Friday, October 29, 2010
Somehow, reading Uncle Lee's comment to "A Gentleman's Wisdom of Work" makes me feel humbled. He teaches me the art of sharing or perhaps the art of "Pay It Foward". He makes me reaffirmed my belief that we are not rich for having what we possess but we are rich because we are able to give to others. If we do not have the material possesion to share with, we always have time to spend, a smile to share, a prayer to say, a shoulder to cry on, ears to listen to and words to comfort.
Hello Fi-Shah, terima kaseh seribu for this jalan atas ayer compliments.
I have always believed in giving anyone, everyone a chance in life.
To live out their dreams as I had. I gave them the opportunity to exceed theirs, mine and the company's expectations.
Once upon a time when I was looking for a job, a man offered me one, without looking at my resume....I did not fail him....
Resumes can be doctored, just as in cosmetics hiding blemishes.
To me, a person who does not have a degree or higher education, it does not mean he or she is not smart.
There may be other circumstances, namely ..Money. Poor parents, etc.
I now give them that opportunity....to be somebody in life. And to sit in my chair one day.
Everybody has weaknesses, we all have...but everyone needs a helping hand, like a baby learning to walk.
Give them your hand.....they will not fail you.
Once again, terima kaseh. You have a pleasant week, and keep a song in your heart. Best regards, Lee.
October 28, 2010 7:44 PM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I enjoy tremendously reading his writings as he writes realities that make us all human – alive and loved. He captivates his readers' imagination and aspiration - what a sensation!
Yesterday, Uncle Lee shared his wisdom on hiring people and I told him it is too good not to share with many more out there. His wisdom is universally applicable, in my point of view, as we are after all born a leader to our family, company and community. I admire Uncle Lee’s insights building business not by going through the numbers (profit, profit, profit), cables (cronyism, nepotism) and papers. He helps people to build themselves with their innate strengths. He builds meaningful and winning relationship with those who crossed his path. He makes work a big part of life-enriching experience!
I hope you would enjoy reading it and pass it along to others.
Uncle Lee's A Midnight Rendezvous ~ "Work with me, not for me"
I was a Jack of all trades, master of none. I stopped reading the newspapers the day I retired.
However, I might sometimes buy the weekend papers for its section on new cars, and their road test results.
Glancing thru last weekend's papers, my eye caught on some employment vacancies, and read their various requirements for those applying.
There was the usual number of years experience preferred.
And Critical attributes required, as follows: -
When I employed people
I never looked at resumes, maybe only five all the 25 years I employed people.
'There's no security on this earth, only opportunity' ~ General Douglas MacArthur. Supreme Allied Commander, Pacific theatre of Operations. 2nd WW
I believed they had doctored their resumes. I let them go.
I never looked at race, gender nor religion, nor age nor for impressive credentials.
I looked at the person.
I looked for people who are better than me in various fields, be it a woman or a man, young or mature.
If the work vacancy does not require a good command of English, I took in those with minimum English qualifications, even a few with standard 6 or a Form 3 education.
The only positions I looked for a good command of English language as well comprehension was in Administrative, or as my personal secretary. Then I looked for the best.
I have always believed, we all have our weaknesses as well our strengths. Weaknesses I can cure. Their strengths I want.
That everyone deserves a chance in life. To prove herself or himself.
As long as you are not afraid of water, I will throw you in the deep end, and then throw a lifebelt.
I also believe when paying peanuts, you get monkeys.
I never tell people how to do things.
I tell them what to do and let them surprise me with their ingenuity.
I looked for attitude, integrity, responsibility, initiative, and a sense of humour.
I found a lot of my employees at shopping malls, on board a Penang ferry, on board a plane, in a coffee shop, even once at someone's funeral.
Should someone impress me, like a cosmetic salesgirl who tried to sell me an aftershave lotion even after I had told her I only use two brands, none of her's, it was the way she treated me and never ran down the brands I was using that impressed me.
"Mister, the brands you are using are very good, one of the best on the market, but...should you one day decide to have a change, do give our brand a try, I'm confident you will not be disappointed".
The next day, I went to see her. She recognised me. I handed her my business card and an envelope, marked, 'Your eyes only. Read when free'.
I had offered her a job in my company. She accepted. I never asked for her resume. She never failed us.
I once created a job for a young girl I met by chance, she a Malay girl in typical Malay baju wearing a tudung, looking for a job at a small Chinese mall where every small store had their Chinese God statues with burning incense and jossticks beside the entrance or inside.
It was her positive attitude that really impressed me. She had brought her papers with her, telling me she has an Australian Masters degree in Mathematics.
I never looked. I believed her.
She was looking for any kind of work and prepared to accept a salary of Rgt 180 if employed by any of the stores should they take her.
I offered her a job with a starting salary of Rgt 500. And she never failed us. I never did look at her resume. (See posting in archive, 'A Malay girl and her destiny', d/d 4/6/10.)
I had a slight advantage over most managers. Wearing neckties was and is something I disliked most. All my life till present I only own four neckties.
One was bought at a pasar malam (night market) in Trengganu, one at a pasar malam in Ipoh,...reason being the business meeting I was supposed to attend next day requires a tie.
One given to me by my boss as I think someone had leaked out I used neckties purchased from pasar malams.
His Senior Manager wearing a Rgt 3 necktie? He presented me a Dunhill tie.
Another, a present from my girlfriend, now my wife when she discovered I was not going to wear a tie for our marriage ceremony. Marriage almost got annulled because of a tie.
I still have the four neckties today, used only for funerals, but not at mine, and weddings.
Innovative Orang Hutan
My kind of interviews, using Reverse Psychology.
Why I mentioned the above is when anyone coming for an interview and sitting in my room waiting for me, it also gave me the opportunity to discreetly observe them for a few minutes, from outside. They never guessed I was the Manager.
This was only for management positions.
I would mostly wear a checked shirt and slacks, or plain pastel shirts. No ties!
But unknown to anybody, I had a one inch, light pencil line drawn beside the Playboy magazine as well another line beside the Marketing magazine.
Should any one be moved or looked at, the probability of it being put back in same location is near impossible.
I would then know which magazine applicant had looked at discreetly while I was out. 7 out of 10, it was the Playboy magazine. The men mostly. Women, maybe 3 out of 10.
Next to the Playboy magazine would be my small bronze statue of the 3 monkeys, 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil'.
Sometimes, I would knowing before hand of several interviews I had to conduct, I would hard boiled two eggs at home, one for spare, and putting abit of salt under a thin napkin on my table, put the egg in a corner standing up.
Everyone knows an egg cannot stand on its own. Many times the egg was moved and lying on it's side when I came in.
I can imagine how they tried to make it stand again.
Good, I like curious people. But never disclosed my trick.
I wanted to see how many would ask me about it, or laugh or get distracted by it. I was looking for humour.
Quite often, while conducting an interview for a senior post, I would prearrange with my secretary to interrupt us and tell me a fictitious problem, then leave.
I would then ask him or her whether they understood what my secretary had said, and ask, "what would you do if in my place"?
When looking for a sales executive, male or female, my secretary would arrange they wait for me at the far end of the reception room.
When in turn they were invited to come to my room, I would observe how they adjust themselves, how they walk to my room.
I was looking for a relaxed, self confidence poise.
Then listened to how they greet me, whether they sit down or wait to be invited to sit down. My door will be opened, most will knock, quite a few didn't.
When interviewing a man, one of the first things I look at are his shoes. If dirty, or leather and not polished to a shiny sheen, he is toast.
Polished leather shoes tells a lot about a man.
If a lady, over makeup, or giggly, or wearing sandals for an executive vacancy, she is toast too.
And she will bring in their coffee in a Wedgewood coffee cup and saucer. Sugar and cream separately, with a spoon.
Mine iced coffee in a glass. I will light my cigarette while discreetly observing how they behaved while adding sugar and cream or without.
Women will mostly beat men at this. Some men will stir their coffee like in a coffee shop at Gurney drive..
I will tell them, "I have not looked at your resume, and assure you, if you meet my expectations, I will never look.
I will believe what you tell me".
My secretary would have seen their application letter as well enclosed resume, but on my instructions, will not show me any.
She will reply and invite them for interviews.
If advertised in media, I do not ask for photographs. I love surprises. A photograph tends to either influence or diminish an applicant's chances.
Once they are relaxed, I will ask unrelated questions, some to jolt them, some to surprise them, some humorous.
In a light hearted manner.
Genting Highlands Resort and Casino.
This a personal question, you don't have to answer if uncomfortable. Is your wife very conservative or somewhat liberal should you have to work nights or weekends entertaining clients at nite clubs?
Can you swim? No?
If you see me struggling in the water, what would you do?
If at a pool, there are three diving platforms, different heights. I ask you to jump into the pool from one of them. Would you"?
He answers, "which platform you want me to jump from"?
Good answer. And he can't swim.
"Tell me, Wong...you mentioned you have an American degree in Business Administration, three years working experience.
What remuneration you looking at with our company?
What figure would make you happy...go ahead, I just had a medical check-up, I have a healthy heart".
Mr Wong has impressed me with all his actions and replies, and I think he is capable of meeting my exact and demanding expectations, he tells me, "I'm expecting a salary of $1000, plus benefits". Positive answer.
Some have answered, "ohh, you pay me what you think I deserve". "Anything between $800 to $1200".
"I want a job, I leave it to you sir, how much I should get paid", etc.
Indecisive. He's toast.
After seeing all applicants, I decide on Mr Wong. He comes for a second meeting with me.
He had taken a peek at my Playboy magazine first interview as well moved the egg. He did not stir his coffee like in Gurney Drive.
I take him for a walk around the plant, tell him what I am looking for as an 'Executive, Sales and Delivery Operations'.
Back in my office, I tell him, "Wong, I have not looked at your resume, nor am I interested.
You have impressed me and I am prepared to accept you in our Company.
However, I will not be paying you what you asked for in terms of salary".
I now for special effects, pause and light a cigarette while looking at him.
He doesn't bargain with me like buying underwear at a pasar malam. Some do.
Then continue, "I will offer you what you asked for as well another $150. We all have to eat, take the family for weekend dinners. How's that?
Before you answer me, I give you 2 minutes to think carefully whether you can meet my 3 work related commandments;
1/ I expect punctuality in everything, and I do not take prisoners, short of you going for a heart bypass, the last excuse I want to hear is, 'traffic jam'.
2/ You will accept full responsibility in everything you do here. And if by chance you burn my factory down, or experience a snafu, you point your finger at yourself, nobody else. Even if one of your staff played with a lighted match.
Lastly, 3/ I want you to be better than me, whatever you do in your department, that's all".
There was a Malay lady I employed. She about 28, married two kids. Very pretty. Tall. Very nice personality.
She tells me she has only a Form 5 education, passed with a grade 2. Five years admin working experience.
Again, I never looked at her resume. No reason to.
She had taken a peek at my Playboy magazine while waiting for me. She asked me about the egg. That shows curiousity.
She laughed and blushed when I teased her, "I know while you waiting for me, you looked at my Playboy magazine".
A few had denied. The magazine was moved! Toast!
Her reply," Mr Lee, first time I come for interview I see a Playboy magazine atas meja, ada dengar, ta'pernah tengok".
(I have heard about it, but never seen one before)
Good answer, she did not deny.
Somehow she impressed me with her replies to my questions.
One was..."If I give you work you have no experience in, as an Executive, a job maybe suitable for a graduate with a Mechanical degree, would you be prepared to accept it"?
"Mr Lee, you give me two months, I study my work from everyone here, I will not fail you".
Me: "Che Kairina, last question. Assuming you alone out of town on our business trip, would you feel uncomfortable facing five uneducated, loud mouth swearing small time contractors?
Or facing titled business people, and answering their questions in a conference room"?
"Mr Lee, yes...sebab saya don't have that experience before. But after 2 months I know my work, my assignment, maybe tentu nervous one time, two times, but after that I think should be no problems. And Mr Lee, I am not afraid of getting my hands or fingernails dirty too".
She was invited for a second meeting with me. I offered her a job she did not apply for and told her, "Kairina, I want someone like you. Work with me, not for me."
She got the job meant for a graduate. I like her positive attitude.
A year later she proved to be better than one of our graduate executives responsible for another territory.
She was promoted, and paid a graduate's salary. She never failed us, nor did I look at her resume.
In Kairina, Wong and the many others I personally employed, I was looking for people better than me, and together we never looked back, they followed me up the ladder of achievements, above and beyond the call of duty.
My code of conduct to employees
"I will never call you at home, nor expect you to work nights, or weekends, unless it's your fault.
If you have any personal problems, leave it at home. I expect you to come to work with a smile, go home with a smile.
I will not look over your shoulder. You have your responsibility, you know what to do.
I expect you to make mistakes. As I will too. Accept the responsibility.
Finally, lets have fun working together. And remember, you work with me. Not for me".
This my personal opinion.
I personally believe Managers who call, phone their employees at home, at nights, on weekends, during their vacation are either inconsiderate, inefficient, a show off, a bully, and or abusing their position. There is no excuse, there is no reason to. (Police and Doctors excepted)
25 years I never once called any of my staff at home. I don't even know their home phone numbers.
When not out of town, I make it a point every morning of walking around chatting and joking with all my staff, from coffee lady, mechanics to respective Senior Managers.
I never wore a tie (unless meeting VIPS). My office door was never closed, no brass plate sign outside of who I was, and opened to anybody, anyone who needs me.
And I dislike meetings, or having one, unless necessary. Once in 3 months was fine with me.
Meetings are for bosses who dare not make decisions, or to look important.
More than half of my employees were not qualified for the jobs I gave them, or promoted them to....they never failed me.
My employees were my strength.
I gave them my trust. They rewarded me with responsibility, ingenuity, integrity and their smiles when coming to work.
'Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow, and of the man who leads that gains the victory'
The first Allied Forces to reach River Rhine, Germany, 2nd WW
Have a pleasant week.
~ “Islamic Concept of Conscience” by Professor Maqsood Jafri
On Tuesday, Mak called me in the office. She told me my youngest brother’s case has been postponed, again. To that news, she rejoiced because Adik would be able to join us for Ayah’s all things-grilled-and-steamed birthday-do this Saturday. Not that I wasn’t aware about Adik’s court proceeding that day but I never thought Mak would think that far i.e. Adik could be sentenced to a 2-year jail and he won’t be around to celebrate Ayah’s birthday. She couldn’t thank God enough for his blessings on Adik (Mak and Ayah fasted for days and woke up for prayers at night prior to Adik’s court proceeding – our parents will forever worry for us and how sad that some of us have the heart to belittle their sacred roles). Oh, please forgive me. I wrote about Adik’s case in my “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”.
His wrongful lock-up incident opened up my eyes the perils our Men in Blue could inflict to us, common people, out of the blue. I got myself familiar with Red Book and decided to distribute it to those people in Puduraya (I know you have been reading a lot of nasty stories about ‘Ulat’ in Puduraya but trust me, they are far from truth).
Reading Nat’s “Arrested and beaten for testifying against cops?” this afternoon, I shudder at the very fact that I, too, could be in Cik Ganga Gowri’s shoes now. For Adik’s brush with Men in Blue, I feel for her anguish. Now, I’m just lost for words.
Don’t you feel for families of Adik A. Kugan, Adik BH Teoh, Adik Aminulrasyid and Adik Gunasegaran? In a collective way, we are responsible for the untimely death because we have allowed the Government of the Day to lose their conscience for far too long now but continue voting them.
“Unity is strength. When the sand grains unite they become a vast desert. When the sea drops unite they become a boundless ocean. The conglomeration of stars in the firmament of sky soothes our eyes. The seven colors emerge in the shape of a bewitching rainbow. The unity of people makes an invincible strong nation”
~ Professor Maqsood Jafri
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As Ayah got transferred from one army base to another while I was small – from The Little Red Dot to Sg Petani, Kuching to KL – me and my sister had many sets of friends growing up with but one constant social fixture – we hardly saw Mak chit chatting around someone’s door, along with most women in the mornings and evenings. It was odd looking at your friends’ mothers gathered around talking while Mak was content cooking for tea at 4.30 pm and ironing (she used to iron everything until I made her stopped when she turned 60 5 years ago). Why didn’t Mak enjoy doing the same like the rest of the women?
As I grew a little older, slowly Mak shared with me the reasons to that. Mak, apart from her OCD (that kept her busy most of the time), tried her best not to join such gathering, which by then I knew it was gossip session amongst the women, after their husbands went to work. She said me such gathering has no real benefits – it is bad for our soul. She taught me to pray for Allah’s mercy to ‘turn our eyes blind, our ears deaf and our mouth mute towards everything evils’. She proved to me that ‘talking is good’ but ‘bad mouthing and spreading doubts’ are roots to all evils.
More than a week ago, I thought of Plato’s great teacher – Socrates – out of the blue. Thanks to Plato, I started digging up Google for writing on his teacher (as Socrates has never written anything), for I know such intense feeling for him means something. Apparently, Socrates proves Mak right.
From ancient Plato’s Apology, Crito and Phaedo to Meno, I stumbled upon many more relevant recent articles on Socrates. Coincidentally, on 17 October 2010, a historical article by Bettany Hughes appeared in The Guardians. It is called “Socrates – A Man of Our Time” (similar time line when I thought of Socrates). I read it with teary eyes, wondering how we could be so blind and heartless, in this era of information technology (truths could be at our fingertips at the speed of light bulb), when we are faced serious lies, wishy washy ideas, stinky allegations and thousands of rumours.
“When Socrates finally stood up to face his charges in front of his fellow citizens in a religious court in the Athenian agora, he articulated one of the great pities of human society. "It is not my crimes that will convict me," he said. "But instead, rumour, gossip; the fact that by whispering together you will persuade yourselves that I am guilty." As another Greek author, Hesiod, put it, "Keep away from the gossip of people. For rumour [the Greek pheme, via fama in Latin, gives us our word fame] is an evil thing; by nature she's a light weight to lift up, yes, but heavy to carry and hard to put down again. Rumour never disappears entirely once people have indulged her."
Trial by media, by pheme, has always had a horrible potency. It was a slide in public opinion and the uncertainty of a traumatised age that brought Socrates to the hemlock. Rather than follow the example of his accusers, we should perhaps honour Socrates's exhortation to "know ourselves", to be individually honest, to do what we, not the next man, knows to be right. Not to hide behind the hatred of a herd, the roar of the crowd, but to aim, hard as it might be, towards the "good" life”
In Mark Vernon’s “Who was Plato’s Socrates?” back in August 2009, I was enlightened to find that Socrates believes that “love is everything [he] knows” and his idea on knowing oneself opens up the sacred meaning of love, when most of us easily associate love with foolish hearts and romanticism. So, when my Bro Ian asked me “Love is in the air eh?” in one of my posts, I, now, would like to pray that let love lives and fills the air so we could get out of this tight position we are currently in.
“It might be said that the genius of Plato's Socrates was to embrace ordinary human uncertainty and doubt, and fashion it into a flourishing way of life. He recognised that to be human is typically to be ignorant, though unlike other animals, the human creature can become conscious of his or her lack. And contrary to what the doctrinaire believe, therein lies something immensely valuable. A developed sense of what lies beyond us powers human innovation and creativity. A disciplined desire to reach out for more is the refinement of love. A subtle understanding of the limits of knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. If you were to convert Socrates' philosophy into a self-help book today, the title might be "The Power of Doubt."
We are "inbetween people" – inbetween "the beasts and the angels," as Saint Augustine was later poetically to put it. Moreover, this conviction meant that it is not strictly true that Socrates knew nothing at all. One thing he knew about for sure was precisely the longing that stems from the human condition – the longing to understand, to discover, to become enlightened. This one certainty powered what Socrates understood to be his vocation, the thing for which he was prepared to die”
So, Socrates teaches us to know ourselves and to love one another. Would that make us weak? Surprisingly, these are the virtues that make us strong.
Wait! Before you think he is just too philosophical (while I believe all school kids should be exposed to philosophy to understand life), you must read this Op-Ed on The Observer titled “Put your trust in Socrates, not economists”.
If we stopped comparing the "competitiveness" of national economic models, we could devote more attention to what kind of society we want, and what economic policies will get us there. That, indeed, is probably the economic equivalent of another famous Socratic injunction: know thyself”
Ironically, when UK people is celebrating 10th anniversary of Fairtrade Town, our conscience is being hammered with erratically greedy Government of the day spending and senseless fancy ETP projects – it feels like we are going to follow Greek’s footstep not too long from now.
Thank you Mak for your Socratic wisdom. I love you for all eternity..
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Today, my fave online newspaper, again splashed another story on "Rob Ryan: The artist spreading a little love around our homes" as they interviewed Mr. Rob Ryan on his artworks. They are simply smashing and his works truly epitomise the simplicity of love and the effects.
Can we, shall we?
That particular mosque is indeed a great looking historical building after restoration works completed a few years back. However, such glorious sight does not jive with the real purpose of it being built in the first place. The imam is hardly commanding the jemaah as he is busy fishing udang galah and taking care of his handsome stable of cows. His son, who is hired as one of the Bilals to the mosque, is hardly in during subuh prayer (he is only seen awake in the late morning). The sad part is – with allowances being part and quarters being provided for them to educate, guide and lead, the jemaah is normally left unattended. Their shenanigans are widely known to the village folks and now, they seem to have reached the District’s Religious Department.
And that is why Z was transferred to my village’s mosque. He plays a role of whistleblower to the said department – willingly. His close connection to the powers-that-be in the state - in the process of his religious studies and responsibilities and thanks to his superb charms and manners – is put to a good use, keeping the duo on their toes. Apparently, this is not his first ‘assignment’ – he had been to others around the state too before with a string of success stories. After listening to his theatrical chattering – some thought he is being over the top but I admire his eagerness - I told him we should all call him Corruption Ambassador for the state.
I wish I stayed longer and spend a few evenings with him in Mak Itam’s kitchen, as he asked me twice when I would be going back. He gave a little sorrowful look when I told him I am going back on the following day. He was thinking he could share more with me more on what he is doing as others are ridiculing his good intentions. Like we all know, some people feel that undoing the wrongs is not meant for humans (Read: “Jangan jaga tepi kain orang”) and doing the rights is wrong (Sigh! How complicated we humans can be).
Z, for me, is a symbol of hope that we, ordinary people could play our proactive role in silencing our biggest culprit – corruption. He is doing it, even at the expense of getting transferred here and there, out of his free will, without rewards or recognition. He feels that he has a responsibility to mankind, generally, and to God Almighty, specifically.
He makes me realize the power of feelings, as aptly worded by the prolific Madam Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
For me, we all have that urge to do something right inside us. It doesn’t matter how we do it and what would be the implications of us doing it because rights will only make things right.
“I cherish the memories of a question my grandson asked me the other day when he said, “Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?” Grandpa said “No… but I served in a company of heroes…”
p.s. Z is one great looking, strong lad but I feel safe with him because he is more in touch with his feminine side ( you guys would call him 'Sotong"). Sotong or not, he is a gem to me...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Anyway, I am not complaining because we have to say what we need to say and there must be a good reason why we are unable to say them sometimes.
Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put 'em in quotations
Say what you need to say
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you'd be better off instead,
If you could only . . .
Say what you need to say
Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You'd better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say again
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Say what you need to say
Friday, October 15, 2010
Warning: This post is filled with "Bloody". Tresspass with great caution.
No thanks to HR Minister S. Subramaniam. He said that the poors are too choosy about getting a job!
Well hell Subramaniam. You bloody mentioned that one of the reasons could be attributed to too low wages. You are damn right!
But on top of that too low wages (sometimes, it is depressing to realize, at the end of the day, that most of us go to work to pay bills in the process of going to work i.e. we incur more costs in being at work!), you, HR Minister, must read Mr. Daniel Gross’ article “We’re Mad as Hell” in Newsweek, before blaming the poors.
Mr. Gross rightly pointed out that “it seems ironic that signs of employee dissatisfaction should emerge at a time of high unemployment, but it is hardly surprising. For the 2 phenomena – the poor labour market and workers’ antagonism towards employers and customers – are actually connected. Employees are sick and tired of tough conditions and crummy salaries!”
Despite growing economy for the past one year, with surging profits, most of us think they are driven by remarkable gains in efficiency and productivity by the corporates. Unfortunately, Mr. Gross reveals that productivity growth doesn’t improved in tandem because most of the gains come from payrolls cuts! Salaries are cut, benefits are curtailed and businesses have been slow at hiring people.
He wrote that “the last couple of years have been a golden era for employers—they’ve found that they can hire whom they want at lower wages, and that it’s easier to retain folks without having to boost salaries. But at some point companies that want to grow will have to break down and hire new people, or turn part-timers into full-timers, or put contractors on the payroll. Many employers are treating existing and potential employees as if they’re desperate for work. And plenty of Americans are. But desperate times can lead to desperate measures. Push your workforce too hard without adequate reward, and someone just might tell you to take this job and shove it”.
So HR Minister, don’t bloody shoot the messengers i.e. the poors, when they did not take up your lousy, lowly jobs offered through e-Kasih. If you and your team can’t think, the least you can do is bloody read more!
“All work has a threefold moral significance. First, it is a principle way that people exercise the distinctive human capacity for self-expression and self-realization. Second, it is the ordinary way for human beings to fulfill their material needs. Finally, work enables people to contribute to the well-being of the larger community. Work is not only for one's self. It is for one's family, for the nation, and indeed for the benefit of the entire human family”
It is, then, not surprising to see most developing countries that offer cheap labour force also rank high in corruption index.
It is, also, disheartening to hear a Minister (Mak says that one of the signs of End of this World is when we have too many coward leaders) like Subramaniam blaming the poors for stone-dropping FDI. And you know it would bloody difficult for the powers-that-be to agree to minimum wage because by having this 'safety net', their 'warlords' would lose materially and that is not something they would want to inflict during this delicate moment.
Please STOP this MADNESS!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
"Running throughout the book, he says, is a gentle quest to overturn the malign understanding of clouds that has long informed western thinking. "People do have a slightly derogatory view of them," he says.
"When people say someone's got their head in the clouds, it's about being disengaged from the world. Whereas I say, 'Sod it - what's wrong with having your head in the clouds?' It's a really important thing to do, a reaction to the pressures of modern life. But there are all kinds of negative associations: the idea of someone having a cloud hanging over them, or clouds on the horizon - these very doomy things.
"But there's an Arabic phrase for someone who is lucky or blessed - they say, 'His sky is always filled with clouds.' It's the complete opposite. Clouds provide shade and rain. And rain is life; it's about abundance. Clouds bring beauty to the sunset. And they clear the atmosphere. They're purifiers: cloud droplets form around bits of pollution and bring it back to earth. But one of the main things for me is appreciating their beauty. Every day is like a new page."
As far as Pretor-Pinney's life is concerned, clouds have had one particularly important effect. He met his fiancée, Liz - to whom The Cloudspotter's Guide is dedicated - at his first cloud lecture; their relationship took flight at a second meeting, where her opening gambit was, "You're the cloud guy, aren't you?"
That's so sweet of him and before I sign off, I wish that your sky are filled with clouds ;)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The first of Los 33 has surfaced from 700 metre-deep ‘temporary home’ for the past 69 days a few minutes ago. Another 32 to go and I am crossing my fingers, praying for their safe return to their beloveds.
I’m off for some exotic gastronomic rendezvous but in the mean time, I would like to share Guardian’s interview with Luis Urza, the leader of Los 33.
Los 33’s story is not just miraculous. It is a perfect case study for crisis management. It shows that everyone is precious but acceptance to that fact does not stop there. It should be translated into actions, where they must play their courageous part, to their level best.
Luis Urzua, the shift foreman trapped underground with 32 other Chilean miners, who has taken much of the praise for the wellbeing of the team under his command, has told the Guardian he was humbled by the men's ability to stay united.
Urzua, who has become a national hero in Chile and is expected to be the last to leave the mine after some 10 weeks underground, said in an exclusive interview: "This was a group with different personalities and manners of being. They're different characters."
Urzua has been widely credited with keeping the men alive during the first 17 days, when he rationed food, giving one spoonful of tuna to each of the miners every 48 hours.
Urzua said the men are cleaning up their underground space, "but we don't have any place to put the garbage".He was not worried about being the last man to leave the mine.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Life is, indeed, an endless trip. Literally. Along the way, at various stops in life, we bump into strangers, make friends and decisions. As we are the driver of our life, we determine which direction we are going and how we are going. Once these have been identified, we pick who and what we will bring along, using the concept of 3Ps – Practicality, Proactivity and Patience.
This brings me to Elizabeth Gilbert (Liz) and her “Eat, Pray, Love” (saya suka terjemahan buku ini di dalam Bahasa Indonesia bertajuk "Makan, Doa, Cinta"). Suddenly, her search becomes my business.
She came into the picture when I reaffirmed my gut feelings to someone that he IS one of my soulmates.
I must say I have broken a few beautiful hearts but I am not saying that with proud or grudge. Hurting someone so dear only hurts us back. Somehow, as life has better purpose for us to fulfill, there are relationships that we have to remodel into lasting spiritual friendships. They live forever in our heart. My brief encounters with my soulmates have enlightened me the real soul inside this façade and ignited the real potentials in me. For being my soulmates, they are like bitter pills I have to swallow every now and then, the beacons lighting up vast lands and open seas strange to me so I could stay true to myself.
“People think your soul mate is your perfect fit and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, someone who shows you everything that hold you back, the person who brings you to your attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master”
~ Richard from Texas to Liz
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it”
Because of them, I am ready to love and be loved, with the kind of “love that moves the sun and the other stars” (Liz) and I am, even, willing to be alone and lonely, at times because I would “never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for [my] own unfulfilled yearnings” (Liz).
Liz’s book, for me, is liberating. It is not about celebrating romance or comical side of life of a divorcee. This is a book about searching oneself, understanding why one behaves like one and finding the real meaning of one being given a life by The Almighty.
If you are reading this book for chicklit-kind of romance, you’d be disappointed but if you could pass through the rigorous explanation on Hinduism, Yoga and all, you would find a startling gem at the end of it. That is, life isn’t all about finding someone to love but it is about finding oneself and loving it (with all its imperfections – acknowledgment of this would normally propel one to improve oneself), giving meaning to everything and everyone around us. If we could do that, we find love right at our doorstep, every single day in our lifetime.
This book is Liz’s memoir and interestingly, it could well serve as a relevant psychology material reading as it shows how our past experiences, as early as toddler, could shape who we are today and amazingly teaches us that we could always rewrite our Lifescript. We are after all, with God’s guidance and grace, are the master of our destiny.
Universal as it can be, Liz shares one of the most important truths on mankind. Liz writes, “I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that humans have ever fought over, all through history: how much do you love me? And, who’s in charge?’”. Indeed, insecurity and doubts are men’s best enemies as they are capable of wrecking a relationship, drowning one’s future, silencing democracy and in the end, killing oneself, painfully, bit by bit.
Although I adore Julie Roberts, I don’t think watching a movie would be sufficient to immerse oneself with the wonderfulness of Liz’s book. It’s soul-searching worth reading!
My trip has been quite a rugged one. If I am blessed with THE ONE, I pray THE ONE that rivals a companionship between the Late Paul Newman and his beloved, Joanne Woodward. God please guide me, for I do not wish to take up ‘passengers’ along the trip, like the one of Dame Liz Taylor.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I recalled reading Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s latest interview transcript with NYT a week after Raya - how enviously happy I was to see a man of his stature could express his love and devotion to his beloved wife in such beautiful and moving words. A companionship that matches only Will and Ariel Durant’s lifelong love story – that is priceless.
I imagine her attentively listening to him sharing ideas to transform once-a-Third-World-Port and its people, during those early days, as if following what my dearest Madam Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “I used to tell my husband that, if he could make me 'understand' something, it would be clear to all the other people in the country”. For that, I admire her womanly quality.
I imagine her drafting Singapore Labour Foundation Act so tenderly so that her nation's union members and their families could have better access to rights and benefits. For that, I respect her comradeship.
That night, like many more nights of prayers and tears I had before, I prayed for God to give Mr. Lee Kuan Yew strength to go through his loss because he must have felt like one of his wings has been clipped, that he can’t fly up but down. But down he must go if that would make him humblest and most loving of man, remembering God's graciousness towards both of them.
My heartfelt condolence to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his family. May her soul rest in peace.
In memory of their true love, here’s Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which I believe, must be one of those poems Mr. Lee read to his beloved.
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.