Malaysian management. Road to wealth?


Where are our heroes today? Or more importantly, WHO are our heroes today?

I am asking you – the ordinary Malaysian wannabe success story. Sorry? Did you say Steve Jobs? Was that Bill Gates? Ooopss I am getting geeky… but in reality I heard nothing of that sort. I heard some whispers of some people wanting to be some well connected politician.

And why not? Hey, if you want to be rich quick in this country… let’s go into politics. Let’s play some golf, rub shoulders with some well oiled and well connected people and voila! bob’s your uncle!

In fact I am seriously thinking of getting into politics. Why? I’ll tell you why… I’ve worked my butt off for years – those late working hours, those expresso nights, those hard work trying to convince people to innovate, to driver operational excellence and to deliver value for the paying customer…. and where am I today? Well, slightly better off from where I started no doubt. But no where near that slick dude (let’s call him Kamal Johari, to protect the innocent) who started the same time I did and is now a business owner, government contractor, a huge loan borrower… but more importantly driving a flash new Merc S-class.

At least he doesn’t have everything… what dork would want to be seen alive (or dead, for that matter) in a Merc? LOL.

Although money doesn’t buy you good taste… it does help people who have good tastes to buy the right things. And I want my BMW M5.

So that does it. My hero from today onwards is that politician / or politically well connected slick dude called Kamal Johari. I am fed up of slogging. I want to get rich quick. I am gonna sell my soul to the devil for this.

Forget about innovating – it’s not important for your employees to think of good ideas – they just have to be great (government) liaisons. Forget about doing some REAL business. Forget about spending years of perfecting a single process and achieving the nirvana of operational efficiency. Forget about everything else.

But always remember the grease: never leave home without it.

So I shall now grease my way to richness. But somehow the Malaysian football team’s second humiliation in the Asian Cup is giving me some hesitation. No, not because I am a great fan of the national team… I have long given up on them. Not because my hero is a footballer (as I said, my new hero is Kamal Johari).

For your information, Malaysia has conceded 5 goals in each of the two matches it has played since the 2007 Asian Cup started. For those who play basketball and don’t understand the fuss on double digit scores let me put this into perspective: Malaysia conceded a total of 10 goals in two matchs, but only scored 1 goal. For the mathematical genius amongst us, this is certainly a bit of a bad news.

But I digress. The reason I am giving second thoughts to my grand plan of selling my soul for quick richness is this:


We no longer have REAL heroes. I used to admire the football players of old (no, i won’t mention the 70s and inadvertently reveal my age). I grew up wanting to play football. Then I grew up wanting to be a racing driver. Then I grew up wanting to be like Steve Jobs.

That is the problem. We have as a nation lost what is the true path to greatness. We have started to take shortcuts. We ditch real ingenuity, hard-work and good leadership, in favour of a path filled with shady deals, favours and…. grease.

And grease is a slippery thing. It is so easy to misuse and then starts the slippery slope downwards. The predicament FAM is in today is just that… we’ve missed out on the basic fundamentals of what makes a great footballing environment.

And today we are in danger of missing out on what makes a great economic environment. We need a few heroes to step up. Let’s hope that these people inspire others to do more good.

The YouTube generation cannot be ignored

i have long advocated that local organisations explore the use of internet to drive the development of content in the country (that’s because i am a tech geek and an entertainment junkie *grin*).

malaysia is a country that has limited opportunities from a traditional media point of view. this is possibly due to regulations, but more so due to the fact that economically there is simply not enough room for many traditional media organisations / platform for a country of 26million people, and very few in the necessary income bracket. furthermore, advertising revenue from local organisations and brands are rather limited due to relatively low establishment of local brands (though, i’d probably stand corrected for this).

but i do believe that there is quite a supply of local content, although one might argue that the quality of local content is not worthy of being in the supply chain. nevertheless, the recent video promotions by bmw shorties and nokia’s you make it reel shows that there are some very good local talent in the country. the sad thing is that these people lack the platform to show their talent and creativity. in short, there is no money for these guys… hence, the oft repeated complaint of artists “suffering for their art”.

so it is a question of supply exceeding demand… resulting in low economic value to the content owners… and sadly the very low chance of one of these content gems to be discovered by the general malaysian public.

with the internet, there are new ways that content can be delivered to the public without having to go through traditional platforms. to me this is a completely democratic process as the really good ones will truly shine.

consider the success of the likes of YouTube, and the likes. An article on The Star describes it well.

to me the internet has created a more inclusive and democratic process towards the content supply chain. what was previously the domain of a very few well connected and perhaps very commercial productions, is today open to everybody in the community.

web 2.0 is driving a revolution in the way content is being produced, supplied, shared and marketed. more and more community produced content will be available. large local organisations need to see this opportunity and be involved in the process of bringing these content to the houses and offices.

we will have to be daring, and take some risks. sure some will not work out well, but we need to recognise whether the venture has promise or is a dead horse. make the decision quickly, exit and move on.

this is the age of the internet.

Courses for toilet cleaning

Are we truly bad when it comes to toilet cleanliness?

Regardless this, it would appear that some quarters believe that we need to have special courses to ensure that we understand how to keep toilets clean. An article from highlights this amusing… and rather embarassing i must say article.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — It’s never too late for toilet training. Some Malaysian colleges may soon offer courses on how to keep public restrooms clean, the national news agency reported Thursday.

The effort is meant to help Malaysia’s public lavatories become as hygienic as those in countries such as Britain and Singapore, Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Robert Lau was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

“Clean toilets cannot merely be judged by the eyes,” Lau was quoted as saying. “This matter also involves the use of cleaning equipment, soap, fragrances and proper tissues.”

Courses would involve managing washrooms by the highest standards in design and sanitation technology, said Lau.

Malaysia’s government recently said it wanted to start a “toilet revolution” in a country where public restrooms have long nauseated citizens and tourists with their lack of basic items such as toilet paper, soap and sometimes even toilet seats.

Lau said his ministry plans to soon introduce a system for the public to lodge complaints about filthy toilets via cell phone text messages.

Other recent measures have included setting up modern self-cleaning toilets in popular shopping districts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city, and scrapping the business licenses of restaurants found to have foul lavatories.

Now, self cleaning toilets. A bit of overkill huh?

Project one laptop per child

A friend of mine shared the following link.

It is an interesting coverage of the one laptop per child project entitled “No lap un-topped – the bottom up revolution that could re-define global IT culture“. The presentation was made by Nicholas Negroponte, who is a Motorola Director and Chairman Emeritus MIT Labs & Chairman One Laptop per Child. The presentation was dated 2 December 2006. More on Nicholas.

I found the whole idea and concept very interesting. This is the kind of catalyst that could possibly change the way we deliver education around the world. Making the laptops affordable (not more than USD100.00) and ubiquitous is the key factor here. Other interesting ideas for the laptop is using human (as opposed to battery or AC/DC power) and Wi-Fi mesh networking to allow networking in the remotest of locations.

Any thoughts of this bridging the digital divide in Malaysia?

Creative thinking and problem solving

One of the challenges at the office is getting the workforce to generate creativity. Our company is in the internet business, and it is therefore necessary for all of us to be dynamic in our thinking so as to be ahead of the game – or at least at the leading bunch.

However, years of rigid education system, a culture of not challenging status quo & seniority, and an evironment of feeding information (as opposed to seeking information) makes creative thinking something of a curiousity than the norm.

The pity is that all this puts all of us at a severe disadvantage compared to other nations.

Yet, all is not lost. The first challenge is to foster this creative thinking environment at the workplace. There are many tools and techniques available.

The key to the adoption of creative thinking at the workplace is top management buy-in and sponsorship. Transforming an organisation from a passive to a creative one will not happen overnight. The changes will be painful. Some may be counter intuitive.

It is therefore also vital that everybody believes in the process. Not difficult given the existing cultural norms. Sponsorship is also vital given that the cost of change may be significant in monetary as well as human capital terms.

But these are the mere first steps. As usual, I have been doing a bit of my own research on the net – – almost randomly, I came across some material that could be useful. So check out – a site dedicated to improving Creativity and Innovation for solving problems woldwide, with that in mind, we provide a central repository for Creativity and Innovation on the Internet as a summary of tools, techniques, mind exercises, puzzles, book reviews etc, that is open to all – and can be written by all.

Feel free to share your thoughts here.