Thursday, February 26, 2009

dahulu, sekarang dan selamanyer?.....hehe

ya ya ya ya i have not been blogging. I won't get unduly upset (evil wink) if you stopped visiting my blog all because I have not updated or written anything for the last 11 days or so. Nothing new or nice to write about honestly. I decided not to be part of the statistics of doom prophets, gloom harry, worried-sick john doe, or hopeless lemans or alleged fraudulent maddoffs and the sir allens...hahaha. I saw Obama's spirited 'we shall overcome the challenge and emerge stronger' speech on CNN and BBCWorld. We hear of increasing frequency of plane crashes. That's scary, which makes me begin to rethink of the old statistical assumption that flying is alot safer than being in your car or automobile on the way to Chicago airport! hahaha.
Otherwise, the last 10 days or so has been filled up with meetings bloody meetings. Board, audit committees, remuneration bla bla bla. Then there are other NGO stuff like IPPM and the second 'WACANA' we are organising slotted for end march tentatively. I have also been co-opted into the BLM taskforce (MAICSA) haha...meetings again, time consuming .and that's not including other things like giving a guest lecture to final year business undergrads at UIA, being asked to represent the group to receive a silver award at a professional institute dinner, at the eleventh hour! hahaha...but you know? Always this obliging long as the venue got class and the food...great (evil wink) hahahaha. I owe a few people/places papers, articles...oh my gawd! what have I done to myself? I hope I have not overstretched my brain. I wished I was on that flight to london last night. Especially when TSA offered to foot the bill (minus of course, the airticket lar...that... I can use my enrich points...plenty still unused...some will be purged or gone if I don't use by dec 2009 hehe). But despite all the above, its a nice feeling that your little outfit showed a 61% improvement on the PAT for 2008 performance (evil wink) isn't it? We are all off to Awana this weekend (tomorrow onwards) to critically dissect our position, dahulu, sekarang dan selamanya.....hehehe (no, no, no...please don't associate us with any political party...wink wink wink...evil wink) hahaha. Enjoy the coming weekend folks...until my further update....cheerio.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

...of legacies and slogans? dot dot dot

I am a member of the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) and was Founding Executive Board of the Malaysian Society for Training and Development (MSTD). Mine is a specialist MBA (Human Resource Development). Four general management modules including of course, strategy, marketing and finance. One of the fourteen core modules was educational management which explains my inclination towards human capital management and development and educational management. In 1994 while attending an education summit at Institut Aminudin Baki (IAB), I read Tan Sri Wan Zahid’s paper/keynote address (he was Director-General of Education at the time). And I noticed he propagated the concept of ‘zero defect’ popularised by Philip Baynard Crosby (a one time assembly line worker who became an entrepreneur spreading the gospel of quality control in manufacturing, died in 2001 at Asherville, NC at age 75. His zero defect concept emphasise customer satisfaction as a measure of quality control. Other Quality GURUS on same ranking as he is, include Armand V Feigenbaum, W Edward Demings and Joseph Juran). Tan Sri Dato' Dr Wan Zahid (Harvard trained) used the frog parable to drive the managerial imperative in shaping the future of education and the ministry of education during his regime. Essentially, the frog exemplifies adaptability. A creature that can live on land on in the water (amphibious) and can adapt to hot arid climates, cold climates, hot humid climates and cold humid climates. From the biological perspective, the frog has survived the ages because of its remarkable adaptability to the environment. However, in a laboratory experiment, frogs were placed in shallow pans of room temperature water and they were free to jump out of the pans at anytime, Under each pan was a bunsen burner, which heated the water gradually. As the temperature rose, degree by degree, the frog adapted to the new temperature. Unfortunately, regardless of how hot the water became, the frog never became uncomfortable enough to jump out of the pan. In fact it stayed right there until the heat was so intense that the frog died. Some of us are also incredibly adaptable. In fact, a major reason for our success as human beings is our ability to adapt. When we find ourselves, as individuals, mildly dissatisfied with our jobs, with our significant other (hehe), or with almost any other circumstance in our lives, we proceed to adapt. For many of us, the more our environment challenge us, the harder we try to adapt to those changes. Similarly, organizations too tend to replicate the frog’s approach to life. To cut a long story short, moral of story is: individuals and organizations must determine in a timely fashion when to quit adapting and to move into the unknown, to proceed with changing directions and finding environments more supportive to them. Uish panjangnyer! Dot dot dot…

Then after him came Datuk Dr Shukor (also Harvard trained). I had the privilege of chatting with him on a few occasion before he became Director-General of Education. He seems to like Carl Weick’s Organised Chaos Theory haha. After him came the late Tan Sri Rafaee who was at one time, Principal of Malacca High School and I didn’t realise that he was also from Port Dickson (where I grew up). Now, at one of ASLI’s National Education Summits at Sunway Resort I had a chance to chat with him for a few minutes and noticed that (I may be wrong ok) his style of leadership and management was based on ‘visibility’. Then came Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ahmad Sipon. Apparently, from what I gather, his style was based on the age old Javanese maxim of ‘Beras, Waras, Keras”. Something like that, that essentially discourages wastage. Encourages responsibility, prudence and perhaps humility too. A simple process I would also subject a young man would have to go through if he intends to have my daughter’s hand in marriage. I will explain that in detail in my next post, the beras, waras keras tingy (hahaha I need to check if I have not touched on that subject in my earlier blogposts). The current Director-General of Education has been heard (again correct me if I am wrong hehe) to mention about Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) as popularised by the Korean professor Kim and his French colleague. CIMB group is into BOS in big way, I think. Perhaps I may have missed something else? Balanced Score Card maybe? (BSC…not Bangsar Shopping Complex ok? Erk) which is again fashionable and flavour of the month, been around since 1995 (see my earlier posts) and I think the GLCs are using it of course modified into their own templates. So, my point? What am I getting at? Leaders like to leave a legacy and the use of slogans during their tenure oh well during their regime. Whether it’s appropriate, implemented or gets cascaded down the ranks, is another matter. Those legacies will remain. And people remember them for a particular slogan or management fad they propagate or tried to get implemented organization–wide. Heroic Leaders are out, Engaging Leaders are in says Professor Henry Mintzberg.

It is interesting to see how consultants influence the thinking of both the corporate and the public sectors. It is so alive and evolving. Some of these concepts are but regurgitation of old concepts rebranded or redefined…much like old wine in new bottles. But I am a great disciple of Danah Zohar. I had a chance to speak to her when she was here in 1997 during the International Federation of Training & Development (IFTDO) conference hosted by Malaysia. Danah Zohar, in her book Rewiring the Corporate Brain said, “Most transformation programs satisfy themselves with shifting the same old furniture about in the same old room. Some seek to throw some of the furniture away. But real transformation requires that we redesign the room itself. Perhaps even blow up the old room. It requires that we change the thinking behind our thinking – literally, that we learn to rewire our corporate brains”

conference oh conference...

Today, Sunday, February 15th, I like to jot down a bit about me if you don't mind? As I approach my mandatory retirement (which I do look forward very much hehe) I begin to look and review alot of things, where am I, what have I achieved in corporate as well as in personal terms. Always mindful of the fact that 50% of our personality is because of our job or the position we hold. Once that is gone, you'd be lucky if you still get 50% of the emails, sms or mms on your Blackberry Bold hehehe. Its very flattering to get invited to deliver keynote addresses. These days when I get an invitation to present papers at conferences where they charge humongus rates to participants and I probably just get a thumbdrive, a selangor pewter frame or a leather travel wallet, I would politely say thank you but would rather just be a panelist or chair the day's conference (evil wink). I must be getting old and lazy huh? haha. Having said that, you can see below that I would still be quite busy reading, researching and preparing or at least be comfortable with some background material before I stand out there in front some really furious participants (yes occasionally they are you know? huhu) waiting to draw their smokings guns to shoot down the sheriff (chairman lar...hahaha). The list, here goes:

1. Trends, Developments and Updates in Retail Financial Services (24-25 March, 2009 Prince Hotel Kuala lumpur, Chairman and Panelist on Day 2)

2. Best Practise & Tools in Managing Food Safety Conference (21-22 April, 2009, Istana Hotel, KL, Chairman for both days)

3. Corporate Tax Planning, Transfer Pricing and Compliance: Planning approaches in challenging times and in shifting operating environment, (11-12 May 2009, Grand Park Plaza Hotel Singapore, Chairman and panelist)

4. Commercial Contract Law China, 25-26 May, Beijing, China, Chairman and paper)

Of course, I should not be perceived as arrogant or ungrateful. Afterall, these invitations have done much to boost my esteem and extended my claw of network. Made me read alot more stuff for if not I would otherwise then be burning my precious time away at starbucks or coffee bean or blabber away profusely over tehtarik at nathija maju kelana jaya hahaha...thank you for the invitation anitha, nadra, sherry... ok folks? enjoy the remaining part of this rather warm sunday dot dot dot

Friday, February 13, 2009

...of mandarins and pocongs?

foto source:

The Starbiz, Wednesday 11 February 2009 page B9 carries an article by US economist Paul Krugman, who called their senators, proud centrists oh well, destructive centrists! He said, "the centrists insistence on comforting the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted will, if reflected in the final bill, lead to substantially lower employment and substantially more suffering". In simple language, even if Obama's original US$800bil in stimulus with a substantial fraction of that total given over to ineffective tax cuts - have been enacted, it wouldn't have been enough to fill the looming hole in the US economy, which congressional Budget Office estimates will amount to US$2.9tril over the next 3 years! Wow! that is scary isn't isnt it?

Now, on the other side of the atlantic, the British Civil Service or Mandarins as they are popularly referred to, are again under scrutiny. Its much about transparency of information and disclosure and is deemed right, wrong, ethical or unethical, morally acceptable or immoral...depending how one looks at it. Its ok in some societies, not so ok in others, a definite no no in some others. Read more here. The Economist latest edition, describes the UK economy as a fallen star (not a falling star ok? hehe. Read more of the article here if you like.

The Star today reported:

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia scored a dismal 35 out of 100 points in the Open Budget Index (OBI) 2008 and is ranked 53rd out of 85 countries, prompting Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Dr Ramon Navaratnam to declare he was “surprised and embarrassed.” Malaysia is now listed under the “minimal information” category on Budget information provided by the Government, behind countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. see full report here. This should be a concern to our Mandarins. Of course somebody will jump, some will brush it off as ...aaargh another evil statistical ploy attempting to discredit or sabotage our economy...which ahem...could be true you know? (evil wink) cos afterall there are only 3 great lies in this world: one is a lie; second is a bigger lie and ; three is dot dot...

After a week of not blogging and I come out with yet again another economic fumbles and fears? hehe perhaps my next blogpost should be diverted to ghosts or pocong stories huh? always, my loyal visitors, readers and fellow have a great weekend ya? dot dot dot

Friday, February 06, 2009

of dubai and the tarzan who lost his cawat?...hehe

Heading home?

3.62 million expatriates in Dubai
864,000 nationals
8% population decline predicted this year, as expatriates leave
1,500 visas cancelled every day in Dubai
62% of homes occupied by expatriates 60% fall in property values predicted
50% slump in the price of luxury apartments on Palm Jumeirah
25% reduction in luxury spending among UAE expatriates
Sources: ; Times database

I have not heard anyone, over the last few years, say anything unkind about Dubai, that once sleepy hollow fishing village and oil-absent desert that was, in just 5 years, transformed into a miraculous citystate or megacity of the future so it seems... everyone just loves to visit and then not wanna come home. But that's not fair, really... well to me especially...hahaha cos I haven't got the chance to visit it when I was told it (Dubai) wu juz awesome.... The last time I ever set foot on Dubai soil was when MAS stops for an hour or so enroute to London. I only remember it was bloody scorching hot and some stuff displayed at the airport duty-free shop then..hmmm. But yesterday' report on seems to be sending a chill down the spine. I know of some frens who are working in Dubai rite now. They probably would have a different story to tell. If you like to know what the hell is going on, read more here.

Yesterday's The Malaysian Reserve Daily has nothing much else except about profit drops, missed estimates, falling shares, auto bloodbath, Proton cutting one-third of its sales outlets, Bursa 2008 net profit drops 57%, pananasonic sees RM15 bil loss - to cut 15000 jobs, Titan announces VSS - will cut 20% of workforce...bal bla bla...very depressing news. Not much encouraging or news of hope...mostly despair, fear and to some perhaps crumbling down owh well, tumbling down (like humpty dumpty on the wall) yeah...the whole sky seem to be falling down over their heads.

Why then do you think I stayed away from blogging for 2 weeks? (evil wink). I guess its now a global inertia (the tendency of a body to stay at rest or continue its state of motion...newton's law...or have you forgotten?). Despite all that folks, please, please do have great weekend...perhaps it would be alot more fun watching ole tarzan movies, huh?....

Thursday, February 05, 2009

...of chickens and kitchens...hahaha

Its nice when friends call you up and lament (owh well, complain is more like it haha) that they were not mentioned at all in your (my) blog. Only the 'whos who' were documented, so it seems (hehe). Sometime back my classmates as far back as 1965 also complained how come they did not deserve a mention or a story on my postings? Sorry folks, I didn't realise all of you read my blog. Thank you sooo much for taking time to read my oxymoronic stuff (hehe). Ya ya, it has been about 2 weeks now since my last posting. Yes, anne, wan noriza, norzarina my ex colleagues, I didn't realise you have been faithfully following my blog! Thank you thank you...(hehe). I bet you (my readers) must have all been spun by so many things already huh? global meltdown, technical recession (?), free fall, executive jets, Davos, insanely devilish compensation packages, hop step and jump? (evil wink)....ya ya and the list is endless...

last nite at Sao Nam, Plaza Damas Vietnamese Restaurant owned jointly by a fren, while entertaining my guests from Bangkok and the UK, alot of jokes and anecdotes resurfaced. Oh well, recycled was more like it (heehee). We were also talking about language proficiency and someone told me about this chappie, a malaysian consul general speaking in a 'beating roundabush kinda sort of', while the host ambassador spoke in perfect, precise, concise oxbridge 'england' (hahaha). During dinner, apparently this malay fellow consul's wife spoke perfect 'england', very refined indicating she perhaps may have come from a borgeouis family and everybody thought...hmmm, the wifey should have been the ambassador instead!...hahaha ( interesting story of a kampong boy made it good..hehe). Then Tan Sri (anonymouslah..hahaha) and Puan Sri related their own experience when they were in Boston. Apparently again, a malay chappie doing his PhD came over to the apartment for dinner. He commented "I say Tan Sri, your chicken is small!" Tan Sri said,"Sorry, we are not having chicken for dinner tonite". The PhD candidate again said, "Your chicken is small lar Tan Sri". "Ooooo you mean our kitchen is small?" said Tan Sri....hahaha. But the chappie wuz alright, brave fellow, main belasah aje walaupon 'england' dier berterabork! hahaha. Well, he got his PhD eventually! and probably a full professor too now.

PS:And o ya Kakteh choc-a-blog, (if you're reading this post) your 'the banes of handphones' appeared on page 3 of life&times, NST today. A most joyful read indeed..hahaha how true, how true.... do enjoy the snow in london, while it lasts ok? (hehe)...