Life is unpredictable

Yes, it is. Although this phrase is so overused, it has its truth in it.

Our office received news a while ago from our colleagues overseas saying that a Malaysian girl whom we sent over last year had passed away.

Yes. Passed away. Just like that.

We were, of course, shocked. Until today, the news still hasn’t quite settled in. No cause of death has been communicated to us yet, and we are still wondering what happened.

All we knew was that no one, her boyfriend back in Singapore and her close classmates, could contact her for more than 24 hours. Her classmates then knocked on her room door and when they got no response, went to ask security to open the door. And there she was, already stiff.

Very, very sad.

I dread to think how the friend would have felt when she first saw her. I dread to think how the friend could muster the courage to call the deceased’s family to tell them of this news. And I dread to think how her parents would feel.

I also dread to think how her last moments were; what thoughts went through her mind, if she suffered alone in her room. Being someone who has studied overseas before and now travel quite extensively for my work, I shudder at the thought of knowing your time is up and you are in a foreign land, unable to do anything, worrying about leaving your family and friends.

B (the deceased) was supposed to graduate this summer (May/June). She was doing her Masters and had planned for her boyfriend to join her for a Europe trip after she finishes. She was supposed to go home to her family, whom, I presume, would be expecting their daughter graduating with a Masters, getting a good job, settling down.

And suddenly, wham, you get a call to say your daughter has passed away – thousands of kilometres away. You can’t see her, you don’t know what happened. You are not even sure how to bring her back to Malaysia, how much it costs.

B’s family is not well to do and they had to (allegedly) borrow some cash to enable the brother to fly over  to get her home. Her parents stayed back, presumably to save costs. They wanted very much to bring her body back for burial, but they knew it was going to be expensive. Thus, the decision was to cremate her.

Fortunately, our University was compassionate. We offered to pay for all repatriation expenses, including B’s brother’s accommodation while he is there. Although the offer was made to them, the family decided that B should be cremated. While we respect their wishes, I cannot help but imagine how would the parents feel – not being able to even see their daughter’s body – just ashes.

B was a Buddhist and being a Buddhist myself as well (although not so devout) thoughts came in. Buddhists believe in life after death, we believe that souls still live on, reincarnation happens, etc. And if B has passed away in another country, I can’t help but imagine if her soul could ‘come home’. I dread how her parents must worry if their daughter’s soul could ‘come home’ to Malaysia and not ‘lost’ overseas.

Buddhist chantings during a wake helps calms the deceased’s soul and aid her in ‘crossing over’. Buddhist monks were engaged overseas for B – it was somewhat surprising that they can find one – thank goodness.

Another wake would be held for her once she is back home, and hopefully, although she passed away miles away, B would RIP. Condolences to her family and close friends as well.

Are parents at fault?

I was reading the Sunday papers last week and there was this person who wrote in commenting about how different times are now with youths. He told a story of how a father’s sacrifices for his son has gone down the drain – while the son is all grown up and enjoying his life overseas, the poor father was left alone, poor and without anyone to care of.

The writer related that, the father, who despite not being rich, was able to send his son overseas to study. And gradually he was ‘made’ to send spending money every month – for his son to buy stuff, to fly home during the holidays and so on. And right after graduation, he sent some money again for his son to travel.

Throughout the story, it was made clear that the father was struggling with the payments,  and yet he never told the son anything and basically was able to come up with the money requested.

Anyway, the son soon graduated, found a good job, got married and lived overseas – far from the father and rarely came home to see him.

No money sent, nothing.

Although I do pity the father, and agree that it is not right for the son to treat him this way, but I also can’t help but think.. is this the new-generation parents’ fault?

Pampering your children and giving them the best are things that good parents should do – including ensuring them of a worry-free life, providing a good education and buying them things the said parents never got to have when they are young.

But then again, what does that teach your child?

Although I do not have children myself and I may or may not think differently when I do have some of my own, but I still think that maybe, just maybe, the father’s way of giving in to his son may be the cause of him being so ignorant.

Yes, ignorant.

Not so much of not being filial enough and all, but just plain naive thinking that the father has it all and he doesn’t need to worry about him too much. The fact that all these years, he must’ve told the son countless times – don’t worry, concentrate on your studies and I’ll take care of the rest.

My believe is always that, no matter how rich you are, your children needs to be educated that money doesn’t grow on trees and every one needs to work hard to earn an easy life. And that there are poor people around us, that the money they are using are hard-earned by their parents – yes, hard-earned. Even if you are a filthy rich minister businessman, the hours and torture  you put in your work are tough, no?

 

Wifely duties

MP: M’sian men have affairs as wives ‘neglect’ duty

Malaysian men have extramarital sex because of ‘wives who neglect their responsibilities’ to their husbands, a Malaysian lawmaker told Parliament on Thursday, reports AFP.

“Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and go to their wives to ease their urges,” said independent lawmaker Ibrahim Ali, as quoted by online portal Malaysiakini. “But when they come home to their wives, they will say, ‘wait, I’m cooking,’ or ‘wait, I’m getting ready to visit relatives’,” Ali said.

“In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husband’s demands.”

Ali heads Perkasa, a right-wing Malay nationalist group seeking to protect ethnic Malay dominance in politics. His strident comments came as he asked about plans by the government’s religious development department to educate wives on their responsibilities. Wives failing in their duties pushed men to go to “private places to satisfy their urges”, he said.

Source: The Daily Chilli (April, 2011)

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Politicians in Malaysia certainly never fail to amaze. Every. Single. Time. Heh.

What made this bugger say what he said in public, to the media is beyond me. Have you not thought of how your words may be taken verbatim and posted everywhere? Have you not thought of how embarrassing it may be when people start criticising you – your intelligence questioned?

Gosh. Help us. I am sure this has gone global and non-Malaysians are sure to think that people in Malaysia still live on trees.

Stop everything to satisfy your urges? Jeez.. what if wifey is cooking for your kids? Or wifey is feeding your kids? This mentality is so backward. Your wife is not an object to satisfy your urges. She needs to be respected and if she does not feel like having sex with you and you force her, it is rape. Moron.

I wonder if the same applies to the wife. So, if hubby is too busy with work to ‘satisfy’ her, can she seek satisfaction somewhere else?

 

The harsh reality

 

One of our staff was fuming yesterday evening. Literally fuming, with bright red ears and quickened breathing. Initially, he did not want to tell us what caused it, but gradually, after some probing, he did. Apparently, he is still mad over what the boss did.

Well, it was not a small matter, of course, to a student working because you needed some extra money. What he said was somewhat true – why are we keeping an incompetent staff on board and why can’t we, as subordinates do anything?

I don’t really have a direct answer to that, actually, except to say that this is the ‘reality’ within most corporate organisations. Bad management is everywhere – not to say that I am a good one or will be a good one – and we can’t escape that easily. And unfortunately, these managers exist in the ‘middle’ levels, which makes it more difficult to ‘get rid’ of them. As subordinates, we cannot go against our manager, simply because this is how the system works. We have to support them regardless of what happens and the trick to deal with this is probably just to listen, bitch about it later and do it the way we think is best.

It is also the reality that most organisations in the Asia region is bureaucratic, no matter how globalised you are. Employing the right people may help but as the system wears them thin, no one could be bothered anymore.

Goodbye 2010

It has not been a tradition of mine to compose something about the past year but I felt like doing so this moment. Granted, it has been almost two weeks past the new year and I have been so caught up with work I haven’t really had the chance to sit back and think. Perhaps, nothing much has happened over the past few years – and since I changed jobs early this year, things have been a bit different.

The past year has gone by like a dream. It is hard to believe that I have been in this new position for almost a year. I am still learning, which is good. That means, I still have not gotten bored of what I am doing yet. However, this nagging feeling to jump off is there.

Anyways, year 2010 has brought me places – India and Bangladesh – which I would not dream of stepping foot into ever. These trips made me re-look at life, question my priorities and of course get to know new people. Life is not merely confined within the office and nothing else.

I am also almost finished with my MBA course, moving on already to the electives. Two electives, one research proposal, a final thesis and I’ll be done. Hopefully by August. And hopefully, an MBA with distinction or merit.

I have not been writing nor blogging much over the past year and hopefully, Year 2011 will see me doing this more often. The only writing I have stuck with religiously was my assignements!

Creativity

I have moved on to the electives part in my MBA programme and thinking of taking the road less travelled, opted for a module called ‘Knowledge Management’. Yes, I should have chosen something more familiar like International Marketing but the whole rationale of taking this MBA was for me to learn something different.

So, Knowledge Management (KM) that is.

KM is nothing new to me, although immersing myself in its theories are something different altogether. Yes, it has been widely acknowledged that KM within a company can be harnessed as a source of competitive advantage and it is a huge, huge waste if an employee with tons of knowledge leaves the company.

Like me. Heh.

Anyway, was reading this journal on knowledge within a company and it touches on the role of creativity in organisations. Which I find interesting.

I moved from an open-minded organisation to a very much closed-minded one. Although it is an ‘international’ organisation, unfortunately, we are being led by someone who is rather ‘traditional’.

You would really expect a hive of learning experience within such a big organisation but the sad part is (like what the journal article says) our creativity and learning experience had been hampered by myopic management. The definition of a good manager and a good leader differs apparently but I am not going into this.

We are not encouraged to question or even take our own initiative. Due to pressures from above to perform and meet targets all departments were merely operating on a ‘finish our job ASAP’ basis. No time to think outside the box, no time to sit and brainstorm on ideas. Its work within the budget, line up some activities, advertise and put these in all our reports so they look good. Why are we using money to participate in this event which will not generate much returns? Don’t ask, just go.

I believe that they key to keeping yourself updated is doing a lot of reading on trends. And if you do not do so, you are going to look stupid in front of every one. I dread becoming one such manager myself and hope that I would be a leader instead of a manager.

Creativity, it seems, comes from the intrinsic satisfaction of an employee. No doubt, money is a strong motivator, but if one is not passionate about what he does, creativity wouldn’t kick in naturally. How true. The carrot may be dangling in front of you – a huge, fat bonus at the end of the year – if you achieve your sales target. People will be so consumed with achieving the target and not thinking of how the organisation could do better in the long run by injecting some creative or innovative marketing strategies.

I have always believed in the visions at the top. If those at the top advocates innovation and creativity, the whole organisation would. Otherwise, it is just a matter of going along with the daily grind.

The root of the problem? Me thinks it’s the trend where Senior Management are expected to go on rotation to different countries/regions. There would be less sense of belonging and no concern on what’s long term in an organisation. No?

My 2-cents on the tower

Right.

The talk-of-the-KL-town now is the mega tower. Which some bright fella who doesn’t know how to spend public money came up with.

Which supposedly symbolises Malaysia’s grandeur and development.

And which more than two hundred thousand Malaysians disapproves of. Of course, the number is indeed larger since this number only involves those who joins the page in Facebook.

I just couldn’t understand why people don’t use their brains. Come on, every single Malaysian who works deals with budgets and money all the time. While not every one is good with managing money, the ones who are making economic decisions are expected to be wise.

This mega tower decision seems to me as something which was dreamed up overnight: ‘Ah, a mega tower it is!’

Just how many projects have we carried out which is a waste of public funds? Can’t these ‘bright’ people see that there are many more beneficial things that needed us to plough money into?

Like, improving the public transportation. Or, building better roads or amenities. Helping the poor. Improving our education system, improving the facilities in our schools. Paying our public servants (or police) better so that they are more committed to their jobs and not take bribes.

Why would those we entrusted to run the country turn out to be such foolish men?

Sigh.

It is not as if the mega tower would make a huge difference to the country. Still, the regular Malaysians need to go to work – perhaps the only difference is that the traffic surrounding the tower would be worse. Life goes on whether the tower is there or not.

We have too many white elephants, too many failed ‘Boleh’ projects, so, please, please don’t make a fool out of ourselves and jump into another one.

Malaysians have said no and for once, listen to us!