Sunday, May 15, 2022

HAVE A MEANINGFUL WESAK 2022 - What do we want and need from our LEADERS and MANAGERS


What do we want and need from our LEADERS and MANAGERS
We want leaders and managers who can get things done and make things happen – with INTEGRITY. In achieving that, they need to do 8 things right.
Firstly, REMOVE UNCERTAINTIES by setting clear meaningful expectations and measurements. A critical first step in ensuring performance and direction. We cannot measure performance without clarity of goals.
Secondly, guide the team to plan and solve problems. Know when to lead, manage, mentor, coach, supervise or delegate. Leaders and managers ask 3 important questions. “Where are we now?”, “Where do we want to be?”, and “What is to be done by whom?”.
Thirdly, build a high performing team – with aligned focus, purpose, responsibility and priorities towards the common goal. Integrating the complementary skills of team members and unleashing its combined power to get things done and make things happen.
Fourth, willingness to give and receive feedback and manage difficult conversations, without which one cannot build a high performing team.
Fifth, manage tension. Exercise control, hold people accountable and are willing to have tough conversations and if needed, take tough actions to manage performance.
Sixth, communicate and build relationships. A leader and manager will not have much success with the above five areas without a strong ability to communicate and build relationships. A reciprocal flow of giving and taking will likely degenerate and crumble when the flow is too much in one direction. It is about being human and the awareness that the other is human too - not an object to be used.
Seventh, create a motivating environment through a well thought out motivational mix that includes the six areas mentioned above – not just the occasional “rah-rah” and giving grand lectures with little meaning or the simplistic carrot and stick approach. A holistic motivational plan.
Lastly, reflect. An important act to stay in touch with the world and oneself. To check one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions with honesty and integrity. Reflection provides insight and ways to move forward and create a better future – a better understanding on how to lead, change, reorganize, relaunch or simply passing the baton to the next person.
Let us add value,
Have a meaningful Wesak
Peace, anas
“Every action creates the future.” — H.E. Tsem Tulku Riponche (1965 -2019). A leader who communicates and builds lasting relationships. He is remembered as a kind and compassionate leader who get things done and makes things happen with integrity.

Sunday, May 1, 2022


Have a meaningful Aidil Fitri


Reading is not natural; it is a choice we make. While language is native to our species, reading and writing are unnatural acts. Reading and writing are made possible only through the deliberate shaping of the mind. They require practice, schooling and a conscious act to change. Learning to read and write rewire our brain in an immense way. The way we reason, form memories, process signals and how we interpret the world around us. In short, the way we experience reality.

The natural state of the human brain is animal-like, easily distracted, and non-linear in thinking. Our senses are attuned to change; our reactions reflexive. This is important for survival and to reduce the odds of being eaten up by predators; at the same time, not miss out on catching our dinner. To read a book demands unbroken, sustained attention to one single static object – an unnatural process of thinking for humans for the most part of our history.

When we read, our brain must practice ignoring everything else going on around us. We begin to be able to focus on a single task over a long period of time. This is one of the biggest changes in the history of human psychological development. Reading and writing created the modern man.

In the silence of deep reading, humans take trips in their own minds, draw ideas, inferences, analogies, play around with possibilities, visualize and dream – in short, we journey where the usual mind never has been before. Of mathematical formulas, economic models, scientific possibilities, astronomical expeditions, fictional journeys, and artistic beauty. We became a species that can focus with excellence and as such are able to deal with extremely complex problems and opportunities unleashing innovations, creativity, modern processes, and systems and creating the world we live in today.

Reading is also meditative. It calms the distracted mind. But while meditation seeks to empty the mind, reading fills it up. Replenishing it with new ideas, new energy, new spirit. Deep reading becomes a form of prayer that connects one to himself, to his fellow humans, to the world, the universe and to his Creator.

Let us add value,
Peace, anas


Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz (28 January 1922 – 15 December 2020). I am privileged to have met him on many occasions while studying at Universiti Malaya. He was always stressing that we read, read and read! Read even if you have 10 minutes in between activities like queuing at the bank or waiting for someone who is late. Thank you, Pak Ungku.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022



We seem to have cultivated the unproductive bad habit of pitting unrelated subjects to divide the nation. To hurt, snide, deride and spite the other. It is a form of bitchy politics that permeates our psyche.
For example, some love chest-thumping, “I am first a Malay, or Chinese, or Indian, etc” and then the other will retort with similar pomposity saying, “I am first a Malaysian”. The former is our ethnicity while the latter is our citizenship – they are not in competition with each other. WE ARE BOTH, FIRST. That is one of the reasons why we are unique and special. But no, let’s practice bitchy politics and divide the nation further. Sigh!
Today, some are trying to pit English with Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and vice versa. This was after the Prime Minister announced that BM must be used at every official function it is involved in, including at international meetings. The decision has its merits. Especially when in the past we had Ministers who presented in poor English that made us cringe. Bad for the Malaysian brand. Speaking in BM with confidence and passion can create an aura for the brand even if a speech has to be translated.
However, we must not forget the Malay proverb, “Masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau menguak*”. There are times like during a bilateral or business meet, our delegation must speak impeccable English or the language of the other party to make a strong impression and win the deal. Use any language that helps us achieve our goals, not just our pride. That is why we suggest that English is complementary and not a competition to our national language. Ditto other languages like Mandarin and Arabic.
Our BM must be strong as it is the national language that unites us. But let us send the right message to all Malaysians, especially the younger ones, to master other languages too, especially English. We do not want them to lose out by being monolingual – especially our brothers and sisters in the rural and semi-rural areas.
Let Bahasa Malaysia anchor our hearts in unity but at the same time let English and the other languages be our wings to conquer the world.
Let us add value,
Have a meaningful Vaisakhi

* When in Rome do as the Romans do

Who is Sardar Joginder Singh Ji?
Sardar Joginder Singh Ji (1924 – 2018) wrote a book about Sikhism in Malay. His command of Bahasa Malaysia was so good that he was a lecturer to potential Malay language teachers. He was also proficient in English and his mother tongue, Punjabi.

Peace, anas

Monday, February 28, 2022


Chandra Muzaffar
The mainstream Western media is almost unanimous in demanding
that Russia and Vladimir Putin stop their military operation in Ukraine immediately. This in their opinion is the only solution to the current conflict. However, if one attempts to understand how the current conflict had evolved, one would ask not Russia but the US led Western alliance to bring down the political temperature as a first step.
The roots of the present conflict have to be traced back to the end of the Cold War in 1991. The leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (USSR), Russia’s predecessor, Mikhail Gorbachev felt that if peace is to greet the demise of the Cold War then the military
posturing that signified that era should be buried once and for all.
For his part, Gorbachev was prepared to dismantle the Warsaw Pact that the USSR helmed which was his country’s response to the US led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). All that he asked for in return was a firm commitment that NATO would not expand eastwards, extend its military power to the states adjacent to Russia thus posing a security threat to the latter.

Though the undertaking
that Gorbachev sought was not engraved in written language,
American leaders at that time like President Ronald Reagan and
Secretary of State James Baker had some notion of the gravity of the verbal pledge they had given to their Russian counterpart.

It is a pity that in the years that followed, the US government made
no attempt to give substantive meaning to that pledge. On the
contrary, in 1997, three former Warsaw Pact states, Hungary, the
Czech Republic and Poland, were invited to hold talks on joining
NATO. On 27th March 2020, all 3 joined NATO, in spite of protests
from elements in the Russian leadership. A few other states that
were once part of the USSR and others allied to Russia in the past
have now joined NATO.
It is against this background that one should view events in 2014 that exacerbated Russia –Ukraine ties in relation to NATO. These events are directly linked to the current conflict in Ukraine. The
democratically elected president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, who
was not prepared to follow blindly the dictates of Western powers
was unceremoniously removed from power through the
manipulation of parliamentary procedures and replaced by a new
regime more inclined towards Washington.
Though the Yanukovich government was seriously flawed in some ways, his engineered ouster which strengthened the hands of neo-Nazi and fascist elements, spawned virulent anti-Russian rhetoric and spiked street violence has left deep scars upon Ukranian society. The separatist tensions and turmoil in parts of Eastern Ukraine in the last eight years that have taken the lives of at least 14,000 people can only be understood within the context of this post-2014 scenario.
It is also this scenario that explains in part why Russian president Vladimir Putin acted the way he did in Crimea in Eastern Ukraine. The overwhelming desire among the vast majority of the people of
Crimea to re-link their land to Russia affirmed in the 2014
Referendum is irrefutable proof of how ordinary citizens view their
security and well-being.
This is why loose talk in Kiev and Washington in the last few months that ‘Ukraine should join NATO’ or that ‘ Ukraine should acquire nuclear weapons’ in the end produced a backlash effect. It increased anxiety among both elites and citizens in Russia about security concerns. It is important to emphasise yet again that this concern for their collective security as a nation and as a people is what Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov and other Russian leaders have tried to convey to their counterparts in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and indeed every other Western capital for more than 20 years since the end of the Cold War.
Simply put, Russia does not want a Western military
alliance--- NATO --- perched at its gate. The West has refused to
address this very legitimate concern. Worse, it has wilfully chosen to
brush aside Russia’s fear. Bluntly put, Moscow has now been provoked to act. Since Washington in particular was not willing to use diplomacy to address Russia’s fear, its concern, Moscow has opted for a special ‘military operation’. Moscow’s response is perfectly understandable. It is completely rational.
Perhaps we should all remind Washington and the West of a
fragment of their own history to help them appreciate better what is happening now in Ukraine. In 1962, there was a huge international political crisis. We thought we were on the verge of a world war. The USSR had deployed missiles in Cuba, on the soil of its ally, facing their common foe, the United States. Cuba was just 90 kilometres from the US shoreline. The US president, John Kennedy, saw it as an act of provocation. He wanted the missiles removed immediately.
Otherwise, he would attack Cuba. After some negotiations, Cuban
leader Fidel Castro requested his Soviet friends to remove the
missiles. The Cuban crisis was defused. In response to Castro’s decision, Kennedy, it is alleged, undertook not to overthrow Castro through illegal means. Whether he kept his word or not, it was not really tested because Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963 before he could complete his second term as US president. Some of his successors tried to undermine Castro but that is another story.
Cuba 60 years ago is relevant to the present situation in Ukraine.
Just as the US did not want Russian missiles at its doorstep in 1962,
Russia in 2022 does not want overwhelming Western military power
at its gate today. The Cuban leadership understood what had to be
done to assuage American fears. One hopes that the US and Western governments today realise why it is so important to allay a legitimate Russian concern about its security.
In a nutshell both situations demand an appreciation of that ancient truth found in all spiritual and moral traditions: do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you. It is a truth that has been described as the fundamental ethic in relations between human beings, communities and states. It is, in plain language, the Golden Rule of Life. The US elite in particular has shown so little regard for this golden rule in international affairs.
Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the president of the International Movementfor a Just World (JUST).
25 February 2022.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Have a meaningful Chinese New Year - 2022

IRONY - Many want to be ENTREPRENEURS and BUSINESS OWNERS but do not want to do SALES.

Our nation wants and needs to create more entrepreneurs and business owners however the majority of our youth avoid sales. At any point of time, thousands of sales jobs are available even during the Covid19 crisis. But we do not have enough takers. Sales and sales-related jobs are in our C.O.L. – Critical Occupations List.

Our institutes of higher learning and numerous government bodies offer and provide funds for entrepreneurial degrees and training, but sales and business development are not stressed. We gloss over the need for sales skills and behaviour when encouraging the young to go into business and make them believe that digital sales can substitute the critical role of personal selling in ensuring customers decide what, when, why and from whom to buy.

Those who start their own business pretentiously and proudly call themselves businessmen or entrepreneurs even when they neither have the tenacity and spirit of a salesperson like waking up early and working till late, nor even the basic skills and persistency in making cold calls to prospects. Is it a wonder that the failure rate has been atrocious? In fact, business organizations have to sugar-coat or downplay anything sales when recruiting salespeople.  We use fancy job titles for sales positions.

Yet selling skills is key for entrepreneurs and business owners. A few years in sales can help prepare an aspiring entrepreneur to have what it takes to run a business – communication skills, knowing the customer, discipline and work ethics, emotional resilience to handle ups and downs and staying focused. To set targets and chase after them. To go the extra mile and push oneself out of one’s comfort zone. Sales is not a 9-5 job and working weekends is a norm. It is basic training for the entrepreneurial spirit – the habit of delaying gratification for future success.

We need to promote sales as a career of choice. Set numeric targets to develop sales professionals like we do for doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, etc as part of nation building. By enlarging the number of sales professionals, we ensure a bigger pool of future entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

We must also stress the belief that sales come first before entrepreneurship. The sales job teaches hard work, drive, dealing with others and managing oneself. Convince our young that sales skills are essential not just for those who want to do their own business but also for those who aspire to be a leader, manager or even an engineer.


Let us add value.

Have a meaningful Chinese New Year.