My Thoughts and Reflections on Everything

Basically just my take on life as I see it :)

Archive for the category “Decisions and Consequences”

After Lahad Datu, Whom Can We Now Trust?

Hello everybody, I apologize for not posting for a very long time. A lot of things has happened since my last post so I didn’t have the opportunity nor the temperament to compose my thoughts.

Anyway, I shall begin with a rather short and simple posting. What’s in my mind right now is the aftermath of the Lahad Datu attacks and its following series of attacks in Semporna and other places at the east coast of Sabah.

I’m based in the west coast so we are pretty much secured around here though I have to admit that we were also very worrried about our own safety. When we heard that our army has arrived at several points of our state, I felt relieved and now everything is getting back to normal.

As this is a short post, I’ll get right to the point; I don’t think UMNO in Sabah is going to fare well in coming general elections. I also feel that the other component parties that are associated with UMNO are going to be facing a political nightmare.

I believe the Lahad Datu attacks amidst the RCI hearings is the turning point of the future of our country. At one point of time, the KDMs were the majority population of Sabah and due to the influx of illegal immigrants into our state, the KDMs are now the minority.

Yes our army is doing a fantastic job in protecting our state no doubt about it.

But who let the illegal immigrants in the first place will become the biggest political RM 1 million question this coming general election.

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Pre-Election 13 Blues :)

It has been a long time since I last posted here. To those of you who were actually following this blog I seek your apologies. I have been busy sorting out my life that kept me from blogging. In fact, I nearly forgotten the password to this site! But now I’m here and I guess I’ll be here for quite a bit. Things have change and I think its for the better.

The 13th Malaysia Election is nearing. Many people think it will be in June so parliament should be dissolved anytime soon. My family has been in politics for a very long time and I wonder whether this is going to be the end of it all. Maybe the opposition parties may this time increase their numbers in parliament and may still remain on the opposing side. But this time Barisan Nasional (BN) will be weaken especially in West Malaysia in light of the recent political scandals and Besih 3.0 rally.

In one of RPK’s recent postings, he claimed that PKR used the Bersih 3.0 event to stage a “Malaysian Spring” by launching the “Occupy Dataran”. After reading the article, I can see why the government acted aggressively towards the participants. We could have lose the present government that day. Whether or not RPK was telling the truth or simply telling a tale, I don’t know. All I can see that if the coup came to pass then we would be in a state of anarchy by now.

The present government has its many problems that hasn’t yet been resolved since decades ago. Once the opposition takes over, they will merely take over the previous government’s unresolved issues and will have a hell of a time trying to sort them out. Then Election 14 comes suddenly and the new government has already become the government with the many unresolved issues. They can complain ” oh that was from the BN administration so it has nothing to do with us” but the thing is the reason that they were voted in the first place was to bring and exact “change” in the government.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of comments in Facebook where people are complaining about this and that. Many are from the youth venting their grievances about the government of the day. Well, none offered any plan of action on what would they do if they would been given the opportunity to lead. People can always talk because its cheap and doesn’t cost a thing. In the end of the day, whoever wins the elections there’ll be no significant changes. Yes, one will always begin with good intentions but becomes ridiculously pathetic near the end as one scrambles to gather his or her “retirement benefits” to ensure maintaining the fine standards of living that they were accustomed to before. I can say most people at the top live very very well. It can get very opulent. No joke!

Being a business owner, it saddens me to see nothing is being run properly in Sabah. Basic infrastructures like roads, electricity and water are not being well taken care for. When you go see somebody high up in the district council he or she also don’t dare to put his or her foot down because fearing to offend the other fellow on the wrong. And if that happens, the poor powerful person finds himself transferred in some remote poor area in Sabah and the business owner who made the complaint becomes a pariah in his community.

Right now, due to the nature of my business, I’m dealing with a government agency which is one of the Top 5 Most Corrupted Agencies in Malaysia. I can say that they aren’t making life any easier for us! The things that they want from us are crazy! But that’s part of life so the best thing is to roll with the blows. The changes will eventually come but it has to be gradual. It took Barrack Obama 200 over years to ascend the US Presidency as result of the American Civil War. So for Malaysia to actually attain the necessary changes, we must be consistent and matured enough to accept that many of the changes could be achieved and implemented after our lifetime. The future generation will be the main beneficiaries.

One may think that I may sound a tad cryptic but I’ve seen enough of my family members and friends been taken before their time. Life is so fragile and death is a certainty. The ideal way to live is to become aware of this fact and start building up our foundation so that our children and their future generation won’t have to struggle too much in this world.

Business Blues – (Business Reflections 5)

Today I’ve been told that I have to pump in about 75k into the business. I could feel my body shivered after hearing that. Yes it has been awhile since I last posted here. I have indeed been a little bit busy. Well, more than a little bit anyway.

My life has been like this since the business went operational on December 2010, money in and money out. It has been a truly challenging year. My hair went white about 2 years ago. There was a time when I actually dyed my hair but soon gave up after being whacked left, right and centre in this stressful business.

Setting up this business was hard as I’ve mentioned before in this blog. Running the business is much harder. I didn’t had to deal with so many people before during the construction period. Now I’ve got a management team, teachers and staff under me. I am now head of a business organization for nearly a year and it has already given me a beating of epic proportions.

Being a business owner is different as to being a general manager. The business owner’s priority is to cover the financial aspects of the business to ensure smooth running of the organization. So it is our responsibility to make sure there’s enough funds for monthly expenses.

I do realize that I’m a bit down about this news I just receive but blogging about it makes me feel better. Especially when I’m typing this on my 11″ MacBook Air which is very ideal for blogging. I tried blogging using iPad but I get tired quickly by doing that. Somehow the ergonomics doesn’t suite me. I’m a pretty big guy with big hands by the way so the MacBook Air’s keyboard is more comfortable for me. I’m typing this down at a Starbucks joint sitting on an armchair with the MacBook Air on my lap. How cool is that?

Though I’m supposed to be lamenting about my business woes in this post, I would like to write further about this neat little MacBook Air. I bought it after the passing of the great Steve Jobs. I needed to get something special in tribute to this great man. I’ve been following his keynotes, articles, books and news about him. When he died, I felt very sad because my inspiration in building and running this business has died. What inspired me about him is that despite all the odds, he managed to rescue and turn around Apple into the giant that it is today. He turned a doomed company into one of the most profitable companies in the world. Yes I know my business will never be near to Apple but I learn to not surrender easily to pressure and to keep pushing forward.

To think about it, I’m actually in a much better position than I was 2 months ago when I was truly broke. A deal I made managed to pull through so I was saved. That also meant the staff got their salaries on time. We made it look easy but a lot of pain went in the process. I guess that’s the sacrifice leaders have to make in order to succeed.

Anyway I’m feeling quite better now after blogging about it. I remember mentioning that blogging in a way is like therapy when I first started this blog in 2008.

I will do what is necessary for my company’s survival but I won’t lose sleep over it.

Life is too short, I’ll just do the best that I can and live with it.

Business Reflections 4 – Patience

It’s been quite awhile since my last post. A lot of things happened in my life since September. I’ve had many issues to settle and they were mainly about business.

We are now in November. Next month we’ll commence our business that took us 5 years to set-up. I’m more relaxed as we’ve completed all the specification that is required as per the nature of our business. Now we’re waiting for the trial run that is going to take place in the week after next. I guess you can say that I’m anxious though at the same time numbed by the processing.

Looking back, we didn’t do very much in bribing the already corrupted system. I guess that’s why we got bogged down as we didn’t play by their rules but we play by the law of this land.

Patience is paramount to success. Patience enables us to step back and assess any given difficulties of the moment. No matter how bleak the situation is, patience causes us to be calm. Calmness is most needed in order for any solution to be created.

With patience, we don’t hurt anybody’s feelings because from here we realize that everybody is needed in order for our venture to be successful. Even from the most humble workman to the most highly trained professional, we must treat them with the deepest respect.

I have to admit that it always isn’t easy being patient. I lost it many times and I had to drag myself back on that path over and over again. Sure there were doubts in my head and I have to convince myself over and over again that this path is the way. Everyday our beliefs are being challenged. But we stayed on course. So far so good.

My way to stay on course? I’ll give it in point form. I might elaborate on it or I might not. Depending on whatever tomorrow bring. Anyway here goes…

1. Bi-weekly lymphatic massage treatment.

2. Infrared sauna, 3 times a week

3. Morning walks

4. Fibre drinks and lots of veggies and fruits to go with meals

5. Dinners with the Mrs before heading home to the kids. These dinners stems out useful and vital conversations needed to alleviate stress level.

6. Cool movies

7. Chats with friends

8. Water πŸ™‚

9. Family and friends rapport

10. Apple products πŸ™‚

I’m sure there’s more but I shall leave it at that for the moment. Right now I so wanna post something for this month πŸ™‚

Peter Pang Leaves LDP

RM0 1/9: Sabah: LDP vice-president Peter Pang quits the party, amidst rumours that LDP will leave BN. Pang is currently Sabah deputy CM./MKINI

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I received this SMS from MalaysiaKini yesterday. I didn’t at first see the significance of this move. I mean everybody knows that Datuk Peter Pang is one of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman’s staunchest supporters. So when LDP decided to move against the CM, Pang chose to be aligned with the CM by relinquishing both his party and ministerial posts. Keeping only his state seat of Karamunting as a BN independent. Later PM Najib said that Pang wishes to join Gerakan another BN component party. I expected this one to happen because after all didn’t another of the CM’s men, Datuk Raymond Tan, left SAPP and joined Gerakan awhile ago? Apparently the CM kept him aboard because Raymond seem to be a smart businessman and is useful to his plans. So what’s the big deal, right?

What I didn’t see coming is that this could be an elaborate plan to take down the CM of Sabah and LDP is the lightning rod.

Speculators has been theorising for months that by year end CM Musa would be soon be replaced. This recent incident could be the beginning of the end for Musa.

LDP is to be the first strike. Others are soon to follow. No way that LDP acted without the blessings of the other component parties, most particularly Umno. The Umno warlords are not happy with Musa and they want him now. They believe that the CM’s appetite for 5% projects could cost them the coming 13th General Election.

It’s time for change. Whether or not is it for the better is yet to be seen.

Business Reflections 3

3) Rich Men Wants More Money

I recently witnessed about men and money. Everybody needs money and everybody does not mind of having more of it. I use to take for granted that only needy would work so hard for money. After all that, they would then be happy and contented with they have for the rest of their lives.

Problem is that once a person has tasted money, he wants more and more. It’s no longer hunger that’s driving the person anymore, it is greed.

As I watch and observe these men of wealth, it has occur to me that it is all about the money. Human decency and moral values? Well, when it comes to money, those are merely formal notions where people merely states as social pleasantries.

The rich don’t really give a damn whether the staff and equipments are all in working order inside the company. The only thing that matters is profit received at the end of the day and of which they can happily spend.

I was recently present at a company board meeting. The heated agenda of the day was about money and it has taken the whole day to be resolved. It was a no holds barred battle between the CEO and COO of the company. CEO wants raises for his BOD but COO was concerned about the staffs’ well-being inside the company and opts for saving money in order to have ready standby cash for operation costs. In this particular business, safety is paramount. As I agree with the CEO of getting raises at the same time I also agree with the COO of seeing the cash-flow improvement first before giving out salary increases for the BOD.

I later found out that the CEO never thoroughly participated in the company’s operation side as he is more towards the wheeling and dealing for the business of which that he is good at. Nobody can actually deny his contribution to the company. They only feared his overly brash spending on entertainments for securing the contracts. I feel that the CEO should be more thorough and well-verse on his company’s internal situation as he is on its external situation. In this line, safety features are essential as this business is a high risk industry where people accidentally get killed while on duty.

At the end of the day, who profits the most? Well, I’m sure all of us know the answer to that question. I always wondered why the top people in any industry don’t care enough about the people working under them. I now know that money is source of all life, we simply can’t live without it. But like whisky, it should only be enjoyed in small doses otherwise it will prove to be mortally fatal, poisoning a person to self-destruct.

With this, I can say it’s better to take everything in moderation and just hope that your best is enough.

Sabah joining Malaysia a mistake says Sipaun

RM0 3/8: Former Suhakam vice-chairperson Simon Sipaun says Sabah made a mistake in joining the Federation of Malaysia in 1963./MKINI

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A very strong stand from Tan Sri Simon Sipaun. This is what many of us Sabahans feels but just a handful few of us voices out.

It takes courage to say the truth. I’m learning from this.

Business Reflections 2

2) Balancing Extremities & Good Attitudes

In our organization, there are 2 types of people working inside. There’s the highly educated ones and the lowly educated ones. This is I believe the true reflection of our society. Sadly our state is filled with Form 5 school leavers who opted for early employment. Meanwhile the ones who has the means opted for higher learning and ends up excelling in their chosen fields.

I hold no prejudices against neither my unlearned and learned colleagues. I hope for harmony in the office. However because of these obvious intellectual boundaries I realized that nothing is perfect and professional in Sabah yet. I mean when for instance an executive decision has been made by the top, the lower ranking staff grumbles. Even about petty matters like adding of telephone lines, these guys make quick negative comments saying that the company does not need such extensions. They tend to get emotional over these matters.

My admin and finance heads tells me the need of the extensions and operation and marketing heads tells me otherwise. The latter heads I believe have lost the plot as they saw this as an encumbrance to company cost. I just quietly listened and decided that my admin and finance heads were right because they had the foresight to see that when our business is fully operational, one phone-line will not be enough.

My point being for this drawl? I made a mistake in promoting those 2 guys to department heads despite their low qualifications. No doubt that they are hard-working people but sadly they are also overly emotional and not practical. I always believed in man’s capacity to change and to improve himself. But what happens if that person is complacent and who doesn’t welcome change? I suppose attitude plays a big part in our development in becoming a better and useful human being.

I’m sad to say that they are such a very shallow bunch. Otherwise they would have been great people. But I don’t blame them for their inadequacies. Like many in Sabah, they are victims of our poor state administrative system that does not care enough of the welfare and education of our people.

I see this everyday and I’m no longer optimistic in our country’s pursuit in excellence.

I’ll just do what I can and embrace my role as leader of these 2 extremes of the spectrum.


Business Reflections

I have been so super-busy recently that I haven’t had the time to update my blog. Sometimes there’s simply nothing interesting to write about. At other times the mood for me to write isn’t there.

In this quick post, I like to write about the loneliness of being a leader in a business organization.

1) Don’t Reveal Too Much Of The Company

As leader one has to learn to hold his tongue when discussing secrets of the company. I used to think that by sharing information with the staff (which was by the way a staff of only 2 people), they would understand the company’s status and share the burden. The idea was that we work as a team and we know the full situation together. So I believed in not keeping secrets just like what I done in an NGO. I failed to realize earlier that a business-based company and NGO-based organization were 2 separate disciplines. One revolves around money as the driving factor and the other revolves around communal volunteerism.

The problem that I’ve had before was that I was ready to work for free. While this trait is an asset in an NGO but a liability in an enterprise. In business, it’s all about getting and maintaining steady income for your staff , company overheads and ourselves or else we would end up eating sand for dinner. So basically business is life giving for without money there will be no life.

Anyway my point here is that when we reveal too much information of the business to the staff,they’ll get overly excited about nothing or start thinking that they’re very very important people. Yes even office boys sometimes think this way…

Phase 2 Of An Entrepreneur’s Journey

I’m reaching the end of my 4 1/2 years struggle in building my business centre. After a few more touches, I shall be progressing to Phase 2 of this programme that is the operation side of this particular business.

I cannot say what it is but I can only say that it is an education based business of which everybody needs. I’ll stop at that.

In my reflection of the past 4 years, I realised most importantly is that patience is paramount. Even when the odds are stacked high against you, always remember that those stacks have to fall at some point because nothing lasts forever. Stormy weather don’t last forever, no matter how bleak the situation is, there’s always other ways to solving problems. All we need to do is to be patient and never stop believing in ourselves and God.

I can say that I have matured in this single process. The experiences that I’ve gathered in these past few years are invaluable and has changed and improved me as human being living in God’s creation. I am now well-aware of my surroundings. I learned and finally I’m convinced that the world is grey. Black and white are just concepts and limitations imposed by the past lawmakers of which were necessary at that particular time.

When people say bribing an official is wrong, on whose rule that is a sin? My opinion is that if everybody is doing it then that should be the right thing to do since the law making process is at this moment shaky. For instance, if I need to run some errands, let’s say, at the municipal council, there’s a lot red tapes that we would need to get past through. They would then slap you with a ” your application is not complete, you still need to do this,that and this before I can help you on that, this and that” which is almost an impossible feat to accomplish if one wants to follow through with their procedures of that they themselves have been slack in following. That’s why most business people had no choice but to resort to substantial gifts and promises in order to get their projects done.

The sad thing about this process is that everybody loses. The businessman will reduce the project material’s quality drastically in order to make himself a just nice profit to offset the actual profits that he was initially making and ended losing because his company’s real cut has ended up in some government official’s and politician’s bank account. And because of the government officer’s or politician’s obligation and dependence on the businessman’s sweet favors, this in turn can lead to mediocre performance and sometimes total disregard on their part of the government’s administration. The most capable and qualified contractor will be bypassed simply because he does not or cannot share with this group of people. I suppose that’s why our government administration system is so messed up due to unscrupulous individuals throwing the welfare of the rakyat away in favor of the ever-popular kick-backs.

When a person plays this dirty game, that person will get what he wants quite quickly because he’s willing to share his cake (even though parts of that cake were meant for his partners and workers) with the powers there be. But how long will this practice last? This business practice is the norm in doing a project; everybody has got a cut.

What if you’re dealing with an education based kind of business? Are you gonna make everybody your shareholders and to make money for them, you cut down your quality of teaching for something mediocre? What will the students, their parents and the general public would think? Would these people ever come back to support you?

Personally throughout the years, I’ve been taking a lot of hits. One of the them, a favorite, was ‘ what’s taking you so long? If you want to get something, then just pay them what they want!’ Β It went on for quite awhile until they finally grew tired of waiting and started leaving me.

I didn’t take too many staff. I only had one and last year I’ve added another. So I got 2 staffs running around doing errands to set up our business. I was working within my budget. No point having a lot of people that just end up becoming deadwoods.

My method is painfully slow because I follow procedures. Nobody can wrong you if you follow proper procedures. There are indeed times when you’d come across situations where-by since you lack certain particular items that you are forced to negotiate amicably with the other party. While following procedure one also has to consider the deplorable state of our government departments’ efficiency. I came across one hard working officer who was let down by his lazy, lazy subordinates. I also discovered the actual working week is 4 days from Monday to Thursday because it is almost impossible to find anybody on Friday because of prayers (even non-Muslim officers are very hard to find) held once a week. Having a lot of holidays also does not help very much as this will damper the working spirit in people. On February we had Chinese New Year, on March we had Easter and on May we have the month long Kaamatan season.

Anyway, if we try to apply the fast and furious KL style on sleepy and laid-back Sabah, these guys would get very upset and won’t speak with you for months. So when doing business just follow the pace of the culture here.

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