Thursday, December 30, 2010

the year has come to an end again...

Four months is quite a long time. Yes 4 months I have not been blogging. many reasons as to why. One of which, I got feedback from a fren, it seemed someone from the in laws (outlaws more like it..hehe) asked his/her fren if they have had a look at my blog? This family by marriage of mine, snubbingly told the guy not to waste time reading my blog 'cos it got nothing else, and that I was full of myself (huhu). I was pissed off, really pissed off when I heard that. So, that's why I stayed away. But I did write a brief note on my facebook a couple of days ago though.

Spending too much time on facebook. So much things to do, and there's just 24 hours in a day! Was thinking of writing my pilgrimage travelogue but I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. May be, may be later. Need to organise for 2011, board meetings, speaking engagements (from bahrain to mexico city), business trips, academic papers, my own and joint writing with other academics, new businessess, catching up on my PhD research, the list is interesting though it can be very taxing to my body and brain hehehe..

the year has been quite hectic for me, lots of travelling beijing, vancouver, london, HK, Shanghai, Norway and Saudi Arabia..did I miss any particular country or city? hehe. Not sure if all my new year resolutions for last year, was carried out. So I guess shall not be making any new ones for 2011. The to-do list seems alot already.

Except for the suzuki football and the ETP , high income economy bla bla bla and the NKRAs and all that are associated with it, nothing much is exciting... seems like a quiet year end. Wishing frens and regular visitors a happy prosperous and a much more exciting 2011...cheerio.. have fun, be good...ngeh3x

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Operation Teddy Bear...hehehe

I said I was going to review another book that I picked up at terminal 4 the last time I was in London. Here it is. Sorry folks it took quite awhile to get it onto my blog.

Fasting month and all haha. Correcting my MBA students strategic management assignments, and come monday 30th August, haaa.... a stack of their final exam scripts will be in my hands. I know they have been struggling to chose 3 from the 9 other remaining questions (wink).

The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour by Peter Mandelson. Published by Harper Press (an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, Hammersmith, London). I quote from the blurp: "Peter Mandelson has been called many things during his three decades at the top of british politics: the Prince of Darkness, the Sultan of Spin, Labour's Machiavelli, the Rock of New labour. He has also gained a reputation fro being trenchantly observant, wry, and never afraid to say exactly what he thinks. It is these qualities that he brings to this searingly honest story of his life as The Third Man in the most compelling drama of modern times."

After 3 days of explosive serialisation of the Mandelson memoirs, The Times UK (wednesday July 14, 2010) had, as their frontpage headlines 'Mad, bad and dangerous' depicting the uproar this book had created hahaha. Everyone had something to say in their defence...hehe especially Tony Blair.

What attracted me most ( in the book) was 'the teddy bear plan'. Apparently this was a kind of strategy that would split the Treasury into two departments. Let me quote what was printed in the Times UK (July 14th): "In 2002 Mr Brown demanded a move into No 10 before the end of the second term. "He's behaving outrageously. " Mr Blair said. "This time he's gone too far."

Operation Teddy Bear has, until today, remained a secret kept within the walls of No 10. It is so named to avoid the slightest hint of its intention and was devised by Lord Mandelson, John Birt, the former BBC chief who became a No 10 adviser, and Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair's chief of staff.

Under the plan, A US -style office of Budget and Delivery would be taken from the Treasury, leaving Mr Brown in charge of a new Ministry of Finance to handle macroeconomics, taxation. markets and financial services. Crucially Mr Brown would have lost control of departmental purse strings."

Hmmm... the strategy sounds familiar...which makes me wonder, if the Brits had picked it up from somewhere else other than the US (wink) or that others are emulating what they (the Brits) had tried (hehehe). I leave that to your intelligent and wise analysis.

Most British Parliamentarians, I read somewhere, is taking along this new book for their summer breaks. So, if British politicians are reading it...I suggest you guys budding local politicians, should also read it (wink). Who knows, you might pick up a tip or two from the Prince of Darkness and the Sultan of Spin? hehehe...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

a cynic's guide to britain? hmmmm...dot3x

Ha Ha this book was chosen not for any particular reason except that when I was paying for my Thornton (yummy!) chocolates and the just published 'The Third Man' the hurriedly (so it seemed haha) done autobiography (that caused a stir in Britain) of Lord Peter Mandelson (we will look at this book at another blogpost ok? hehe), I was told that I could pick up any other book ad 50% discount! So I scurried back to the shelves..oh well display counters and picked up this rather 'brilliant' book haha.

I read the blurp, it said 'The British national myth. Is it true? Or is it a myth? Having skewered modern life in the bestselling Is it Just Me or Is Everything Shit?, Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur set out to explore the deep dark heart of British national identity. After all: who better to embark upon an odessy through all things British than two unpatriotic cynics without any formal grounding in history?

Over the course of a year they enjoy a daybreak morris dance on the Cerne Abbas Giant, pull an all-nighter at Stonehenge and witness Wales and Scotland rising again (a bit). They encounter terrifying Europhobe ladies in Surrey, endure the Last Night of the Proms and lose the will to live in Gibraltar. They also met a lot of druids. Hillarious and provocative, Blighty offers a brilliant, alternative (ooops) vision of Britain - debunking the madness behind the tradness.

Even the introduction page made me smile. Listen to this. The authors described a council-run British Citizenship Ceremony that sounded like very much the worst sort of party. Would there even be a bar? (there wasn't. haha). Then, inside the curvy wood-panelled Hackney Town Hall council chamber, sat 20 British-citizens-in-waiting. At that moment, there were Algerian, Australian, Iraqi, Israeli, Sierra Leonian, Turkish, Latvian, Cameroonian....hmm (no Malaysian?)..and within hours they would turn British and henceforward would remain British. They were touched with a vibe stick (that's a metaphor; nobody actually touches them with a stick.) The proto-Britishers (as the authors described them) had all passed the fiendish Citizenship Test and, having paid GBP625, had now each been issued a special citizenship folder with pictures on the front, representing Britain: Stonehenge; a castle; the Forth Raliway bridge (British!); a family jumping up and down in a field... This-this! - is Britain. an ancient land where jumping is entirely permissible...hahaha. You should read the book yourselves ok?

It won't be fun if I tell you anything more...oh ok mebbe juz a lil more...huh? Ok ok there's this chapter four that is devoted to cash for honours, the norman conquest, fish and a handbag haha. The ancient love affair with Guilds (which reminds me of my favourite british actor Anthony Hopkins in that movie "remains of the day"). The Ironmonger's Hall, tucked beneath the Museum of London, is home to Ironmonger's Company, a medieval guild concerned very much with iron, ironworks, woking with iron, and furthering the secrete, closely guarded interests of iron-people and their irony ways (hehe). The City of London might be famous for forcing new forms of dodgy credit - but amongst their own ranks they like nothing more than a a bit of archaic weirdness, bonding together in ancient closed shops with dizzying rituals...

Believe me, when you get hold of a copy..haha you won't put it down that fast. It covers the four seasons: spring , summer, autumn and winter and it starts with 'with four thousand Gods on our side, hankies at dawn, a Diana moment, the time of our lives, you can't dump me becaue i'm dumping you (haha) to all things begin and end in albion's ancient druid rocky shore....hahaha.

Anyone attempting a similar cynic's guide to malaysia? i dare you..hik3x... wink3x. Have a great week ahead may I please get back to marking my MBA student's assignments?.. huhu wink2x dot dot dot...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Langkawi, Borneo, Vancouver, London..jalan-jalan Cakap2..

Panel Session at ITS2010 Knightsbridge, London

Great clear skyline from my hotel window at Knightsbridge

Last paper I presented recently in London and the topic was given to me by the organisers, woteva that means...wink2x LOL

Vancouver, end June 2010, attending 3 International Committee Meetings

Canada Place, Vancouver by summer night, Canada Day's eve...

Chairing a session at AsiaHRDCongress Kuching, Sarawak

One for the album with keynote speaker at the recent
MARIM International Risk and Insurance Management Conference,
Langkawi Island, Malaysia where I also chaired the plenary session...

coffee table books in the lounge of my brand new (Park Plaza)hotel room,
Westminster, London

An evening shot from Stanley Park, Vancouver, July 2010

Canada Place, Vancouver Canada Day, July 2010

Knightsbridge, London, July 15, 2010

Yes yes yes...I know I know...please don't be cross with me? oh please. My last blogpost was june 15. Its July 8th today. I have been wanting to document my travels since the last posting but everytime I logged into my blog...i got a mental block hohoho.

Serious shit! Sorry, I mean I had so much to tell, so many photos to upload and share but I couldn't decide which one I should upload or which story I shoudl tell first (hehe). After earlier bad experiences and because of the intellectual property rights and privacy issues...I got scared. So, I thought hurrmm..I might as well upload my 'award-winning' photo shots (hihi) and perhaps indulge in some self-inflicted vanity (wink) hehehe. So folks, please excuse the tourist-like posts ok? hahaha.

A picture is worth a thousand words they often say, so I guess I need not write too much about what or where I have been since 15 june! I was in Vancouver attending 3 RCAR Working Group Meetings, chaired international conferences at Langkawi and Kuching, Borneo and presented a paper at the 4th International Takaful Summit, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knighstbridge, London.

Last year my videoclip intro at ITS2010 London was based on Diehard 4 movie and this year I used Harry Potter's last movie videoclip..hahaha. Even if delegates didn't understand a word I was saying, at least for a long time to come, they would still remember me for the opening videoclips at worst! hahahaha LOL (wink).

Vancouver is a nice multi-ethnic, multi-diversity friendly city. A great city, especially for the rich, to retire hmmm...the impression I got. Forgive me if I am wrong. Walking around Canada Place, one could read the history of this important Canadian port city on the western side of Canada from the many information stands all around the complex.

Ok folks, that's about it for now. I shall review two interesting books I picked up at terminal 4 on my way home to Kuala Lumpur in my next blogpost...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mothers-in-law: variously feared, loathed, ridiculed, appreciated and adored but rarely ignored...

Wherever I am, there's a high likelihood that I will pop into the first bookshop I come across. Yes, at Southampton last week, I saw British Bookshops & Stationers, went in and whoala couldn't resist picking up this interesting book hehe. First published by Faber & Faber Limited in 2008 and this paperback edition first published in 2010.

What with the school holidays and 'mating season' extravaganza right now in Malaysia dan lain2 kawasan yang sewaktu dengannya (wink), perhaps it would not be too much on my part to try and share some interesting insights about mother-in-laws who apparently are perceived almost the same everywhere haha (same same but the Thai imitation goods peddlers are heard front of the Bangkok Shangrila hahaha).

The Complete Book of Mothers-in-law is written by Luisa Dillner, who now lives in London, originally trained and worked as a doctor in Bristol, a columnist for the Guardian and works for new ideas for the British Medical Journal Publishing Group and has also been contributor to many magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the Observer.

There have always been mothers-in-law and most of us will end up either having or being one. We all, well most of us, have mother-in-law (s) eheh heh...some err more than one actually (wink) and most of us too are either already a father-in-law or a mother-in-law. I am already a father -in-law haha. Just read on please and let's not get emotional or be judgemental hehehe.

Luisa devoted 12 chapters beginning with the essential history of (Mothers-in-law); in different cultures; motherly mothers-in-law; even the Royals and Presidential Mothers-in-law didn't escape her scrutiny (haha); mixed feelings about Mothers-in-law, Mothers-in-law who took a stand; Mad, Bad and Scheming Mothers-law; Mother-in-law-baiting; Racy Mothers-in-law, Mothers-in-law on the Web, and finally... How to be a Good Mother-in-law...hahahaha.

I like her prologue when she wrote about her mother-in-law Maggie. She began '...I can't remember when I first met my mother-in-law and she's vague on when she met me. This suggests that we are not sentimental about our relationship and it doesn't consume either of our lives.' Then she wrote her mother-in-law said 'If you are good enough for him, that's good enough for me.' I like that bit when the author said 'I doubt I will be so laissez-faire about whoever my son embraces as a partner...'

The role of mother-n-law has existed throughout the ages; a part that no one actively chooses and anyone would be forgiven, considering the negative stereotypes, for thinking it has little to recommend it. Mothers-in-law have been variously feared, loathed, ridiculed, appreciated and adored but rarely ignored. The mother-in-law phenomenon is global haha. Historically, the author says you can find mothers-in-law in all varieties: admirable, loving, scheming, bad, divine (literally) and quite ordinary.

Mothers-in-law worldwide are called by different names: the Afrikaans: skoomoeder, Danish: svigermor, Germans: schiegermutter, Italian: suocera, Dutch: schoonmoeder; Spanish: suegra, Turkish: kaynana, Indonesian: mertua perempuan, Finnish: anoppi, Irish: mathaie cheile...but she forgot Malaysian....IBU MERTUA KU! hahahahaha...

When I picked up the book I could not stop reading it. It is hugely entertaining and a most witty celebration of a most complicated relationship, full of anecdotes and amusing illustrations, and didn't leave any mother-in-law sterotype untouched, informative and charming. Go pick your own copy! No no no..I am not going to tell you anymore about it. Can you please let me finish the book now? hehehe

Monday, June 14, 2010

of jane austen, john & yoko and southampton...

I wanted to find something that could connect Southampton (or Soton) and The Beatles and when I googled..haa this was what I came across written by John T Marck:

" ... John Lennon's song, "The Ballad Of John And Yoko," is that which describes his wedding to Yoko Ono on March 20, 1969 in Gibraltar, and their succeeding "honeymoon," in Amsterdam. Recorded by The Beatles, or more exactly John and Paul, on April 14, 1969, it was released in the United Kingdom on May 30, 1969, and in the United States on June 4. In both releases, its B-side was "Old Brown Shoe", a song written by George Harrison.

John Lennon once said that "songs should be like newspapers," and "The Ballad Of John And Yoko," was just that. Lennon portrays himself and Yoko as victims who were about to be "crucified," and who were turned back at the Southampton docks; who could not get a marriage in France; and who were misunderstood during their "bed-in for peace," as well as ridiculed when they sat in a bag.

In truth, what Lennon did not mention in this song was they were turned back at Southampton not because of whom they were, but merely because they tried to travel into France without passports."

Hmm so much for Southampton. I was last here in 1991 and by the spur of the moment, parked our Volvo 740GLE and caught a ferry to the Isle of Wight. It was already dark when we arrived at the island with no prior reservations. Luckily on board, we met a nice friendly girl who worked for American Express and recommended her auntie's Bed& Breakfast. The rest as we always say, is history.

Talking about history, haaa many of our students studying and living in Southampton, I was told, did not know, cared or bothered to explore the interesting history of this ancient mariner city.

I was in Southampton again last monday morning. About an hour and fifteen minutes drive away from Heathrow on the M3 if it is a good clear jam-free traffic. Checked in at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel and whoala...history was just at the back of the hotel.

What I like most about it is that West Quay, the shopping mall, was built within and around the historical sites without disturbing them. We should all learn a thing or two about preservation of old buildings, historical sites, development in and around the facade and blending the old or ancient with the new or art noveau...wink2x

Saturday, June 05, 2010

mindscapes and the beauty of deep thought...?

Yes, more than 3 months I have stayed away from blogging. I suspect I have been addicted to facebook and ermm ... perhaps a little twittering too on occasions haha. Datuk Professor Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid or fondly referred to as IAB (no no not Institut Aminudin Baki..where he was once its director...hehe) never ceases to amaze me.. His usual trademark is knowledge corpus. I am one of those who has and forever will, have great respect for his intellect, leadership and scholarship. To say that the recent award during National Teachers Day bestowed upon him (in educational leadership) was befitting, is to me, an understatement. He should have been conferred much earlier.

My wife and I attended his daughter's wedding ceremony this afternoon at Hotel Singgahsana, Petaling Jaya. The wedding ceremony was elegantly simple. No VVIP tables. Spotted, plenty of Tan Sris and Datuks, Dons, retired DGs of Education etc etc. Everyone queues up for food buffet style haha. Yet it doesn't take away the aura of typical malay wedding blending the traditionalists and modernists. What makes IAB's dotter's wedding different from everyone else is the 88 page souvenir book you get on your way out.

That foto above is that book. Mindscapes & the Beauty of Deep Thought (corak corak minda & keindahan berfikir secar mendalam) published in conjunction with the wedding of aina fazlin ibrahim bajunid & faisal mansor, June 5, 2010. The table of contents began with kata kata nasihat from dad to bride and covers a wide-ranging subject area from the joys of family learning, the making of religious and scientific minds for civilisational leadership, daughters and mums, seekers of knowledge and managers of truth, nautical imagination and education, muhasabah diri, the economic mode of thinking, from monologue to dialoging mindfully, exploring breakthough thinking, life is a long winding road, on life love and death to pages to read!

I particularly like the first part where datuk prof IAB advises her daughter: and he began with...cut your fingernails and toenails, clean your teeth and masage your gums gently everyday, clean your ears and the lobes, ensure your ankles and crevises between toes are clean, control and modulate your tone of voice in conversations....etc etc and he moves on to the habits of the prophet and 7 effective habits, to mastering languages , understanding mathematics and geometry, making connections, enjoying poetry and poin-poin bicara where he reminds again about mastering history, championing quality, and that people do not know what they do not know..about 41 points in all haha where he ends it with tipping point, blink and outliers (malcolm gladwell) to homo grammaticus to the building of an enlightened!

That, is Datuk Professor Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid. Well done my friend. You did it again. Congratulations on the new addition to the family. I would not be doing justice, if re-activating my blogging, did not start with this little tribute to you prof!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

...of lunar, valentine and sex education?

My last blogpost was december 30th 2009. I had a few text messages reminding me, scolding me (haha) for not updating. I said haiyya..busy lor...year end, then new year with all the trappings of a new year which I am sure all of us are non too familiar? (wink).

No, I didn't deliberately chose Valentine's Day (incidentally it's also Chinese New Year today..and whoala here comes the Tiger at last after a rather Rattantoule year, last year! (wink2x) to start my blog again after like about almost 2 months?

An old dear friend from across the causeway sent me a valentine day wish (huh?) email and attached this extract from a UK textbook on sex education haha... which I thought I should share with all of you my friends (hope I won't get sued for re-publishing it..erk). Well, at least it has some form of continuity with my last posting where I dabbled into some form of 'sensitive' home management issues hahaha. It did trigger some sort of agreement and disagreement but that is to be expected. To perhaps fuel futher discourse to the last posting I made, I am taking the liberty of uploading this old textbook page on the subject that perhaps too, lend further credibility to male chauvinism (I know some feminists will love to note my support to the cause of women...hahaha go go go..get those top jobs girl!!!..hahaha wink3x).

Please read it and tell me what you think.

I dunno. Are girls much happier then, then they are now? You see? Even happiness is a relative term haha. Thanks to Einstein and relativism haha. Tell me honestly ladies (if you are reading my post) would you prefer to lead a life your grandma and mum led, in those days or you rather prefer the 'relatively' emancipated life women lead the world over (in some places lar not all ok? haha)these days? wink.

Please don't get me wrong. I wasn't implying that its better now or it was better then (wink). Some prefer to live in the past, while others thrive in the future hahaha.

And the guys...hey honestly (don't be a 'hippocrates' (erm isn't he the father of medicine? hhoho). C'mon tell me, would you prefer the wifey and your girls go through and adopt the advise above? Oh well, you may have your own 'edited versions' according to your own values and cultures (hehe) or you go with the flow? Think about it while you're quietly (or loudly haha) somewhere with your valentine...or having banana leaf brunch with your family during ChInese New Year?

No no no..I was not lazing around or meditating like a hermit at the Himalayas ok? I was hehe quite occupied...hmm like oozing out uninsured comments and remarks? hmmm at the recent CEO Panel Session at the Asia HR Summit 2010 at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur and chaired a leadership track session at the same conference (wink). The 'unfinished battle' between various management functions... You know what most people in the other departments think of the HR department right? wink. Prove them wrong please or suggest to them go take a hike (VSS you mean? hahaha). Do enjoy the long break fellas. Don't do anymore what St Valentine probably did not or would not do? (wink2x)..and where's my Angpow packet?