Sunday, December 28, 2008

..of women bosses..hehe

Hang on, hang on... I know what you're thinking ladies...its not like that ok?..hehe. I am still in my springkleening mode and again, I stumbled upon this newspaper cutting (The Sun, UK, Sunday March 9, 1997). Please do read what John Kelly wrote above, of a survey by Dr Syeda-Masooda Mukhtar of women bosses. It would be really interesting if a similar survey is done here with Malaysian Women Bosses! haha. This was more than 10 years ago. Perhaps today's generation of lady bosses may be totally different (I hope). But seriously ladies, please read and tell me if at all, the findings describe you or your managerial style (evil wink) or that the author's findings were totally preposterous! hahaha. Salam Maal Hijrah to all my muslim visitors...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

...heroic or engaging management?

As I was I springkleening I came across the above scanned page from the book 'Managers Not MBAs' by Henry Mintzberg the Canadian Professor of Management. I am a Mintzberg convert sort of (management thinking-wise lar..hehe). So I thought perhaps I might attempt to influence your thinking as well? If you are an upcoming or CEO-aspiring young management rookie, you should not bypass this view. You may have already been 'awed' by the superstar, evil-knievel, Jackie Welchie or the 'Johnson-clap' ( evil wink) of leadership and management style...that's ok. It's again a matter of preference folks. Or you think that by emulating the likes of honchos like the Lehman Brothers CEO or the CEOs of the big '3' US auto Kings (well...but oredi brought down to their knees by the US senate...somewhere closer to the levels of unicellular organisms haha no not that far down the food chain..hahaha). Or you are smitten by Barrack Hussein Obama's engaging style? Yes, engaging is the new currency. The flavor of the month. I suspect it will be the flavor for 2009. Engaging Economy? Engaging Dad? Engaging Boss? Engaging employees? Just like...hmmm when you get into your car...don;t forget to engage your gear....cos if you didn't...the car would not move right? Similiarly with your people...employees, colleagues et al. The argument is, you need to engage...I am not sure if it is similar to the engagement before marriage tingy....LOL hahahahaha). Please feel free to let me know what your thoughts are....

Friday, December 26, 2008

...of privatisation and creative destruction?

Ya ya..we juz had Christmas holiday (to those who celebrates it), Monday 29th will be Awal Muharram holidays and January 1, 2009 will be another holiday. The office was rather quiet today but thank gawd, Razali Yubong texted me earlier this evening to let me know all the board papers have been delivered. Thank you Li, what would we do without you, man? I know it is holiday mood but I have this burning desire well it hasn't come to a stage of violent objection (not yet lar so far...can still bear with it leh? hehe) to debate..oh well, discuss about privatisation ( an intervention that was soo fashionable in the early 90s...).
I remember in 1993 when I attended the International Youth Council (IYC) meeting in Fukuoka with one of my former bosses, the late Dato' Abdul Malek Nahu (Malek Grammar as he was fondly referred to from time to time, then), Datuk Abd Wahab Adam (Secretary General of Youth & Sports Ministry at the time), Saifuddin abdullah (now a Datuk and Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship & Cooperatives) and a few other government and NGO officials. Datuk Wahab was reading a book on the (orient express wannabe) train to Oita (about a 3 hour ride up the mountains). It was called "Reinventing the Government" by Gabler. Apparently all SecGens and top civil servants at the time was required oh well, recommended by the Prime Minister at the time (Tun Dr Mahathir) to read the book I was told. Essentially, Gabler's message was: there are things that are best left to market forces (laisse-faire) to encourage competition and thus achieve the desired efficiency and effectiveness and economies of scales...thus the deja vu and the obsession with corporatisation and it seems; Some other things must still be in the control of or best be in the hands of the Government (like basic health care, utilities and public transportation); and for a much more equitable wealth distribution, the cooperative would appear to be the best tool to use. Over time we have all seen the foibles, follies and both the functional and dysfunctional consequences of privatisation. It was not totally excellent in some areas and totally disastrous to0 in some others. I shall not elaborate. You can be the judge of that.
On December 15th recently, when I gave the keynote address at the 3rd International Borneo Business Conference (IBBC), I said that if you put 200 economists in a room, you will get 200 different opinions and strategies. They can all be right and they can all be wrong too. Prof Dr Kassim, Dean of School of Economics and Business of Universiti Malaysia Sabah in his summary, agreed with me (hehe). Sometimes I too get confused (haha). One moment I am Malthusian, another I am Keynesian (by the way, in the current global crisis...we are all Keynesians now! hahaha), at the same time I could also be a Milton Friedman convert (hehe). But I am also a fan of John Kay, Paul Romer, Krugman and Lester Thurow....see? The list is endless. We also see a hugh following of the works of Joseph Schumpeter and his famous 'creative destruction' theory. Some say he is the father of modern entrepreneurship. I suspect much of the argument for privatisation seems to have been motivated by his thinking.
There has been lots of debates, views, comments etc both in blogosphere and in mainstream medias about the privatisation of a certain medical entity (?). In management there is no right or all depends. Pledges, promises and objectives are but one thing, the outcome of the execution, implementation and as I said earlier, probable dysfuntional consequences, are another. It is not rocket science, to come out with the best justification in the world to go ahead with the intention (to privatise). The UK's NHS is 60 years this year. Perhaps we can learn from some of their good and bad experiences (which I suspect we may have) so that we can balance both the corporate and public sector objectives or end in mind as Covey always calls it in his 7 Habits Model (hehe) .... my 2 sen views.... It would be interesting to re-examine all the privatisation exercises over the last 10 to 15 years hehe. I do know of someone whose PhD thesis was on privatisation (heehee.. not sure if she is reading this blogpost though..hahaha)...My stand? I am not totally fond of privatisation. Sorry folks...if its a bit too long and heavy....enjoy the long weekend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 it safe anymore?

Is there any place safe anymore? Safe is a relative word. Worry is the accompanying relative word too. Izzit safe to fly? You might juz be on a flight that might be on the hijacker's list. Izzit safe to take a cruise or travel by ship then? hmmm you might juz be visited by Somalian pirates hehe. What about spending time at the hill resorts? Oh no...not another landslide....uwaaa. What about spending time with the kids by the seaside resorts? Huh? Have you not forgotten the Boxing Day Tsunami? So? Where does that leave you then? Staying at home is also not safe (depending which neighbourhood you are in...hehe). You may juz be visited in the wee hours of the morning by people with parangs or whatever sharp object...asking you for money or your life? We live in really interesting and scary times. Not at these levels of heightened security consciousness. Even if you have guards combing your neighbourhood, they could still come. Can you imagine that it is unsafe for me to even walk to Nathijah Maju the mamakshop for my roti canai at the back of my house? At the Isle of Wight, just across Portsmouth, there are cute lil ole English thatched country houses where their cute little gates and front doors are without locks. I dunnno if it's still without locks! hahaha.
I guess nothing is safe anymore...even your jobs? (evil wink). Guard it with your life. Can you imagine...even the stores in UK are advising parents to try not to steal anything for christmas cos they know parents are being pressured by their kids what with the new generation of digital toys, the ipods, PSPs, iphones, Wii, macbooks and what have you....hahaha...anyway, have a great christmas folks. Drive safely, if you are travelling....

Monday, December 22, 2008

of lockerbies and tis a season of weddings again...

Not many of us remember the Lockerbie Tragedy. The plane that exploded over a Scottish agricultural village, 20 years ago, yesterday. How could I forget? A dear friend and a colleague, David Trimmer-Smith marketing director of OUP New York was on that flight. We were together having a great time at the Annual Frankfurt Book Fair (Buch messe as we say in German) in September 1988. I too had planned to visit my cousin who was attached with MIDA New York at the time but changed my mind and spend a couple extra days in London instead. If you'd like to read about it, see here.
Two weddings today, one was at noon at Shahalam, daughter of our SVP Human Capital Management, and the other was later in the evening at PJ Hilton, daughter of an old close friend who was formerly executive chairman of a second board (which later moved to the main board, I think..hehe) technology company. I wrote an account of she and her brother's ordeal...swimming back to shore at night in PD in my earlier blogpostings.
Its 4.25am and somehow or rather I don't feel sleepy despite the heavy food especially the uish..irresistible 'rendang tok' at PJ Hilton a few hours ago. Saw this HBO movie "Man of the Year" (Robin Williams) and am always amazed at the speed of how Americans do things. They can be really swift. As I watched the movie, I couldn't help analysing...hehe. The movie is full of sarcasm, making fun of politicians well American politics more like it, hehe. Very well articulated by Robin his usual style... The Japanese are very quick too. Every new book published in English, they would have a japanese translated version in their bookshops within a month, So I was told, in those days (late 70s, 80s). I don't know what it's like now but my guess is, with today's technology, aaasssooo should be even faster neh? Have a great week ahead folks....

Friday, December 19, 2008

learning to compete in european universities?...

Professor Rajah Rasiah FEA Universiti Malaya, chairperson, summarising Professor Maureen McKelvey, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Public Lecture this morning ...

I was invited to a public lecture at the Faculty of Economics & Administration (FEA) Universiti Malaya this morning at 10 am. A great priviledge indeed to meet Professor Maureen McKelvey, Professor of Industrial Management and Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in person and to listen to her about the new book she had edited, which will be published in February 2009. Its called 'Learning to Compete in European Universities: from social institution to knowledge business'. The crux of her book is about why european universities are changing and learning to compete. Our local universities, both public and private, can certainly pick some relevant tips and strategies these european universities have adopted. Or at least understand why all these (change, competition) need to take place. Must it take place? I ask. Must they be pressured by market demand or put it in another way, must universities be market-driven? Yes and no, perhaps... haha.. always paradoxical and ahem...oxymoronic right? Sorry folks but my stand has always been similar to those echoed by professor William Taylor former professor of education and vice chancellor of the University of Hull, where parallels are drawn between universities and commercial or industrial enterprises. Such parallels have a number of defects and dangers. They fail to bring out the real and essential differences between educational considerations and market considerations. Which is not to say that there is nothing in common between running an industrial enterprise and running a university (hehe). It fails to take into account of certain characteristics of the values inherent in a market structure as compared to those characteristics of educational structures, the point had also been well made by Jules Henry.
Prof Maureen pulled together a great list of contributors and organised it into four themes: emergent strategies; diversification and specialization; rethinking university-industry relations; and reflections. My thinking may have been outdated or archaic (evil wink) or have been too influenced by the olde school hehe. I did get a chance to share my opinion at this morning's lecture and my candid remarks from the other side of the table. Problem is, while I give my corporate overview, I am most often trapped within my pseudo-academia mindset...because of my occasional adjunct role teaching MBA students! hahaha. Also at the lecture was Kamaruding Abdul Somad, PhD (Prof Maureen's colleague at the University of Gothenburg), Assoc prof Dr Nik Rosnah, Head department of Administrative Studies and Politics, FEA UM, and Assoc Prof Dr Chia of the Inst of Postgrad Studies & Research Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR). I wished more people at the helm of our local universities were there this morning to listen to her...hmmm

...the reluctant chairperson?....jeng3x

ya 3 pm the day before, I got a SOS SMS...similar to the radio distress signal sent out to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) by crewmen of the China-registered ship stormed by nine armed pirates off the coast of Somalia! hahahaha. No lar...hehe it was from Umi of ABF. Asking me to replace my gudfren Deepak and chair the 2nd day of the ABF Legal Technology conference at the Grand Millennium Hotel. Small but lively, interesting knowledge and information-hungry crowd hahaha. I was nothing but amused, when I got the feedback from Umi over the phone hehe. She read it quickly and it seems the feedback written by participants ranged from gud to verigud, well ahem... mostly excellent (hehe...sorry folks...) but the last one really chuckled me. It said: eccentric but entertaining....hahaha which confirms my suspicion earlier, if you had been following my blogposts, that I am very much a court jester!?......uwaaaa...uhu hu hu hu... thank you umi, and fellas, for the kind remarks...hehe

tribute and in memoriam...

Yesterday I visited a dear friend and professional industry colleague Khoo Khai Jin whose wife passed away. He stays at USJ9 somewhere near Taipan. The cremation was to take place at 2 pm. I didn't stay long. Left slightly later then our two other common friends Donzubir and Ismail (who is now political secretary to YM Tengku Razaleigh).

Yesterday too, the VC of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) wrote a special article (see article) paying tribute to the late Datuk Professor Dr Nik Abdul Rashid Ismail former Deputy Vice Chancellor. He was fondly known as Pak Nik too and was almost always confused with another Pak Nik Rashid who passed away much earlier. That Pak Nik was from the Law Faculty of Universiti Malaya and on the Coop Board when I was GM in the late 80s and he subsequently became ITM (UiTM now) Director.

Datuk Prof Nik Rashid Ismail was a dear friend and we were on the committee of the Malaysian Association of Productivity for quite sometime since the late 70s where Tan Sri Arshad was national president, he was Deputy President and I was Secretary-General. I was last with him and tan sri, a few months ago at the court of appeal, putrajaya for a long overdue case hearing where we had to testify. I have been told that the presiding appeal court judge would be passing the judgement over the long overdue case, this coming january 5, 2009. His daughter Farah visited us one weekend at our home at Loughborough, UK when my wife was doing her MA in 1990. She was doing her medical degree then at Nottingham University. The late poknik did tell me that her daughter, now married, is in the US. Datuk Hapsah VC of UKM in her article, could not have worded a greater tribute to the work of this man. I was shocked and saddened by the news which was relayed to me only a week later by Nik Hussein, former UM Bursar...when I met him at breakfast at Nathijah Maju mamakshop behind my house. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas roh YBhg Datuk Prof Nik A Rashid Ismail dan semoga beliau ditempatkan bersama-sama orang2 yang soleh...amin.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

..of hainanese kopitiam and suspected pyramid fraud?

Ya ya, well over a week now, that I have not been blogging. Sorry folks, busylah, year end, springkleening, kids to attend to.. its the school holidays still you know? December has always been a crazy month. People are all over the place. Some missing in action (hehe) and ya ya...I can't ( if...hmmm). But...they only want my signature and I will say, all the time (which may have irked some people hahaha). What's all this for? If I am going to jail, at least I like to know why and what I am going to jail for (evil wink)... Wish I was still in KK. Got back last night after delivering a keynote address at the 3rd International Borneo Business Conference 2008 (IBBC) at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. There were about 150 delegates from a few countries but mostly academics from economics or business schools of local universities. The theme for this year was Global Changes: Corporate Responsibility (whatever that means..hahaha). The best part was, my schoolmate who had just been posted as Deputy Commander of the GOF Sabah (Police Field Force as it was previously known) came to the conference with a few of his officers just to listen to me. The organising committee thought they were my bodyguards! hahahaha...what a pleasant joke and morale booster for me hahahaha. Tenkiu bro Tuan Hadi Ittam for the your most esteemed presence. I will upload the text of that keynote when I have converted the powerpoint slides later (hehe).
The world continues to be painted red. Today's NST reported that Europe's biggest bank, HSBC, joined the list of top names in the world of finance admitting huge potential losses in a suspected pyramid fraud scam run by Wall Street figurehead Bernard Madoff. But that news did not spoil my appetite hehe. I had a great lunch at my favourite Hainan Chef Kopitiam just now with the always attentive service by my good fren Mr Lim (above). Hahah...nothing like a damn good fish & chips with lime and assamboey. And yes...I am somewhere between finishing off some old untaken leave and being in the office on and off.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

...of rojaksellers, reflections and responsibilities?

Pak Ali Rojak, my favourite your neighbourhood rojakseller (ya... jangan lupa sotong lebih sikit aah?...hahaha) always there, at the same spot in front of the Old Giant Supermarket, Kelana Jaya, been there more than 22 years ago...

Salam Eid Adha for those celebrating Hari Raya Haji (or Qurban) on Monday 8 December, and that is tomorrow. There's a long history to it. Google it ok? I have received mixed reactions to my blog entries. Some say they like the oxymoronic combinations (serious stuff with intermingling of satire, sarcasm and humour), while some others take it personally and interprete what I write as reflecting what I feel (which I like to qualify...not necessarily, sometimes agreeing to disagree?). Having observed and taken note of all that, thank you folks, for those of you who are loyal and regular visitors, I take full responsibility of what I write and/or all the materials I have uploaded. Due credits are acknowledged (for intellectual property rights infringement purposes). Surely I am not one of those who uses other peoples' intellectual property to pass on as my own? The idea is basically to share with you what I stumble upon, or express my candid spontaneous views of a particular issue. In general terms, not referring to anyone in specific terms, whether dead or alive, unless otherwise specified. A few days ago I was mulling to lock my blog url and make it private by invitation only as some of what I have written may have been interpreted as self-serving, or may have offended some people, and as I always say too, from time to time, its also like my virtual diary. I guess its eclectic nature may have confused some of my visitors (hehe). Again, I apologise.

For a long time I have not said what I believed, nor do I ever believe what I say, and if indeed sometimes I do happen to tell the truth, I hide it among so many lies, that it is hard to find. Nicolo Machiavelli, in a letter to Francesco Guicciardini, May 17, 1521

Do enjoy reading some of the stuff I just read at the links below (evil wink). I have decided to be slightly more economical with the truth and space on this otherwise freebie site..hehehe...have a great week ahead, folks....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So you think you're an oxbridge wannabe?... hehehe

One of the many things I enjoy doing and had perhaps also become a habit sort of (hehe) is to always read online the UK news, whenever I can. Just two, mostly (telegraph or timesonline). Awhile ago I was checking out timesonline UK and came across this interesting entry on their typepad (blog). I thought that it may be of some interest to my frens be they parents or students who drops by at my blog, who has a penchant or who yearns to be an oxbridge (hehe) or would like their child to go to oxford or cambridge ...perhaps motivated by the perception or the stories going around that much of the nation's backroom boys advising both the corporate and the public sectors, are predominantly oxbridge (mafia) it seems(?)...hehe. Well, its all mostly about networking I would imagine, about your peers and your alma mater. We have the malay college connection, the royal military college connection, the british, american, australian, new zealand or the canadian universities connection..etc etc... Hehe, perhaps connection may sound a bit intimidating, much like the French Connection which denotes something to do with drugs and smuggling hehe. So, I guess, networking among chappies who went to the same institutions of higher learning..would be more palatable, I would imagine... enjoy the oxbridge interview tips below:

Would you rather be a novel or a poem? Oxbridge interview questions and how to answer them...(

Interviews for Oxford and Cambridge are imminent, and 6th formers across the country are panicking. Everyone has heard about the strange questions which are sometimes thrown at prospective Oxbridge applicants, and we're sorry to say that they're all true! However, help is at hand - we have some real Oxbridge interview questions, and some tips on how to answer them.... Oxbridge Applications helps hopeful students find out more about the application and interview process. And MD Chloe Palfreman says that the key is not to panic, but instead to see the interview as a kind of mock tutorial."You should see it as an opportunity to show your knowledge and powers of lateral thinking," she adds. Palfreman says that not all interview questions are strange, and that they do make sense in the interview situation. "What they're trying to get you to do is show how you can apply your existing knowledge in a new context. They're often subject specific." So here are some recent interview questions* - and tips for how to go about answering them...

1) Talk about a light bulb (Engineering, Oxford)
The question makes two main demands: firstly to structure your ideas logically in response to such an open question and secondly to use this open forum effectively to show a good range of your Physics knowledge. Armed with this awareness, one approach would be to define what a light bulb is (a replaceable component in a lamp, which is designed to produce light from electricity); then to give more detail about how the light bulb has been designed to do this effectively; then to talk about different types of light bulb and finally to discuss the current debate about light bulbs and how we will be tackling illumination in the future.

2) Would you rather be a novel or a poem? (English, Oxford)
The question is asking you to consider the differences between the two literary genres. Traditionally the novel is a lengthy prose work, often rooted in reality, while the poem is usually shorter, focusing overtly on style and form, and often based on fantasy. Having made this distinction, you could go on to qualify it with the observation that these definitions are difficult to maintain when considering epic poems such as The Song of Roland, which narrates historical events; or perhaps the prose Arthurian romances - identified as novels because of their length, despite their magical content. A possible conclusion would be to see it as simplistic to divide literary works into rigid categories, or indeed to describe a person with a one-word epithet. As an individual, you would rather combine the novel’s pragmatism with the poem’s idealism.

3) How would you market a rock band (Economics & Management, Oxford)
This is an opportunity to show that you understand the basic principles of marketing. Beyond this, you should also show that you have the commercial awareness to apply and adapt these principles to the specific product you have been asked to market in the relevant industry. First you need to define the product by talking about what type of rock band it is, how well known the band is already, who is in the band, what they look like and the nature of their songs and music. With a clearer idea of the band, you should start to work out its most obvious customer target groups, through which channels the customers could access the band’s material, and where the access points to market the band would be. You would also want to include some examples to back up the ideas you outline from existing bands who have marketed themselves in a similar way. This should make your answer more tangible to the interviewer. Finally, to show that you are up to date with current business and marketing ideas, you might want to talk about how you could use the Web to do this even more effectively, for example creating a Myspace page for the band, putting videos of them on YouTube or other suggestions you can think of (a blog, perhaps?!)

4) How does Geography relate to A Midsummer Night's Dream? (Geography, Oxford)
According to Oxbridge Applications, this is a "wonderful chance to show that you can adopt an interdisciplinary approach and that you enjoy lateral thinking in the abstract." Phew! It is also "wide open to a completely personal interpretation, as long as it is presented logically and uses clear examples." One possible angle would be to look at how the play presents the human world at the mercy of the natural (fairy) world. The fairies dupe the humans with tricks and potions thus changing the course of their lives. Despite all the advances of mankind and our feeling of being in charge of our environment, we remain very much controlled by the natural stirrings of the Earth, at times with devastating effect – drought, storms, tidal waves or earthquakes. Our being in control is very much an illusion.

5) How many of these pebbles would fit in that car? (Natural Sciences, Cambridge)
It is likely that on asking this question the tutor might show applicants an average-looking pebble and point towards a car outside the window. From this, you then need to show that from a few basic pieces of information you can make a few sensible calculations to work out a plausible estimate. Obviously, getting exactly the right answer is near impossible but the real test is showing that you can use basic problem-solving techniques on your own. This is a question about volume. Firstly you need to calculate the volume of the pebble and then the volume of the car. To accurately estimate the volume of the car, you should take account of the boot as well as the main passenger section. You should also think about whether any additional pebbles will fit in and around the engine area under the bonnet and if so, what the volume of this area is. Once you have these two approximations, you then need to divide the total volume of the car by the volume of the pebble to get the number of pebbles that would fit inside the vehicle.

6) Can History stop the next war? (History, Cambridge)
This question tests an applicant’s wider understanding of the academic discipline. To answer it effectively, you first have to decide whether or not you interpret ‘History’ as an active player in world events. If we understand History to be the study of past events, the immediate assumption is likely to be that History itself cannot actively prevent a war. History does nothing. It would be possible, however, to broaden our understanding of History. You could say that those who participate in an in-depth study of the past are necessarily more attuned to the local sensitivities as well as being more aware of the horrors brought by previous conflict. If these people are in decision-making positions, perhaps they're politicians, armed services commanders or international advisers, then this knowledge may make them less inclined to use war as a solution. Therefore, through these agents, History could end up preventing a war. That said, this still beggars the question of how wars are started and whether they are the result of conscious decisions or more intrinsic and deep-rooted local circumstances. The conclusion here may well be that in some instances knowledge of History could help to prevent tensions being escalated into a war, but there are many other wars where this is not the case.

7) Would you say that greed is good or bad? (Land Economy, Cambridge)
This question looks at the conflict between self-interest and the overall common good within the disciplines of Economics, Law and Geography (the three subjects that make up Land Economy at Cambridge). Taking this interdisciplinary approach to answer the question would show an understanding of the course content. A memorable way to tackle the question might be to take examples from each discipline and talk through them in a structured way using a cost/benefit analysis framework to measure the outcome of different scenarios where greed is to be found. So, in classical Economics all individuals are assumed to be homo economicus (economic man) - self-interested actors motivated by the desire for wealth and the need to avoid unnecessary labour. There are many instances in which this ‘greed’ conflicts with the common good. A strong applicant may want to make a reference to recent investment bankers whose greed for bonuses has now affected the world economic system. There are other instances, however, in which greed produces economic benefit, e.g. entrepreneurs building businesses and thus creating jobs, paying taxes and generating wealth. So within Economics, the case seems balanced, greed drives growth and prosperity, but at what cost? Within Law greed is seen as a ‘bad’ thing, e.g. theft or murder. It is hard to find an example where the law looks upon greed favourably. Within Geography, greed is also more often than not detrimental, such as developed countries’ desire to burn fossil fuels at the expense of the environment. Overall, greed can occasionally be seen to be good, but is not necessarily to be encouraged to an excess. A strong applicant could then discuss what criteria we might put in place to manage greed.

8) Should we have laws for the use of light bulbs? (Law, Cambridge)
The question first raises the issue of the extent to which a law should intervene in people’s lives. To have a law on the use of light bulbs (a 'Light Law') would equate to a law that restricts an individual from freely employing a good to which he has a legal right (the right being derived from the contract of sale between the individual and the light bulb seller). Obviously there are certain overarching laws that do just that, for instance the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 severely curtails to what violent use you can put a light bulb. However, such laws primarily impose negative obligations (you may not assault another with a light bulb), whereas a ‘Light Law’ seems to envisage specifying to what positive use a light bulb can be put. Should we dictate the individual’s right to use his goods in such a manner? To do so we would need some type of social justification i.e. that for the benefit of society as a whole, the individual's freedom to act ought to be constrained. As the global supplies of oil, gas and coal dwindle, there may indeed be such a justification in the future. In answering this question, however, you should also be considering the purpose of laws and what the law is trying to achieve. This raises a second issue around limitations of laws. You may want to consider situations in which it would be unsuitable to use the law to attempt to achieve certain aims. For example, controlling the use of light bulbs may achieve the aim of reducing electricity usage which would be good for the environment, but introducing a law may not lead to changes in people’s attitudes to environmental matters. Educating people about the environment would be a more suitable method for achieving this aim.In considering the purpose of laws, you should consider the value that society gets from them. Laws may be expensive and difficult to enforce and it could be argued that this expense and difficulty are not worth the small gain which will accrue from a particular law, meaning that a particular law cannot be justified. It will also be necessary to address the need to balance intervention through laws with the need to respect civil liberties and you should be able to give an opinion about where that balance should be struck.

9) Is there such a thing as an immoral book? (French and Spanish, Cambridge)
You may want to start by questioning the question. Can an inanimate object have a moral value? Is a book made immoral if its author is judged to be so? If the subject matter of a book is immoral, can it be defended as being a moral work which serves to educate the reader on the dangers of immorality? You could then proceed to explore examples. The 18th century French works by de Sade and Laclos are compelling examples of literature which explore immorality. Laclos defends his epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by claiming in the prologue that he is simply warning innocents of the dangers of Parisian society. Perhaps then it is not the book which is immoral, but rather the reader who is seduced by it.
10) If you are not in California, how do you know it exists? (PPE, Oxford)
The main issue here is defining the ‘know’. The question strikes at the heart of the rationalist, as opposed to empiricist, schools of philosophical thought (of which any candidate seriously interested in studying Philosophy at Oxford should have at least a basic awareness). Rationalists, such as Descartes, claim the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive. Empiricists, such as Locke, believe in a theory of knowledge which asserts that knowledge arises from experience (i.e. what your senses tell you). So, do you trust your senses or rational thought? Sure, you may have experienced ‘California’ through your senses by going there, seeing it, hearing about it, etc., but how do you know you are not being tricked and misled into believing its existence? A strong candidate would discuss an awareness of these two arguments, stressing there is not a right or wrong argument, and then settle on one side of the debate. They should then expect to be cross-examined as to why they chose that side.

*All questions are based on the findings of a survey conducted by educational consultancy Oxbridge Applications of over 4000 students who went through the Oxbridge interview process in 2007.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Henry Yule's MISSION TO THE COURT OF AVA 1855...

The compound of the British Residency (watercolour by Colesworthy Grant)
I think I am one of the few ex-OUP travellers who has an extensive collection of Oxford In Asia Historical Reprints or OIAHR as we use to call it those days, other than perhaps the personal collection of my late big boss Raymond Earnest Brammah's (REB), M Sockalingam, Edda de Silva (former OUP KL Managing directors), Koh Seng Hwi, Jamaluddin Ishak and the British Museum (hahaha). Henry Yule: A Narrative of the Mission to the Court of Ava 1855 (OIAHR published in 1968) was one of the copies in my possession.
This is what Huge Tinker, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, wrote in his introduction to the reprint in December 1966:
The genesis of the book lies in the Second Ango-Burmese War of 1852, which ended in the British annexation of the province of Pegu. Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General of India, was instructed by the Secret Committee of the East India Company to require the Burmese King to sign a treaty to formally recognising the annexation. After the war there was a palace revolution, and the unstable Pagan Min was replaced on the throne by his half-brother, Mindon Min, a prince with an enlightened and peace-loving outlook. In his view, the war had been between the British and his predecessor, and, far from accepting fait accompli of the British occupation of Pegu, he expected that, if he demonstrated his goodwill, the lost province would be restored. Against this background of misapprehension, diplomatic overtures commenced. A Burmese official mission was despatched to convey the greetings of Mindon Min to the Governor-General. After considerable delays in Rangoon, while the status of the mission was clarified, the envoys travelled to Calcutta (Kulkota now), being escorted by Arthur Phayre, the newly-appointed Commissioner of Pegu Province. Aftermuch stately manoeuvering, (27 November-28 December 1854) it emerged that the envoys were empowered to offer presents and greeting only. They had no authority even to discuss a treaty, and when at last they asked for the return of Pegu to the King, Dalhousie emphatically rejected their request.
The book is a journal of both Phayre (under-secretary) and Yule (secretary) of the British Civil/Administrative Service at the time. Hugh Tinker went on to say that Yule was dissapointed in his ambitions to scale the administrative heights and turned to scholarship and writing, specialising in medieval travellers in Asia. While Phayre continued in his solitary task of implanting British Administration in Burma until he quit in 1867 to spend a restless, wandering life, after he was unable to conclude a commercial treaty with the Burmese King and finally finding his true end, like Yule, in writing: in his History of Burma (1883)...
I like history, not so much memorization of the dates and events, but more of the histriography. The business and political implications. Business and politics are really interdependent. One affects the other, contrary to many popular belief that it should be separated. The intrigue, the diplomacy, deception et al. Burma was a great nation in those days and so was Sri Lanka or Ceylon it was known in those days. Alot of smart brainy intellectual chappies from Ceylon are here in Malaysia (my fren Tiru is a good example..always proud to be Ceylonese owh well Sinhalese...never wants to be confused with the Indians...hehe). Many became British Nationals. Remember Colombo Plan scholarships? U Thant? former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) was from Burma and was as good, if not better, than Dag Hammerskjold, his predecessor. Ok, enuf of history...hehe. It is relaxing for me..not sure it's the same for you (evil wink). Enjoy the rest of the sunday, folks!....ciao

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Critical Theory...anyone?

Ontology is the philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality while epistemology is the general set of assumptions about the best ways of inquiring into the nature of the world. Ontology is the starting point for most debates among philosophers. Debates among philosophers of natural science has been between realism and relativism. The social scientists adhere to critical realism generally. These are important philosophical frameworks that represent relatively coherent ways of thinking which are promoted by influential proponents. Critical Theory is one one them. It started as an intellectual movement, also known as the Frankfurt School, which sought to critique the effects of society and technology on human development. The key figure in this movement was Habermas(1970) who argues that society leads to inequities and alienation, yet this is invisible to people who do not realise what is taking place. He therefore argues that there is a degree of irrationality in capitalist society that creates a false consciousness regarding wants and needs. Thus people are seduced into wanting consumer products that they do not really need.
Habermas also identifies clear differences between natural and social sciences: the former being based on sense experiences, and the latter on communicative experiences. This means that although understanding in the natural sciences is one-way (monologic), where scientists observe inanimate objects; in the social sciences communication should be two-way (dialogic), with both researchers and the researched trying to make sense of the situation. Hence he suggests that only through dialogue will social scientists be able to work effectively. Another important point introduced by Habermas(1970) is the idea that knowledge is determined by interests and very often it is the more powerful people in society who determine what is regarded as 'true'. Consequently, truth should be reached through discussion and rational concensus, rather than being imposed by one group on another.
Critical theory has several implications in management and organizational research. It casts a sceptical eye on the motives and impact of powerful groups and individuals, which in an emancipatory way shows a concern for the interest of the least powerful members. And of course there is increasing relevance to being aware of the way that knowledge is determined by political process - especially within the so-called knowledge intensive organizations. (page 75, chapter 4, The Philosophy of Management Research, Management Research 3rd edition, 2008, Mark Easterby-Smith et al)

of a famosa, pulau sebang, tampin & alor gajah...

Tampin/Pulau Sebang Railway Station...

Look at that 'Tangga Batu' typically Malacca...hehe

Good guide for tourists and locals like us too...hehehe

Bet you don't even know the history of Alor Gajah....shame on you...hahaha

Must be boring for some people! hahaha

If you have somethings to hide...better not put your face at the opening of that cannon (evil wink)...hahaha

the intro description of the museum....

museum adat alor gajah...

Not sure if this is hole no. 7 (vew from the Savoy condo unit we were staying) where a crocodile attacked a japanese or korean golfer? Remember that episode? hahaha
The 2 Ringgit economy shop that caught my attention...hehe

Tampin town mainstreet by day, nice colorj obs...must have been influenced by San Francisco..hehe

Tampin by night, quaint little town...therapeutic...
The Audit Committee meeting and the full board meeting of november 27th, last thursday, was a relatively good one (notice the use of the word 'relative'). Immediately after, my kids and I, were whisked off (hehe, a term that only befits obama and pembesar2 negara aje kot...hehee) to a' famosa resort (at sempang ampat, alor gajah melaka). We spent 2 nites at the resort while my wife was busy making sure their annual federal inspectorate and quality assurance division of the ministry of education convention would run like clockwork..hehe. Perhaps a sadakah of alfatihah to the late YB Deputy Minister of Education, Datuk Razali Ismail would be in order? YB passed away after a badminton game at IAB, Genting Highlands yesterday at about 6 pm. Only hours earlier they had a group foto session in front of Famosa Resort clubhouse. I was told that my gudfren Datukprof IAB mentioned my name and my blog during one of the panel sessions...thank you Datuk for the public recognition...hmmm I take it as an encouragement and a subtle academic pressure (as he had been pressuring me to quickly get my PhD...hahahaha). Earlier this morning I got a not-so-pleasant feedback honest one is more like it (hehe). Well, it seems to me... it is helluva tough thing to do.... pleasing everyone...someone texted me and liked some of my entries and said lately my blog has much more substance, but the feedback I got this morning wuz the opposite...hahaha...this particular person (I know you are reading it now...hahaha) said that they had enough of serious stuff oredi in their daily worklives...and when they read my blog with some more bloody serious stuff to read...hurmmm they got pissed off...hahahaha.
We (my kids and I), had good quality time together in and around the resort area. The closest being Tampin/Pulau Sabang about 4 Km away and Alor Gajah about 19 Km away. The fotos above I guess, tells you yes, we had a great time exploring...and I bet many Malaysians did not even bother to drop by and visit the local alor gajah museum and when I spoke with some local policemen during the roti sadin breakfast session...the locals didn't have anything nice to say about their museum...hahaha. What do you expect then? Sounds familiar isn't it? Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks, as usual, and thanks for dropping by....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

...of layoff org structure and not trusting anyone in a tie? hehehe

These two articles above, caught my attention. The one at the top is the regular column 'While Your Were Out' by Stanley Bing and is always at the last page of Fortune Magazine. This one is on the November 24, 2008 issue of Fortune, which is tomorrow. Interesting, how he approaches industry issues much like the management cartoon character, Dilbert...hehe. and the second one is from the November 24, 2008 issue of Newsweek. It caught my attention cos he (this chappy who comes from a Greek Orthodox Lebanese family) was a trader turned philosoper and tells us not to trust anyone in a tie...and errmmm alot of my fotos are in ties...heheh. Which means that you are not to trust me leh? enjoy these two articles...and have great week ahead....

Dealing With Darwin....

I must confess that besides coming back for the first time in 25 years at 4 am after a reasonably great karaoke session at country heights damansara with Che Ngah and his datuk frens (hehe), I did nothing else, except sleep the whole weekend. Well. mostly hehe. Picking up this book above that I bought at kunikiniya KLCC which I had been meaning to read (well, browse would be much more accurate description...hehe) was about the only one single significant thing I did over the weekend. Ya ya we are all preparing for a rather bleak 2009 (thanks to The Edge week of nov 24-30 issue). We have been reading nothing else but of the global financial meltdown. Even scarrier is the announcements of global job cuts and layoffs that ensues. You have also, I am sure, read the headlines: industry after industry battered by globalization, deregulation and commoditization. The Darwinian struggle of business keeps getting more brutal as competitive advantage gaps get narrower. Anything you invent today will soon be copied by someone else - probably better or cheaper, says Geoffrey A. More. Dealing with Darwin is a guide to leading your company's evolution and creating competitive advantage in an increasingly tough climate. Drawing on hundreds of examples, including extensive Cisco case study, Geoffrey Moore illuminates how established companies can prevent their own extinction - not by throwing resources wildly at every potential innovation, but by moving forward with precision, courage and smart timing.
The old notion that innovation=invention=R&D investment has simply proven false. The idea that we just need to act more innovatively - beanbag chairs and brightly colored open meeting rooms - has not added a dime to shareholder value (which reminds me of Unilever's new malaysian office and the design of accenture's also malaysian office..hehe). In short, Geoffrey says that all the traditional nostrums plus all the New Age whoop-de-do has not been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Moore's key message is: in order to achieve competive advantage in a commoditizing market one must innovate so dramatically as to create definitive separation between your offers and those of the low-cost commoditizers. That means selecting a vector of innovation that can set you apart and investing intensely along that vector; to a level that competitors simply cannot or will not match. That in turn means economizing and optimizing everywhere else. The formula we come back again and again is Extract resources from context to fund core. Go pick that book and read it yourself! seriously did not think that I was going to tell you everything about the book, did you? hahaha...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Annual Corporate Report Awards (NACRA) 2008...

Last night at the Shangrila Hotel Kuala Lumpur, HeiTech Padu Berhad (HTP) a global homegrown IT outfit listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia, broke the glass ceiling and joined the ranks of other corporate bigwigs/behemoth, to win the NACRA 2008 Industry Excellence Award in the Industrial Products & Technology Category for publistlisted companies on the Main Board, after a 'certificate of merit' hattrick wins (2005-2007), beating other big names like MAS, Petronas, Shell etc etc etc...hehe. Two pictures above are worth more than thousands of words! Congratulations to all those who conceptualised, concocted the idea, meticulously going thru the motion, went all the way up to cameron highlands to capture the original shots, spending time at Ismail Associates (sampai gaduh2 lah!...hahaha) hehehe. Everyone who were involved directly or indirectly..from group corporate communications, group finance & group general counsel & corporate secretarial departments...I dare not name names lest i missed some pertinent ones (wink). Kang kecik ati lar plax! Thank you all....(my role? just to go up the stage to receive the hello...I too spent expensive time helping out editing both the 'england; and malay text ok? hehe).....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

MIHRM Summit 2008...

Last week November 11 & 12 I was at the 2 day human resource summit...oh well, human capital as they fashionably would like it to be referred to these days (hehe). MIHRM or the acronym for the the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management, out sourced the organization of their summit to a consulting firm. I was a panelist at the closing session on the 2nd day. It was held at the Sunway Resort with a theme 'Talent Management & Succession Planning' (whatever that means perrghh). I have always been critical and skeptic about the term 'talent management' when in fact, in the old days what it meant (hmm even today i suppose hehe) was simply people management. I suspect two things. One, it is a crafty schemy plot by HR consultants to make HR practitioners feel good about what they are doing. its like flavour ofthe month management buzzword to make the CEO to oso feel good hehe. Two, the usual contamination by other functional specialists trying to turn HR into rocket science. I have been bashing the IT guys enough with their software and hardware development geared towards dominating the HR school of thought. ok ok nevermind all that. MIHRM President, in his closing remarks concurred with my view that talent management is essentially talking or just paying attention to the top 5% of people or the top talent as they say, so it seems! And Succesion Planning? Oh pleez...please never let a HR or human capital director (especially if the fella is from a particular ethnic group has really so very the pekat loghat one... hahaha) utter those words (succesion planning) loudly in public please! hahahaha (if you know what I mean). Succession Planning is a must have, good to have, nice to have tingy too and from my own personal observations (I may be wrong hehe) the moment a succesor is identified, in our culture, more othen than not, he or she could just be dead meat! Imagine the other corporate vultures swooshing down on him/her....poor fella (hehe). Anyway, I reminded participants to pay attention to what professor Chatterjee had said at the start of the summit! (please see below). Have a great sunday and thanks for dropping by, folks!

By Debashis Chatterjee

The availability and management of talent is considered to be one of the most difficult globalization challenge for CEOs—more so in the Asian context. Most talent managers in Asia don’t seem to realize that there is very little co-relation between a manager’s effectiveness and his or her talent.

One of the conventional measures that most recruiters use to assess talent is academic performance. Yet, our research tells us that more than 50% of all the CEOs in Fortune 500 Companies had C or C- average in college. Interestingly, more than 50% of millionaire entrepreneurs never finished college.
Another measure that HR managers often use for mapping talent is a battery of psychometric tools. More often than not these tools do no more than measure test taking ability rather than managerial ability.

According to our research what expands our talent is the right mindset. If the CEO can craft right mindsets, he will be able to lead in a way that unleashes talent in the direction of effectiveness.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hull Alumni Malaysia Annual Charity Golf 2008

me (President 2008/09 Hull Alumni Assoc Malaysia), YAB Tun Hanif Omar (President British Graduates Assoc Malaysia, BGAM), YAD Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abu Hassan Omar (Patron Hull Alum Malaysia) and Cheng Hull Alumnus tee-ing off on the presidential flight of the Annual Hull Charity Golf Tournament 6 November 2008 at Kelab Golf Seri Selangor
I like to thank committee members and excos of the alumni for taking precioust time off making it happen. Special mention to Lesley, Karen and Eddy for their hardwork. All sponsors for their generous donations for a worthy cause, including Peugeot (Naza) for the 207 as hole-in-one winning car ( it has been quite a long time since I last saw a car being offered as a grand hole-in-one prize. It was long discontinued because of the huge insurance premium on the car and most organisers felt that rather than waste it on insurance, the amount would best be used as one or many of the other prizes...). We had no less than 17 flights and from the feedback I gathered, it was a successful event. What a great day it was, raining in the wee hours of the morning, stopped just before we tee-ed off at 8 am and the rain came back only after the 18 holes were completed...hehe. Thank you again everyone, Tun Hanif, Tan Sri Abu Hassan et al for your untiring support.

Monday, November 10, 2008

...of simplistic comparisons?

I received alot of SMSes from learned malaysian friends from various ethnic backgrounds expressing excitement and jubilance and at the same time making comparisons between american minorities and their so-called long and deep discrimination with our (malaysian) so called 'discrimination'. I find these simplistic comparisons disturbing and worrying. Dr Chandra Muzzafar could not have put it in a better perspective. Of course, not everyone agrees with his views. I do, to a certain extent(hehe). That's why I have taken the liberty to upload it from today's NST online, onto my blog. Do let me know if you too are in agreement. In the usual manner, no hard feelings. Its okay for violent objections or a grim departure from the mainstream thinking (hehe) so long as finally, we can all agree to disagree, in the most civil manner (evil wink) read on... O wait, no political statements as such. But an academic sense (hehe). Still tempted to comment on popular headline politics but as I have said again and again...that can wait when and until I am no longer gainfully employed( hahaha).....
Obama and Malaysian Minorities: Too sweeping a comparison By : DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR, Kuala Lumpur

IN the wake of Barack Obama's electoral triumph in the United States, some Malaysian politicians, non-governmental organisation activists, newspaper columnists and members of the public have made utterly shallow and superficial comments about the significance of his victory to minorities and ethnic politics in Malaysia.
The US' majority-minority dichotomy has very little relevance to our country. Though a member of the African-American minority, which is about 12 per cent of the US population, Obama subscribes to Christianity, the religion of the white majority.His mother tongue -- English -- is the mother tongue of the majority community. His culture is, to all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from the culture of the majority.Like most other African- Americans, and indeed most of the other minorities such as the Latinos and Asians, Obama has been absorbed and assimilated into what is sometimes described as mainstream "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" (WASP) culture.
However, for African-Americans, in particular, their total assimilation was hampered and hindered by the racial barrier of colour. It was the colour bar with all its historical (slavery) and sociological (lower economic echelon) implications that underscored their minority status.Compare their minority status to the position of the Chinese and Indian Malaysian minorities. Most Chinese and Indian Malaysians are non-Muslims and have no affiliation whatsoever to Islam, the religion of the majority Malay community. The Malay language is not their mother tongue. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the Chinese community, in particular, remains deeply attached to its own mother tongue. More than 90 per cent of Chinese parents send their children to Chinese primary schools. For the most part, Chinese and Indian cultures have preserved and perpetuated their distinct identities.Chinese and Indian elites, whether in government or with the opposition, have always been opposed to any attempt to absorb their communities into the cultural ethos of the majority community. Neither has the government been inclined towards assimilation as a cultural policy. By and large, it is the path of integration that the government has chosen, which accommodates cultural diversity and seeks to promote unity by emphasising the primacy of the nation's lingua franca. The Chinese and Indian communities prefer integration to assimilation.Since this is their preference, they should not expect an assimilated "Obama" to emerge from their ranks.To explain this in more concrete terms, one should perhaps try to visualise the life story of an Obama equivalent in Malaysia. His father would have come from a Buddhist, or Hindu or Christian family outside Malaysia, married a Malay-Muslim woman from say Kedah or Kelantan, and produced an offspring who would have spoken Bahasa Malaysia as his mother tongue, studied in a Malay-medium school, graduated from a Malay-medium university, and would have been thoroughly assimilated into Malay culture and society. How could one regard such a person as the poster-boy of the Chinese or Indian minority in this country? This illustrates the danger of making simplistic comparisons between minorities in two totally different situations without any understanding of their respective milieus. Rather than indulge in such rhetoric which invariably has a communal edge to it, our politicians and media commentators should help to promote our Bahasa Malaysia-based primary school as the school of first choice so that young Malaysians will, at least, have the opportunity to interact with one another during the most impressionable stage of their lives. Of course, interaction alone will not enhance national unity if we are not just and fair to everyone, regardless of their cultural or religious affiliation.

...of speaking engagements, reunions and race relations act?

Last week I obliged Asia Business Forum (ABF) again when I accepted their invitation to speak at their Malaysia Insurance Conference at Istana Hotel. I presented a paper on 'Claims Management: a promising oasis or a treacherous mirage?' and a few days earlier at their Malaysia Transport Conference where I spoke on 'Rail Networks' at JW Marriott Hotel(probably because of my former experience as director of human capital development at Malaysian Railways...KTMB) hehe. And on friday Umi (of ABF) called me on my mobile asking for the slide presentation because it seems the transport minister wanted to see it (wink).
And last friday evening between 830pm till about 1145pm there was this unscheduled reunion of old schoolmates (class of 1970 & 1971). Just a few of us, Michael Mok, Sukumaran, Tiruchelvam (the chappie who commented anonymously on one of my blog entries hehe) and Patrick Yong and his wife Caroline Marimuthu (I didn't know Michael Verrapen was her cousin hehe until that night). Patrick and his wife were classmates, they were in form 5 when were in form 4. He came to our school SMI PD from Malacca. We chatted, reminisced old times and started recollecting and trying to locate the whereabouts of others. We will be having a proper reunion at the Yatch Club, Port Dickson on December 6. At the start of our meeting at sheraton subang michael mok agreed (unlike him hahaha) that he will try not to pick a fight with me hahaha no matter how provocative I may get (you know me lar...hehe ..evil wink). So is Tiru. At about 11 pm I called Lawrence Lee Boon Kah but he was about to go to sleep but manage to speak with those who were with us that night. Patrick Yong picked up the tab and refused to let us pro rate the bill. Said he just got his salary...and I was like saying oh ok guys..let us give Patrick the honour (hehe). Thanks Patrick and Caroline! I was very close to Patrick during those school days, me and Tiru. We'd walk over to his house (the TNB quarters in Kampong Arab Port Dickson) and play the guitar. We spoke about all the parties we went to those days hahaha and how in form 4, I went to the first party at the church hall in PD near suku and osman's house and how my late dad picked me up at 4am in his blue Ford Prefect (BD 8771) hahaha. That was how sporting my late father was. And Josephine Yeow and Voon Yoke Mooi taught me how to! That's about all I will disclose for now...hahaha..the rest is history as they say(evil wink). Jo is residing in Germany I was told. Not sure where Yoke Mooi is. Then there were the Pereira girls and many others. We had really great fun in school those couldn't be more malaysian, no polarisation and certainly no racial prejudices then. And we didn't even need a race relations act too then to watch over each other in case we call people keling or something racist or politically incorrect (wink). I am excited at the coming reunion on december 6 as we are trying to get more of our teachers who are still alive to attend. Thanks to the initiatives of michael mok and sukumaran and others too...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

of CR and KAK?...

brilliantly simple...yet simply unacceptable...

a thank you note from my good fren prof chester coronel & his family of West Mindanao State University (WMSU) Zamboanga City, Autonomous Mindanao, The Philippines, when I last gave a public lecture there...

10 days have gone by...much has happened. Politically, socially, at work & play, at the home front and at the global stage. Sometimes you are not sure what is right or alright to blog your entries. Would it be politically incorrect? Would it hurt other people's feelings? Would it be too self-serving and only to angle on promoting oneself? Or would it just be something or a medium to vent your frustrations, fears, angers or jubilance? What? What? What?) or to just register your disgust with others or life in general? Those are the usual dilemmas, paradoxes criss-crossing one's minds all the time. Or you just say to yourself...aaah forget it who cares? It's always a thin line and a grey area being private and being open and disclosing stuff on your blog. Risk factors, especially in the current global financial meltdown, can be real. You really never know who is monitoring you online. Some will say, aah who reads your blog anyway? Still, that risk factor, is real. While I sit back to recompose and reconfigure all these muddle....perhaps these words from Soren Kierkegaard, either/Or might help...hehe

'If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure dissapoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility?' - Soren Kiergaard, Either/Or

Saturday, November 01, 2008

...of personal branding & success?

I have not been uploading moje's (my old fren who was former President of the Philippine Society for Training & Development) article in the Manila Times. This is the most recent with some useful tips you may like to emulate, adopt, modify to your own success strategies, wicked schemes (hehe), crafty sinister corporate chess-games (hoho)...or whatever u wanna call it (wink). Enjoy the article below( I juz got her email giving me permission to post it on my blog...see? you need to observe what you preach (wink) as per my earlier blog entry:
p.B1Saturday, November 1, 2008
Personal Branding for Success
On the furor over the $150,000 campaign wardrobe of US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, focus is on the disconnect between what Palin says who she is and what she does or wears. And this brings us to the topic of brands. Bo Seifert, CEO of Herrmann Scandinavia Ltd. informs: Branding as means of communication has survived the last 5 millenniums. In 4000 BC stonecutters were already carving their own trade-marks. Into Egyptian temples and buildings. This served two purposes: 1) To establish and give credit to the craftsmen and also as advertisements for future work. And 2) To establish a type of guarantee. If something happened to the building the persons responsible could be brought to justice, which in those days could mean death and therefore had an influence on the overall quality. Your name also established you as a Brand, and it is only in the last 500 years that behavior and preference has become more important than an individual’s name. Consequently, Mr. Andersson was the Son of Anders and names often described a person trade, such as Goldsmith or Taylor. Today we consume Brands, drive branded cars, eat at branded restaurants, shop at branded stores, pay with branded credit cards and drink branded beer. In short we live Branded Lives. Nowadays if your brand carries the label. Made in China. I doubt if you could sell anything, especially food items. Now I know this beautiful, hardworking lady who could help you develop your personal brand. If you want to look, say professional, you need to look, smell, taste, feel, sound professional. Miselle Pesa-Bergonia trained in Hong Kong at Image Work Asia with London Image Institute and heads her Icon Image Consulting (Tel 0918-9075383 or 02-7433691 or e-mail She used to be Business Development Manager of Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts where she proved that first impression and client relations spell the difference between success and mediocrity. She says, when you project good first impression, you are conceived to be credible and you can easily service client needs. Also, Shangri-la is a brand that I needed, as an employee then, to authentically represent. So now, Misel is helping professionals imbibe the image of their organizations or family; align their personal preferences to the image of their organization and create their unique brand while they carry their organization brand. Misel does this through customizing workshops on sense of self, proper grooming, power dressing, non-verbal communications, effective use of color and texture, personal hygiene and skin care, business etiquette, presentation skills to help develop personal style and represent the brand values of their organization or family. Your self-image is a projection of what you will become in the future; it is an audition for your future career. If you look lousy, your work is expected to be also lousy. Conversely, if you look smart, your work is perceived to be well done. More tips from Miselle: You can make an ordinary shift dress look powerful by topping it with a trendy blazer. Always come to work like you are meeting your boss for the first time. In terms of color, if you are feeling gloomy, use bright colors and if you want to project intelligence, power and leadership, choose deeper and muted colors, like navy blue, blue-gray, maroon or burgundy. Beiges are neutral and luckluster and must be perked up with occasion-relevant accessories. Personal style doesn’t mean that you should be following the trends of fashion, but it is finding pieces that you are most comfortable with and accessories that will add a statement to your outfit and reflect your personal values and personality. What looks good on other people would not necessarily look good on you. Always try on clothes, shoes, accessories before buying. When you find your personal style, be consistent so this becomes your signature look and you would be remembered long after for this look. However, every year try to update so that you don’t become outdated and stuck to a certain era.

...of plagiarism,copyright law enforcement and lulusan cambridge..hehe

Was enjoying my saturday tehtarik at Natijah mamakshop which is also a popular nesting ground of the likes of the scribe (DatukAKadirJasin), Rocky Bru and Nuraina Samad. Nuraina is an ole fren , a contemporary back in the gud ole days of ITM (UiTM now). While the mainstream tabloids were awashed with the outcome of 'the trial' (hehe), I was more interested in the cutting above, which appeared in the world section of NST today page 28. It is interesting because, we are still debating over the relevance of the times higher education world universities ranking and that a particular local premier university claimed that they had improved positively up 60 points compared to last year's ranking outcome and that I was told they were quite upset for not being conferred the Apex University Status ( it went to USM instead). Ok back to this Cambridge seem to go well with my fren's (DatukJohanJaafar) article today too on page 23 (opinion) when he concluded (his article) by urging that we relook our copyright laws and enforcement, or forever..he says hehe we will have poor actors, writers and artistes, alive or dead and columnists too he nottilee added (wink). My first instinctive reaction to the cambridge survey was, oh no...not another can of worms...(don lar say out loud...even though it cud be true! hahahaha). But seriously, the survey/report above, can have serious repercussions on a bevy and myriad of things imaginable. Letalone unimaginable. Cambridge is number one in UK and top 3 in the world. Which reminds me that 'the scribe' in one of the recent blog entry..quipped '...nak bagitau sikit,,saya pon lulusan cambridge' hahaha (not me ok?). hehe I am proud to be a Hull graduate and is trying to now promote hull city soccer(football) club which is making waves in soccer but mindlful of the fact that while other clubs like manchester united, arsenal and others spend no less than GBP50mil a season...hull city only budgets GBP5mil...hehe...what would u expect from that miniscule budget meh? (wink). ok ok...cambridge again, of course , one can argue, what about other universities? Are you saying they do not probably do the same things? or if you do a similar survey, you probably might get the same results? (wink). I remembered sometime ago that it was said that '..a university education is like a ticket into the ballroom. Once inside the dance hall, you still have got to learn how to dance or dance according to the music.' Read that newscutting above, make your own conclusions..and please tell me, what you think? hehe..without unduly spoiling your weekend folks..cheerio...

Monday, October 27, 2008

...reality check

Sometimes you feel on top of the world, sometimes being with frens you can forget everything else. It can be so indulging and obsessive. Sometimes you can be so alone, so isolated, or you feel useless and totally of no use to society. I just read on VIPs for Dummies hahaha. Cute, sarcastic, witty and I like the part she said that now her political comments are beginning to get irrelevant so she might as well write something useful for society hahaha. A definite must read for fresh VIPs and wannabe VIPs hehe. My blog entries are so eclectic, definitely no political comments (yet ..hehe), sometimes boring, sometimes too bloody serious, too academic hehe but mostly I try to end up with a little humor here and there. Sometimes it can also be self-serving. This is one of those. When you thought that you're wasting your time giving freebie speeches, lectures and not get paid for writing articles, you say to yourself...hmmm..why I am doing all these for free? That's so materialistic, economic and very the business-like approach leh! It is suppose to be a passion...and passion it shall be. Nothing makes you feel any more good and appreciated then when you get notes like the one below...yes self-serving it may be, but who cares, it helps me feel good about giving and not expecting anything in return but that you've made a difference (in your own little way) to someone else lives.....

..of romans, ancient greeks & the yuan ..hehe

I am reproducing below what my good fren Faris, President of aber alumni Malaysia , uploaded on his facebook discussion thread.
"It is said that every great civilization leaves behind a legacy.The ancient Greeks contributed to the world the refinement of the city.The Romans contributed the fine art of killing. The future legacy of the United States will be the refined and mastered art of financial leverage. ""...It is estimated there may be 530 plus trillion US dollars of these types of derivatives on the market...";The real liability facing our government is $70 trillion.” Forbes, 9-29-2008;

"A Coming New Currency!" by David N. Vaughn, FSU Editorial 10/14/2008
We are experiencing the most severe financial crisis since 1929. It hurts. There appears to be no relief in site. What began with mortgage defaults has now spread to the derivative markets. ...
Ya I know, heavy stuff on a supposedly relaxed Deepavali day off. Well, different people relax in different ways. Some go to the spa, some to the beach, some to the cool highland resorts. Obviously, only crazy boring folks like me check out their facebook ...and guess right, no one was online...hehe. I was juz wondering how the market would react to last thursday and friday, should there be trading this morning (wink). We'll see how it goes tomorrow morning. It is said that the stock exchange is an important barometer of not only the economy, but the behaviour of people. I remembered just before the last 'merudum' (1997) it was said that when taxi drivers and teachers talk about buying and selling shares in their taxis and in the staff rooms, it is time to get out of it (the market) as quickly as you can..hahaha. Well, again that opinion is debatable. Don't eat too much of that muruku folks!