Sunday 22 May 2011

Living Dangerously

My deepest condolences and sympathy to the family members and friends of those who died or injured from the landslide which hit an orphanage in Hulu Langat, in the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur. Not only the victims are without parents, some of their guardians also perished during this unfortunate calamity.

This was not the first nor would be the last incidence of landslides around Kuala Lumpur. The Highland Tower incidence where one block of luxury apartments fell a part in Hulu Kelang should still be fresh in our memories. In fact, a number of other incidents around the Bukit Antarabangsa area reminded us the risk of living at hill slopes. In fact, to my mind, those who decided to live in those areas are high risk takers, notwithstanding whatever engineering miracle used to mitigate such risks.

As human, we do take risk on a daily basis. In fact, there is no life without risk. When we cross the roads, there could be some chance that a vehicle may skid and hit us. This applies to many other aspects of life. Those who are in business should understand this more as most believe that profits are the reward for the risk-taking activities that they undertook.

Some even have higher risk appetite by indulging into illegal activities to make money and pursue other worldly rewards. Drug dealers are among those falling into this category as the penalty upon conviction is death. 

Worse would be those who abuse their powers for their individual gains. While some may justify that their conducts are for greater good, the bottom line is that they failed to honour the trust accorded to them. What makes things worse is when the society turn their blind eyes towards such disgusting conducts! Even for Muslims who believe that they would be judged in the hereafter, they are willing to take the chance just for a short stint of glory in this world.

Given that risks are around us, we should recalibrate our own risk appetite so that we understand both the upsides and downsides of our decision.

For Muslims, let us offer Al-Fatihah to the victim of the Hulu Langat landslide incident.

Saturday 21 May 2011

The Wedding Bells Are Ringing

I am invited to 2 weddings today, a staff of mine is getting married and a Facebook friend, who I have not met before, is inviting me to attend the wedding of her son.

The first wedding will be a garden one. Interesting, given Malaysia is a hot and humid country. However, garden wedding is becoming more popular with Malaysians across all races.

I suppose the second one is also equally interesting as this is the first time I am attending an event related to Facebook. As we are getting deeper into this social network thing, it has somehow influenced our "real" life. Nevertheless, I look forward to be part of the two joyous occasions today.

The wedding industry is definitely growing in Malaysia as more people have more money to spend. After all, this is a happy occasion to celebrate with family and friends. This has also enabled many small and budding entrepreneurs to try their luck. One of the emerging beneficiaries from this growth is wedding photography. 

As things get to be more interesting, newly wed couples are taking this part more seriously as well. I was told that some even flew to places like Bali to get their photos taken as part of the event leading towards the grand day.

I wish the two couples who are getting married today everlasting happiness in their marriages.

Monday 16 May 2011

Thank You Teacher

Today is Teacher's Day. It is the day to recognise the efforts and sacrifices of all teachers in Malaysia and perhaps in other places around the world.

My late father was a teacher and so was his father.I suppose my inclination towards education and academics is in my genes. A part from my day job, I am presently involved with a number of universities in various capacities.

Going back to those we are recognising today, the role of the teaching profession is really important in nation building. They are the one who nurture our young generation so that they would be useful leaders. In a world where ethics and integrity are deficient, we hope our teachers would again become the change agent who would embed high moral values in young Malaysians.

I am indebted to too many teachers since pre-school, Quranic classes, primary school, MRSM days, university and even today I keep on learning from many different teachers, formally or otherwise. Some of them are no longer with us by their teachings had helped me to make my ways in this complex world. I pray that God will place them in the best possible afterlife.

Happy Teacher's Day.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Ideals and Practices

Each of us must have some believe in something. We have our religions, values, thoughts, ideas which influence how we interact with others in the society we live in, virtual societies included. Our upbringing, parents, friends, schooling system are among the process or influencer which shape our who we are. 

As usual, the test of how much are we committed to what we believe lies in how we conduct ourselves in the day to day things that we do. At home, at work or during social activities. This is where sometimes, inconsistencies could start to appear. The higher the ability or capacity one has to influence conducts or decisions, the higher the risks of whether we are truthful to our own beliefs. For example if we are the ultimate person who decides on contracts to be awarded in a tender, do we decide based on our conscience to do the right thing or we are clouded with self-interest or other considerations which may lead towards a decision which may compromise ourselves, our organisations and even our country?

Sometimes, people pick and choose when it comes to  whether to behave in line with what they believe. While they may be very consistent and particular about the form of the conduct, the same is not assured about the substance. A Muslim may be particular whether the food he consumes is halal or not but whether such discipline would be maintain when in comes to the sources of income which were used to buy the halal stuff. If one earns a living based on corrupt practices, being particular about halal food could be a manifestation of hypocrisy of the highest level. 

It would be worse when the society is indifference towards this as they benefit in terms of "progress and development" accorded to them. It is not uncommon where someone is removed from a position because of his integrity but unfortunately nobody in the society makes any issue out of this. Surely we do not want a situation where promotion is based on how much one are willing to compromise, even he or she believes such act will be a sure ticket to hell.

This is certainly something that each and every of us has to reflect, especially over the weekend.

Sunday 8 May 2011

When One Feels Insecure

No human being can be insulated from the feeling of being insecure. Simply, afraid of loosing something is so natural to us. As nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, such uncertainty will lead towards a feeling of anxiety and restless. This is a threatening feeling.

I suppose the more that we have, the more we have to lose. What we "have" could be anything including our health, wealth, power, position, family etc. The more we adore things, the more we feel about the impact of the threat. If I could recall what I learned from Maslow hierarchy of needs, once the basic needs are fulfilled, people are looking for higher meaning of life, self actualisation. This could be recognition, respect, support and many others.

When we feel insecure, what would be the natural reaction? Looking inwards should be the logical thing to do as this involves our inner feelings. Understanding ourselves and assessing the "threat" objectively would certainly provides us with the understanding of the root cause of this feeling. However, this may not be that comforting to everybody. Just imagine the wealth that attracts respect towards us are actually obtained from abuse of power or other illegal means? Surely, we will feel very insecure if this become public knowledge. 

As a response, many will look outwards and blame other for the insecure feeling that they have. Instead of addressing our inner weakness, blaming others is very convenient. This will make us feel good as it provides us with the feeling that we are not part of the problem. 

At the end of the day, we have to live our real lives and endure whatever reality that we face, notwithstanding how people feel about us. It is us that will face the person in the mirror and it is just us who really knows what sort of person that face represents.

So, before we get excited to blame other for whatever insecurity that we may feel, remember that it is our faces that we see in the mirror every morning.