Saturday, June 28, 2008

Breakfast Buddies....

I have been having breakfast at raju' roti canai since I was 22 years old! It is situated at Jalan Cantek off Jalan Gasing, PJ oldtown (beside the PJ La Salle School and right in front of the residence of one of my former bosses the late Dato' Mohd Yunus Mohd Noor former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Student Affairs, Universiti Malaya and former Vice-chairman of the University of Malaya Cooperative, when I was general manager/ceo. His wife Datin Azlina Yunus used to be my colleague at Oxford University Press). It's a favourite meeting place where titles and accolades are left at home, most times heheh..but not necessarily in that order. Alot of who's who can be seen having breakfast there. From politicians, Mentris Besars, both ruling and opposition, bloggers, datuks&tansris right down to the man in the street. Every level of the food chain right down to the lowest lifeform (eg amoeba...hahaha). If you can pay for the roti canai, you can sit there with the 'power brokers' too! hahaha.
Last week after a very very long absence, somehow or rather I felt the urge to have my breakfast there. (and oh, I just wife said to me after a long time...take me to somewhere expensive. I think Raju's would be just as great as the petrol stations! hahaha) And guess who dropped in for breakfast as well? None other than the rich (maybe not so famouslah..hehe) but definitely rich retired professionals and ex-corporate chieftains. For security reasons, I shall not reveal their identities...hahaha. It has been such a long time since I had bfreakfast with them. Had I known that C*** was going to pick up the tab, haha, I would have ordered the most expensive freshly fried fish! hahaha. Thanks my friend. We had a great discussion...from realpolitiks, to uncensored websites after 12 Public Liability Nuisance (PLN) litigation in India! One of those features prevalent in most Commonwealth countries except us. Can you imagine if we too have that PLN tingy? Our infrastructure growth might just immediately grind to a halt! hahaha. Every little thing somebody somewhere will slam a 'saman' (legal suit) invoking that PLN privilege...can be a real nuisance, isn't it? Do enjoy the rest of the weekend folks!...

Asean Automotive Awards...

I was invited by Frost & Sullivan ( Lim Pao Shen, strategic account manager, thank you bro for the invite) to their annual ASEAN Automotive Awards at Mandarin Oriental last thursday 26th June. About 17 tables. The head honco of Proton Datuk Syed Zainal, MAA president Datuk Aishah, President & COO of Honda- Azman, New CEO/MD of Toyota, Mahadi ED of Ambank and his AmBank group entourage led by Tan Sri himself, Datuk Khamis group CEO of DRB Hicom, and others...were spotted. Well, not just spotted ok? We said hello for those first timers, caught up was a more appropriate terms to those whom we were already familiar with...hehe. Anuar of Frost& Sullivan promised to rope me in at their next golf session with all the TKSUs and KSUs (well, translated..the Deputy Secretaries-General and Secretaries-General of the public sector). If you are reading this saudara Anuar...jangan lupa ek?

Sorry not many fotos as I forgot to bring along my Canon digital IXUS860IS. A winning company from Bangkok was at our table. And oh ya, I forgot 2 MITI officials too, plus the director-general of Matrade, Datuk Noha, an old common fren (with Datuk Noorazaman formerly ceo of Bankislam and a classmate of mine). He left early. Probably because I talked too much...hahaha.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fuh Legaaa...

We just finished our AGM/EGM about 2 hours ago at Sheraton Subang. Good turnout despite about 26 public listed companies are having their AGMs at about almost the same time today nationwide...well in Klang Valley specifically! The Corporate Services team under the able stewardship of Vice President & group general counsel/company secretary, Noriswadi, did a fine job! Well done chaps. Rosman, Ju, Yasmin, Salmi, Hamdan, Myra, Nadia, Joshua, Juicena, Md Nor, Sharina, Wan, Wan Idura, Imien, Syarhan, Amin, Fizi, Izan et al (sowee if i missed out anyone's name...but rest assured that you played no little part in the success of the backroom preparations as well!). I wasn't seated in my 'usual' seating arrangement this time around. That's ok. What it could also possibly mean is that people are ready to move up the next level and probably its time for me to be doing some other things I so passionately wanna do, but never had the time to do so, before. Well done fellas! It's a good feeling to note that the division (after I physically moved out on december 15, 2000) is in good hands. Anyway, good leaders are measured by good succession planning. One can't possibly be there forever. I have always believed in human capital development, succession planning & talent management. Your people, in a way, are reflections of you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

why bad boys get the girls....jeng3x

Come on is sunday ok? relax, loosen up. Tis my 2nd blogpost for the day. I checked out The Scribe..hehe and my good friend Datuk A Kadir Jasin seems to have also loosened up and apparently they are continuing to discuss 'koro' hahaha. Some of his participants complained about obsessions with discussions on politics, which he (datuk) politely offering his explanation. Even when I checked out Pahit Manis (Tok Mat kita), I detected a little weariness and fatigue. The little inadvertent typo errors here and there do indicate...hehe. After over 100 days, political blogs overload seems to continue to be the order of the day. The Sabah Yong fellow saga, Obama, rising oil & food prices, global write-downs of the US subprime aftermath, global credit crunch affecting construction industries the world over..bla bla calling and racist labelling...hmmm...the list goes on.... BUT hehe...this report on today's NST: why bad boys get the girls...caught my attention. Do read the scanned report above (if you have not already done so..hahaha).
The report starts by saying it is something most nice guys have learned by bitter experience - bad boys (and rich too I must add..hahaha) tend to get the girls. So, are you a nice guy or what? In any case the report ended up by Dr Gayle Brewer (Evolutionary Psychologist at The University of Central Lancashire) saying: nice guys need not lose all hope because, while women tend to like cads for flings, they usually settle down with more caring types....hahahaha.
taken from The Business Times, Singapore, Wednesday June 18, 2008
"..the upholding of academic standards is thus replaced by a grotesque 'bidding' game, in which standards are inevitably sacrificed on the altar of public image."
- Professor Geoffrey Alderman

I was told by a Tan Sri once, that the London University External Degree that many of our fellow Malaysians especially teachers in those days, used to acquire during my secondary school days, were of inferior quality, so it seemed. The standards, I was told, were lowered to help Commonwealth countries as compared to if one were to sail to England (those days going to Her Majesty's Great Britain on a sail boat, was much more fashionable...hahaha).
I would like to think that this is an isolated incident (it happened in 1990) where when an asian gets an A in class, his or her fellow 'Brit' classmates would spontaneously mumble at the back of the class...'disgusting' (ever had that experience?). Now this professor is kicking up dust again. Can you imagine the implications of the concerns he raised in the article above? To UK graduates? Already, the Times Higher Education Ratings is giving our local universities a nightmare. But I suppose, you can be the judge, jury and prosecutor yourself...when you read some of the blogposts of supposedly 'highly-rated UK universities' graduates hehe ....the plot, theme, grammar, choice of verbs, adjectives etcetera ectera..hmm in a nutshell...editorially-challenged pieces...hahaha. If you know what I mean lah....I rest my case. Do enjoy the rest of the weekend folks!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

more shots of 2nd ICC Sabah & 5th ASEAN leadership Forum..

only reason i uploaded this newsclip is the fellow in the circle..hahaha

babuji gurmit singh in his most passionate moment with climate change doomsday warnings..hehe

ISEAS/ASLI 5th ASEAN Leadership Forum in session at the Shangri-La Singapore

It's easy to take care of me, just vegetable omelette and sauteed mushrooms, freshly brewed coffee with honey and fresh orange juice served with fresh fruits and a table spread/layout nothing less than the summit breakfast hall of the newly refurbished the Valley Wing of the Shangri-La Hotel the company of well mostly, caucasians....would suffice! hahahaha (please take note...hehe)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh no...International Conferences & Forums again?..hehe

rare pose with the current secretary-general of ASEAN, His Excellency Dr Pithsuwan and James Beltram, my old friend from Melewar Holdings, at the 5th ASEAN Leadership Forum at the Shangri-La Singapore, this morning...

luncheon talk by Karim Raslan at the same function & venue this morning...
I flew into Changi airport last night at exactly 7.55PM on SilkAir Airbus 319. The smaller but still relatively comfortable aircraft. We departed KK airport (under refurbishment...& expansion) at 6 PM. We were flying at 32,000 feet and at an airspeed of 900km/hr. I left sutera harbour Kota Kinabalu and the 2nd international CEO Conference for the airport, as soon as Paklah arrived for the closing ceremony (as a mark of respect). I could have left earlier. When they heard rumours of the possibility that the PM may n0t be closing the conference, many, including a Datuk friend of mine changed their flight schedules back to KL. 2nd Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Yakcop officiated the opening on behalf of Dato' Sri Najib, the Deputy Prime Minister. Not a bad crowd. There were 540 delegates from all over the world, at the last count. I arrived sunday evening on same flight with the Senegal Ambassador to Malaysia, HE Abdel Kader Pierre Fall.
The theme of this year's conference was globalisation (they meant gobblelisation...I think!) and the focus was...hmmm your guess is as good as mine...sustainability, green, CSR..bla bla bla ...and what have you! I thought Tan Sri Munir Majid, MAS Chairman, was, as ever, very crisp in his remarks, crystallising the issues and paradoxes in the usual immaculate combination of Oxbridge Queen's English and the sharpness of a London School of Economics (LSE) analysis! Tan Sri Dato' Seri Megat Najmuddin could not resist sharing an ethnocentric joke which he thought wasn't too offensive...but I shall not repeat that joke here (sorry folks..hahaha).
In Singapore this morning, His Excellency Dr Pithsuwan Secretary-General of ASEAN, was as ever, articulate, philosohical and pragmatic in his remarks after the short, sweet, brief but equally illuminating (by international diplomatique standards) opening speech by the Minister of Trade, Singapore. After 40 years, ASEAN has been viewed by some as something akin to old wine in new bottle. The SecGen casually quipped that ASEAN, if not carefully taken care of, could degeneate into another UN...which... I am not sooo sure what he really meant. In the wake of the ASEAN Charter, 2015 (the target), ASEAN should, ceteris parebus, become like the European Community (EC).
And o good old friend, Karim Raslan was rattling away about the 100 days of the aftermath of our 2008 Malaysian GE. His intermittent reference to malaysiakini and the carefully 'veiled' description of some touchy scenarios...makes me wonder...hmmm...his political inclination and allegiance..heheh..but then again, that's his right to secrecy right?....brave fellow...this matsalleh...We last shared a taxi about 10 years ago from Shangri-La Jakarta to the airport....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Leadership Guru was in town...

Bought 4 of his books (leadership Gold, The Choice is Yours, Becoming a Person of Influence and Success Roadmap (for my daughter) and got 4 free little booklets: The power of attitude, thinking big, influence and leadership...

John Maxwell is similar to de Bono (the lateral thinking Guru) who sits down with his bck to the audience and starts to roll his static slides. Only difference is that John sits facing the crowd, talks alot about his family and is never out of humor!

Impressive crowd of about 600 half of whom came via IBBM...

Last Friday June 12th, I was invited (hmm just the night before the event...probably to help fill up some empty chairs(heheh)...but I would rather much like to think that my good fren Dr Kamal, CEO of IBBM ...invited me because he thought I would greatly benefit from this one-day mega event!) and not tit-for-tat cos there was a recent event I invited him at the eleventh hour too!! hahaha. Thank you Doc for the invite, I did. Leadership seems to be the buzz, today's currency and it is fashionable to talk about leadership too. I commented about 'leadership has no gender' in my earlier blogpost. I gave public lectures on leadership at West Mindanao State University, Zamboanga, Philippines and to MBA students at Universitas Airlangga and at the Training & Development Board of East Java in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Leadership, older than the Neolithic Era and newer than the New Millennium, continues to fascinate and perplex. Are leaders born or made to order? Should they be incubated or tested by fire? What's a leadership developer to do? And to add insult to injury, we burden our leaders with crippling expectations. We demand them to be wise, swift, fearless ( just like Jet Li hahaha), and visionary. And, by the way, they should turn a handy profit and help us grow too! Who'd want such a role, and moreover, who'd ever fit the bill? Think of the size of the rock that must be lifted by anyone seeking to develop leaders? No wonder, no less than 600 people, local corporate chieftains, head honcos, directors or heads of knowledge & learning centres (hmm.. in those days we call them training managers and training departments!) were with me, trying to pick up a trick or two from John Maxwell!

No business topic has been explored (exploited?) more obsessively than leadership. No behaviour in the workplace has been more analysed, parsed, or dissected. No role has had more expectations heaped upon it. And no failure earns more oprobrium than a leadership flameout. Sometimes, it seems as if leadership is an organization's drug of choice. Companies pay huge sums to get it; employees crave it. And when it's withdrawn, they crash. If leadership had a gene, we would have decoded it by now. I salute the tenacity of scientists who continue seeking to unravel the human leadership genome.

John Maxwell 's views on leadership gravitates around four (4) themes which to him are: relationships; equipting, training & developing other people; attitudes about differences and adversities; and leaders learn to lead other people. He believes that the best leaders are good listeners. He contends that most leaders are 'travel agent' leaders and propogates that one should be a 'tour guide' leader! I like his repeated reminders not to jeorpardise our leadership by sending our ducks to eagle school! true (?). If what I had said triggered your interest, go get yourself his books! My final observation...I wonder if the same audience would respond, laugh at some of the silly jokes, if the speaker had not been a matsaleh and was from one of you?...heheh....think about it folks...and do enjoy the rest of the weekend.... I will be away awhile for the 2nd International CEOs Conference in Sabah and then the 5th Asean Leadership Forum in light of the Asean Charter in Singapore (on the invitation of the Institute of South East Asian Studies, ISEAS) immediately thereafter...and as always...I will blog my observations.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ACCA-UiTM Signing Ceremony (MOA) Crowne Plaza Mutiara Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Ms Helen Brand ACCAglobal managing director - strategy & development giving her
welcome remarks at today's MOA between ACCA Malaysia & UiTM

Prof Dr Mohamad Kamal Harun, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry & Community Network) UiTM, giving a speech on behalf of the VC YBhg Dato' Seri Dr Prof Ibrahim Abu Shah

Helen (ACCA UK), Tay (ACCA Asean), Prof Dr Kamal (UiTM) & Prof Dr Ibrahim Kamal (Dean of Faculty of Accountancy, UiTM & Hull alumnus)

'So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable.'

- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963); English novelist

Sunday, June 08, 2008

sometimes we do miss our friends...

Jeff (Jaafar Abdul Rahman, was with Volvo, Celcom, last known place of work Infineon..hehe) Datuk Paduka Major (Rtd) Bakri, Paul A. Milne (our lovable scottish director of studies and his welsh wife), Dr Ab Jamal, our motorola guru, Elaine Kong (now Training head sutera harbour), the bejabuk me(hehe), Baidullah (ex-alliancebank HR chief) and Abdullah (former Deputy DG Lembaga Tembakau Negara)...some of our MBA graduating class of '94...leisurely walking to class. Hey guys, let's meet up ok? Some have retired, some are close to retirement...some well..never retire 'cos that word do not exist in their vocabulary. Some cannot retire, even though they would love to, 'cos their kids are still at school hahaha. If you happen to drop by and see this blogpost of mine, please o please tell our other classmates we should meet up soon as we may just be heading towards expression derived from Hebrew and signifying a complex of turbulence, anarchy and confusion....or to quote Lord Cameron of Dillington, first head of the Countryside Agency set up by the former British PM Tony Blair...that ...we're just 9 meals away from anarchy'.

Friday, June 06, 2008

picture, picture on a blog...

picture o picture on a blog,
tis a section only of our latest annual report,
may you not juz glance nor have a shock,
who is the most dashing of them lot?

(you may download the complete pdf version of our 2007 annual report at

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

leadership has no gender?... it seems...yup. That's what YBhg Datuk Bridget Lai said today at MAICSA's inaugural Business Luncheon Series Lecture at the Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley City. It was a tough topic alright...hahaha poor Datuk...cornered, as she qualifyingly stated and if I may say so, politically-correctly delivered too...hahaha. I was there for many reasons, first because Datuk Bridget is a fellow Hull alumnus and that Philip (MAICSA CEO) is also a Hull alumnus, second because I am still a company secretary and I try to support MAICSA wherever I can, and can I miss listening to a male-bashing session? It turned out that it wasn't so much of a bashing eventually...hmmm what a dissapointment...and to think that Datuk started her lecture by acknowledging the 'brave men' who dared attend today's controversial topic...'leadership has no gender'? Ya, actually there were less than 10% men at the 300 odd attendees...hahaha.

I was actually waiting to give my piece after Datuk' Bridget's 'illuminating' talk. Somewhere in her speech she actually admitted at some point of her corporate career she cried. You know what I was going to stand up and say? (but comments or questions were forthwith...everyone zoom straight to the buffet! hahaha). Yes, Yes...If I was allowed to speak then, I would have these to say to YBhg Datuk Bridget Lai: '....Its ok to cry Datuk...for there is a sacredness in tears...if you do not already know. They are not the mark of weakness, but of you are now experiencing. Tears, they speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love...'

It would have been an interesting debate...first I would start off by a very provocative remark...that 'women are their own worst enemy!' Hahaha...I have randomly asked many women in my 30-year worklife...and 8 out of 10 prefer men as their bosses! How many women leaders actually groom or prepare succession plans for their fellow women? (hmmm think about it again hehe). Were it not the men who gave women a chance to lead? The poor if not enough stress and pressure to compete with fellow men, now have to compete with women too? hahaha...lets wave a truce flag here shall we? (doesn't matter if its black or white hehe). Do we not realise that more than 60% of undergrads are women?

So, my take is that...yes, eventually..not in too distant a future...leadership will eventually be gender-less. I have been supporting and propagating the idea that women are better managers/leaders because their positive traits (from extensive studies that I read) far outmatch the men, and I have genuinely said this in some of my MBA classes just to encourage the female students not to worry too much about the glass ceiling. It works both ways, for women as well as for men too. But then again, as Datuk Bridget aptly crystallised, culture and stereotyping has not helped much in improving the situation. Remember what happened to Larry Summers, President & CEO of Harvard University...when he made a gender-bias remark? He lost his job at Harvard...hahaha. Well? Any violent objections to my views? I rest my case...for now...