Out with 2016, In with 2017


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(Close your eyes and think for a second – are we doing the right things? Are we saying the right things? Are we putting ourselves in others shoes? Image source: http://www.coolnsmart.com)

The year 2016 came to a close with a bang – an accident!!

Couple of days before the end of 2016, on my last working day for the year, I got up as usual at about 6.45 am (because of school holidays) and at about 7.30 am, I left the house with a relaxed mind. The roads were clear and I was looking forward on the long holidays for the new year and thereafter. My son had orientation day on the last day of the year and I was looking forward to that as well.

As how I have passed the toll plaza in the same manner I had passed them in the last 10 years or so, I arrived at the toll plaza with almost a clear traffic. It was evident that a lot of people was on leave. I almost reached the toll booth when suddenly I noticed another car from my right. It happened in just seconds – I had no time to slam the brakes or even press the horn. I only managed to twist the steering to the left before the car came in the front of me, slamming on the front of my car with a loud crashing sound. I knew that I had a bad accident. The good thing was the engine was still running, the airbag was not triggered (means the damage was not so bad) and more importantly I was safe & did not have any injuries other than my pride and a minor headache.

Reeling from shock, I came out of the car to inspect the damage – the bumper was almost fell off and the right side of my car’s front fender was badly mangled. The hood was dented and badly scratched. The radiator’s coolant reservoir broke and lying on the road. The headlights were still working but the plastic cover was broken in thousand pieces. The mud guard was half covering the tire and making it hard to move the car. The other car did not fared better. After a brief chat (basically accusing each other in a very gentlemen manner), we had to move our cars to the side of the highway and wait for the tow trucks. Good thing the traffic was still low and I had no problem driving another 50 meters with the bumper half scrapping the road.

To cut the story short, me and the other driver discussed further and finally decided that the other driver will pay for the cost of repair. There was a reason why he could not bring his car to the police station to report the accident (no reasons given) and considering that I can expect my car to be repaired earlier (like within a week compared to 3 – 4 weeks if under insurance claim), I agreed to his proposal. I only had 2 conditions that he agreed in writing – no cost whatsoever to me and all parts must be original & new. He agreed and by 11 am, my car was towed to his friend’s workshop for initial assessment of the damage and to start the necessary repair works. And the other driver kept his promise – my car was repaired within a week and the parts were new & original. By the time I got the car back, it looked almost brand new. Even the drive and handling did not deteriorate despite the accident.

Perhaps I could consider this a bad closure in 2016 but a good start in 2017, so personally for me things was not so bad but we are still a long way from a good start for this country as whole, don’t you think so?

With the “Ringgit” not doing so well at the currency exchange and the cost of living spiralling up, 2017 is going to be a big challenge for many of the middle class families in this country including your truly. Early indications of the high cost of living was very evident when I headed over to my kids’ school end of last year and noticed that the school fees somehow had tripled compared to the previous years and this is even before the official start of school semester. But for good measures, I have decided to increase the daily allowance for my kids – I have a strong feeling that the school canteen is not going to sell cheap to the students in the coming months. Work wise, it will be an interesting year for me as I have added content management under my portfolio. It is a bit like doing “blogging” for the company on a daily basis. And that itself may inspire me to find enough time and space to kick-start my personal blog and maintain it on a more regular basis (I say may as even this first post for 2017 took more than a week to be drafted and posted).

Considering that the general elections may be conducted soon this year (if one follows the rumors lately), it will be challenging for the country as whole – do expect an increase of the unexpected and the dumbest statements & actions by our local “heroes”. On the other hand, the attempts to sweep the 1MDB fiasco under the carpet, well remains futile – not when a couple of bankers have jailed in Singapore and more will be booked in the coming weeks. Things are not right in this country at the moment and there is no clear plan from the leaders of this country to hold the bull by the horns and tackle the real issues. It will be a monumental effort to make the change at the top immediately but we need to start to start somewhere from the bottom. Just look at the majority of us – how many of us demand the highest quality of services and products and takes steps to provide highest quality of services and products. How many of us act and say things that reflects one’s embrace of rule of law and high morals.

It will take time, I know and different people adhere to different standards of morality and adherence to the law. But can we start at the lowest level of standards?

Let me give you an example – couple days ago, I was coming back from work and it was late at night. At the traffic light, a motorcyclist overtook me and waited in from of me. His rear lights was not working and he had a pillion rider with him and she was holding a baby. Now seeing families with babies on motorcycles is not new but the rider risking himself, his wife and his baby by riding in the dark is not acceptable. How much it takes to change a bulb? And lately I am seeing more bikes and cars with faulty rear lights. Another example that is a pain the neck and it does not cost a thing to get it rectified, is not putting up the indicators when changing lanes. What need to be done for these arrogant people to start putting on the indicators when they want to change the lane? What it will take to recognise what some politicians say or do is dumb, dangerous and is outright lie and voice the disapproval of it? Does it really need one to think and do irrationally when it comes to the issue of race & religion – two simple tools that is often used by politicians and politically charged NGOs?

I am sure that all agrees that the whole system needs a complete overhaul and the longer we drag our feet, the longer we deem low standards as acceptable., the longer we don’t voice our dissatisfaction and say wrong is wrong, the longer we will see this country deteriorates to the worst level. We need to start to make things right and we need to start with ourselves first. We lack the urgency and priority to look at things and see which of it needs our attention the most. In short, we need to shed the “tidak-apa” attitude and start demanding things to be accountable.

That should be our one and only resolution for the new year…

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Things That We Have Forgotten


How do you guys been doing lately?

The last post I did was way back in early July and I considered that is a very long gap when it comes to blogging. My sincere apologies for missing from the blogsphere. It is not that I had stopped blogging but rather I have been busy – very, very busy indeed on something else. For last 3 months and hopefully continuing into the coming months, I have spending my weekends rather religiously on activities that makes me achieve my daily target of 10,000 steps on my pedometer, cause me to sweat like hell and drink more than 8 cups of water (well it is more than 4 litres per day). And things have started to show some results – my once tight pants are loose on the waistline and I no longer have the urge to wallop junk food like I used to do. I guess I am calmer these days as well (except of course when I am on the road)

Reading on the state of the nation on the other hand has been very stressful – who wouldn’t? There is a strong impression that one gets these days is that we are governed by corrupt, oh wait, say what just scrap that statement. There are too many clowns running the show these days, it is hard to pinpoint when one get serious with the business of running the country to greatness.

And I think the blame on the sorry state of the nation should not start with the very top man in the country (mostly it is) but rather, I have a feeling that the country is going (if not gone) to the dogs because the silent majority is well, keeping silent on it. Well we are not expecting everyone to have the ideal sense of responsibility, personal conviction and strong principles but they must have some conviction not to do the wrong things.

And on a personal note, there are people who don’t hesitate to use the notion of race and religion for personal gains. We see this all the time from the local politicians and some twisted individuals. That is just sick especially when you get the same people going overseas and praise the diversity of race and religion and sell that as a plus point that makes this country great.

Never mind, let’s look from a simpler point of view – just take a ride from your home to your workplace – just observe other drivers act on the road. How many of them follow the traffic rules? How many put on the indicators when changing lanes? Change your view now and place yourself in another place – let’s say in a restaurant. How many restaurant owners’ ensure that the cooking is done as healthy as possible and as clean as possible. How many of them recycle yesterday’s meal for today’s meal?

Still remember our oath to this country and the people? Come on, we all had this printed at the back of our exercise books when we were in school!

BAHAWASANYA NEGARA KITA MALAYSIA mendukung cita-cita hendak:

• mencapai perpaduan yang lebih erat di kalangan seluruh masyarakatnya;
• memelihara satu cara hidup demokratik;
• mencipta satu masyarakat adil di mana kemakmuran Negara akan dapat dinikmati bersama secara adil dan saksama;
• menjamin satu cara liberal terhadap tradisi-tradisi kebudayaannya yang kaya dan berbagai corak; dan
• membina satu masyarakat progresif yang akan menggunakan sains dan teknologi moden.

MAKA KAMI, rakyat Malaysia, berikrar akan menumpukan seluruh tenaga dan usaha kami untuk mencapai cita-cita tersebut berdasarkan atas prinsip-prinsip yang berikut :

• KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN;
• KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA DAN NEGARA;
• KELUHURAN PERLEMBAGAAN;
• KEDAULATAN UNDANG-UNDANG;
• KESOPANAN DAN KESUSILAAN

(Translated as)

OUR NATION, MALAYSIA, being dedicated:
• to achieving a greater unity of all her peoples;
• to maintaining a democratic way of life;
• to creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared;
• to ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions;
• to building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

WE, HER PEOPLES, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles:

• BELIEF IN GOD
• LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY
• UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION
• RULE OF LAW
• GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY

Along the way, we have forgotten the oath that is so dear to this nation. We have forgotten what our fore-fathers had intended this country to move when they drafted out the Rukunegara after the nation saw one of the bloodiest racial clashes. These days, we have yet to curtail the voices of extremists when it comes to race and religion and there is so much crap & disbelief spins when it comes to national scandals like 1MDB (it is a mystery while it is deemed a scandal around the world except in this country) and the Sabah Water Department MACC busts. The cost of living is spiralling out and not all can be pointed to the economics – the mismanagement is high on all levels.

Let’s go back to the roots – back to the oath that we made when we were still in school.

Ponder these words again and again

• BELIEF IN GOD
• LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY
• UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION
• RULE OF LAW
• GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY

Embrace them

Build on them

Remind others on it

We have no other choice – there is still time for redemption and getting the country back on its feet. If we don’t, the country is lost forever,

The War on Perception


Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odour molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention (Source: Wikipedia)

(Interesting and well made advertisements on how not to judge someone / something too quickly. However not all can be subjected to these kind of presumptions – some politicians are dumb to the core)

Last week have been an interesting week…

After several times my wife complained requested me to take a look at the bathroom sink that was leaking water (something that I had tried to fix twice but nothing changed), I decided to do it professionally. Actually my wife wanted me to engage our usual handy-man to come and fix it. I know that those guys will easily charge me RM200 – RM300 for the job, so I told her to hold on to her horses for one final time and let me fix the leak for good this time. And this time I did not rush like the previous 2 times and there was no shortcuts as well. I took my time – took off the sink from the hook, unscrewed the pipes and checked the damage on the hooks & the screws that was holding it. This time I measured everything twice too.

The problem was the wall hook that held the sink – portion of the wall was broken and one of the screw was even broken and that caused the wall hook to be loose. Somehow this was expected after years of use & abuse. This needed to be fix. I had some leftover cement from other DIY projects, so I saved up on “plastering” the damaged wall. I got new screws and added wall plugs to ensure a stronger hold of the wall hooks. And to be extra sure, I barred anyone from using the bathroom until the cement really dried. I even washed the sink and replaced the pipe head. And I tested the hook for the final time before I placed back the sink on the hook. It held well and the leak had finally stopped. The only mystery after all the hard, sweaty work doing up the sink was a leftover pipe screw. Somewhere I missed screwing this back when I fixed the pipes back but since nothing was leaking, I had nothing to worry. Issued solved and it only cost me RM40 (RM38 was for the pipe head).

Moving on a broader spectrum issue – the other interesting news last week had been on DAP. Surprisingly they seems to be in the limelight almost on daily basis (for the wrong reasons) and that got me a bit curious.

In the past, when one needs a distraction from the real issues, one of the easy way out would be to blame it on the “other guys”. Sometimes it is the non-Malays, the non-Muslims, some dumb architecture (still remember the cross like shape on a roof of a house?) and of course, the “Chinese based” opposition political party. Still remember how at one point, they claimed that the RM2.6 billion donation was given by the Jews for DAP?

In my opinion, of the many political parties out there and the quality of politicians, DAP probably stands the best chance when it comes to fair representation of what’s right and wrong in this country, quality of politicians and the seriousness of issues raised. Next in the long run would be PKR although they have been shooting in the leg too many times with dumb decisions. Composition wise, yes, there are more Chinese and Indians in DAP than the Malays but does it really matter if we all want to be treated equal as Malaysians? Despite some shortcomings in the past and mind you, not all in DAP are angels, DAP as whole had been idealistic, rationale, consistent, focused and strive to put the national interests ahead of race and religion which makes it an attractive package for the younger generation.

But given the continuous bad press on DAP and coupled with the allegations that they are out to trap and cheat the Malays, I think DAP need to do more on the battlefront of perception in this country. This could be one of the factor why DAP have been lacking, to some extent, the right aura to attract a wider participation from the Malays. After all, Malays have more options, both at the ruling side and the opposition to pick their battles front and the last thing they may want to pick is a Chinese dominant political party. There is always the fear that the Malay rights and their community grievousness may be drown by other issues.

Let’s analyse some of the allegations made on DAP over the past weeks – some of these allegations are nothing new but it keeps resurfacing over & over again like a broken record:-

DAP – Anti Islam & Anti Malay

DAP can no longer afford to ignore efforts by rivals to portray it as anti-Islam and Malay after a recent survey found the campaign to be gaining traction, said Lim Kit Siang.

Results of the IDE survey showed that DAP was viewed as anti-Malay and Islam, particularly by members of the Malay community in rural areas where they party is traditionally weakest and rivals Umno and PAS, strongest.

Over two thirds of respondents also considered DAP to be a racist party that was concerned only about the interests of the Chinese community.

According to the IDE, efforts to vilify DAP accelerated following the breakup of the Pakatan Rakyat pact, with former ally PAS adding its efforts to Umno’s in attacking the secular party using religious issues.

(Source)

Threat to Malay Unity

Cheras Umno chief Syed Ali Alhabshee today warned aspiring Malay politicians against being “trapped into becoming DAP’s tool for splitting the Malays”.

He said these Malays were so eager to become members of parliament after the next general election that they had disregarded the importance of ensuring Malay unity.

He said the “racist DAP” would make “all kinds of promises” to the Malays in an attempt to ensure the success of its programme to topple Umno.

(Source)

Lost of Malay Political Power

Lim Kit Siang demanded today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak and propagandists from Umno explain how the Malays would lose political power entirely to the DAP if the ruling party were to lose the next general election.

“Surely Najib and Umno propagandists are not insinuating that the Malays in the country are simpletons, who have no intelligence or capability, that despite comprising some 60 per cent of the population in Malaysia and being the majority voters in 70 per cent of the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia… the Malays can lose political power to the Chinese — especially with a decreasing Chinese population as compared to the Malays?” Lim asked.

(Source)

Internal Resistance to Change

Explaining at a forum here, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming claimed that even within the party, many members have been against the idea of increasing DAP’s Malay membership and this has created a conundrum for the Chinese-dominated party.

“The dilemma is, there are many leaders who want DAP to add Malay and Bumiputera members from Sabah and Sarawak. It’s a good strategy to reduce the chauvinist views of the party. But when this was raised, members themselves were uneasy with the proposal that DAP wants 50 per cent to be Malays and Bumiputeras.

“We want to reduce that perception. We want to increase the membership but there is internal resistance,” he said during the Pakatan Harapan forum titled “Can the opposition party win the Malay votes during GE14?” last night.

(Source)

In this country where race and religion had been used as a ready excuse to distract the nation from greater & pressing issues, it is very easy to label a largely non Malay and non Muslim political party as anti Malay and anti Islam.

Yes, DAP had voiced out against the call to implement an Islamic State in this country and they are dead centre against the implementation of PAS’ hudud. But does that makes them as anti Malay / anti Islam? Think about it again. The notion of an Islamic State had been controversial, more often when there are people who claims that our fore-fathers had always intended this country to be one of a secular with Islam as the official religion instead of a straight-forward Islamic State.

The late Karpal Singh argued the same and so did the first Prime Minister.

On the occasion of Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s 80th birthday, he stated in the 9 February 1983 edition of the newspaper The Star that the “country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion”.

In the same issue of The Star, Abdul Rahman was supported by the third Malaysian Prime Minister, Hussein Onn, who stated that the “nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.”

(Source)

And this,

Citing historical documents such as the Alliance Memorandum submitted to the Reid Commission in 1956, and the white paper issued by the British government in June 1957, the council pointed out there was no historical document to contradict the fact that Malaysia was intended to be a secular state.

The Alliance Memorandum was jointly submitted by Umno, MCA and MIC to the Reid Commission and specifically stated that they wanted a secular state, although the religion of the state was to be Islam.

(Source)

And talking about hudud, it is a fact that the opposition to hudud did not come from DAP alone. MCA was against hudud as well and so did a good number of Muslims in this country. Most times, the opposition to hudud has not on the issue of concept but rather on the issue of implementation. Further there is the unsettled question of why the need to introduce 2 types of laws in a secular country? Why we cannot simply improve the existing laws and move on? And if indeed DAP is anti Islam, then why more have been done for the Muslims under the DAP lead Penang State Government? They could have maintained the status quo or even reduced allocations / support for the Muslims but they did not.

Probably the best statement came from a PAS politician who said this:-

He said DAP’s opposition to hudud was based on constitutional arguments and declared that the party had never been antagonistic towards Muslims or Islam, citing its support for flood victims in Kelantan, nearly all of whom are Muslims. He pointed out that the help included the repair of mosques and prayer halls.

He also said DAP had, “in many cases,” given its full support to the cause of Islamic education in Selangor and Penang. “DAP is committed to the Federal Constitution, which means that they accept that Islam is the religion of the federation and they have never challenged that,” he added.

(Source)

Another mantra that is often use to demonise DAP is that the Malays will lose power if they vote for DAP, a “Chinese” political party. A fictional scenario comes to mind at this point.

Well, as Uncle Lim had rightfully mentioned – it is impossible for that to happen. And mathematically DAP have a disadvantage too – it does not have the numbers or seats to win enough to be in power alone. And that is why they need the coalition partners of PKR and now PAN (Parti Amanah Negara) who is made off ex-PAS members to even make a dent against the stronger & well-oiled Barisan Nasional. DAP had hardly contested against UMNO in a predominately Malay areas (they only had 2 such encounters in the last general elections and 2 seats is nothing to shout about) and history have shown that DAP cannot force others in the loose coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS/PAN to follow whatever that DAP have decided – still remember PKR’s Kajang Move and their choice for Selangor MB? In the end, PAS showed their middle finger to both DAP & PKR.

And remember, PKR and PAN has overwhelming membership from the Malay community (although PKR is another multi-racial party to watch out, very closely) and they can make the necessary check and balance if in the wildest assumption that DAP decided to make things harder for the Malays. DAP knows this too – even with their strong belief of “Malaysian Malaysia“, with almost 60% of the electoral consist of Malay votes – anything to upset the community would be a political suicide for DAP.

And don’t you think that it is a irony that these allegations of DAP will curtail the political powers of the Malays comes from the very people who have used the notion of race and fight for Malay powers to leech the power and richness from the community?

Moving on Malay unity and the reason why Malays are joining DAP – it seems to be nothing but a cast of fear for potential Malays from joining DAP. Think about it for second. Seriously, how much of Malay unity is needed as oppose to the fight against corruption, unfair & double standards of law that is currently impacting all class of Malaysians? Why there has not been any “Red Shirt” rallies for abuse of power and mismanagement of public funds which impacts the Malays themselves? Comically, we have seen a bigger riot in support of a phone thief.

And don’t you think that it is an insult to say that aspiring young Malay politicians joined DAP for the sole reason of wanting to be members of parliament? Have you talked to them and asked why they joined DAP? There are very brilliant, energetic and young Malay politicians in DAP and frankly speaking, it is a brilliant move both for the young politicians and DAP itself. There will come a time when they will do their best for the country if given the right opportunity. Even the national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said is a DAP member and he was 80 years old when he joined last year. Is he another power hungry politicians seeking for high power and status?

The allegations of resistance to new membership is something factual and one that needs to be contained and quickly resolved if DAP do truly want to be a multi racial party that it wants others to see. Change is something that will happen and so does resistance to change. It depends on its leaders and members on how fast they want the change to be. And trust me, they don’t have the luxury of time. Malaysia’s economy and political rule has been on the slide for some time now – something that is made worse by global oil price and scandals & mismanagement back home.

Thus the window for change is shrinking fast and the members must be open to receive more members from other community. After all, at the end of the day, they are Malaysians too and they are on the same boat & path as the rest of us. And if the resistance persisted, then there is no difference of some politicians demonising the non-Malays to garner free support from the Malays. And even worse, all the incorrect statements of DAP namely it is a Chinese party and is anti Malay may end up to be true.

DAP need to strive on 2 main perceptions that is even more damaging that the so-called of claims of it’s being anti Malay or anti Islam – one that there is no hope for the Malays in DAP and that it is merely using the Malays for it’s own survival and two that the DAP members themselves are not ready for a greater participation and membership of the Malays in the party and the call for more Malay members is a sham. Address these 2 incorrect perceptions on a greater scale and over time, this itself will address the distorted picture that DAP is anti Malay and anti Islam.

DAP need to change and truly represent themselves as multi-race and multi-religion before they can call themselves to do better at the national level. After all, no matter what our race, religion, culture or political beliefs are but in the end, we are all in the same boat.

Malaysia: Leading vs Managing


It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela

I almost forgot I had a blog…seriously

Politics (not to mention our currency) have take a good beating in the last few weeks and all sign on the wall does not seems to say it is all well in the Bolehland. The country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

Leadership has always been my favorite subject mainly because it is fascinating to see how some ordinary people found that special will, power and determination to bring a group of people, company and even a nation from the brink of disaster or crisis and remained a beacon of hope and inspiration to others. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and even our own Tunku Abdul Rahman are just some of the leaders that we can read from the history pages but there are many leaders in the corporate world, politics and community that have done things that simply amazing.

It is also my favorite subject because in my daily working life, I have to take up the role of a leader and thus expected to make good decisions that a good leader is expected to be. Then again, I am also expected to both lead and manage – we will come to the differences in a short while. Some are simply natural born leaders – such as one of my ex-bosses. Some are trained to be leaders but still struggling to find the right foot hold on the idea of leadership.

As I said, the country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

I am not talking about the Prime Minister remaining to be defiant on the question of RM2.6 billion “donation” and acts like nothing wrong had happened. It was rather comical AND embarrassing when Malaysia hosted the International Anti-Corruption Conference last September and it did not take long for the participants (Transparency International Chief Jose Ugaz in particular) to whack the Prime Minister on the RM2.6 billion donation.

Tunku Abdul Rahman was known as the Father of the Nation and marked his leadership with getting independence for this great nation. Tun Abdul Razak was the Father of Development (the famed FELDA was established under his premiership). Hussein Onn was the Father of National Unity and finally Dr M was the real architect in modernising the country. And despite all the shortcomings, the Old Man did come up with a proper vision for the future – Vision 2020.

After Dr M, the country’s leadership took a back seat and the deterioration started with Pak Lah. Other than nice to hear slogans such as “work with me, don’t work for me” and “1Malaysia” nothing much change yet to be seen over the horizon. The bigger question will then be – are we running out of good leaders to lead this country? And secondly, can we get one in before it is too late? And who do we need the most at this juncture when the economy is not doing that well – good leaders or good managers?

And mind you that leadership and management are 2 different things but as usual as I often find out, the line between the 2 is often blurred.

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary. Any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Still, much ink has been spent delineating the differences. The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.

In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Perhaps there was a time when the calling of the manager and that of the leader could be separated. A foreman in an industrial-era factory probably didn’t have to give much thought to what he was producing or to the people who were producing it. His or her job was to follow orders, organize the work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done as ordered. The focus was on efficiency.

(Source)

To be frank, there is no short of managers in this country especially when it comes to politics. We have some of the most brilliant minds in public service and the private sectors. That is almost guaranteed. We can manage things well, sometimes too well. Ever heard the notion of “first class infrastructure, third class mentality”? Yup, that’s Malaysia right there.

However, recently there is a feeling of stagnancy (and no thanks to the dreadful haze) and the feeling is all over the place – the economy, people, education, environment, etc. Increasingly we are looking at 2 faced leaders who says one thing and do another. We had rallies but it ended up making things worse and hardly helping the country as whole. Leadership, it is missing now.

Until next time…

Upholding Dharma


It is a short one for this week but it has something that our country (and its good citizen) have been lacking in some areas and should be revisited. It is also something that I have been pondering on a personal basis.

Let me start with a simple case study:-

There is a junction near the housing area where a quiet number of the residents would take to make a u-turn to go to the housing area. Well, that fine as it is quite convenient for the residents. The only problem is there is a clear sign that says no u-turn is allowed. Despite this sign board and sometimes the inconvenient (and danger) posed to other road users, the residents continue to make u-turns instead of driving a bit more further and make u-turn. It may sound trivial but perhaps the residents may not be aware, they are breaking traffic law on daily basis.

The notion of dharma comes to my mind. The concept of dharma may mean many things to different people and religion. It may even have different name in different part of the world and culture. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’ (Wikipedia)

Before anyone accuse me of being holier than holy (ha ha), let me assure you that it has nothing to do with religion but rather a way of life, doing the right things (as oppose to doing the things right) and ensuring that we do not hurt others out of greed, anger and of course, stupidity. You can find a variant of this in every modern society, culture and religion. Morality is one aspect of it but then the question may arise – what is right for me may not be right for you. That I agree with you. But there simpler acid test for this – be guided by the existing laws and society norms.

It can simple as following the traffic rules – don’t make illegal u-turns is one example, not driving on the wrong side of the road, put on the indicators when changing lane, wear a helmet when riding a motorbike and so on. And to something more complex like managing the country in the best interest of it’s citizen. There is no law written down to managing the country in the best interest of the citizen, of course.

This is where the society norms comes in place. No society wants to be governed by greedy, dumb, wasteful, dictator alike government – unless we are in a failing states like Zimbabwe or North Korea (but not Iran as the US wants us to believe). But we are not, we are far from countries like that. We will come across many instances of doing the right things in a day if you keep an eye and ears on it.

Asking people to do the right thing is nothing new concept. It is an age old concept.

I first came across the word “dharma” when I went to India for the first time and bought the Mahabharata from a local book store there. It was on sale (most things were) and the language used in the book was not so complicated to follow (I had to do something to kill time when the ladies were out for their shopping).

The dharma is mentioned a few times in Mahabharata which itself been called the story of dharma:-

Mahabharata is one of the oldest epics of our country, nay the world. It shows how dharma and karma govern our lives. Dharma is what is the right thing to do at a given time or situation. Dharma is based on wisdom, insight and human values. Dharma has many meanings and many dimensions as well – duty, truth, non-violence (ahimsa paramo dharma) and others. It is well said that “dharmo rakshita rakshata” – dharma protects he who follows dharma. However, if you do not follow dharma, you have to reap the consequences. That is karma – you reap what you sow, sooner or later.

(Source)

Failure to uphold the dharma will eventually attract bad karma. That’s universal – if you don’t do the right things, the consequences will not be good as well. If you don’t follow the traffic rules, you may get into an accident (or cause others to get into an accident).

The same with running this country. If you don’t govern the country well, it will not prosper and developed. And so. You may have heard variations of it – Murphy’s law, Newton’s 3rd law of motion, blah, blah

Knowing what is the right to do is one thing, doing it without fail is another:-

Doing right always is a very difficult task. Many a times we do not know what is dharma, what is not. Even though we know, unless it is a very usual habit of following it, at times of great stress it is impossible to follow the path of Dharma.

(Source)

In order to do thing on a constant basis, it takes high discipline and of course practice but more importantly there must be an acceptance that doing the right things should precede doing things right. It has to be habitual as well.

Direction of a Nation


(Sorry for missing out on blog posts for couple of weeks now. I have been tied to work rather overwhelmingly and I still have a long way to go)

Sometimes when you see what happens around the world and see how much mankind have moved forward since, since I don’t know – perhaps since he climbed down from the trees and learned to walk on his own 2 feet hundred thousands of years ago, you get this amazing, proud happy feeling.

One recent example is this:-

Many congratulations to the Rosetta team at ESA for successfully landing the lander module on a comet. It was not an easy thing to do, after all, the comet is flying past in space at more than 130,000 km/h. It will be interesting to wait and see what discoveries that we will find from this mission on a comet. Perhaps confirming or disapproving the theory that all water on this earth was brought down by a string of comets striking the earth millions years ago.

And last month, it was the India’s Mars Orbiter which made serious news and it was for a good reason too:-

The Mars Orbiter Mission cost Rs. 450 crore (£46 million) in comparison to NASA’s Maven orbiter costing £413 million, which also successfully inserted itself into the Martian orbit on Monday 22nd September 2014.

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, even stated: “Our program stands out as the most cost-effective. “There is this story of our Mars mission costing less than the Hollywood movie Gravity. Our scientists have shown the world a new paradigm of engineering and the power of imagination.”

(Source)

Whether you like it or not, the world have become very technologically advance. It has become small too – it is possible to go to any country in the world within a day (compared to months or years 200 – 300 years ago). Information these days is at one’s finger tips literally and connected to the world wide web 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Sir Ken Robinson in his talk in TED once said that as early as the 17th century, the industrial revolution drove the education blueprints of many nations towards science, engineering and mathematics. And that had given birth to some of the greatest minds that the world have seen. That industrial revolution plus two world wars that came later however had not stopped the advancement of mankind towards science and technology and whoever who do not embrace it at this age would be left out high and dry. Same thing happened to many companies in the 1990s who failed to embrace the digital age. Still remember Polaroid? And even Nokia, once a world leader in the telecommunication sector is no longer is in existence (after it was taken over by Microsoft).

That is why, the country as whole should emphasize more on science and technology instead of religion. Religion which have always been the scourge of science (or the other way around) should be left to individuals and should not form the backbone of a country. Think about it and take a good look of events around the world. There have been more people died and suffered in history due to religion indifference compared to people who died from say science experiments. There have been more dark ages brought by religion than by science. Some of the biggest tragedies in the recent times were done by twisted culprits claiming supremacy of religion and they continued to make an ass of themselves and the better aspect of a religion – such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Syria & Iraq.

And back home in Malaysia, we too been taking all the wrong steps. First we decided to teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa instead of the accepted language of science and mathematics which is English. The lame excuse that was given was that the country needed to promote the national language and there was not enough teachers who can speak proper English. Unfortunately, despite the obvious reasons and calls from many quarters including the former Prime Minister, this decision have not been reversed to this day and the damage to the nation continues to this day.

But instead, we are entrenching ourselves with trivial issues like this:-

Non-Muslims in Kedah need not be worried or confused over the recent amendment to an 1988 enactment that bars non-Muslims from using Islamic religious words and terminology. State exco member Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid said no non-Muslim had been arrested in the state under the enactment for using terms that are exclusive to Islam and Muslims.

Mohd Rawi said non-Muslims could still use the words in their daily conversations, but not in their own prayers, public speeches or in religious publications.

“If you say you want to go to a masjid (mosque), why not? If you ask me where that masjid is, there’s no problem with the usage of that term,” he said yesterday

(Source)

Earlier, the whole nation seemed to be busied itself with someone who had organized a “want to touch a dog” event and after that, of an image on a water bottle.

Obviously we are getting our priorities all wrong and that is why for reasons like this, we will not going to be a developed country in 6 years time. Forget achieving vision 2020. We are too worried on what we can say and do in the name of religion. We are not worried about building more schools, getting our children to embrace science and mathematics in the most convenient way (by learning in English) and push for greater space and opportunities for citizens to speak aloud and to agree or disagree with the establish norms. One wrong say or act in this country can make one run foul of the dreaded Sedition Act and the authorities. We cannot advance if we confine ourselves to very few options and old rules. We even banned Darwin from this country.

And that is why, the country as whole need to wake up to reality of things and what is important for the society survival? And if one still have doubts as to where the nation should be moving, perhaps this will give a food for thought:-

Science is the engine of prosperity. Economists have said that a third to a half of U.S. economic growth has resulted from basic research since World War II. The cars and trains that got us here today, our smart phones, the energy that lights this chamber, the clothes we wear, the food we eat: All of these were developed and improved through research.

And so it is. Science is a system for exploring, and for innovation. It can fuel our nation’s economic growth. It can form a path for our young people in a competitive global marketplace. And it can fire our imagination.

(Source)

And mankind seems to be heading that direction too and probably in a greater pace due to the wealth of information available on the internet:-

Religion will become extinct by 2041 as the world becomes more developed and wealthier,, proclaims a new study by a noted author and biopsychologist Nigel Barber.

Barber makes the claim in his upcoming e-book, Why Atheism Will Replace Religion, which will be available next month. The Irish author says Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and all other types of religious beliefs will be wiped out by atheism.

Barber notes there is a direct correlation between religious or atheist beliefs with economic development and level of education. The more educated and wealthier a society is, the less religious they are and vice versa. Barber adds that religion is most popular in underdeveloped countries.

(Source)

Religion is important but it should be something personal and it should never mix with the state of a nation. Science on the other hand is going to be the stepping stone for many things to come to make a country strong, capable and flexible. Something for us all to ponder especially for the next generation of Malaysians. Good governance helps too but let’s start with something simple – give more focus on science and mathematics and put this country on the path of it’s own industrial revolution if you may. There must be a new paradigm of vision and a greater power of imagination. As I have said, religion is important and let’s not discard it from our life but not to a point that it drive the state backwards and into the dark ages. We just need to look into history and move forward.

Have a good weekend ahead…

Sedition & Fatherly Advice


Read these first:-

Negaraku

(This image uploaded onto Facebook by Anwar Miswan allegedly shows movie-goers not standing up when the national anthem was played. No doubt, there is no excuse for not standing up when the national anthem is played but can this construed as treason? How about corruption or misuse of taxpayers’ money? Image Source)

A couple of days ago, this nation celebrated Hari Malaysia (the day when we welcomed our brothers & sisters from Sabah & Sarawak into the Federation of Malaysia) and couple of weeks earlier, the Independence (the day when we got our independence from the British).

And every year, it has been one of the much waited celebrations as a nation. It reinforces the notion that we are all united as one, no matter we come from. But lately it has come to a point where one had to ask “is there a point in these celebrations?” and “what we are really celebrating?”. Have we really gained our independence and had become a very united people with a common goal and vision? Or we have this sabotaged by the very people who suppose to drive the message of unity and moderation on a regular basis?

Don’t get me wrong – there is no question whatsoever of the level of patriotism among Malaysians. When the country is faced with calamity or tragedy, you can easily see on how Malaysians from all walks of life and different background, culture and religion united. The recent tragedies of MH370 and MH17 is one such instances.

But then again, lately anger and rude statements against politicians or even the Government has been wrongly construed as a severe wrongdoing against the country itself. It is wrongly construed as sedition. A prime example has been this:-

Seri Delima assemblyman R. S. N. Rayer is to be charged with sedition tomorrow at the Sessions Court in Penang over his “celaka Umno” remark, which he had uttered in the state assembly against several Umno members in May.

(Source)

And it gets worse:-

What is considered “seditious” under the Act is very wide. Section 3(1) of the Act uses the phrase “seditious tendency”. According to a Suaram report, theoretically even an article on water cuts may amount to sedition, since it could be interpreted as the tendency “to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State.” Many have said the problem lies with the arbitrariness of determining what is actually “seditious”, making the law very political.

(Source)

Rayer may have been rude or vulgar or as some would have said, “kurang ajar” but when does that statement amounts to sedition? Seriously it is difficult to place Rayer’s “celaka Umno” under the provisions of the Sedition Act so we have to wait and see how the court proceedings go. What is and amounts to sedition anyway? But interestingly after a string of people been caught and charged for sedition, the Old Man uttered this in public:-

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays in the country are lazy, dishonest and complacent.

In an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said Malay men are also lagging behind the women, with many of them preferring to become ‘Mat Rempits’.

“The Malays are lazy and they are not interested in studying. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women, so where are the men?,” he asked.

(Source)

Doesn’t that borders sedition too?

And I strongly disagree that Malays are lazy, dishonest and complacent. I worked with some of them who seems to have endless energy, commitment and passion. And there are lazy people in all races in this country – Malay, Chinese, Indian and others. There are village idiots in every sector of the society in this country. But yet, there is no sedition charge made against the Old Man. No arrests or street protests whatsoever. Even the ultra Malay group is taking this insult as a fatherly advice, something that would have been unthinkable if the same had been said by someone else.

And even if you take the Old Man’s words as gospel truth, didn’t he too played a crucial part in all of this? After all, he was the PM for 22 years and shaped the direction of the community?

That brings back to the question what amounts to a real sedition and what amounts to angry, rude and perhaps dumb statements. Will now uttering the word “celaka” amounts to sedition – no questions asked? It is not going to go well for country if we are still striving for a developed status by 2020.

Presently it does not look good and the PM is keeping his silence again. Yes he spoke of coming up with another law to replace the current Sedition Act but without him stepping in to stop these senseless prosecution of citizens under sedition, how we can feel confident that the new law will not be an old wine in a new bottle?

Still with me?