Friday, April 11, 2014

Have A Meaningful Vaisakhi - Monday in The STAR

                Mata Tripta Ji, the loving mother of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Back to basics: Unity begins at home

When we speak of Unity, we immediately jump to the bigger issues like national policies, political leadership, economic action plans, social mechanics, etc. What many fail to realise is that like charity, Unity too begins at home.

We are all the product of our upbringing. The family that brought us up, the environment we grew up in, the friends we played with – these factors influence and affect the individuals that we have become today. Similarly, our children will go through this very same process and we need to ensure their path is a better one than ours.

As parents and adults, we need to realise that what we say to our children and what we speak among ourselves will be transferred to them. We may not have the slightest intent to be malicious, but we may express our views without thinking of the repercussions. Yes, we have our disagreements and issues, but we do not need to transfer them to the next generation.

Already, our children are separated by the schools they go to, the places they live in, as well as the places they play at. They have little chance to meet each other. As parents we must take conscious initiative to get them to mix. Choose a neighbour from a different background. Organise get-togethers with our multiracial colleagues. Share with them good things about the others. Create more opportunities for them to know, appreciate, and God-willing, to love each other.

The family is the most basic and most important unit in society. This is an area within our sphere of influence. We have the ability and capacity to do things right. We must start from the home. If we fail at home, we cannot blame anyone else but ourselves. Let us create homes that build Unity, so that our children will be more united than us.

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Let us be, first and foremost, Malaysians.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

6 Things Entrepreneurs Wish Family, Friends and Employees Understood BY Kevin Daum

I started my first company when I was 25.  I was a reluctant entrepreneur. My sales abilities outgrew three companies, and I couldn't seem to manage the politics necessary to get where I wanted to go at the speed I wanted to get there. So I took a deep breath, opened a company in 1989, and never looked back.
But in my journey of building four businesses and making the Inc. 500 list, I often found I saw the world differently then many in my circle. I would struggle with communication and empathy, as would the people around me. My family and my friends would never quite understand why I took action with such passion and drive. Though they would be continuously fascinated how I could make things happen from what seemed like unrelated connections and events.
Employees appreciated my drive, but still considered me a puzzlement. They couldn't imagine taking the risks and responsibility of building a company, and I couldn't imagine not having control of my own destiny.  I have spent decades in the close company of more than 1000 entrepreneurs in public session like Inc. conferences and in private forums like the Entrepreneur's Organization (EO). I have come to learn that we have similar ways of viewing the world and creating lifestyles. It's not for everyone, but it works for us.
If you are an entrepreneur, you need to articulate the six concepts below so the people in close proximity can comprehend your behavior. And for those of you engaged with an entrepreneur, I hope the tips below shed some light and give you some guidance to enjoy the ride.
1. Entrepreneurs are benevolent narcissists. There is no question that many entrepreneurs act as though they are the center of the universe. Once I get a vision in my head, it stays at the forefront of my mind until I either eliminate it or execute on it. Over time, I have learned that in order to make visions come true, I must constantly sell and recruit people to my mission. That means talking about my ideas and actions... a lot. So yes, my world revolves around my vision and ambition. That is the narcissistic part.
But unlike most self-centered people, most successful entrepreneurs aren't in it just for themselves. They love to bring other people along for the ride. Making others happy, wealthy and successful drives entrepreneurs. They create companies to benefit society with their products and services. They may interpret that benefit differently than most people, but few are motivated by pure exploitation.
Tip: The next time you feel ignored by an entrepreneur, ask them how you can get involved and benefit from their activities. You may be surprised at the opportunity that opens up.
2. Entrepreneurs evaluate risk differently. The term risk-taker is often associated with entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs don't believe they are taking risks by opening businesses and growing companies. Gone are the days of institutions that provide steady employment and guaranteed retirement. I personally lost everything in the 2008 collapse of the banking industry. But I have many friends who spent 30 years as employees in that field and also went through great hardship. I was able to rebuild by taking advantage of opportunity and being agile while many of them are still trying to reconstruct their lives.
Entrepreneurs know the only safety net they can bank on is their own ability to leverage knowledge, resources and relationships to build something from nothing. They believe there is greater risk in being boxed in to a structure than to venture out to new horizons. That all being said, many of us have learned to overcome our material desires and put a little away for those rainy days.
Tip: Don't assume that actions taken by entrepreneurs are careless or not well considered. If you have concern, ask about the process or diligence. You might be surprised what you learn.
3.  Once entrepreneurs decide to take action, they commit. There is an incorrect assumption about most entrepreneurs that they are impulsive. The image of people ideating all over the place and randomly straying from project to project is one that is constantly portrayed in media and is most often a mischaracterization. Most of my successful entrepreneurial friends are actually quite disciplined and focused. They have learned tocreate structure where there is none. They have a set process for evaluating opportunities and are wary about taking on a new project without vetting it carefully.
But once the due diligence is done and action is required seasoned entrepreneurs will commit all necessary time and resources to making the dream a reality. They have no tolerance for doing things halfway. The project may fail, but the entrepreneur will only be satisfied if it does on its own merits. Then it's time to learn and move on to the next entrepreneur.
Tip: Entrepreneurs in motion are a force of nature. Either get out of the way or support the activity whole-heartedly. Dipping your toe into their projects will only create static and dissatisfaction for everyone involved.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unity Questionnaire

Dear Malaysians,

I am a member of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) -  a body entrusted to consult the government in matters of Unity and national integration.

I wish to gather feedback especially from the business and corporate community with regard to Unity. Businesses are the main engine that drives our nation's socioeconomic development. It is also at the workplace, which is a neutral ground, where Malaysians from all backgrounds work together. This is why it is important for us in the business world to provide feedbacks.

Accordingly, I need your help to:
  1. promote this initiative in your organisation;
  2. get the management to encourage your staff to answer;
  3. click on the link below to give your feedback; and
  4. spread the link to your contacts.

Together, we can make a difference.

Thank you and peace.

Let us add value,

anas zubedy

Double standards on Crimea by Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi - The STAR

Whichever superpower wins, Ukraine will be the loser of this East-West tug of war.
THE Russian incursion into Ukraine’s region of Crimea has, understandably, drawn strong critical response from the United States and the European Union. However, an impartial observer cannot fail to note the staggering hypocrisy evident in the Western response to Russia’s military actions.
International law: It is alleged that the Russian military intervention is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty under international law. It probably is.
This is despite the fact that the Russian expedition was at the behest of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected and unlawfully deposed President.
What is noteworthy is that Russia acted under grave provocation and in circumstances that the US would never tolerate.
Background: Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been encircling Russia with military and missile sites including one in Ukraine.
Nato has enlisted many former Soviet republics into its fold.
Russia is understandably sensitive about its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine and Nato’s presence on its borders.
This is no different from President John F. Kennedy’s alarm when the USSR, under Nikita Khruschev, ins­talled missiles in Cuba in the Sixties.
In addition to military encirclement, a US organisation, namely the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was operating in Ukraine and funding 65 projects, grooming replacements for President Yanuko­vych and resorting to psychological warfare.
The NED was founded in America in 1983 to promote its foreign policy objectives abroad.
In recent times Ukraine was mired in an economic crisis and Russia and the EU were in a bidding war to salvage it. Russia earmarked US$15bil (RM49bil) in economic assistance. The EU offered US$800mil (RM2.6bil) plus access to EU goods and services.
When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych aligned with Russia against the EU proposal, the Western backed opposition took to the streets.
The US-funded National Endowment for Democracy was complicit in fuelling the disorder. Radical forces gained ascendency and violence begat violence.
Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected President, offered to set up a unity government, bring electoral reform, effect constitutional changes and call early elections.
Unfortunately, negotiations broke down. He was then ousted in a US-supported coup and replaced with US chosen stand-ins.
The Ukrainian Parliament then acted foolishly to enact a series of draconian laws offensive to ethnic Russians in provinces that were carved out of the old Soviet Union. Yanukovych sought Russia’s help to protect the ethnic Russian population.
Under these circumstances, the Russian Parliament authorised Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops inside Ukraine to protect the Russians living there.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Invitation To Attend The International Movement For A Just World (Just) Forum On The Crisis In Ukraine: What It Means To The World

The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) cordially invites you to a JUST forum entitled The Crisis in Ukraine, What it Means to the World. The goal of this forum is to highlight the various issues in the Ukraine crisis, what it means for the people of Ukraine, and how these issues affect the socio-political dynamics of the International system. 

The honourable speakers who will be sharing their insights are H.E. Ms. Lyudmilla G. Vorobyeva (Ambassador of Russia to Malaysia), Mr Bunn Nagara (Senior Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies), and Dr Chandra Muzaffar (President, International Movement for a Just World)

The details of the event are as follows:

Date         : 5th April 2014 (Saturday)
Venue      : Institut Integriti Malaysia, Persiaran Duta, 50480, Kuala                      Lumpur, Malaysia
Time         : 10.00 AM – 1.00 PM

We look forward to your presence and participation. Thank you.

Warm regards,
The Executive Committee

International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making smart and savvy lifestyle choices - The STAR

Hypermarkets are a convenient choice for many as they house all household needs under one roof.
Hypermarkets are a convenient choice for many as they house all household needs under one roof.

“So before I decide to go somewhere, I take into account the cost of travel there, parking charges and toll charges.
“I am considered a senior citizen this year and I get half price when I take the LRT, bringing extra savings for me,” said Ho.
Ho’s tips to spend money prudently are:
• Live within your means and only buy what you need
• Try to car pool or use public transport to save on travel costs. Work out the cost of driving to a place
• If you see something you like, keep an eye on it and see if it’s available on sale down the line
Associate Vice President of Sabah Economics Development Authority (SEDIA) Iwan Hermawan, 40, and his teacher wife works and lives in Putatan, Kota Kinabalu, and they take home a monthly joint income of about RM4,000.
They have three children between the ages of nine and 11 and they say Kota Kinabalu has a fairly affordable cost of living in terms of food items.
“It is the prices of cars and houses which residents here find rather expensive, with prices of about RM250,000 for an apartment and between RM500,000 and RM700,000 for a three bedroom terraced house.
“Each month, we spend about RM500 on household products including fresh food and non-perishable goods.
“We don’t really go out of our way to look for the cheapest place to buy things, as convenience is a big factor for us since my wife and I both work,” he said.
“So we go to either Giant or Survay hypermarkets as it’s easy to get parking and we can get all our household needs under one roof in one outing.
“My wife and I also feel it’s a safer environment for us to bring our children along.
“We save on our monthly spending by making lifestyle choices which means we spend less money as a family,” he said.
So for example, he said they don’t spend much time around in shopping malls, preferring instead to have picnics on the beach or go to the parks as a family.
As for clothes, he said they buy them in the shopping malls when the sales are on.
“We have bought clothes from the pasar malam before, but I found that the quality is bad and it doesn’t last as long, although it’s much cheaper.
“For me, I think it’s better to spend slightly more money for something which lasts longer,” he said.

Coping with rising cost of living - The STAR

One is spoilt for choice when shopping at hypermarkets.
One is spoilt for choice when shopping at hypermarkets.

Some 66% of Malaysian households earn less than RM5,000 a month. How do these families cope? Four families earning between RM3,000 and RM5,000 share their smart spending tips.
SK Taman Megah clerk Roshanizar Ali, 41, and her Customs officer husband have five children aged between four and 12 years old and they take home a joint income of RM3,000.
They live in the Kelana Jaya Customs Department quarters and this has helped them save some money on housing rental. However, there is an allowance deduction on this, so it’s not free.
“My average household expenditure for groceries including non-perishables as well as fresh produce is about RM600.
“Out of this, I spend between RM300 and RM350 for dry goods and non-perishables such as sugar, flour, detergent and rice.
“As for fresh produce, my expenditure is RM150 for two weeks’ worth of food, bringing it to about RM300 per month,” said Roshanizar.
She said the first thing they do when they get their salaries is to keep aside between RM100 and RM300 per month for emergencies like illness in the family, or even tobalik kampung.
“Then I will pay off the car loan, any bank loans, the household utility bills, fuel, tuition fees for the children, babysitter fees and other bills like mobile phone bills.
“After doing the rounds at all the supermarkets and hypermarkets in the area, I have found that the cheapest place for me to buy dry goods and non-perishables is Speed Mart,” she said.
“At home, I prepare breakfast and lunch for my family in the mornings. I’m at work by 7.15am each morning and by the time I return home it’s about 6.15pm.
“My children also go to SK Taman Megah so they travel with me. My husband only returns about 8pm after his job as a customs officer in a factory.
“Before he returns I will cook dinner – I will usually cook rice in the mornings to save on time. For dinner, I will cook a vegetable dish and either a fish or chicken dish.
“I will never cook chicken and fish together. We only go out to eat about once a month, we can’t afford to do it more often than that.
“I do feel the pinch from the increase in the cost of fuel prices as I drive a car. But in order to save, my husband rides a motorcycle,” said Roshanizar.
Roshanizar’s budgeting tips are:
• Use your salary to pay for the necessities first such as loans and bills
• Share information of good buys with friends