing the potentials of web standards when used creatively, from the design thinking aspects to the web services it inspires, as can be seen in this screenshot.

Web Standards Malaysia (2007)

Of course Project WSMY would not have been what it was (even how briefly) without the help of my good mates Suffian Rahman (a killer writer) and Raz Hoe (a badass programmer), and the support it got from our web community. Love all of yous. <3

Looking back admittedly, WSMY would have benefitted from more TLC on my part. It’ll always be one of the projects I wish I could roll it back. Not gonna make excuses, this one is on me.

Joining the mothership

While there were plenty what ifs during the project, the say whaaat moment was when I joined The Web Standards Project as member of its International Liaison Group. Even though my participation were limited, it just felt so surreal being part of the grassroots coalition. I still remember the call. And get goosebumps seeing my name on its website to this very day (excuse my intro copy hahahah).

WaSP ILG members

After that, what happened?

I took a rather different career path than most of my peers in web standards by way of focusing on the marketing/advertising side of the digital industry.

While it may have seemed as a shift of focus, truth is the opposite. I figured that if I were to affect the kind of change web standards envisioned, best to do it where the most users are going to be at.

In the years since 2006, I’ve wrapped my head around UX problems and gotten my hands dirty on UI design and code for some of the most visited websites in Malaysia.

From re-imagining how you do your online banking more efficiently to seamlessly being part of your decision making process when purchasing a new car. Plus other digital experiences that’s not only delightful to use but actually solves business problems.

All these projects, some of which were industry game-changers (as we were told), would not be successful without incorporating the processes and thinking of web standards.

As Charles Mingus once said…

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Till my next post.