Tuesday, January 29, 2008

...of oxtail stew and banana apple crumble...ermmm yummy

The general counsel & company secretary of UOB Bank told me that TopHat restaurant at Kia Peng had one of the best oxtail stews in town. After several failed appointments (hahaha) we managed to check it out today. Maria Danker, the owner was there to greet us. I have not been there for quite sometime now. Must go back there again. They always have great food. Ya Ya and I forgot to capture that great stew with my new toy LG KU990 viewty camera phone (5MPixels)..hahaha. But just the same, in order not to disapoint you...enjoy the desserts we had hahaha. I had my favorite apple banana crumble with vanilla ice-cream while my host had that ermm chocolatey whatever it was with orange ice-cream topping...heheh. Met another general counsel & cosec of another public-listed company there as well...hihi.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

...of old buildings, weddings & nation-building?

The first two (2) pictures of old chinese shops hang on the walls of the corridor of Sunway Pyramid Suites. The other three (3) are from a wedding of the eldest son of a colleague of my wife (Bao Ling & Foo) at the Textboook Division MOE we attended last saturday night. On our table (No. 57..heheh) were friends from the Examinations Syndicate (Lembaga Peperiksaan), Educational Techology Division MOE, assoc prof and coordinator of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme of the University of South Australia (UniSa) and a professor couple from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). Chats, while trying to finish the 9 course chinese dinner, went as far back as the early 70s...hahaha...even speculating that the oldies being played were Foo's selections hahaha. Judging from the massive attendance of malays (male and females mostly clad in kurungs and hijabs...ermmm well mostly from my generation, Who says mubibbah is out? or that polarisation is acute? heheh... Well, I suppose this is probably one of those rare moments. Those who attended are really long time friends and colleagues in the government. I didn't see young malay couples, mostly young chinese couples that suggests polarisation may probably be much more apparent among the younger set.... ok ok I will not trigger any polemic on the state of polarisation at this juncture...hahaha. The food at the Putrajaya Marriott was great! Thumbs up!
"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart." -Henry Clay

Thursday, January 24, 2008

...MICPA commemorative lecture 2008

I left the late Tan Sri Megat Junid's place at 11 am for the office. At 12.15 pm Abdul Halim Lassim (HeiTech SVP/CFO and President of the Young MICPA group) and me were off to JW Marriott for MICPA (Malaysian Institute of Chartered & Public Accountants) Commemorative Luncheon Lecture 2008 by YBhg Datuk Zarinah Anwar, Chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia. The attendance was very good indeed. Met the who's who from various other professional associations like MAICSA, MASB and the rest of the nation's pool of bean counters ....hahaha (no offence my friends!). The service at JW Marriott, I noticed, leaves much to be desired..hmmmm.

...when it;s time to go...you go....

I was in the car this morning on the way to the office, and as usual the route will take us near Tan Sri Megat Junid's hollywood bungalow at SS7 just opposite Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS). I happen to share the neighbourhood and my little cottage is just metres or yards away from his house. As I got near the house there was a little detour and I saw alot of people. I asked someone and they said to me Tan Sri had passed away this morning at about 5 am. Innalillahi wa inna lillahi rajiun...I stopped to join streams of politicians, pensioners, others who were roaming the corridors of power as well as those still haunting those very corridors of power...hahaha. Minutes later Tun Mahathir our immediate past prime minister came out of the house only to be swarmed by the media. Many common people and dignitaries came to give their last respects to the late Tan Sri. I met many people, too many to list them down, as they say...only at childbirths, weddings, or funerals do we sometimes get the opportunity to meet long lost friends. We must always be thankful to Allah almighty of our good health and being able to wake up the next morning to continue contributing in whatever little way that we can for mankind's greater good....still...one really never can tell...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

...paradoxically strategic?

I love to collect and keep books autographed by the author himself. The above is one of my collection of favourite strategy books. I have been collecting autographed books since my oxford university press days way back in the late 70s. Professor Ron Meyer is a faculty member at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands. I had a chance to visit the Dean of Economics at that university when I visited a friend in Rotterdam in 2005. It is a well-written and well planned book. Not the usual boring heavy academic stuff strategy book I use it often to borrow some anecdotes of paradoxical statements from it. And I recommend it as permanent reference to my Cranfield/IBS-UTM MBA students...

...its plain economics, stupid....hahaha

The Edge Malaysia (week of January 21-27, 2008) on its front page was printed: On the cusp of recession - all signs point to a recession in the US as the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis takes a toll on its economy. Global share prices drowned in a sea of red as jittery investors fled for cover. Is Asia, including Malaysia, in a better position to weather the downturn? the business and investment weekly asked.... I dunno man, scary...now read the Headline, page 1, Boston Globe, dated 20th January 2008 below:

"Broker's clients detail web of dashed dreams"
"When Marcia Neilson couldn't qualify for a home loan in early 2006 because of poor credit, her mortgage broker, Nicole Lyder, had an unusual solution: Add Neilson's daughter to the loan application.
"Neilson's 21-year-old daughter had just lost her job, but Lyder remained undeterred. 'That wasn't a problem,' Neilson recalled her broker saying.
"Neilson's real estate agent said Lyder enlisted him to drive Neilson and her daughter to Brockton City Hall. The pair filled out a business certificate that claimed they owned a hair salon in Brockton.
"The Neilsons qualified for a mortgage and bought a Dorchester house in June 2006 for $565,000. Last fall, Marcia Neilson learned from state investigators looking into Lyder's business practices that her loan application was padded in other ways: a statement for a $25,000 bank account in Neilson's name that she had no knowledge of.
"Fake documents, a phantom borrower, and other irregularities were common features of five subprime mortgages brokered by Lyder between November 2005 and June 2006 that were examined by the Boston Globe. Lyder's clients ranged from the barely employed to struggling working-class couples; one had just left a homeless shelter and two others gave up government-subsidized housing to buy homes. They said Lyder arranged loans that they later realized had monthly payments that far exceeded their means. All five loans are now in foreclosure."
(courtesy of tompeters blog)
I don't wanna sound pessimistic but it would be wise to prepare for the worst. Never get caught with your pants down, so the saying goes...heheh. Hope you guys out there made the most of the thaipusam public holiday today heheh...and did not contribute to littering the roadside with coconuts...hahaha

...Nostalgia 1: 2008

PNB-iT Sdn Berhad management team 1999 (just before the name change to HeiTech Padu Sdn. Bhd and just before we went for Public Listing) when we left PNB building at Jalan Tun Razak to occupy our new corporate HQ at Plaza Damansara. Left to right: Abdullah Ahmad, me, Che Ngah, Mohd Radzi Zainal, Haji Safiee (President), Fawzie Embi, Abidin Yahya, Wan Zaidi, Omar Che Mad posing at the back row to executive chairman YBhg Dato' Mohd Hilmey Mohd Taib.
(P.S.: Radzi Zainal, Fawzie Embi and Abidin are no longer around. Omar Che Mad went on mandatory retirement recently. Haji Safiee too has retired but still around on contract. The only ones in the current executive committee are Dato', Haji Safiee and Wan Zaidi. You may sight the current management team on HTP's website. I remain in attendance as joint company secretary at HeiTech's board until otherwise notifed (hahaha) and remain as managing director & ceo of MRC (60% owned by HTP and 40% owned by Malaysian Re) also until otherwise notified...heheh..... )

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

...of strategy & spin jobs...hahaha

This morning Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) or Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) launched their e-lodgement services (whatever that means...hahaha). Well, to me it simply means doing stuff lodging your company information to CCM via the internet. So you can actually now do your returns in the comfort of your bedroom on your notebook without coming to the office? ya rite...you think your companies will allow that? hmmm. Anyway, the notion of being virtual, being ubiquotuous -to use the ICT lingo, is still far-fetched if you really look deep into the real practices of companies in Malaysia. I stand corrected though, heheh. You know what's the problem? that's because alot of people still must see the hardcopy, still insist on printing documents, don't trust the softcopy...must feel the paper and hmmm thus contributing or lemme put it another way, the main culprits for the perennial cutting down of trees...hahaha! Overall, I hear comments that the do was a great spin job...heheh.
I had planned to arrive just before the minister but unfortunately I arrived at 10.35 am and as soon as I took the escalator to level one of the sime darby convention centre, the VIP entourage just walked out of the holding room on the way to the main hall. I stood by the door, shooked hands with Datuk Johan Raslan chairman of PwC and Moidunny president of MAICSA and I wallked with all of them trailing behind the minister (YBhg Datuk Shafie Afdal). I got a great seat behind the minister and seated on my left was Dr Nordin executive director of the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board and Moidunny on my right....hahaha. The rest is history. Not a bad strategy arriving slightly later than the minister...hahaha so much for strategy and spin jobs!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

..Farewell Sir John Harvey-Jones

Two people I liked, passed away. One is the beautiful hollywood actress, Suzanne Plesshette (and her famous husky voice). She died at age 82 and the other is british management guru and former chairman of ICI. John Harvey-Jones who died at age 83. I reproduce below the obituary of Sir John harvey-Jones as it appeared in the Economist:

John Harvey-Jones
Jan 17th 2008 From The Economist print edition

Sir John Harvey-Jones, manager extraordinaire, died on January 9th, aged 83

IN THE winter of 1946-47, when ice and snow lay thick across Europe, John Harvey-Jones found himself in charge of bands of Germans and Russians dismantling Wilhelmshaven docks. The docks were to be shipped to Russia as war reparations. Naturally, the two squads of workers hated each other. Every advance was followed by slippage and obstruction before, at long last, the job was done. Mr Harvey-Jones, then a young naval lieutenant, was there because he spoke both languages. It sowed the seeds of a career in man-management.

He was born two years before Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was formed in 1926, and died within days of the disappearance of ICI as an independent company after its takeover by a Dutch competitor last year. When he became chairman in 1982 the company was making a loss, bleeding heavily from the harsh effects of Margaret Thatcher's economic policies on British manufacturing. Industrial customers for its plastics, paints and pigments were shrinking or going bust. Sir John knew whom to blame, once describing the prime minister as British manufacturing's greatest handicap.
His hair was long and scruffy, his ties ludicrous and his manner jovial bordering on Falstaffian; a board meeting, for him, was a debate, punctuated by gales of his maniacal laughter. Few were better at the brisk summing-up and the clear, no-nonsense decision. He could not have been more unlike the dull, grey-suited types in most British boardrooms. The top job at ICI fell to him after a tussle as his predecessor sought a second term; roaring in, he trimmed the bloated bureaucracy and tried to make the company more go-ahead. By the time he stepped down in 1987, it was back in profit. The business cycle accounted for much of that, but Harvey-Jones magic had made the difference too.

That got him noticed. His biggest impact, however, came when he presented “Troubleshooter”, a pioneering BBC TV series that aimed to interest the general public in the nitty-gritty of running a business. Before long he became the best known boss in the country. Cameras in tow, he would breeze into a company, dispensing blunt criticism, bonhomie and brisk advice in equal portions. The series attracted 3m viewers, outshining stodgier business programmes, though with none of the cruelty attending “Dragons' Den”. Sir John was sharp in order to be kind.

He did not always get it right. Had Morgan, a specialist maker of old-fashioned, hand-built sports cars, taken his advice to modernise and expand, it would have gone bust in the recession of the early 1990s. Instead, it largely stuck to its niche market and thrives to this day. Sir John combined his TV career with dozens of non-executive roles, including—from 1989 to 1994—chairman of The Economist. When he took up that job, he invited the then CEO out to dinner, asked him what his vision was, and mauled him until, by coffee time, some sort of grand plan for the future had emerged. The Harvey-Jones mantra, both in management and in media, was the need to confront change as the only way to survive.

The hunter, not the hunted

Sir John's climb up the ICI ladder began in the 1950s, as a time-and-motion man at the huge petrochemicals complex at Wilton on Teesside, in north-east England. This site, the very symbol of post-war British industry with its dramatic floodlit skyline by the Tees, was the beating heart of the company, taking in oil and gas, brewing up and piping out the potions that supplied other ICI factories around the country. Later, as deputy chairman for petrochemicals, he tackled sour industrial relations and disjointed management at the plant. If workers at Wilton downed tools (and Sir John was quick to spot the stirrings of industrial unrest that were to lead to the “winter of discontent” in 1978-79), the whole company would grind to a halt within days. His job was to keep the site humming.

He was never an obvious candidate to lead this champion of industrial technology. He was neither an accountant nor a chemist; the only time he donned a white coat was in his early years at Wilton. Before that, he might have been a sailor. He went straight from Dartmouth College in Devon into the Royal Navy during the war, was torpedoed twice, and then went into submarines, typically opting to become the hunter rather than the hunted. After the war, with his German and Russian, he spent some time in the intelligence service “driving small boats in the Baltic”, as he put it. But management soon became his first love.

By the time he reached its boardroom, ICI was rapidly becoming less imperial, less chemical and less industrial. The days of sprawling chemical companies were over; investors wanted more focused, individual businesses. The firm started to unravel less than ten years after Sir John's departure, when a threatened bid from two corporate raiders exposed its weaknesses. An expensive foray into speciality chemicals loaded it with too much debt. Even Wilton had to be sold off to Americans. ICI dropped out of the FTSE 100 list of leading British companies, and may survive only as a brand. The bellwether of British industry, and the man who symbolised it, went out together.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

...lest we forget

the age difference 1977 to 2007... This should be read only by those whose level of maturity qualifies them to relate to it... hahaha

1977 : Long hair
2007 : Longing for hair

1977 : KEG
2007 : EKG

1977 : Acid rock
2007 : Acid reflux

1977 : Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2007 : Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1977 : Seeds and stems
2007 : Roughage

1977 : Hoping for a BMW
2007 : Hoping for a BM

1977 : Going to a new, hip joint
2007 : Receiving a new hip joint

1977 : Rolling Stones
2007 : Kidney Stones

1977 : Screw the system
2007 : Upgrade the system

1977 : Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2007 : Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1977 : Passing the drivers' test
2007 : Passing the vision test

1977 : whatever
2007 : Depends

Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things. The people who are starting college this year were born in 1989. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. The CD was introduced the year they were born. They have always had an answering machine. They have always had cable. They cannot fathom not having a remote control. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
Do you feel old yet? Pass this on to the other old fogies on your list. It is good to have friends who know about these things and are still alive and kicking!!!! Hahaha...enjoy the rest of the weekend folks...oh by the way, the creative naughty reminiscence you just read, was forwarded to me by my contemporary Nik Roseli of global Insurance Broker Marsh (I was told that he is cousin of Nik Faldo...yes the great golfer is a kelantanese...hahaha)

Friday, January 18, 2008

...Anak Cucu Cicit Arshad (ACCA)...heheh

YBhg Tan Sri Dato' Seri (Dr) Arshad Ayub (founding Director of ITM-now UiTM, former Central Bank Malaysia Deputy Governor & former Chief Secretary to a few Malaysian Ministries, was the recipient of the Asia-Pacific ACCA Global Lifetime Achievement Award 2007, flanked on his left by YBhg Dato' Khalid Ahmad (pioneer ACCA ITM student and current President of ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee) and on his right, Allan Blewitt, Chief Executive ACCA Global, London, at a ceremony at Le Meridien Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 10 A.M. this morning

Guests from left: Dr Sharifah Mariam, Assoc Prof Dr Shakila Yacob, Dr Khatijah Khalid (all three from the International Institute of Public Policy and Management (INPUMA) Universiti Malaya, Datuk Saein former Deputy Director-General of Inland Revenue, MOCCCIS Secretary, Hj Yusra, Hj Razi, YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri (Dr) Abdullah bin Ayub (partly hidden) & Datuk Dr Zaini Ariff

The Main VIP table: clockwise YBhg Datuk Rafiah Salim Vice-Chancellor Universiti Malaya, YBhg Datuk Seri Ibrahim Shah Vice-Chancellor UiTM, Allan Blewitt Chief Executive ACCA Global, Tan Sri Arshad partly hidden, Puan Sri hidden, Datuk Khalid, Nik Hasyudeen and Datuk Abdul Samad Alias the 2006 recipient of ACCA global achievement award

Tan Sri Arshad delivering his acceptance speech

well of course, the photos would normally not be complete... if it does not include a pose of me...hahaha... seated next to Dr Sharifah Mariam Deputy Director/MPP Coordinator, at the International Institute of Public Policy & Management (INPUMA) University of Malaya

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

...passionately dispassionate

I said in my earlier post that I will summarise the fraud conference. Just one word: excellent! Well done ISM & ACFE Malaysia Chapter. A good start for the year for the insurance and takaful industry. Nothing that most delegates do not already know, but the new information, updates, statistics was illuminating and errm quite scary too...hahaha. Well, all of us at some point in time, in our jobs, do have to deal with paradoxes don't we?!
Which reminds me of the HBO movie (Avengers -starring my favourite old man actor Sam Elliot). The CIA operative asked his boss: what? you are asking me to to eliminate a patriot, who has a series of congressional medals for his services in Vietnam and elsewhere only to protect a war criminal and his atrocities during the serbia-hezergovina troubles? The CIA chief responded: our job is not without its paradoxes, and in some other outfit...what I have just asked you to do...is termed...outsourcing!
Thats the movie script...hahaha which brings me to our local papers headlines today! Upon reading all of them this morning I can't help but to come out with this observation: listen to this...doctors and lawyers I think have a common duty. To save a life, one from dying and one from being put in jail for life or from being sent to the electric chair, right? That I suppose, is the profesional ethics bit...but hang on, it seems to me that what I have read this morning...seems to give me a different impression....let's see if this makes sense to you... a doctor recently appears on the front page and say: Yes...I am the one, the actor in the DVD; then, a lawyer in the front page today says: hmmm it looks like me and sounds like me...hahaha.
If you go by the maxim that honesty is the best policy or if public admission is a highly rated virtue of integrity and transparency of the highest level...I dunno man!....I am not sure now what integrity, transparency, corporate social responsibility, whistle-blowing and the rest of the mouthful of other near humbug fashionable terms really mean. You tell me folks...in the meantime, I shall remain passionately dispassionate...hahaha

Monday, January 14, 2008

...fraud oh fraud..where art thou...heheh

Today and tomorrow, six of us from MRC are attending the Insurance & Takaful Fraud Conference at the Prince Hotel Kuala Lumpur (organised by ISM). From left to right: Yen, Ng, Diana, me, Hairul & Khiew. I will summaries the salient features of that conference tomorrow...heheh...

Friday, January 11, 2008

more thatcham crash lab fotos....

the 2007 MRC-Thatcham Industry Delegation posing in front of the Crash Lab...

Noorshahlin special assistant to Puspakom CEO, yours truly, Nasser Executive Secretary, Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA)

YBhg Dato'Hj Salamat Wahit CEO Puspakom, Hamdan of AmAssurance, yours truly and Zazali Mohd Yatim of Takaful-Ikhlas before boarding bus in front of Tulip Hotel Portsmouth, UK

Group shot with Groupama Insurance Management, Portsmouth, UK

Freak shot of yours truly with British Bobbies, in front of Lloyds of London..heheh

Thursday, January 10, 2008

...of bogus scrolls & outsourcing

Two most recent events, locally and globally attracted my immediate attention and cannot wait to give or make my 2 sen worth of comments! First is the bogus Irish International University. Some hoohaa about it surfaced a few years ago in Malaysia and I know someone, without mentioning his name, was making quick big bucks setting up classes and programs in China. In fact I was at one point invited to teach at one of their MBA programs in China which I politely declined. The BBCWorld report uncovered the scam and found out that the VC was not a Baron the brochure had claimed but just a white Chartered Accountant living in Monaco. And when the BBCWorld crew interviewed him he said something like...' well, I am white, so when I go to these 3rd world countries they would obviously believe that we are genuine'. The 'university' even rented lecture halls from Oxford and Cambridge just to lend credibility. People were willing to pay for that scroll also to lend credibility to themselves! So, I guess its a zero sum game. Its a demand & supply scenario. There was demand so these unscupulous people supplied. Doesn't matter if it was ethical or not. Can you imagine the all-round implications? Hmm your guess is as good as mine....

Closer to home, yes yes the uncovering of blatant outsourcing of assignments. Not that it is something new though. Our students who went abroad many moons ago, especially those whose 'england' was well..horrible, to say the least, was known to have subscribed to the similar 'business model' hahaha. What I just read in Kosmo (Utusan Malaysia) was disgusting! They narrowed down the culprits to teachers (or mahasitua as opposed to mahasiswa...hahaha a term used in those days for mature cikgus who went late to universities). Again, can you imagine the all-round implication? I shall not speculate further. My best wishes for them who will soon be out there in the job market. Salam Ma'al Hijrah folks!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

...of season, reason or lifetime?

I received the following, in my gmail today. Perhaps you might have received it too. I thought it would be good for those of you who did not, perhaps as an addition to the already numerous reflections as we leave the muslim calendar to move into the new year beginning Thursday January 10, 2008 (Awal Muharram)?
Here goes:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant .
Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Monday, January 07, 2008

...of aneroxia inertia

I just got back into the office after having been away from it most of december 2007. I am what you may call, suffering from that globally common disease called 'aneroxia inertia'. No, no..not aneroxia nervosa...that's the one Catherine Carpenter died off! Mine is from Newton's First Law of physics. Inertia. Defined as 'the tendency of a body to stay at rest or continue its state of motion'. I find it really awful and difficult to get out of bed and come to work this morning. That's bad. Really bad... man. I don't think there is such a word aneroxia inertia' heheh...I just concocted it...hihi. Remember that old adage 'Familiarity breeds contempt?'. Or the euphemism 'Same shit different day?' Ya ya...we've all gone through those processes. But really, this rather lethargic mood is not good for the new year! Absolutely not good at all.... I hope the drive, motivation, excitement, will come back in a few day's time or else I am really in trouble! Cheers...I hope you all had a great start for the week!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

..wedding putri kepada Datuk Syed Mansor & Datin Mahani

Although it was a rather lengthy thank you speech last night YBhg Datuk Mansor, but nevertheless it was full of exhiliration...excitement, pride, joy, and most entertaining...I didn't know you had a bagful of great ethnic jokes? hahaha...I am sure there were more but you restricted it to just the Kedahans, Kelantanese and the Sarawakians....hahaha. Datuk Mansur & Datin had alerted us of their 2nd daughter's wedding months ago when we were attending another wedding at Felda Perdana Ballroom. Datuk is the founder and tauke of ADABI group of companies while Datin was my wife's colleague when she was at Textbook Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia. The wedding held at KL Hilton was also a good moment to catch up on old long lost friends of my wife (especially her former bosses at the Ministry heheh). Met with Encik Haniff and his wife (mafia sitiawan together with hj safiee and Tan Sri Abdullah Ayub as he puts it...hahaha), Encik Rusli Ruzikin (former Selangor Education Director & last post was School Inspectorate Chief prior to retirement) & wife, Tuan Haji Nordin (former deputy Dir-Gen) & Hajjah, Datuk Zahari & Datin, Datuk Rauf (former deputy Dir-Gen now Chairman SPP) & Datin, Datuk Hasan Harun ex-KUB chairman, Datuk Nik Ibrahim former Bank Pembangunan CEO. The food was great, the entertain excellent! The entertainers (Jay Jay, Salimah Mahmood & Datuk Daud Kilau...entertained various generations! hahaha). Of course, I was more inclined to appreciate Rindu Bayangan & Kenangan Lalu by Jay Jay...eheh heh (gelakgatal or naughty chuckle). Oh ya, just before leaving I caught up with Najib Abdullah, group MD of MIDF who was seated at the high table. He is the bride's current big boss..heheh. Last night was our first wedding invitation for 2008 and definitely not the last. I look forward to another black-tie wedding function at Marriott Putrajaya on the 26th heheh... You know your retirement is approaching swiftly and surely, when you get lots of invitations for your friend's sons or daughters' weddings!!! hahahahaha
Just read my horoscope a moment ago and it says: you are your own worst critic at times. Not every creative work or meal that you cook can be a prize winning effort, so chill out, relax and just enjoy what you're doing. If others don't like it, it's their problem. hmmmm....

Friday, January 04, 2008

...of bad people rising to the top

I just opened the 2008 winter issue of the Sloan School of Management, Massachusett Institute of Technology (MIT) Journal on my gmail and thought perhaps you may like to read this executive summary of an interesting area/topic most people or shall I re-word it, as a topic politically incorrect to discuss..heheh...enjoy Terry Leap's take on 'wolves in sheeps clothing'....
When Bad People Rise to the Top
Terry Leap
Topic: Leadership and Organizational Studies
Reprint 49214; Winter 2008, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 23-27

Observers are often amazed when executives with impressive track records are mysteriously transformed into corrupt and tyrannical monsters once they become chief executive officers. In truth, these executives often had serious character flaws that were either hidden or ignored for years. Corporate boards and search committees are not likely to detect personality problems of promising CEO candidates simply by examining their resumes or by conducting standard job interviews. This raises the question of how corporate boards or CEO search committees can penetrate the facade of an upwardly mobile executive who is, in reality, a wolf in sheep's clothing.What danger signals do these individuals exhibit and what measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of hiring a dysfunctional CEO? The author identifies eight potential danger signals including: an obsession with acquiring prestige, power, and wealth; a proclivity for developing grandiose strategies with little thought toward their implementation; and a fondness for a data-driven management style that overshadows or ignores a broader vision. Even sterling CEOs occasionally exhibit one or more of the danger signals described here. Potentially bad CEOs, however, usually possess several of these characteristics, and they exhibit them repeatedly.There is no ideal method for selecting a CEO, and there may be no executive position that provides a true test of a person's fitness to assume the top job, but there are several ways that a company can limit its risks when deciding on a CEO. Boards are usually cautious when looking at CEO candidates from outside the organization. They are more likely to be lulled into a sense of complacency, however, when considering an internal candidate. Some suggestions for screening prospective CEOs include disregarding the time-tested rule that past success is a predictor of future success, performing a thorough background check that focuses on a candidate's integrity and interpersonal skills and using experience-based interviews to test CEO finalists.

Terry Leap is a professor of management at Clemson University. He is the author of Dishonest Dollars: The Dynamics of White-Collar Crime (Cornell University Press, 2007). Comment on this article or contact the author through smrfeedback@mit.edu.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

...highly rated DVD....

Yezzeh...not all DVDs are equal..just like... not all men are born equal...some are more equal than others...hahahaha

Please do visit visit the youtube url below and enjoy the cosmic surreal and owh sooo therapeutic feel:


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

of learned helplessness....

I pick up the above book from my library time and again and never cease to be amazed at looking at the sociology of life from the biological perspective. The modus operandi built into the biological fabric of most social beings are sometimes referred to as 'learned helplessness'. Animals and humans who can solve a problem remain vigorous. But mice, monkeys, dogs and people who cannot get a grip on their dilemma become victims of self-destruct built-ins. What is at work is a complex adaptive system devilishly similar to a neural net. Those individuals within the group capable of finding solutions to the problems of the moment were rewarded with dominance, desirable food, luxury lodging, and sexual privileges. The weak links in the group's neural net, the individuals who had not found a means of solving the puzzles thrown their way, were isolated and impoverished by the social system and disabled internally. Characteristics of a collective learning machine. Sounds familiar isn't it? I don't need to elaborate, do I?

Charles Darwin in The Descent of Man wrote "It has, I think, now been shewn that men and the higher animals, especially the primates, have some few instincts in common. All have the same senses, intuitions, and sensations - similar passions, affections, and emotions, even more complex ones, such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude, and magnanimity; they practise deceit and are revengeful; they are sometimes susceptible to ridicule, and even have a sense of humour; they feel wonder and curiosity; they possess the same faculties of imitation, attention, deliberation, choice, memory, imagination, the association of ideas, and reason."

That, in a nutshell, crystallizes the kaleidoscopic events of 2007 and perhaps what to expect in 2008 too. So, I shall not bore you with my resolutions (or the lack thereof) for 2008. We are at the end of the 2nd day of 2008 and the sensational news we read and see on our TV screens (well, high-definition ones for those who can afford it) and not forgetting from the streaming videos on the PDAs or latest state-of-the-art mobile phones (ooops digital camera phones) for others, leaves us all gasping for more air. As promised, I shall refrain from specific politically skewed comments. Hmm... what a way to start a new year...quips a friend earlier this morning! I rest my case fellas! O ya...before I sign-off...teh tarik at the mamakshop at Bandar Manjalara, has gone up to RM1.20 a mug, from RM1.00 the day before. That's a 20% increase!!! hahahaha.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

a nuclear wedding?...hmmm

No, the first picture above is not taken with an astronomy telescope heheh...it was captured about 5 hours ago with a 3.2 Mega Pixel K800i sony-ericsson mobile phone at Felda Perdana Ballroom, Kuala Lumpur. Looks like outer space at night, isn't it? Like a scene from one of those science fiction movies...heheh. And why not? That was specially done by Felda Perdana Ballroom as a theme for the wedding of the son of my good friend Datuk Dr Daud Mohamed, Director-General of Academy Nukliar Malaysia (formerly Malaysian Institute of Nuclear Technology or MINT in short). I knew Daud when he was Dr Daud (or DD as his staff would passionately refer to him) Deputy Director-General of MINT at the time. I came to be close to him when he attended one of my speaking engagements at Marriot Hotel, KL. It was a performance management tingy KRA/KPI stuff for government sector where I presented a paper. That began my professional/personal relationship with YBhg Datuk. Since then, I have been invited to speak at a number of their conferences, led a strategic direction session with the senior management of MINT at Pan Pac Hotel KLIA and had given a 2 hour lecture at one of their inter-research institutions training program on knowledge management (whatever that means...hahaha). Thank you Datuk for placing me just now, at the VIP table together with UTM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Zulkifli and UUM former VC Datuk Mohd Nor Salleh. Next to my table was Prof Fauzi, Dean of Economics, UKM. Others spotted were, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ali, Chairman of UEMWorld, Datuk Habsah VC UKM, Datuk Dr Rais, retired MAMPU Dir-Gen and until three(3) months ago was VC of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). He told me he is now Chairman of MQA (formerly LAN or Lembaga Akreditasi Negara). The last foto was of course everyone's favourite...hahaha. Weddings at Perdana Felda Ballroom would be utterly and incomprehensibly incomplete without the signature dessert of tapai (fermented glutinous rice) with vanilla ice-cream...ummmph...yummmy!! hahaha. Tan Sri Zul related to me that at one of the weddings he had attended, they served caramel instead of the usual tapai and knowing my ex-boss Tan Sri Arshad....he got away with his naughty request...they did serve him the tapai with vanilla ice-cream! hahahaha...hmmm talk about the power of persuasion huh? NEW YEAR resolutions? hah plenty...i must say..but we will discuss that at a later blog perhaps? hihi....meantime wishing everyone a joyous and prosperous 2008!