Saturday 31 March 2012

Do We Know What We Are Commenting About?

The web has certainly enabled free flow of information. The mushrooming of social media provides the platform for news to be shared faster and for common people like you and me to put our point of views across, literally around the world.

In the older days, if we have concern regarding certain public issues, the only avenue for the masses to know our thoughts was through the newspapers. If we are lucky, our letters to the editor would be published. Otherwise, our thoughts will remain with us and perhaps with few other acquaintances who we meet over coffee.

Now, we have a different problem. Anybody could express himself or herself on different platforms such as blogs or social media such as Fecebook and Twitter. This resulted in a hugh volume of viewpoints circulating around the cyberspace waiting for somebody to pick them up and read them. In fact this has created hugh business opportunities for organisations such as Google. Instead of the challenge of convincing one news editors we need to attract the whole world to consider our thoughts and views.

As people could freely write what they believe as the truth, our challenge is to evaluate whether such thoughts are really valid. Given many platforms allow their readers to post comments, people from all walks of life could write their pieces from many angles based on their understanding of the facts and circumstances. Are all these views valid?

People normally form their point of views based on how they understand the issues being considered, their knowledge and past experience as well as their feelings towards the issues. Some may make general conclusions based on incomplete facts. This lead to people making general sweeping comments which may not fit with the circumstances. Whenever emotionally charged issues are debated, the emotions of the commentators would influence the views expressed. Worse, when people purposely write to defame or insult others with wild accusations without offering any evidence.

We, as readers, need to be more careful in considering information on the web. This does not mean that we could not believe what we read on our favourite websites but we need to exercise some sort of scepticism. Understanding the background of the commentators would provide us with some perspective on whether those comments could be considered on face value. Volume of similar thoughts and views does not necessarily imply the validity of those comments, especially when emotion is the main driver.

So, let's continue sharing our thoughts and views freely. However, we should remember that we do not necessarily be commenting based on similar facts, knowledge, experience and emotion. Happy sharing : )

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Do We Value Integrity?

Integrity what?

Honestly, I am not sure whether all of us understand the meaning of integrity. We may be using this word in our daily conversation but whether we mean what we say is another question. The real test is how we conduct ourselves, especially when nobody is watching. As Spiderman says, "with power comes responsibilities". The more power we shoulder, there would be more opportunities where our integrity to be tested.

In a society where the power distance is huge like ours, we tend to ignore behaviors which compromise integrity simply because the person concerned is "somebody". Worse, that particular person would go everywhere behaving as if that such behavior is the reason or quality which gets him to be in the present position. Why? Wherever he goes, the people keep on kissing his hand as a tacit acknowledgement that they too are happy which such conduct.

While, our sons and daughters are also watching. They could then form a view that for them to be successful in the future they have to do the same. Eventually, the compass of the society will turn south, we would eventually be happy in selling our soles to the devil to progress further in a society where wealth and money are symbols of success, how we accumulate them is irrelevant.

In is interesting to note that Muslims form the majority in this country. Integrity is fundamental in Islam as Prophet Muhammad was known as "Al-Amin" or "The Trustworthy" even before he was promulgated as a prophet. I suppose this indicates that the prerequisite of leadership is integrity. We can appoint a crook into a position of responsibility but can't expect the person to act with integrity. A crook will behave like a crook and we should not be complaining if subsequently chaos is created later. Are the Muslims walking the talk when in comes to acting with integrity in our conducts and in making decisions? 

Are we as a society gradually moving into the situation of collective irresponsibility? We don't care about our conducts but keep on complaining when our collective decisions resulted in disappointing outcomes. 

Remember Einstein used to say, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Are we collectively insane? If so, no wonder we don't value integrity.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Defining Success

Today is the day where many Malaysian kids look forward to. The result of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (Malaysian Certificate of Education) will be announced. By this evening the media will be sharing the joyous moments of those who scored straight A's and how many schools managed to get the 100% pass rate.

In the next few months the issue will be shifted towards who get into which university. Many will be happy to get the programme which they applied for any many more will be disappointed that they are offered programmes which they do not fancy, including those who managed to get many A's on their result sheets.

Three four years down the road the media may be selling stories about straight A's students failing in their university programmes or becoming somebody who are not representative of a straight A's student. In many cases, these sort of stories are about nothing but if we look are what are written or reported in the media these days, that is not an issue.

My point is that life is not about how many A's you score today. It is a continuous journey and how we react to situations on a daily basis define who we are and what our future would be. While A's obtain in examinations may reflect something, they do not represent everything. So, don't be too excited if you score A's and do not despair if the case is otherwise.

Success could be anything to different people and we should not make a small milestone as the end itself. Unfortunately, people nowadays fancy instant glorification and many will use today's event to shout about themselves. Well, they are entitled to do that but the questions is who is going to have the last laugh.

Good luck Nurul Aliah, my beloved daughter.

Saturday 17 March 2012


In the computer term, "What You See Is What You Get" or WYSIWYG implies that what you see on the screen of your computers is what you get when printed or what the finish product really is. I am sure we have also heard remarks about "Seeing is believing". Why I am writing about this topic this morning?

As we all know the US is having its Presidential Election later this year. In fact the fun fair had started earlier with the primaries held by the Republicans, a process to select the candidate who will be facing Barrack Obama, the current president of the United States. Later, when the two or more candidates are made official, more fun will begin when all the parties try to convince the electorates who they should choose to lead the most powerful country on this planet.

Why fun?

Perception or sometimes deception are part of the American way of life. The amount of money, time and efforts spent on "image building" could eclipse the GDP or many other countries. TV advertisements, lobby groups and now the usage of social networks are some of the tools used in creating positive or negative perception towards a particular candidate. Every little details about candidates would be scrutinised even those incidents or behaviours are considered acceptable to the general public. The results? What we watch on TV or heard on radio or read in newspapers or online may not necessarily reflect facts and truth.

While many would not like this comparison, the most famous persons using these kinds of techniques were Hitler and the Nazi. Hitler was very aware of the value of good propaganda and appointed Dr. Joseph Goebbels as the Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. All media was used to promote the ideas of the Nazi on top of the practice of censorship to ensure the people see, read and hear what the Nazi wanted them to believe.

Somehow propaganda is still being legitimately used in many parts of the world by political parties, businesses and even non-profit organisations. Many of the practitioners of propaganda believe in the end justifies the mean. What is worrying is that such believe means morality and values would be compromise in ensuring the desired ends are achieved. To ensure such actions do not invite negative responses from the public, these propaganda tools are branded in many nice and friendly names, as if everything done is in the best interest of the people.

Given the wide usage of propaganda around the world by many people, WYSIWYG may only be applied in a limited circumstances, perhaps when you want to prints photos from your computers. In other circumstances in life, especially when involving politics and business, we should be more careful and think deeper before agreeing or believing what we see, hear or read, perhaps this article included.

Remember, this is the year the US is having its presidential election!

Tuesday 13 March 2012

This Site is Worth US14!

It is official, finally there is a value attached to this blog. The following is the review on this site from StasCorp.Com:

" has 3 years old, it is ranked #25,402,278 in the world, a low rank means that this website gets lots of visitors. This site is worth $14 USD and advertising revenue is $0 USD per day. This site has a good Pagernk(2/10), it has 4 visitors and 8 pageviews per day. Currently, this site needs more than 5.88 MB bandwidth per day, this month will needs more than 182.16 MB bandwidth. Its seo score is 45.8%. IP address is, and its server is hosted at San Francisco, United States. Last updated on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 13:08:47 GMT."

Certainly the above assessment gives me hope. By starting at no 25,402,278 it will be easy for me to move up the ladder. Not sure how long would it take me to reach the top 20,000,000 but there is a lot of upside for this site. Actually who cares if you are at this present position or 50,000 spot ahead. Nobody nows the accuracy of the assessment and worse, nobody cares.

This is the reality of having an online presence. While we could rant and brag, it could also be a futile exercise or as the Malay saying goes "Syok Sendiri". However, at a minimum, this blog allows me to put on record my views on many issues, especially those which relate to us as mortal humans. Maybe this song will make the message clearer.

OK, will work harder and see how I will fare when this site get assessed next!

Sunday 11 March 2012

Am I an Apple Polisher?

Looking back 5 years ago there were no Apple product at my home. Being brought up in the PC environment, Mac was considered evil. Now, we have few iPhones, iPads, a Macbook and a Mac. Within that short period of time we somehow got convinced to cross over to the "dark side".

Last week Apple released its new iPad, with retina display and able to support Long Term Evaluation (LTE) technology. It released IOS 5.1 and few other enhancements which reinforced the tablet/smart phone ecosystem. While as usual Malaysians will have to wait for a while before the new iPad arrives, some of the stuff released last week could be already enjoyed through existing Apple toys.

Where would Apple go from here? I stumbled upon this article which talks about how Apple is slowly refining its grip on the tablet market. The writer describes the strategy adopted by Apple in strengthening the iPad is a reminiscent of what it did with the iPod for music. Another article about Apple describes how it adopts a different philosophy as compared to, for example Microsoft, where Apple has no problem to introduce new products which compete with its own high performing products. Interestingly, the writer is talking about post-PC era. Is it going to be real?

Competing based on platform is never easy. It requires huge investment and development of a healthy ecosystem which supports the platform. Given the huge cash available to Apple, finance may not be a problem. However, getting developers, users and third party content providers to choose Apple's ecosystem such as iPad as their preferred platform would need a lot of convincing, especially when there are plenty of choices around. Further, Apple is quite firm in deciding how the ecosystem should work such as the iTunes platform. While we have been hearing grumblings from many stakeholders, the functionality and convenient offered by the Apple products, act as the key decider for people to remain loyal to Apple.

Am I an Apple polisher? Well, I am quite happy with the gadgets supplied by Apple and they help we quite a lot in my work and social life. I don't aspect everybody will support my views but based on the development so far, this innovative company would get my support provided it continues to supply me with products and services that I need. I leave it to you to decide what  tools and gadgets that you use but having choices like what Apple offer would certainly help.

P/S Most of my kids use Nokia phones. It cost me less to buy those phones for them. Once they earn their own money, they are free to be Apple polishers. 

Wednesday 7 March 2012


I am a Liverpool fan.

Whatever happens tonight, Arsenal earned my respect based on their performance so far against AC Milan in the Champions League. Starting the game needing to score 4 goals to neutralise their 4 goals deficit, they put their hearts and minds towards that target. It was 3-0 in Arsenal's favour at the half time mark.

Commitment is a single word which describes the way Arsenal takes this match. To achieve the nearly impossible target they gave themselves the chance by adopting an attacking strategy and took control of the mid-field.

They took a different approach in the second half, perhaps expecting Milan to move their players further up to prevent Arsenal from having more chances to score. This resulted Arsenal to be on their back foot and survived a few Milan's scoring opportunities.

With 8 minutes left of the game, we never know what will happen. Notwithstanding the final outcome, commitment by Arsenal was the order of the day.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Prolonging the Depedency Mentality

What if people who are resourceful and competent feel they are not good enough and rely on you for their future? Some may feel that this is an unfortunate situation and may try to encourage those people to be more confident in themselves. However, there are also people who see this as an opportunity. To this opportunists, the more people are dependent on them, the more leverage they have on those people.

Just imagine if people who are incompetent and inferior somehow ended up with the ability to influence they lives of others? How they ended in such positions could be the question that we have, but in this real world such circumstances do occur frequently. So, instead of empowering the people under their care, they would use all sorts of means to box the minds of their followers. One of the frequently used tricks is to create non-existence threats and claim that they are the only people that could provide protection. This trick has worked in many places but somehow they get repeated with high percentage of success.

While we may consider those who continue to create the culture of dependency as selfish, they should not be blamed for exploiting the opportunities provided by their dependents. In situations where people do not care less about their own future and sit and wait for things to happen, opportunists would step in and exploit such situation. 

Like it or not, there are many people out there who are also addicted to the culture of dependency. Some claims that it is their birth right. Even if we try to dislodge them from such mindset and convince them that they could stand on their own feet, they would accuse us of trying to compromise their rights. Ironically, in their struggle to retain their rights to be dependent on their self-appointed masters, they sink deeper in the culture of dependency. Worse, they enjoy it when handouts are distributed to them, although only happen once in many years.

I am convinced that many of those who thought that dependency is good for them are strong enough to stand on their own feet and could push themselves out of their miseries. However, for change to happen, their minds need to change. Perhaps the first step that they should do is to stop watching ghost stories which are screened on television!