Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book 2 "Entrepreneur" Begins

Well, Book 1 was called "Employee" and it is coming to an end. I don't know what date it would be exactly because I'm still waiting for my company's HR manager to calculate my last day of service with my present company. Now, I'm about to begin my Book 2 "Entrepreneur".

My initial feeling about this is that it is a giant roller-coaster ride with me strapped onto my seat with no option to stop and get off. So, on some days I was really looking forward to it. On other days, I was gripped by fear that I may have made a wrong decision. I guess, that is a common emotion for someone facing a crossroad in life.

However, now that I've tendered in my resignation, there'll be no more doubting on whether it will work. I'll have to go by faith and courage to make it work. Through all these, I'm so thankful to God for His grace. My no.1 concern was whether my wife and parents would fully support me in this or would they advice me against it. Believe me, that was very difficult for me. Thank God that when I broke the news to them, they just told me that they would support me and there was no question at all whether I was taking a great risk or not.

The picture you see on the top is my new company's logo. More details about what we do in a later posting.

Till then, cheers!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lessons from "Think Big & Kick Ass" by Donald Trump

Firstly, you must read this book. It is packed with nuggets from this celebrity billionaire whose most famous tag-line is "You're fired!". I got so many ideas and inspirations out of it. The co-author Bill Zanker who started the seminar company 'The Learning Annex' also had an inspirational story to tell about how his team took on an impossible project and turned it into an annual million dollar revenue activity.

Well, the most memorable lesson for me was from chapter 7 "Big Mo!". 'Mo' stands for momentum. Just like an electric fan, once it is turned on, it will keep on spinning. When you cut off the electrical supply, it will continue to spin through the force of inertia before eventually coming to a complete stop. Then you have to do something else to restart it. Well, in this case the fan should be an easy appliance to restart. But what if there is a power failure? Perhaps, try to think of a locomotive. It takes so much more effort to start a stalled locomotive, doesn't it? Yet, while it is running on full speed, one would not think of getting in its way! Once the locomotive stops, it takes great effort to get it moving again. That's the power of momentum.

According to Donald Trump, when we start a new business, we are actually building momentum in our life. Initially, no one knows about us and what we do. Well, just keep at it. Tell everyone you meet about what you do. Be your own best spokesperson. Publicize, publicize, publicize! Soon, someone will need what you offer. Pretty soon, that one would lead to two and eventually to many. And from Trump's experience, there comes a point where everything comes together all at once and you will find it challenging to juggle so much business. So, what do you do next?

You have just got your locomotive running and momentum is there. Do you a) ride the momentum? or b) keep building even more momentum? The obvious answer is (b), of course. However, how many times have you visited a restaurant which started off great but the moment business goes up, quality of cooking goes down. Many things are easier said than done, but still it takes someone to do it first. Otherwise, it will forever just be in the 'easier said' stage.

Wishing you a "Think Big Kick Ass" weekend ahead!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do What You Do Best!

There is a key to greatness that everyone can use to make their life fantastic, and that is 'Do what you do best!' To do this, you must first know without a certain doubt what your calling in life is. Then, as the Nike ad says, 'Just Do It!'. Don't doubt and don't waver. Be fully focused on the goal and know that you already have the resources within you to achieve it - your will!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An interesting article I came across today

A friend sent me the following article this morning. It was so well written that I thought of sharing it here. I agree with the author that there seems to be a lack of knowledge about the situation and needs of the East Malaysian on the part of our West Malaysian countryman/woman. Even in the workplace of a large national company, the needs of East Malaysian colleagues are always put on second place. Well, at least that's what I experience. Enjoy the following article and feel free to add your views.


by Erna Mahyuni

As an East Malaysian, I am neither surprised nor angry about Malay/Muslims being up in arms over the 'Allah' High Court ruling.

It was to be expected, really.

What does anger me is getting comments from West Malaysian Christians that it is 'silly' for Christians to lobby to use the word 'Allah'.

One rather un-enlightened Christian said that "Allah is also a word used to describe one particular god in a pagan for Christians to use 'Allah' is strange and silly."

The whole 'Allah' debacle highlights a bigger, more endemic problem in the Malaysian, or should I say West Malaysian mentality: General ignorance of how the 'others' or 'lain-lain' live.

It seems very hard for most West Malaysians to understand that:

* Not all bumiputeras are Malay.

* Not all bumiputeras are Muslim.

It isn't just West Malaysian Muslims who have a very limited worldview but Christians as well.

They don't understand that in East Malaysia, with its high population of indigenous Christians, Bahasa Malaysia is used in services.

Most of these Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians have spent their whole lives thinking, praying and referring to their God as 'Allah Bapa' (Father God).

And now the government says they can't. That only Muslims can use the word 'Allah' when that isn't true in other countries.

Look at Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, which allows the printing and dissemination of bibles in Bahasa Indonesia that refer to God not as 'Tuhan' but as 'Allah'.

The Indonesian Muslims don't worry that their brethren will be 'confused' by these bibles. So why is our Home Ministry and all these religious groups up in arms?

The answer to that is politics. Religion is, unfortunately, something as mixed up with politics as is race. Political parties unabashedly use religion as a tool to win debates, with Umno often accused of trying to 'out-Islam' PAS.

Religion is not a private matter in this country and is, instead, aired like so much dirty laundry. What other Southeast Asian country has officially sanctioned civilian peeping Toms who consider it their civic duty to weed out fornication?

Malay is our language, too

Despite the many varied ethnicities in Sabah, they have managed to get along without bloodshed or May 13-like incidents.

How have we managed it when West Malaysia's three main races mostly give each other a wide berth? It's called tolerance, people.

All Sabahans speak a slightly modified version of Malay with the funny little suffix 'bah' tagged behind a lot of words or sentences.

In rural areas, this heavily-accented version of Malay is the only means for most people to communicate with each other. They speak, think, dream and yes, even pray in the language.

Sabahan Michelle Quek asks: "Is it more important to recognise that some Muslims lay claim to the word as being exclusive to their faith, or recognise that a practical need for the word exists for East Malaysian Christians?"

Her question embodies the difficult balancing act that Malaysia has in attempting to address the needs of its varied peoples as well as the gulf between East and West Malaysia.

Kavin Ch'ng, who is married to a Sabahan, says that locally, for many generations, Malay-speaking Christians have always referred to Allah and Tuhan in the same breath.

"Why only now does the government kick up such a fuss?" he asks. What is important, Ch'ng says, is mutual respect.

"I think there is a way to co-exist - if only our government can actually wrap its head around the concept of context."

Sarawakian El'Bornean finds it disturbing that West Malaysians now want to dictate how one's personal faith is practiced.

"The true Malaysians are here in Sabah and Sarawak," he says, citing examples of his Muslim friends who have no qualms sitting with friends in non-halal stores and visiting churches.

Despite being surrounded by Christians, East Malaysian Muslims do not consider their faith easily shaken, he asserts.

Sabahan Dusun Zara Kahan has a humorous, if facetious, solution.

"If (some) Muslims insist on ownership of the term 'Allah' then Christians must do the same with the term 'Tuhan'. Do you know how many Hari Raya songs will be in jeopardy? End of issue!"

No, we don't want to convert you

In West Malaysia, technically Christian worship services in Malay are illegal. But Sabahan and Sarawakian students ask for them anyway.

Many of these Malay-speaking East Malaysians feel uncomfortable attending worship services in English because the terms are unfamiliar. Muslims often cite the 99 names of Allah and for Christians in East Malaysia as well as Lebanon and Syria, Allah is their name for God.

All this talk about 'confusion' is really the product of West Malaysians not mixing with their East Malaysian brethren.

If you visit the Dusuns in Ranau, you could well meet locals as fair as highland Chinese with slanted eyes who would greet you with the traditional Muslim salam.

Wander into an East Malaysian Chinese coffee shop and you would see tanned, Malay-looking locals happily digging into 'char siew' or other pork dishes

In East Malaysia, you can't easily tell what faith someone professes or what race his forefathers were just by looking.

This is very disturbing to the West Malaysian psyche. I have met West Malaysians who get very agitated when I refuse to tell them either what religion I profess or what race I am.

They don't know what to do with me because they can't categorise me. I don't fit into their safe little boxes which decide how they will treat me.

What annoys me as well is this West Malaysian paranoia that Christians have a secret ongoing campaign to convert Muslims on the sly.

Let us be honest. If converting Muslims to Christianity was as easy as pouring holy water into your drinking water or putting the word 'Allah' in all available religious literature, the Pope would have sanctioned it years ago.

Christians don't get 'brownie points' by forcibly converting unwilling Muslims.

I suppose all the Malay-looking Christian East Malaysians really confuse the locals to the point they rabidly proclaim that churches are succeeding in their nefarious campaign to take over Muslim souls.

In East Malaysia, Christians and Muslims come in various sizes, shapes and colours. Even huge extended families often have different religions, sometimes staying under one roof.

It is not unusual for an East Malaysian to have not just Christian, but Buddhist, Muslim and animist relatives. A friend of mine says it is a convenient excuse to celebrate the many public holidays with more gusto.

When told that someone is marrying a person of another race, the common reaction is: "Oh, your kids will be cute!" No heated discussion about traditions or religious differences because the unspoken assumption is that the couple will work them out.

Because they do.

Be Malaysia, not 1Malaysia

A well-known comedian talked about the recent Al-Islam undercover foray into churches. Its so-called investigative journalists entered churches on false premises and desecrated the communion wafer.

Did the Christians protest? asked the comedian. Did they declare bloody war? Did they have angry sermons and plan noisy demonstrations outside churches on Sunday?

No. What did the Christians say? "Forgive them-lor. Pray for them-lor."

The comedian mused that the incident was actually excellent public relations for the church.

Despite our annoyance with West Malaysian intolerance, do you see East Malaysians picketing?

We gripe, we grumble, we send politely-worded statements. Yet we still believe in the Malaysia that our Tourism Ministry tries to sell, but which seems to be a myth in West Malaysia.

Do you want to know why? Deep in the heart of most East Malaysians, we truly believe in tolerance. We believe in the ideals of Malaysia.

We don't have to give 'muhibbah' a name because we live it. Since 1963, we have lived as Malaysians, believing in true tolerance and that race or religion matters little.

We truly do believe that West Malaysians can and should get over us using 'Allah' to worship God. Isn't Allah the God of all mankind? Isn't your Malaysia our Malaysia too?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to take care of the voice, anyone?

I'm on sick leave today. For someone who makes a living using his voice, it gets a bit irritating to be down with bad cough and no voice. Lately, I've been speaking a lot and I feel my throat dry after long sessions of speaking loudly.

Yesterday, I started to get this 'sexy' tone, which is not at all sexy, if you ask me. Anyone has a remedy or good practice to take care of one's voice?