Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Sensitive Ecosystem

While the oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico could be thousands of miles away, we have our own similar problem when 2 ships collided at the Straits of Malacca, near Singapore. The latest is that the oil spill is spreading to the Malaysian shores after causing problems in Singapore.

Somehow, there is not much coverage that we have in Malaysia on this unfortunate event. Either the media deems this as not that news worthy or we Malaysians are not bothered about it as it happens far away from where we live.

I was in Cherating, off Kuantan, recently and was able to enjoy the beautiful South China Sea. There we people who caught some fish using net. Just imagine how their life would be affected if the mishap happens to be in that area. Cherating is where Club Med is located as well.

As we develops further and enjoy better quality of life, we should not ignore the basics which enable us to be where we are now. We need to ensure the environment around us remains beautiful and sustainable. Otherwise, the cost to live in a messed up environment would be expensive and would suck whatever extra income we generate in the future.

Not sure how sensitive we are in protecting our environment, perhaps we have not messed things up that much to start to be concern. However, if we are smart and develop the mentality to preserve what we have, I am sure the long term cost to the society will be less.

The choice is ours to decide.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Who Is Paying The Bills?

Given the chaos the world is experiencing now, we need to really think deeply about the future and organise ourselves accordingly. The near collapse of Euro has initiated debate about the sustainability of the "European Way of Life" with high taxes and generous social security and retirement benefits. If this New York Times article is true, this will have to change soon.

The Performance Management & Delivery Unit of the Prime Minister's Department (PEMANDU) will be organising an Open House on subsidy in Kuala Lumpur next week. The government spent around RM 74 billion last year on various subsidy from fuel, sugar and healthcare, among others. It is also soliciting an on-line feedback from Malaysians on this issue. If the income level of average Malaysians is low, being addicted to subsidy is not a surprise at all. The data on the basic qualification of Malaysian workforce points towards the problem.

While naturally we would like to have more for less efforts, even people living in countries like Malaysia has to think forward and structure ourselves accordingly so that we could have a sustainable decent lifestyle across the society. How this will be addressed in the New Economic Model which will be revealed in full next month would certainly be the concern of most Malaysians.

The Open House is an opportunity to understand the thoughts of the government on how the subsidy would be reduced. Rather than complaining after policies have been implemented, this opportunity should be used by all of us to put across our thoughts on this important matter.

Be a responsible Rakyat and make your views count.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

A Tribute to All Teachers

Following the tradition, 16th May is Teacher's Day in Malaysia. It is to honour those men and women whose task are to ensure young Malaysians are adequately educated so that they could contribute towards nation building when they grow up later.

Teachers had played important role in nation building especially the pre-Merdeka and early days of our independence. Among the early roles allowed to Malaysians by the British colonist, teachers in the early days of Merdeka were not involved only in educating Malaysians but were part of the intellectuals who transformed this country into a nation which could stand on its own feet. 

Given limited choice of employment, those who joined the teaching profession those days were among the smart and the brightest, no wonder teachers in the early years of Malaysia commanded respect from all levels of society and many of them ended up being leaders of the society.

In a modern and sophisticated Malaysia, the roles of teachers has grown and become more demanding. Being the group of people interacting with future leaders of this nation, it is upon the teachers to ensure our young flesh and blood do not only acquire academic knowledge but compliment the efforts of parents in inculcating good values in young Malaysians. As our population grow, these tasks are getting more difficult.

As we modernise and move up the value chain, more employment opportunities are available. Teaching is no longer the first choice among the smart and bright Malaysians. While it is fair for them to consider opportunities to maximise their future, the teaching profession needs talents in catering for the more demanding needs of the nation. To add misery to the profession, this is among the most politicised profession due to the number of votes teachers could bring during elections.

As we honour our teachers, we should also ponder on whether this celebration should be limited to teachers as teachers or should also cover others whose role includes getting somebody to be educated. This will robe in many more Malaysians including our parents, bosses and colleagues. As knowledge and platform in delivering knowledge evolve, even Google could fall into definition as our teacher!

Being a son of a teacher, I am very proud of the contribution of this noble profession and I pray that all teachers, present and past, we be blessed.

No amount of money would be enough to recognise the contribution and sacrifices made by teachers in this country to ensure we enjoy prosperity as what we do today.

Happy Teacher's Day.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A tribute to all mothers

Celebrating Mother's Day when one's mother is no longer around is certainly odd. What remains is the memories of the past, to the extend that the mind could remember. Unfortunately, we are not in the position to experience the challenges of our mothers had to go through when we were in their wombs. None also could understand the period when they risk their lives in delivering us into this world.

Many could recall the early days when they were old enough to remember the feeling being comforted by their mothers in the time of needs. Off course we could not remember how it was when they had to wake up and attend to us when we cried. None of us could deny that those early days set the tone for our future.

Many religions and cultures place mothers in special positions. In Islam, they are respected as such that it is a great sin to raise our voices when speaking to them. What more to hurt their hearts. Given the sacrifices that they made in ensuring all their children would be raised in the best possible ways and achieve the best possible future, such honour is the least we could give them.

Have we done enough to thank the most special human being in our life, our mothers?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Malaysia missing on iPad first global launch

The iPad global launch is slated to be on May 28 in nine selected countries. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Britain are the countries selected to the first launch. Unfortunately, Malaysia is not on the list.

Even we are not slated for the next launch scheduled in July. The countries listed on the second launch are Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore and New Zealand.

Could it be that our purchasing power is considered low that the market for such product is small in this country of 27 million people? Or could it be that we, Malaysians, are do not have appetite for products which contains high intellectual property contents? 

Our level of respect towards intellectual property could be one of the reasons for not being included in the first two scheduled releases. How could be develop such mindset when our level of innovation is fairly low. We are more consumers rather than producers.

In any case, some of us may argue that we need not be listed in any of the launch as iPads are already available at Plaza Low Yat, the hub for electronics products of Malaysia. Or we could just turn to eBay just like what others from around the world are doing.

Maybe in the future, when the objectives of the New Economic Model is achieved, Malaysia will be among the first country for any world class product launch. Just imagine more Malaysians with higher purchasing power, purchase only licensed products and have do not tolerate any infringement of laws such as intellectual property or even corruption.

Let's wait for this moment to happen!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Value of Trust

The Open Graph project initiated by Facebook is set to further enhance its ability to create value from its membership base. Having more than 400 million registered users, such base is definitely enough to attract advertisers, especially when Facebook could offer a more targeted customer segments given the amount of private information it collects from its members.

The new initiative allows third parties to offer certain Facebook functions such at the "like" function. Attached to certain products or information, this would be a powerful tool to accumulate information for advertising purposes. Such ability create concern on whether private information will be exploited by both Facebook and the third parties.

How did Facebook ended up with huge information regarding its users?

First, I suppose, is the trust the members have on Facebook in not exploiting information which the members share with their friends. This was reinforce with the lack of commercial activities of Facebook in the past. On the other hand, sharing information had also enable users to pull value to themselves by being connected to long lost friends, building relationships with new friends as well as advocating their views and thoughts with the community at large.

The commercial success of project Open Graph would be dependent on whether the trust level of Facebook members could be retained. If enough people on Facebook feel that their information is being exploited for commercial reasons without adequate value in return,the project would encourage people to move away from Facebook.

Who says trust has no value?