Wednesday, December 30, 2009

...hubbies were managed, in those days...

'Tis a season of weddings. Actually there are no specific season for weddings. Everyday is a good day to get married so it seems. But no, to some ethnic groups there can be days that are 'pantang' or forbidden, a definite no no haha. In some societies, the wedding day could be determined by other factors, natural, or unnatural as the case may be.

Oh well, again, as I was springkleening, throwing old documents, as a matter of discipline (hmmm) or ritual..ya..that's more like it, ritual, I stumbled upon this fotocopy of an unedited extract of a 150th anniversary of the Straits Times (1845-1995). Published on May 1, 1885 in what was at the time 'The Straits Times and Singapore Journal of Commerce'.

I have been to quite alot of wedding invites lately and there's a few more to come actually, hehe so I thought reproducing this article on my blog, might provide some pointers to the newlyweds, to the bride (hehe) especially, in managing their hubbies in the old fashion way hehe. oops sorry.. for both, the bridegroom too, hehe. Here goes:

"The Management of Husbands - Men as a rule, marry women for love, yet we see everyday these one-time happy doves drifting apart and acting as though separation would be the happiest end for both. To marry for love simply, is absurd. Unless there is a large amount of respect on either side, the flame of love soon dies out, leaving a barren manor for the dwellers thereon. However, supposing you had a husband whom you wish to twirl round your little finger, you must love him "with all your heart, with all your soul. " etc.; and love you feel will make it possible to put up with all those little discrepancies which crop out in man's nature when you come alive with him. In the first place, should your husband be a man in business, who comes home tired to death, cross, and worn out, do not at once entertain him with the trouble you have gone through the day. Meet him with a smile, take his hat and overcoat from him and let him severely alone until he has toned down with a good dinner, after which he will be in a position to listen to any thing you may have to say; but I always found it an excellent plan to hide disagreeables entirely from a husband's notice. Men don't want to have a repetition of annoyances at home when they have so many in their daily path outside, and believe me, the effect of keeping household squabbles out of your husband's knowledge wonderfully enhances your value as a wife. You don't know how a man appreciates a loving welcome and a good dinner after the toil of the day. Men are gregarious animals, and will wander in spite of allurements, but they are selfish enough to remain where they are best treated, and the years that follow will, as a rule, find the husband always glad to go back to the pretty home where smiles await him and the dinner I spoke of." -unedited extract May 1, 1885

Ya ya may say 'ala itu zaman dulu punye stail' (that's the ancient way). But then again, why not? Give it a try. You never know, sometimes the old ways work better (wink2x). Yeah, all those macho men out there (endangered species i dread to think they may one day become, if not already are..haha)...think you can handle it like your grandpa did? My apologies ladies, I know times have changed. That ancient write-up by today's standards, may sound a little offensive and chauvinistic but has alway been a two-way tingy, right? wink2x...

Friday, December 25, 2009

we treat you like maharajas...

Its christmas holiday today! Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate it, wherever you may be. Just don't forget that the last tsunami (2004) occurred on boxing day and that is tomorrow (wink). So if you are enjoying yourselves at some beachfront somewhere out there, just be mindful ok? hehe.

We already had our short break, my family and I, at rebak marina island resort (go google it heehee) about 15 minutes fastboat ride from Port Langkasuka (5 minutes from Langkawi Airport). A private property owned by DRB-Hicom and currently managed by the Taj Leisure Hotels & Palaces Group, India.

Oklah, my idea of deStress and deTox. Quiet retreat and great breakfast haha while checking out my new toy. Not the usual mainstream you knowlah why people go to Langkawi meh? (wink). Other than LID or LIMA or busloads of shoppingspree types at Kuah...ooops sorry. We had a great time at Rebak. Had wanted to check it out for quite sometime now but I forgot about it. I shall not comment or make any reviews of the place for now, you can read plenty of it on TripAdvisor on the internet (wink).

I was reading the two issues of The Taj Magazine ( The Romance of Food, 2008 Vol 36 No 2, and The Splendour that is The Taj, Spring 2009 vol 37 No 1) in the room, splendidly published, laminated, hardbound, classic and obscenely lavish...and I remembered a joke the late Tan Sri Khir Johari shared on a few occasions we met. He said in those days when he was a minister, he used to fly Air India...and the tagline for Air India at the time was '..we treat you like Maharajahs' Then one day he said to the cabin crew...jokingly of course, "...ya rite i know how you treat your maharajas!" hahaha (wink2x).

Most of the guests were foreigners, some longstaying. There were Brits, Frenchmen, Flemish Belgian couple, Dutch, Americans, Canadians, Middle Eastern and of course many from India. A mixed of retirees or otais like me and no less hoards of honeymooning couples haha. Some have been here before, they like it and came back again. Some, whom I spoke to, were first timers to Malaysia and they love it (hmm standard politically-correct statements huh?..haha) but I want to believe they genuinely like our country and would not hesitate to come back visit us again and again.

My point, we have plenty of great heavenly places right at our doorstep and we let others elsewhere enjoy it. I don't blame them, in fact I welcome them, please please do come with lots of money, come invest here haha...its really very cheap for them. We aspire to be a high-income economy, like the rest of the advanced nations. Whether that means we will be able to nanti visit their places and throw away hard-earned money like a lord (wink2x) or everything will get to be more expensive for all of us, well not all, for the man-in-the-street at least ...remains to be seen. Moral of story? haha go visit the Kilim Geopark Langkawi...the family will enjoy it. And if you 're afraid of the CURSE? haa..the spell's long broken..haha and definitely no white snake lady ok? (wink2x). We did. Enjoy the long weekend folks....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

of undemocratic moderateurs...

Had it not been for chairing commitments in Kuala Lumpur, I would have taken an extra week off and hop northwards to explore Beijing even though the weather was getting harsher at minus zero levels. At some point it was reported that snowfall was in bigger quantities than usual. Well, Beijing can wait.

I thought I only had to moderate a panel session at the 2009 KL Takaful Conference (KLTF) at Nikko Hotel but oh no...I forgot that I had agreed earlier, to chair a whole day session of M2Asia's conference on Managing Performance Culture and Talent at JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur. It turned out that the panelist session at Nikko was cancelled and I was having a really great time at the M2Asia conference at JW Marriott. But I left after lunch to be at the KLTF.

Really great stuff and excellent knowledge sharing at JW Marriott with speakers from Hewitt Digi, Toyota Motors et al.

I must have been doing quite alot of conference chairings that I kinda like it. I think I am in my elements when I chair conferences, seminars, colloquiems...especially if the subject areas are those that are close to my heart or that I have a passion for...hehe. One speaker candidly remarked just before he made his presentation that I have made the sessions much more enjoyable and interactive and that at times I seem to speak more than the speaker hahaha. Hmm, that's not very good isn't it? Ok ok... i must learn to reduce my interjections and not disturb the speaker/presenter hahaha....

But it's nice, being in control of the situation (wink) and I can tell you I am not very democratic when I am chairing or moderating hahaha (evil wink). You have to check with the conference organisers as to the feedback I get from participants. One will somehow know if one is not call upon again to chair hehe. If there is repeat can second guess, right? But all these are time sensitive I suppose. Constant exposure does wear out you know? heehee.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

shanghai joe II...

Tourist guides normally have plenty of stories and excellent jokes too sometimes, to tell, to sustain the interests of their guests/tourists. And David had, like the rest, one too many haha. Yes David the English-speaking oh well the american-accent tourist guide that was waiting for us at Hangzhou.

I said I was going to tell you about the legend of the white snake lady in my earlier blogpost (shanghai joe...). I am not sure if I can recall all of it but it goes something like this. We were on the boat at the famed West Lake at Hangzhou and David began to describe the history of the Pagoda in the background. That's when the story of the white snake woman came about. In ancient times it seems (that's how long the pagoda had stood there on the hills yonder...) there were 2 snakes, one white and one black. The white snake transformed into woman and being immortal, it could transform back into a snake. To cut the story short (haha) the white woman met a handsome young man married him and of course did not live happily ever after. She was immortal and she had to decide, if she wanted to be with her man, her immortality would have to be taken away. You guess right, she chose the man, and whoala she is no longer immortal.

But a priest, oh well, monk, as the legend goes, was looking for her. Captured her and kept her away in the pagoda. After thousands of years, in 2002, the pagoda caught fire (like many times before?) and when it was reconstructed, somehow rather the archaelogist during the excavations, unleashed the white snake woman... so she now roams west lake looking for her man...

I hope she didn't follow me back to Kuala Lumpur....hahaha... Trying to tell the story again, which I think I may have miserably failed hahaha.

Ok folks the airasia that was due an hour ago from KL has just landed..gotta get into the aircraft now. Will continue my blogpost when I get home...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

shanghai joe...

Automechanika Shanghai 2009

winter at west lake hangzhou

After the privacy statement I made recently, I just got a little lazy to blog. Now I am not too sure if I had done the right thing. I mean, it was good in a sense, like a wake up call so you won't be doing things you thought was ok but it was not ok for others. Now I am not sure if I want to share photos of my travels. Maybe I should say less, and share less too perhaps. What's the point of sharing when others don't believe in sharing? (wink). Some even think or say out loud that you're showing off! I am confused.

Anyway, see? I am beginning to even lose my relaxed and jovial writing style..haha. Beginning to be rather serious and conscious if anyone will sue me...hehe. Where was i? oh yes I was invited to speak at Automechanika Shanghai recently. 3 of us from Malaysia sharing the collision industry experience. China has its own peculiarities, style and they have the critical mass from within and really need not bother about other markets so to speak.

This is my first visit to Shanghai. The last time I was in China was in 1999, Urumqi and Turfan in Sinkiang Northwest China autonomous area. While in Shanghai I thought it would be a good idea to visit Hangzhou as well (the favourite winter retreat of Emperors throughout thousands of years of various dynasties and of course a favourite retreat for chairman Mao too I was told).

But the more interesting are the tales, legends, stories our english-speaking tour guide (graduate of Zhe Jiang University...the 3rd oldest university in China) shared with us. I particularly like the story of the white snake lady...hehe. Its freezy this time of year at west lake, hangzhou..(go google it if you want to read more)... I need some sleep now before pushing off tomorrow morning for a short family break hehe. Oh yes, I will narrate that white snake lady story in my next posting...nanait my frens, and enjoy the long weekend.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Caution: big brother is monitoring you online...

Dear friends, fellow bloggers, casual visitors,

I have just been formally informed via email, advising me to remove some of my postings be it articles and/or photos which may have intruded into other people's right to privacy as well as perhaps some material confidentiality issues that may arise thereupon. I like to apologise if at all, I have violated any of your privacy and shall endevour to seek your permission first before uploading or publishing your photos on the web. I have already removed those that were referred to. But should there be anymore which I have not done so, I would be only too pleased to delete/remove them. Or if it makes everyone feel alot better, I shall discontinue blogging or perhaps maintain it but for private viewing only. Any direct or indirect injury, discomfort or agony I may have inadvertently caused, is very much regretted.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

of wintry storms and homegrown grapes?

Why do you think people were easily taken to believe the rumours of a wintry or snow storm that was going to hit us (malaysia)? and the MET or the local metereological dept had to make a public statement denoucing or refuting such reports?
Thats because alot of things are possible these days. Like the lovely bunches or green grapes hanging out from my little garden at home...hehehe. Cultivating grapes in our climate? Hmmmm never heard of before..on higher grounda or cooler hill climates at our hill resorts perhaps lah...but in the hot humid Klang Valley? naaaaah... So you see? anything is possible these days...
I am at the lounge at KLIA waiting for my flight to Singapore...I hope you guys had a great weekend. Mine was, hmmm tiring. A strategic direction session at Awana then a last minute request to speak to budding young entrepreneurs at selesa hillhomes... Speaking for 3 hours can be real hard work...hehehe for both the body and brain...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

carpe diem?...

British Graduates Association Malaysia held its 22nd Anniversary Gala Dinner 2009 at Berjaya Time Square Kuala Lumpur recently. Of course, not just dinner lah. Its (as usual lor) in aid if BGAM's education fun ...err I mean fund. The dinner was no fun. I was told by my Hull Alumni treasurer its a blacktie function. So, i merrily put on my tux and went until I arrived to discover many were in dark lounge suits ( so was Tun Hanif darl lounge suit). I saw invitation card and i read: formal blacktie or dark lounge suit. Haiyyah..malaysian style maa..sure more people will wear lounge suit.

Thank gawd I wasn't alone like some monkey bar waiter hahaha. The BGAM Committee members, guests of honnour Tengku Razaleigh and Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen were in ok lar...hehe. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah gave a short sweet slam in his keynote address. But, hmmm dinner...chinese food? at a british do? I was expecting at worst, warm strawberry butter scones..hehehe or a lambshank to say the least..hehe.

The British High Commissioner was notably absent. He sent a rep instead. Politically incorrect for him to attend, perhaps? hmmm I wonder. Maybe, maybe not. The British Council Director for Malaysia, Mandy Johnson, was spotted. Ok folks, enuf for today...from karam singh walia wannabe...hahahaha...

what do you call a man who has knowledge, skills but no ability? wink3x

Dr R Palan chairman & ceo of SMR group Malaysia refers to me as a 'HR blogger' after he read my blogpost on last year's PSMB (Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad) annual conference at Genting. Hahaha. No, I am not a HR blogger specific as such. Honestly I don't know which category I belong to. I am not a political or social science blogger (like RPK as such hahaha). I like to think I am just someone making candid remarks or observations in an eclectic manner, and just because HR or human capital development seems to be closer to my heart than the more brutal strategic management, doesn't make me a HR Blogger, Dr Palan! I don't even have a following, perhaps maybe just one or two casual or accidental visitors ahaks! (wink)

I was invited to moderate the first session/paper at a Competency Summit 2009 at holiday inn Malacca on Oct 27 recently bt Dr Palan's group. The session was led by a lady corporate HR vice president of a GLC. The topic was about competency management: the right time, right place something like that, which in my opening remark as chairman/moderateur, said, that it reminded me of my chartered institute of marketing days more than 3 decades ago and that today, as I often quip, we try to embed rocket science into practically all of the management functions, we even call it management science. So the notion and debate as to whether management is a science or art continues... dot dot dot.

I was however, successful in restraining myself from making inappropriate or politically incorrect jokes that morning (wink) like: if a man has knowledge, skills and ability...we call him 'competent' rite? Now, if a man has knowledge and skills...but no abilities...what would we call him then? hahahaha...give a good guess and pat yourselves on tthe back. Enjoy the rest of the weakend folks..Hahahaha...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Impressionism..Chicago style..anyone?...

Haa..the art above is one of Picasso's (slightly vulgar some perhaps) found at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). Yes, one of the program to loosen up the brain after all those heavy technical, automotive engineering stuff meetings..was a visit to the famous, 'must visit', art museum or the art institute of chicago, located next to the millennium park. I won't bore you with the details. You can always google it bah! hehehe.
It houses a great collection of art pieces. The overwhelming generosity of enthusiastic collectors like Mrs Bertha Honore' Palmer, one of Chicago's most pioneering collector and wife of noted hotelier Potter Palmer, has brought many works into the Art Institute's collection. Mrs Palmer was dedicated to collecting the most innovative art of her time, and her immense generosity allowed many Impressionist works to enter the AIC in 1922. One should not miss dropping by, when in Chicago, to see for oneself, a few of her exceptional gifts...
Every year, AIC host over 30 exhibitions and over 1,400 events and programs. From the early 1920s to early 1960s, German Shepherds helped to guard the collection. One of the most beloved was named Utz von Storfels. Some say his spirit still comes out at night. AIC has 260,000+ objects in their collection. The oldest part of the current museum complex was opened in 1893 in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition, to host the World's Congress of Religions. Thousands of Hindus still visit Fullerton Hall, the site where the Hindu Missionary Swami Vivekananda gave his speeches. Their largest painting is George o' Keefe's Sky Above Clouds IV.
AIC played a role in determining whether Chicago should open an aquarium. An Art Institute display of 85+ varieties of fish drew more than 14,000 people on March 15, 1916, leading the Chicago Daily Tribune to declare that "if attendance at the Art Institute yesterday is any indication, Chicago wants a permanent aquarium."
AIC holds the attendance record for any art exhibition in the USA, with 1, 538, 103 for the Century of Progress show in 1933.
So there you are...Chicago is the place for fine arts, architecture, construction, engineering, maritime studies (freshwater lake), shipping, management, conservation, biodiversity. It has a multicultural setting. Despite its early mob lifestyle environment (like you see in the movies) is really a great (windy) city..too bad I couldn't get hold of Oprah Winprey..hehe. Obama chose it as his home base, but unfortunately..even by his personal presence in Copenhagen recently, he (Obama, the President of the United States of America) failed in his bid to get Chicago to host the Olympics in 2016...'wot a pity 'as the Brit would have said it...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Chicago oh Chicago...

No..I have not left blogosphere yet. I know my last posting was September 1 and it's October 4, 2009 today, 1.20 am in the morning here in Kelana Jaya. Much has happened since, so I shall not bore you. I am sure other fellow bloggers must have updated you acordingly. Most current news would be that Blair may be the next EC president, that Obama's appearance in person in Copenhagen to bid for 2016 olympics in Chicago, failed. Great floods in Manila including Makati where the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) is, earthquake in Padang, and tsunami elsewhere.

I was away in Chicago for the annual RCAR2009 conference. Presented 3 papers for MRC Malaysia. This was a rather strange and slightly a bit out of the normal of my business trips. First, getting the visa from the US embassy was one hell of a hassle, unlike those days in the late 90s where your travel agent do it for you. Now, you have to log-in, do everything yourself, get the appointment for interview and then fill up your must all be done online....

I should have taken the KL-London-Chicago route instead of the KL-Stockholm-Newark-Chicago flight path. Not only was you arrive like a zombie after about 20 hours in the aluminium capsule but what irks you most is, your luggage keys are gone and you realise it only when you get into your hotel room. After more than 20 over years of flying international occasionally, this is the first time my luggage didn't come home with me. Even after I got it back in less than 48 hours...most if not all of the souvenir were gone. I have yet to make a pilferage claim with MAS.

Describing the whole sequence of events since landing at newark and not having extra funds while in the US would only bore you. And can you beat it? I had to text and call my chaps back in KL to remit extra cash into my CIMB account. Lucky thing before I left I made a new ATM card which was also a cirrus debit mastercard. So I could 'cucuk' any ATM in Chicago and get cash. So much so, I forgot to even get some souvenir tshirts from the universities, planet hollywood or hardrock cafe (which was the standard operating procedures for tourists....errrm but again..I was no tourist right? hehe).

I will upload some great pictures when I receive them from our colleagues at all-state and state-farm insurance companies of America. The weather was just great. Cool, bright and sunny. Of course, if not for the wind blowing in from lake michigan, Chicago would not have been called the 'windy city'. What amazes me is the entrepreneurial spirit, the free-enterprise market economy that transformed this once 'lakeside swamp' into a skyscraping megalopolis...and was the icon of the mob and gangsterism or the era of 'the untouchables' if you may, during the roaring 20s...The efforts made and bringing back Chicago river from the dead was most interesting to me. We should learn from them and bring back to live, our dead rivers...

Its quite quiet in Chicago...must be the the economy..I guess they have not fully recovered from the global financial meltdown that began last september 2008. People in general are either still worried about the jobs or are away for their tail-end summer early autumn holidays . Or at least no more reckless shopping sprees..haha. I found a good Thai restaurant just a day before its time to leave. Didn't have time to visit the Malaysian Student's dept at Evanston and the plan to visit Firuz (finishing her PhD)and her family in Nebraska had to also be aborted.

Actually, come to think of it, I should have flown back via LA, stop by at San Francisco a couple of days and fly back to KL via Osaka...haha..that would have been a round-the-world-trip. Or perhaps detour to Vancouver. But...ah must have a Canadian Visa...or they will fine you US300.

More on Chicago in my next posting...its almost 2 in the morning..enjoy the rest of the weekend folks...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

compensating or compensation strategies?...haha

The Free Press, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996

It has been quite awhile since I reviewed a book on my blog. This would be a good opportunity since the book above was used as reference and companion to my guest lecture this afternoon at the Kulliyah Economics & Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia at its main campus in Gombak. I spoke about an hour to a group of compensation management class, BBA(Business) final semester undergrads.
The boook was published in 1996 (13 years ago), a year just before the Economic Crisis that began in Asia. But even during that time, the Consultants, Merchants of Knowledge if you may, were upbeat about change and changing organisations; the same mantra we hear that catapulted Obama to the US Presidency.
The blurp on the inside front flap of the book read: the rush to reengineer, implement TQM practices, from teams, and embrace other popular business strategies, most organizations have overlooked a critical component of successful change: how they pay their employees. Even though their responsibilities and corporate environments have undergone radical changes, most employees are still paid in the same ways they were paid twenty years ago. Thousands of companies still dole out annual merit increases and determine pay levels on the basis of employee's knowledge, length of service, number of direct reports, and rank on organizational ladder - values whose relevance has faded away in today's flatter, faster, more flexible business environment.
The HayGroup, which for the past forty years (50 now) has (as claimed) set the standard globally for effective pay strategies, has , in the book, this important issue - and once again has rewritten the rules for pay. People, Performance & Pay had also identified four most common organizational work cultures - functional, process, time-based and network - and explains how to align innovative pay policies with each.
The Global Economic Crisis that began in September 2008, triggered by the financial sector causing the demise of many classic global banks and insurance companies and soon afterwards by the automotive again changing some concepts of compensation strategy. People are not talking about compensation strategy in the usual sense per se, of a reward system as such, but how to get rid of employees to keep the company afloat! Having said that, compensation strategy is, to most of us, a critical determinant of organisational sustainability.
While it is desirable to benchmark against some of the best in the world (inorder for one to be globally competitive), I reminded these future HR practitioners and/or academics, that one has to be constantly mindful of other mitigating factors like economic cycles, internal equity considerations, cultures etc etc etc...especially the challenging 'millenial generation' and your own organisational affordability... I hope they understood what I was trying to drive at, while being mindful too, that I was speaking to them at TGV speed hahaha....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

of cloud computing, sustainable development and conference junkies...

Fong, Dr Pat (IBM USA) and yours truly, at the luncheon talk by Dr Pat on 'Cloud Computing'

Prof Dr Sofian Azirun (Dean, Science Faculty Universiti Malaya), me, YBhg Datuk Prof Khaw (deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Universiti Malaya, Prof Horowitz (Law prof USA) and Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram ( Assistant Secretary-General, Economic Bureau, United Nations, New York) at the VIP room after the conclusion of the International Conference on Sustainable Development organised by IMPUMA, Universiti Malaya
I guess Nobisha (or Saudara Norizan Sharif, CEO of Inminds, the current popular analyst and political commentator at ASTRO AWANI) was quite right in making a remark recently that people seem to be lazy updating their blogs. They spend too much time on facebook and twitter these days. I am guilty on all counts! (evil wink)...
The cloud computing luncheon talk (foto above) by Dr Pat from IBM was interesting to me (I am not sure about the rest cos I saw them busy eating away, poor Dr Pat..hehe). I asked him if this is not just another faddish phenomena because I have heard it being bandied around, discussed even as far as 15 years ago...and he said its coming...oh well already here in some not soo obvious mode. If you like to know more about cloud computing and its potential...see here.
Having said that, blogs do have their roles and relevance and people, I suspect, will continue to use blogs and there will be newer versions and with all kinds of add-ons what with the proliferation of new apps much like iphone. Even the makers, or inventors rather, of Blackberry (RIM or Research in Motion - the billion dollar Canadian company), having put corporate emails into most corporate executive's pockets, are now barging into killer-Apps and coming into a head-on collision course with Apple (Iphone) as reported in the latest issue of Fortune Magazine (31 August 2009 issue).
My friend Abbas Khaku of the London School of Economics (LSE), was also spot-on, when he honoured me by bestowing upon me (hehe), a title that qualifies me into the ranks of 'Conference Junkies' hahahaha. I have been telling people that I was a conference junkie because of the incessant attendances at conferences but these days, its the opposite actually (wink). I attend to speak, not to listen to some probably boring speakers anymore (wink)...while mindful of the fact that the same (boringness) could also hold true, of me. haha.
Its fasting month (Holy Ramadan) and so far I have succeeded in 'containing' the devilish temptation of uploading food photos or big huge sinful spreads of hotel breaking fast sessions... hahaha. By the way, the devils are supposed to be on a 30 day (forced) leave of absence. And oh, incidentally, my joint co-secretary, Noriswadi Ismail will also be on a 3 year leave of absence pursuing his PhD in Law (RFID) degree at Queen Mary's College, The University of London.
Yes, I have a bad habit of not knowing when to say yes and when to say no until I discovered that I have overcommitted with strings of conference chairmanships and other speaking engagements. Looks like october and november is going to be a bloody busy month what with my eldest daughter's wedding scheduled for October 31 as well...haiyyah. Come September 1 next week; I have been invited, yet again, to share my experiences with graduating BBA (Business) students at the International Islamic University (UIA) Malaysia at their Gombak campus.. thanks to our enterprising 'Sir Zul' hahaha.
'Selamat Berbuka Puasa' (a breaking fast wish) to my muslim comrades the world over wherever you are, and have a great long weekend to my fellow Malaysian friends who will be celebrating MERDEKA on August 31st. Stay safe and observe 'social distancing' unless you wanna feel what its like to contract H1N1...hehehe

Thursday, August 13, 2009

is quality management still fashionable?...

August 4 recently, I was chairing the 2009 Quality Management Symposium at the posh new signature hotel, Royale Chulan (owned by the Boustead Group). The annual symposium, led by Nuclear Malaysia together with other bodies like the Standards dept, SIRIM, SMIDEC and supported by MOSTI (Ministry of Science) has been an annual affair.
I have been invited consecutively over the last four years. Have presented a paper, moderated, chaired and gave a keynote presentation but this year, I told my friends at Nuclear Malaysia (The DG and the Training Manager that this year if they want me to contribute again, no papers please... penatlah (tired) hahaha, just chairing the conference on day one (hehe). That's why you see me in all the four photos above. Giving away momentos to speakers. The topmost, to none other than YBhg Tan Sri Ali Hashim, Group Chief Executive of Johor Corporation. He shared the trials and tribulations, business cycles (the ups and downs) of Johor Corp, his passion for Islamic business-jihad and his notion of 'westoxification' a word, I believe, he invented. My old friend Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi (Sadarji) during the days of MSTD, also gave a keynote address. Another old friend Mansoor, President and CEO of AVON ASEAN 'passionately' shared AVON's adaptation of quality management practices in their business model and strategies.
You probably notice that the last 2 fotos were taken with...yes you are right..none other than YBhg Datuk Arumugam of the iconic malaysian band 'Alleycats'. They are performing at Royale Chulan now (check them out hehe). Quality Management is a culture, a cult if you like. Breathing and living quality in your everyday lives be it the personal or business certainly the bedrock of a winning strategy, as manifested by Alleycats...after more than 30 years...their survival owes to, among other variables, quality performance, always evergreen...always the alleycats and their music as you have heard them a long time ago, and still the same...
So, is quality management still fashionable? Despite some ethical issues raised and lamented during the symposium, I believe it is here to stay. It worked for Alleycats and thousands of other organisations globally, it certainly will work for yours....

Saturday, August 01, 2009

of security, passion and desire? ...

Ya ya ya...just because my retirement is fast approaching, doesn't mean my blogging should also slow down, right? There is no direct corelation at all. In fact, the blogging should be even more aggressive and should take on a more pro-active role, as some close friends had duly suggested. We will see how that progresses.... Yesterday afternoon I was at the finals of the National Inter-Varsity quiz on Computer/Internet Security. We (MRC) sponsored the runner-up prize (3 netbooks!). It was also about meeting a longtime old friend that have not met up quite a long time as well! We use to attend the International Youth Foundation Board (IYC) Meetings at Fukuoka, Japan in the early 90s when he was very active in the youth movement. Yes, he is Deputy Minister of Higher Education now, in Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak's cabinet. He is also a statemate (he is from Temerloh, Pahang and I am from Kuantan, Pahang). Good to have caught up with you, YB Datuk!

Talent has to be discovered at the “source” it cannot be developed. You cannot train for talent, you can only unleash it by creating the right context and the right mindset. The power of talent is that it is transferable from situation to situation. The champions were from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the runners-up, Universiti teknologi Malaysia (UTM). Well done fellas! These boys and girls are talented. We (MRC) are proud to be playing a small part in that talent 'discovery'.

Just a note to all of us who are passionate about talent and development, especially those in higher education. During his early career, academic pedigrees impressed Jack Welch. He hired engineers from MIT, Princeton, and Caltech. After a while, he realized that wasn’t what counted. “Eventually I learnt that I was really looking for people who were filled with passion and a desire to get things done. A resume didn’t tell me much about that inner hunger.” Perhaps we should be mindful of Jack's valuable experience... have a great weekend and a good rest folks...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Relations dan Kawasan2 yang Sewaktu dengannya...

Last Tuesday I chaired a Media Relations Conference 2009 at Istana Hotel Kuala Lumpur. About 30 delegates from Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. A good set of speakers and attendees. Corporate media (corp communications, PR et al) people, media consultants, ex and existing print media people were also present. More of scanning the current industry scenario and how 'new media' (facebook, twitter, blogs etc etc) is impacting the industry and the A&P expenditure.

Some interesting notes presented by some industry expert, was that, globally there has been an observable increase in online above and below the line expenditure in online (new media) rather than in print of traditional media like TV for instance. Most advanced countries are registering above 20% mark while malaysia apparently, is still below the 1.4% mark.

Another interesting data that was disclosed at the conference was that, more than 87% of the malaysian chinese population read their own vernacular newspapers! Less than 10% read NST or Star, only those english-educated). Interesting information for strategists and planners...

As usual I try to manage the conference according to the time schedule except for the last paper of the day...I told him he got 25 minutes but he actually overshot his time by one hour 15 minutes. I didn't have the heart to stop him cos I saw the delegates were like sooo attentive to what the fella was sharing and he enticed them to ask for more with his case studies (wink) bugger... while at the same time angling for some business hahaha. He was selling his skill and expertise yes, but I must acknowledge the fact that he is good. I enjoyed every one of the presenters and their presentations. I was also updating my own knowledge bank, if you like..

Have a great weekend folks!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

who says management accountants are a boring lot?

Last monday july 13, I was invited to the opening ceremony of CIMA or short for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, World Conference 2009. The previous being held in Sri lanka. You may ask 'what the hell are you doing with CIMA?'
Well, I have been involved with CIMA since the days when Ben Morais (who is retired now) was divisional director. I was invited to give a short lecture to the staff then, somewhat a combination of indirect motivation (sort of hehe) some new information or new perspectives or ways of looking at things, if you like, from an outsider rather than from the divisional director. I was deputy chairman, MEG (Malaysia Employer Group, a committee specially set up by CIMA to encourage employer relations and forge links for purposes of training, attachments oh well, more so to enhance employability of CIMA graduates).
Somehow rather when a new divisional director took over, his or her focus was elsewhere and the MEG 's role was very much down played, which I understand perfectly. I do however continue to maintain close links with CIMA Malaysia. In fact a few years ago I was invited to give an inaugural lecture series in strategic management at the KL Renaissance Hotel.
Enuf of that, lets get back to this world conference. There were 600 delegates where 20% constitute those from other CIMA centres globally. Looking at a glance, it would appear that there is no recession as far as training, conferences et al are concerned, right? (wink) Hey, look again...these guys are CIMA grads and mostly are CFOs, Finance Directors, MDs or CEOS....the buck stops at their feet ok?...hahaha. They decide if you can use the budget or otherwise (evil wink). So, your guess, as always haha, is as good as mine.
Having said that, I think Sopiah Suid, the current divisional director did a marvellous job putting up the great show in these really trying times. She had great support from tourism malaysia, among others. Have a great weekend ya all....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Durians & 1Malaysia did u say? hehehe

Let's talk about 'durian eat-all-u-can' from RM10 at SS2 Petaling Jaya for a change haha. I had my regular chow yang foot reflexo just now and then some 'nasi kandar' at Pelita, bangsar and then remembered about the annual durian ritual (king of fruits) extravaganza.

A few people have commented that I am 'full of myself'' when I write my blog or facebook or twit (ouch!). But tonite, no..I am full of durians! hahaha.
Look at them enjoying the durians! Families in droves, of all races, malaysian spirit at its best. There's a terrible jam out there at SS2 rite now. They close at 2 am, the fiesta I mean. Perhaps this should be an important 1Malaysia activity (heheh) which I think and my fren David and his frens think as well too...rather than the boring (full of insincere faces heheh) morning senamrobik hehe...jeng3x

Sorry KakTeh, if you are reading this, I know you love to have it with pulut and ice-cream but the last time I saw you, you had a really bad hayfever. Hope its over by now. Do guard yourself and your family members against swine flu ya? Cos the UK prediction/projection (from timesonline) is 65000 deaths from swine flu in the UK and 50% of them would be children. But I read somewhere too, that people get all ga ga ga and wear masks in panic over swine flu but refuses to wear condoms when they know that there are more than one million AIDS cases globally hehehe...sounds rather oxymoronic, isn't it? (evil wink).

Uish, doesn't the durian looks really enticing huh? It does not only look inviting but it tastes oh my god! hahaha. Good strategy these guys. They open a lousy one first then give you a really great fingerlicking gud one on the second round....but then again, eh much can you eat ah long? Some people really can, but me? naaah by the second one , I would had given up. Lost my touch although, like most malaysians, we all love the lulian...heheheh.
David (see last foto below) and his frens gave me permission to capture them on my blackberry bold and also permitted me to upload it on my blog tonight. There you are guys hahaha. Hey good to catch up with you David. We met on several occasions years ago while I was doing my masters and while we were on the special komuter train ride with the late Tan Sri Selvarajah (Chairman of KTMB) when the service was launched by KTMB (Malayan Railways) way back in 1995. I had just joined KTMB as director of the training school then at Sentul.

The durian (pronounced /ˈdʊəriən/)[1] is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family[2][3] (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae[3]). Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market. (from wikipedia)

edited saturday july 18th:

someone just texted me additional info which I thought would be a shame not to share (wink) ...that a truly authentic way for describing the flesh of durian by Alfed Russel Wallace - a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds...

Friday, July 10, 2009

a promising oasis, or a treacherous mirage II, knightsbridge, London...

UPDATED, posted on saturday July 18th, 2009, some new fotos emailed from London...

Original Posting:

I spoke at the recent 3rd International Takaful Summit 2009 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, London. Since MRC Malaysia's role is to contain cost of claims for both conventional insurance and takaful industry in Malaysia, I thought it would be most appropriate and perhaps timely too that we share the malaysian experience of how we did it and explore possibilities of it (the model) being replicated in other jurisdictions and market.
I chose the topic 'Motor Takaful: A Promising Oasis or a Treacherous Mirage: a Malaysian Case Study'. It was not easy to get the attention of delegates (about 350 registered, from Africa, Europe and the Middle East) especially when the presentation was slotted right after lunch! The trick was to wake them up, and woke them up I certainly did! hahaha. Well, the 'Diehard 4' thirty seconds trailer videoclip did the trick actually (wink).
Some random photos above. I will upload the great ones later when they are sent over to me from London. Majid (CEO Labuan Re), your foto is up there, Ismail Mahbob (CEO, MNRB Re) your foto pon ada lar. Jason Moseley, COO of THATCHAM (our UK partner) took time off his busy schedule just to hear me speak and gave their support. Thanks Jason. Thank you Eric (PTS CEO) and Yvonne Gumb (THATCHAM) for manning the exhibit stand.

of Oscar Wilde and Lilie langtry...

When I was googling for a hotel to stay, at this year's 3rd International Takaful Summit at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge, London, I came across this interesting 100 year old hotel just 2 minutes walk from The Jumeirah. I still had this 'phobia' when we stayed at The Langham Hotel, during the Inaugural Takaful Summit in 2007...
The frontpage of (The Cadogan Hotel) website attracted me: "The luxury London hotel off Sloane Square. The finest British hospitality awaits you at the Cadogan Hotel. London's Cadogan Hotel is a prestigious Knightsbridge address; an SW1 hotel off London's Sloane Square that weaves contemporary styling with classic Edwardian decadence. At The Cadogan Hotel, history comes alive. Consider Room 118, scene of the arrest of Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright. Or consider the Edward VII Suite, renamed to celebrate the future King of England's liaisons with his close friend, the actress Lillie Langtry. Today, you too will be seduced, by our neighbours Gucci, Tiffany, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, by the 24-hour pulse of the West End. Experience comfortable elegance in the hotel's spacious guestrooms and luxurious suites, all in a superbly refurbished central London hotel... with just the right touch of historic intrigue. Exception Dining offers in Knightbridge's Langtry's Restaurant. Only in london - a truly unique one off experience - a stay in Oscar Wilde's room at the Cadogan Hotel."
When I checked-in the morning of June 29, 2009.. I told the chappie at the reception desk that, whatever you do, please do not put me in room 118, the room that Oscar Wilde was arrested. An elegant lady (not too sure if she was Welsh, Irish, Scottish or English) tall, slightly blondish (rambut karer aah) looking a bit Scandinavian, oh well, Viking, is more like it haha...was also just about to check-out. Smiled, turned to me and said: "oh? I was in room 118 last night and I had wished Oscar Wilde had visited me...but he didn't". The hotel was spooky alright but I quickly got adjusted and it turned out quite alright afterall. There were other malaysians too I found out the next morning. Mostly venture capitalists and investment bankers who were on a roadshow and some attending the Sukuk Summit at Radisson Portman( I suspect).

No. I did not patronise any of the branded upmarket outlets. Didn't have time to even peek into Harvey Nichols (where Londoners shop anyway) and Harrods? A definite no-no...cos I really don't want to be seen carrying a Harrod's plastic bag walking around like spoilt rich arab tourists haha. Or to localise it..looking like a makcik (auntie) from Padang Piol or Manek Urai first time in London hahaha ( forgive me, no offense intended). Beside the paid for, great hearty English breakfast every morning at Lilie Langtry's...I would take the cab (if its sweltering hot) or the tube (if the temperature was bearable) to Queensboro Terrace for the usual 'tribal' meals (hehe) where you would more often than not, bump into your countrymen you may or may not like (heheh). I was just wondering, oh well, perhaps my own conspiracy to why Oscar Wilde was arrested. It seemed he was arrested for being drunk but did you know that Lilie langtry was not just Oscar Wilde's girlfriend? she was also Prince Albert's girlfriend (so the story goes, it seems.hehe). Your guest is probably as good as mine?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

of coffee and alzheimers...

The Brits may be known for their enthusiasm for drinking afternoon tea but for millions of office workers in modern Britain apparently, the dominant ritual has become one of morning coffee. They persuade one of their number to go down to a cafe and return with a cardboard carrier stuffed with polystyrene cups containing multiple coffees, carefully noting demands for Lattes, Cappuccinos and Skinny Americanos. We don't 'tapao' coffee as much here at home in Malaysia. A couple of days ago when I was in London, coffee drinking was boosted by an experiment on mice in Florida which suggested drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse Alzheimer's. But the news has come too late to save Coffee Republic. The firm, with 187 outlets, has gone into administration. Some of its loss making branches face closure and the accountants (known for coming onto the field after the battle has ended to count the dead and bayonet the injured) have come in to run it.

It should be good news for aunt Gloria Simmonds who is 74. I made the right decision taking time off to visit her at Faversham. Her alzheimer is advancing although she appears perfectly normal. I was worried she would not recognise me over the phone. The neighbours, Vicki and Simon at the lovely quiant little Hamlet just outside Faversham, were so nice to let me into their home and made me coffee while I waited for Gloria and Sherry to be back from Canterbury...

Slow-roast Rump of English lamb...

The House of Lords (also known as House of peers for ceremonial purposes) is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is also commonly referred to as "the Lords". Parliament comprises the Sovereign, the House of Commons (which is the lower house of Parliament and referred to as "the Commons"), and the Lords. Membership of the House of Lords was once a right of birth to hereditary peers, but following a series of reforms these now only form a portion of the membership. As of July 2009[update] the House of Lords has 740 members, 94 more than the 646 seat House of Commons.[1][2] The House of Lords, like the House of Commons, assembles in the Palace of Westminster. The full, formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. (from wikipedia).
I was in London recently to speak at the 3rd International takaful Summit at Knightsbridge. One of the highlights of the summit was the dinner reception at the House of Lords. I shall not write alot about it. The wiki info above I suppose, is enough to enlighten the dark. I have been invited 3 times to have a meal there, the first two was from Lord Kenneth O Morgan (Lord of Aberdyfi) former Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth that alas, never happened. So I thought I shall not miss this opportunity for a third time. I bumped by chance, into Kak Teh choc-a-blog, at MSD canteen at Queensboro Terrace and she commented (complained was more like it) that my blog was too I am lost for words...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ahead of the Curve?...

Yup, you are right, I am not talking about 'The Curve' (in front of IKEA) at Damansara Intan..hehe. On the inside jacket backflip of the hardcover edition read 'published during the one hundredth anniversary of Harvard Business School, Ahead of the Curve, offers a rich detailed and revealing you-are-there account of the institution that has, for good or ill (evil is more like it , if you ask me..hehe), made American business what it is today.' Written by Philip Delves Broughton, a journalist who had served in New York and Paris as bureau chief of The Daily Telegraph of London, one can imagine the wordsmith skill, satire, wit, sarcasm and spin job, seasoned newspapermen are capable of delivering (wink). I was waiting for the book even before it was published. I was not disappointed. It has sixteen chapters beginning with 'Lets Get Retarded' and ends with the chapter on ' A Factory of Unhappy People'. Chapter Two (Starting Over) begins with a quote from the HBS Admissions website by Theodore Roosevelt - Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat...Chapter Five (Who am I) talks about personality tests candidates were required to take. One was Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the other was CareerLeader. Reminds me of that same MBTI we went through in great detail, when I did my MBA (HRD), not at HBS of course, but Hull is a fairly good European MBA school ok? (wink). I like the recommendation letter Philip's boss wrote (which reminds me of the recommendation letter I wrote for Wadi when he applied for the British Chevening Scholarship..hehe). Here goes:

From: Quentin Letts
Re: Philip Delves Broughton
Dear Professor,
Thank you for your email. You ask me to help my former colleague Philip Delves Broughton with his exercise for your course. I am naturally happy to do so, even though we emotionally restrained englishmen are generally hopeless at self-examination - for that matter, dwelling on the nitty-gritty character strengths of our confreres....

( didn't think I was going to reproduce the full letter, did you? c'mon, go buy the book and read it yourselves ok? hahaha). Ok ok let me give you a little bit more to tease and excite your interest. Chapter Sixteen: 'A Factory of Unhappy People' where Philip records some of the comments of his classmates and HBS alumnus, and about how to make the right choices coming out of HBS would require real intestinal fortitude,a real functioning moral compass, because the forces pushing you to pursue success in a very specific way were so overwhelming. Philip spoke to his classmate Justin. "If you want to change the world, get on the plane to f****** Darfur, he said tersely. "HBS is about making money. There are going to be a small handful of terrific people in our class who actually do good stuff, but most of us are like everyone else in business. We talk about it because it makes us feel better. How many people in our class wrote in their applications that they wanted an MBA so they could do micro-financing in Uganda and are now going into investment banking?"

In the century since its founding, Harvard Business School (HBS), has become the single most influential institution in global business. Its graduates are Fortune 500 CEOs, private equity titans, venture capitalists, even presidents of the USA! They include many of US's savviest entrepreneurs (eg Michael Bloomberg) and canniest felons (eg Jeffrey Skilling). Top investment banks and brokerage houses routinely send their brightest young stars to HBS to groom them for future power. To these people and many others, a Harvard MBA is a golden ticket to the Olympian heights of American Business... or is it still? (wink). Philip (the author) and his classmates over two years, were inundated with the best -and the rest - of American business culture that HBS epitomizes. The core of the school curriculum is the "case method" - an analysis of a real business situation from which the students must, with a professor's guidance, tease lessons. Over the years, the Harvard Case Method is not short of critics and detractors (we shall not go into that hehe). Philip in his account, also exposed the less savory trappings of b-school culture, from the 'booze luge' to the pandemic (no, not swine flu ok?) obsession with Powerpoint to the specter of depression, which stalks many overburden students. With acute and often uproarious candor, Philip assesses the school's success at teaching the traits it extols as most important in business - leadership, decisiveness, ethical behaviour, work/life balance. I most recently co-signed a cheque sending 3 of our chaps to attend the forthcoming ASEAN HBS Malaysian Alumni Senior Management Program at Awana Genting. Good luck and have fun guys (wink). So? there you are...Eddie Murphy - go get your own copy if you have been contemplating ya?....hehe

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full...-Henry Kissinger...

Last week I was up in Genting Highlands attending MARIM's Risk Management Conference 2009 with the theme: 'Building corporate Resilience via Effective ERM'. The conference began (after registrations et al) at 2 pm, June 15, 2009 monday with the Academic Track, with presentations of selected academic papers based on empirical research. Papers presented were: The Relationship Between Board of Directors and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Practices (Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Shukri Yazid of UDI et al; Philosophy and Practices of Risk Management in Malaysian Islamic Banks (Prof Dr Nor Hayati Ahmad UUM et al) and The Role of Chief Risk Officers in the Adoption of ERM (Assoc Prof Dr Shukri,(UDI) Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Rasid Hussin (UiTM) & Dr Wan Norhayate Wan Daud).

Me and the academics...hehe
(Assoc Prof Shukri UDI, Prof Nor Hayati UUM and
Assoc Prof Dr Rasid, UiTM (the first asian PHD holder in Risk Management)

One for the album with GOH YBhg Dato' Muhammad Hatta Ab Aziz, Secretary, National Security Council, Prime Minister's Department

Panel session with Tan Sri Lau, moderated by Director, The Malaysian Institute of Integrity on the topic: 'Global Financial Crisis: How Boards can pre-empt Future Shock'

All in all there were many very good papers both from practice and academia. Like other management functions, Risk Management joins the struggle and the bandwagon to get noticed by top management and oh well, the board! Its a tough battle especially in today's highly competitive evil knievel corporate scenario. To quote Dave Ulrich (one of my favourite HRM Gurus) : '.. being strategic and getting boardroom support means being at the table and not on the table'...haha. Tan Sri Lau encroached on my time as he passionately drowned himself with all the 'dark' corporate scenarios from Timbuktu to Kuala Lumpur (hehe). Good for me though, so I wouldn't have to say much. But as usual, I always like to go down the provocative 'devil's advocate' route with my ever so repetitive ' have been swindling other men on many occasions'...bla bla bla and asked delegates to google this article that appeared in the 7 August , 2008 issue of The economist entitled 'Risk and The Credit Crunch: Confessions of a Risk Manager' which essentially laments (as an insider) and explains why it is so hard to stop traders behaving recklessly. I then quoted a december 18, 2008 article by Theodore L Dysart and Neil S Novich's of Directorship, 5 critical areas that boards normally ask the one-year-hence question in virtually any area of their interest and responsibility. They are: 1. strategy 2.operations/organization 3. Balance Sheet/Liquidity 4. Compensation and 5. Enterprise Risk Management. No...yes no, I am not going any deeper than this..haha. I am sure you must have been bored enough by now (evil wink). Not easy to keep delegates awake and what made it worst was my bad throat was building up but strangely that night, during the Gala Awards Dinner, I was called up to give a song...and it (to my horror) went quite well, I must say..hehe. But this report (wink) would not be complete if I did not acknowledge the hard work of Puan Arpah Abu Bakar (MARIM manager and UUM Risk Management lecturer) and her team for a very succesful conference (especially in times when the training fraternity is experiencing a 42% drop in attendance!). Of course, the support from MARIM's management committee, I suspect, must have been immense and quite thankless too, I would imagine (heheh). Well done fellas!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Elephants can dance afterall huh? ...

Yes, my last blog was June 3, and I tell you it sure is helluva difficult to start writing again after that long spell. Trapped in a sort of writer's 'inertia' ( inertia is one of newton's laws that states the tendency of a body to stay at rest or continue its state of motion...). But I did some useful things ( I hope) like reading the above book that was re-published in paperpack edition in 2003. One of those interesting turnaround stories. I like Gerstner's style. Once duped as the biscuit salesman who turned around an IT giant. I like the memos he wrote, his management and leadership style. Especially his leadership style, and in his opinion, which I grossly agree, is the most important element of institutional transformation. He goes on to say that at the end of the day its all about culture and great institutions are the length and shadow of individuals. Great institutions are not managed, they are led he says. They are not administered; they are driven to ever increasing levels of accomplishment by individuals who are passionate about winning. The best leaders create high performance cultures, set demanding goals, measure results and hold people accountable. They are change agents, constantly driving their institutions to adapt and advance faster than their competitors do.

On personal leadership, he says its about visibility and about being both strategic and operational. Great CEOs roll up their sleeves and tackle problems personally, not hide behind staff, never simply preside over the work of others, visible everyday with customers, suppliers and business partners. Personal leadership to him is about communication, openness, and a willingness to speak often and honestly, and with respect for the intelligence of reader or listener. Leaders don't leave to others the delivery of bad news, don't hide behind corporate double-speak. They treat every employee as someone who deserves to understand what's going on in the organisation. Of course, passion....naaah I don't wanna bore you. Go read the book yourself, if you haven't... So, I have been keeping myself quite occupied actually. I also bought another book 'Ahead of the Curve' Two years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton. I will write something about it as soon as I finish reading it... have a good rest folks and a great week ahead.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

to each his own, from each his power...

Inna lillahi wa inna lillahi rajiun... YBhg Datuk A kadir Jasin's dad passed away at age 85. See his bloglink (the scribe) on the right side of my blog. I spoke with my classmate awhile ago and we both agreed that something (not necessarily in a radical or revolutionary manner) need to be done to the way we think about accountability, responsibility and ethics as a nation, in our own little way. I remember our school motto: to each his own, from each his power...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

The news one reads at is exciting at times, dull at times, worrying and a cause for concern too these days...not at all encouraging isn't it? No offence timesonline. Having said that, you're still my favourite read (hehe). For a while it was about British MPs making ridiculous claims (expenses) something like getting the govt to pay for the moat of his second home, then another making claims for his duck house (something like that lah haha). Then there were spates of resignations, and then the public outcry of public funds, taxpayers' money that these guys receive for their pension (as MPs). Then yesterday Air France Airbus A330-200 from Brazil enroute to Paris went missing. And they haven't found the wreakage (if any) yet. Today in our local mainstream New Straits Times, it seems CEO of AirAsia fainted. I hope it has nothing to do with the airbus he and AirAsia are awaiting delivery (hehe). No, no poor fellow, he was tired, had an executive burnout perhaps. Must be working very hard to close the deals, get landing rights, deal with various governments, perhaps put Malaysia Airlines out of business too in the not soo distant future? I hope not. They should both merge, evolve and become 1Malaysia Airline (don't you think so?). Ya ya ya I know there will definitely be lots of problems, easier said than done...hehehe. Then there was this dramatic 'escape' involving singapore police, embassies of indonesia and the US (as reported). I won't go into the details of the press conference. I am soo embarassed. Not sure who is right who is wrong or both are wrong perhaps? or there's much more (hidden sinister agenda perhaps?) than meets the eye perhaps? Then the ambalaat issue resurfaces. They say, when times are bad, when the economy is in the doldrums, social unrest accelerates, protectionism prevail...every man for himself kinda tingy...huhuhu. Then, as if we hadn't had enuf of international attention, the timesonline reports this... oh no....

Friday, May 29, 2009

am i old-fashioned...or is altruism still around?

ya ya ya my last posting was may 25th. its now may 29th. i can give you a whole lorryload of excuses, board meeting lah, audit comm lah...bla bla bla...hehe. Which, incidentally are true though. Alot has taken place during the week that I am tempted to comment, respond or give my personal views but as usual i shall refrain from doing it lest I be accused of attempting to replace RPK (hahaha) who, I read the star today, is missing and suspected of having left the country and is in brisbane. already some have said that I look like him (RPK) oh my gawd. I better make sure that I am not a case of a 'mistaken identity' hahaha. Then there was this 5 request thingy, according to reportslah, the independent chinese schools group putting pressure on DPM and also Minister of Education, YB Tan Sri Muhyidin Yassin. I kinda like his response though. The independent chinese schools wanted the govt to recognise their senior middle three... something like thatlah. Well the keyword is recognition. So, Muhyidin dengan selambe dek je jawap: '...well, you chose to be independent, now you want us to recognise you, tak bolehlah. if you want us to recognise you, come back to the fold (meaning come under the purview and regulations of the ministry of educationlah) then we can review'...something like interpretation (hehe). Well done Tan Sri, Kudos for your firm responses. I notice Datuk AKJ pon dah bosan komen on the silver happenings (wink)...he has moved on to Petronas and corporate leadership sustainability. And it looks like the Oxbridge mafia is still very much in control (hehe). Move aside US Ivy League guys! The Jaya Supermarket crash yesterday afternoon...hmmm...was it an accident or was it deliberately meant to be demolished? That's the interesting question. We shall wait for futher reports of the investigation. The PKFZ report? When I quickly read the report in the mainstream media today...I was just wondering why the Auditors wanted an indemnity before the report was made public (in the newspapers today)? Would they not already be protected by their code of professional conduct? (I stand corrected though hihi). Surely they are all covered under the D&O Liability Insurance too? (wink). Sorry CKF (he is a hull alumnus...just like John Prescott, former Deputy PM of the UK during Tony Blair's reign...hehehe). The hoo-haa seems to me, like opening up pandora's box...

Someone suggested to me that if I wanted a sudden surge of tsunami-like hits to my blog, that I should wear black, get caught by the police, my face all over the newspapers, on TV...hahahaha. No thank you Datuk! thank you for the thought hahaha. I may reconsider when I am no longer gainfully employed (wink). Which brings me to this young lawyer fren of mine who is having mixed feelings about him being nominated and will be appointed into a divisional political party (bahagian) ...something like det lah. He is worried, with mixed feelings, takut orang dengki, too younglah for the post, you need to wait-for-your-turn culture syndrome lah...bla bla bla. So i tell him, go for it bro, its gonna be an awesome experience. Fastforward learning opportunity. Don't forget, times have changed (if your are reading this bro), you are not only going to compete with the nonmalays, you have to compete with your fellow malays bah. If you have what I think you have, the spirit and aspirations of the early founding fathers of 'the party', this would be a great start. Don't forget most, at the time, were teachers, pakai baju melayu labuh, songkok tinggi (ala padang), bawak nasi bungkos dalam daun upeh dan mendayung perahu ke hulu, just to attend a mesyuarat bahagian. Their end in mind wuz caste in stone and were not ezily distracted by anything else you see in abundance today. Go see the movie Laskar Pelangi' for additional inspiration bro. The message was soo crystal clear and simple: Apabila kamu menjadi pemimpin satu hari nanti, berikanlah sebanyak-banyaknya kepada agama, bangsa dan negaramu, dan janganlah kamu sekali -kali mengambil sebanyak-banyaknya dari bangsa, agama dan negaramu... (when you become a leader one day, give as much as you can, not take as much as you can...) ya ya ya so much for the altruism I know some of my frens (who read this) will smurk...hahaha. Do have a fabulous weekend fellas...(evil grin).