Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's time to remember...

I suppose I can't say this enough. Times are tough. Forget tough, they're the toughest ever! I cannot imagine how the economy would get to this stage. If I weren't so optimistic, I'd say it's a Depression, instead of a recession.
So, in times like this, it'd be good to remember a few things in order to keep your life in perspective.
Below are a few things to remember for normal people (statistically speaking):

"Remember This"

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would probably die for.

2. At least 5 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they actually want to be just like you, or you have something they would want to have.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you at first.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. It's very possible someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another good look again.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks, they're not worth your while.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are You Blind, Or Do You See?

There's someone called Lady Hawke and she sends out delightful stories like this.

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
From a distance, each looks like every other horse.
But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.
His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.
This alone is amazing.
If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell.
It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.
As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.
When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owners of these two horses, the world does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.
They watch over us and even bring others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell in our lives.
Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see.
Good friends are like this ...... You don't always see them, but you know they are always there
Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.
Hope you enjoyed this story.

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Friday, June 19, 2009


I had a long chat with my big boss yesterday.
Explained to him that things haven't turned out all that well lately due to internal company politics and backstabbing all over the place.
Company politics, well, I suppose each and EVERY company has it's politicians. It CANNOT be denied. It will be the same WHEREVER you work.
Backstabbing, now that's another animal. It takes an evil person to WANT to hurt another person.
What I couldn't understand previously was WHY people would want to do that.
Are you such a LOSER that you have to backstab your way to glory?
Is that the ONLY way?
It hurts to know you have enemies.
It hurts because in the first place, you DON'T expect them to be YOUR enemies.
I mean, what have I done to deserve this? I AM INNOCENT!
What the hell do you want?
So, I meditated on it. Prayed for the strength. To forgive.
And I've put it behind me. I AM A PROFESSIONAL, and I shall behave like one.
The work I have, I will do and finish it because I am being paid to do it.
I will not bother with distractions with what other people are doing, whether it's their work or "behind the scnes".
Then I remember a saying. I can't remember who said it, but if you do, please let me know.
It's a mantra worth repeating when you have idiots jostling to take your position in your company.
Forget those morons, because if you're sincerely good enough to get your job, you're worth of keeping your job as long as you do your work properly.
Here, keep this in mind:

Hanging onto bitterness and resentment is like eating poison and expecting somebody else to die.

So, forgive and move on. Remember, you're professional. If other people aren't, that's THEIR problem.

Reasons & Seasons

Again, the most important thing is to understand WHY or the reason things/people are happening/doing in your life.
Some may be good, some may be bad. The good is probably because you've been working towards it for some time, or it could just be a stroke of LUCK.
As for the bad.
Well, there will ALWAYS be bad stuff and bad people in your life. Unfortunately.
You CANNOT AVOID it. The thing to note is that you have to FACE them DIRECTLY and not be afraid.
Because no matter what, it WILL pass. They will go away eventually as long as you bring yourself to overcome them.
The post below is from Prose and Poems, which I thought would be good to share.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime... When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.....
When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy...Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season....
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons--those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (any way); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
Some of you are more than friends--you are family. And some of you are more than family--you are friends.
Thank you for being part of my life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Clay Balls

It's been really stressful lately.
But thanks to friends and family, the world isn't as bad as it seems.
My resolve from today onwards is to be strong, keep strong and not let unimportant people or distractions to weaken me.
This post is dedicated to all who have people caring for and about them.

"Clay Balls"

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.
They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him.
As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.
He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!
Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.
He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!
It's like that with people.
We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.
We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy but we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.
There is a treasure in each one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.
May we see the people in our world as God sees them.
I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with each of you.
Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Money, money, money

I think the economic situation is getting to me. It's affecting the company and staff morale.
Suffice to say, it's scary wondering if we have actually hit bottom yet.
Not sure where, but I remember seeing this ad for those loan sharks which said,"Money isn't everything, but everything needs money nowadays".
I've always been an advocate of living within one's means, that means if you make 3 thousand a month, you spend MAXIMUM of 2500 a month.
Some people say it's impossible, "everything so expensive lah" and even "but I need that ninety dollar shampoo for my hair".
It's POSSIBLE, and at the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself FIRST.
And take note of what Mr. Ford said below.

If money is your hope for independence you will never have it.
The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.
- Henry Ford (1863-1947)

I wish you enough

This was sent to me by my Uncle Hon Yew. He may not always send the most readable articles, but this one is a rare gem from him.

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport.. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, 'I love you and I wish you enough'.
The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom'.

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'
'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this forever good-bye?'
'I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said..
'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means? '.
She began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone'. She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough', we want the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them'. Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess .

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.


To all my friends and loved ones, I WISH YOU ENOUGH!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It's going to be Father's Day.
God knows what the 2 boys and their mother have got planned.
I remember something when Ewan was born 3 years ago.
It so happened that I was going to take the Ministry of Transport entourage for a port visit in Yantian and my wife went into labor the previous night before the flight.
Ewan Ong came into this world, and I remember looking at his lovely eyes. Then I felt sad for a while, cos' I had to take the afternoon flight to Shenzhen and would only come back after 2 weeks.
I also remembered to call my dad and wished him Happy Father's Day.
And I realised this.
I would do whatever I can to make my children proud to have me as a father. The same way I hold my own father in the highest regard.
Not because he's the most succesful businessman in the history of mankind.
Not because he was the best footballer in Malaysia.
But because he raised me to be a good person. Just like a certain Earl Woods told his son named Tiger, "Be a good golfer, but be a GREAT MAN".

And my thought on that day 3 years ago was this:

If your children look up to you,
you've made a success of life's biggest job.
- Bobby K.H. Ong, June 2006


Friday, June 12, 2009

Just for Today

Just for today
..... smile at a stranger
.. listen to someone's heart
.. drop a coin where a child can find it
.. learn something new, then teach it to someone
.. tell someone you're thinking of them
.. hug a loved one
.. don't hold a grudge
.. don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry"
.. look a child in the eye and tell them how great they are
.. don't kill that insect in your house, he's just lost so show him the way out
.. look beyond the face of a person into their heart
.. make a promise, and keep it
.. call someone, for no other reason than to just say "Hi"
.. show kindness to an animal
.. stand up for what you believe in
.. smell the rain, feel the breeze, listen to the wind
.. use all your senses to their fullest
.. cherish all your TODAYS

Back from the dead

I thought I was going to die.
Seriously. Really.
Perhaps I was dead, but He decided it wasn't my time yet.
It certainly felt like it.
It was total darkness. I could see, but all I saw was shadows moving around.
Also, enough was enough. The decision made by my heart was that I had enough of feeling terrible.
The above were the thoughts running through my head the past 2 days when I was running a 40 degrees fever (no, brain not damaged unless you suddenly find my writing humorous, then maybe so).
Sorry, can't Twitter those thoughts as well when I'm bedridden.
It was crazy, to feel like that. Surreal and yet you know it happened.
One time, it was like I was moving around on my head (?).
Then, I actually saw it. (warning: don't try to imagine) Every sinew of my body exposed.
To call it a dream, no, nightmare to be precise.
I'm still sweating non-stop.
My wife said I was speaking gibberish in my sleep. Words she couldn't understand. Words she hadn't heard before.
Hmm, so maybe I can speak ancient Latin in my fever-induced state?
So I'm given one more chance.
At Life.
I believe the most beautiful sight upon opening my eyes was seeing the 2 boys by my side.
The power of love certainly has it's magic.
And most of all, the wife is the one I should be grateful to.
Think of it this way.

There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most
-- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind --
are always attained by giving them to someone else.

U.S. Professor Becomes First Jew To Win Arab Nobel Prize

I suppose if things like this can happen, there's still hope for peace in our world.

An American professor has become the first Jew to win the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine, popularly known as the "Arab Nobel Prize."
Stanford professor Ronald Levy, who heads of the university's Oncology department, told Haaretz that as an American Jew married to an Israeli it never crossed his mind that he might win the Saudi-financed competition.
After he was informed of his victory, Levy rushed to check the contest Web site, where he found his picture and biography already on the homepage. The prize committee had posted Levy's biography exactly as he submitted it, with one glaring exception: the line showing his post-doctoral work at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot had been deleted.
The prize, which included $200,000, a medal, and a certificate in English and Arabic, also came with a dinner with Saudi King Abdullah.
Levy told Haaretz he was certain his wife and daughters would not be able to attend the ceremony, as their passports are full of visas from Israel and his wife and one of his daughters were born in Israel. To his surprise, when he went to the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, the attendants stamped their passports, and no one asked any questions.
In spite of their fears before the trip, Levy said his family was treated to royal hospitality during their entire stay in Saudi Arabia. He said that even when people were aware of his religion and his family's background, he was treated no different than anyone else. Also, Levy said Saudis were fascinated with hearing what he and other visitors think of their country, and if their expectations were proved wrong or not.
Levy's victory is the first time in the award's 30 years that a Jew has won, which Levy says he took as a sign that Saudi Arabia is becoming more open.
Levy won the prize for his part in the development of a drug used in the treatment of many types of cancer that is being widely viewed as revolutionary.
For over 30 years, Levy has researched methods of using the body's immune system to fight cancer. His research led to the development of the concept that a drug made from antibody could be used to fight cancer.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Can the next generation stand on their own?

I look at some kids and they have it made.
By Jove, have they got it made. Maids to wash their clothes. Chaffeurs to take them to school and around town. Enough pocket money to stimulate an African country's economy.
I remember dating this girl, Eugenie. Her parents were divorced. The mother went back overseas (Europe, I think). The father was working in Penang and would be back on weekends.
For the time that we dated, I couldn't believe how much money he gave her and the brother to last the week. I remember it was about RM500 a week! And this was back in 1991!
I kept thinking, hey, why can't he spend more time with her when even though I was 17 then, I could clearly see that she craved attention (especially a parent's)?
I got this passage from a MUST READ book.
If you have time, go get it. Read it. Absorb it's essence and then LIVE it.
I hope our kids learn to stand on their own.
Nowadays, I see parents buying stuff for their kids as a replacement for their love. I feel weird about it when I see a clear case of emotional blackmail of adults by their own children.

[We are not] here to play the material game by allowing guilt about our children to make us feel terrible when we can't give them what their friends may have.
We can give them something that is beyond price.
We can give them unconditional love and we can help them to reconnect with their highest potential.
You can't buy that at the computer game store.
- David Icke, p. 434, "And the truth Shall Set You Free"

Once spoken, words cannot be withdrawn

If you have nothing good to say about anyone, don't say anything.
That person may be vile (in your opinion) or even curse at you, but in the end, people will see what kind of person they are and what you really made of.

Scattered Papers
Once upon a time an old man spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later the young man was proven innocent. After been released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.
In court the old man told the Judge: 'They were just comments, didn't harm anyone.."
The judge, before passing sentence on the case, told the old man: 'Write all the things you said about him on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear the sentence.'
The next day, the judge told the old man: 'Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.'
The old man said: 'I can't do that! The wind spread them and I won't know where to find them.'
The judge then replied: 'The same way, simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can't speak well of someone, rather don't say anything.

'Let's all be masters of our mouths, so that we won't be slaves of our words.'

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Humans' best friend

I always wanted a dog when I was small, but my mom insisted at that age (I was 7 then) that I wouldn't be responsible enough to care for one. Besides, she wanted me to concentrate on studies.

Now that we have a house with a garden big enough to house dogs, we were lucky that a Singaporean couple gave up their Lab when we were hunting around for a dog. I suppose I'm a purist who insists on purebreeds for a pet.

Ethan and Ewan love animals with all their hearts, and Brownie's lucky to have 2 of them as responsible owners to bathe and feed him. My heart goes out to the dogs that were abandoned at Pulau Ketam, even if they were cross-breeds. All animals are God's creatures, and if you love them, they will love you back.

The story below is a testament to that.

"Dog's Treasures"

Lucy and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.'
Lucky was a real character. Whenever Lucy and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.
Lucy or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.
It happened that Lucy found out she had breast cancer.
Something told her she was going to die of this disease....
in fact, she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky.
A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky?
Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Lucy's dog through and through.
If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Lucy thought.
He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.
The double mastectomy was harder on Lucy than her doctors had anticipated and Lucy was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable. Finally the day came for Lucy to leave the hospital.
When she arrived home, Lucy was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Lucy but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Lucy sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.
When Lucy woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.
Lucy forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Lucy is still cancer-free.
Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Lucy remains his greatest treasure.

Remember.... live every day to the fullest.

Each minute is a blessing from God.

And never forget....the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.

They are the ones that care about us.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Get moving!

It's coming to almost the end of the first half of 2009.
I've had a few conversations with a few people, with the remark,"oh, how I wish this year was over. 2009 being annus horribils etc".
Jerry Maguire remains one of my favourite movies, not because of Tom Cruise (although I did name my eldest son after his character in the Mission Impossible franchise), but because of the interjections between scenes from Dicky Fox.
Possibly the best scene is when he says,
"I love the mornings! I clap my hands every morning and say, 'This is gonna be a great day!'

Well, people, if you hate your life so much, here's something for you to ponder.

Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made NEW.
Today is a NEW day.
Today is my world made NEW.
I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day.
This moment, this day, is as good as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day, each moment of this day, a heaven on earth.
This is MY day of opportunity.
- Dan Custer

The times are a-changin

This month will see another 4 vessels pull out from our schedule. That means an approximate loss of about 3,200 TEUs on average per month. It will affect Port Klang, which in turn is the national gateway for our country.
I'm going to have to let go 2 of my Operations staff. At first it was suggested to them to do an internal transfer. There are 2 vacancies, in Sales and in Customer Service.
They were reluctant at first.
"No lah Boss, we've been doing vessel operations for so long. How you want us to switch like that?"
I didn't want to tell them about my transitions in my career so far.
From auditor to dotcom entrepreneur, then from sports marketing to electronics distribution and then logistics specialist. All in a period of 9 years.
My relatives (especially the Chinese ones) wonder,"aiya, you jumping jack ah? You CPA and MBA mah, what you doing in shipping?" and other comments like that.
To make it short, I told my staff,"Times are changing. Either you change or it will be you who is exchanged".
So they agreed.
I read a post in Masterwordsmith's blog today regarding pre-determined paths in life.
It's something I truly believe in.
When things happen, you have to roll with the hits.
With that, keep the words below in mind.

Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
But attitude determines how well you do it.
- Bobby K.H. Ong, 2007

Need to produce thinking students

I read this article yesterday and found it to be a good one. I went to IKIM once when I audited them, and found the people there to be rational and good thinkers. I hope more of these views are disseminated and that our country can produce better thinkers.

Need to produce thinking students

Tuesday, 02 June 2009 13:08
There has to be a system able to educate and equip the people with all the tools necessary to face the complex pressures of modern society.

IKIM views by Nik Roskiman Abdul Samad, The Star

WE celebrated Teachers’ Day a few weeks ago. Talk of education always brings to my mind a speech given by Dorothy L. Sayers at Oxford in 1947, which was later printed in essay form bearing the title The Lost Tools of Learning.
Although Sayers was not an educationist, but rather a novelist, her profound critique of the modern education system has initiated a classical education movement in the US and Europe.
I first came across her ideas several years ago, and those ideas have stayed in my mind. And I find them to be relevant more so now as our government is planning to review or revamp our education system and curriculum.
It is indeed timely for the Government to introduce a new education system that is able to really educate and equip the people with all the tools necessary to face the complex pressures of modern society.
This is the crux of Sayer’s critique of the modern education system: the inability to produce educated people equipped with the necessary tools of modern life.
Our national education system has failed, the public has said. They are clamouring for a better education system to replace the present one. Our system is accused of being exam-oriented and produces trained “parrots”. Why?
One of the reasons is that our system today is burdening students with too many subjects. Since there are too many subjects, teachers are not able to concentrate on developing personalities and individual characters. Their focus is on completing the entire syllabus of every subject, otherwise the students may not be able to answer questions in the coming term examinations.
No time is spared for inter-personal discussions, counselling or informal advice-giving sessions between teachers and students. The situation in our country is worsened by the attitudes of some of our ministers or politicians, who want to have their say with regard to the education system.
It is as though every minister deems he has the right to have his say in deciding what subjects should or should not be taught in our schools, without being duly qualified.
When we feel that the trend is towards Information Technology (IT), we want subjects related to IT to be taught in schools.
Later, when we dispatched our angkasawan to the moon, we wanted Astronomy to be part of our curriculum.
When we feel entrepreneurship is important, we want it to be part of the subjects taught in schools.
Recently, we seem to feel that national unity and patriotism is at stake, therefore we demand that these subjects be included in the national curriculum. It goes on endlessly.
We have actually lost sight of what education is all about and what its true objective entails.
Education is not about teaching particular “subjects”. Neither it is about the number of subjects taught in schools. It is about nurturing a human being to be a “good man”.
Modern students today are certainly taught more subjects, but that does not mean they are actually “good” or know more; nor does it mean they are better equipped than those before them.
Compared with students of the Athenean Middle Ages, who only studied three subjects at the trivium and four subjects at the quadrivium, for example, today’s students should perform better, considering their intellectual growth.
But this is not the case. Many a time an interview panel is frustrated with the performance of our graduates, despite their having spent more than a decade at the primary and secondary education levels and approximately four years at the tertiary level.
They certainly “studied” hundreds of subjects and, yet, they do not know the basics, have no confidence in speaking, no critical and logical thought when arguing, have no common sense, rational thought and so on. Why?
Because they had never been taught to think, how to use reason or how to argue during their entire “formal” education.
The only reason they have succeeded thus far is, perhaps, purely because they were good at memorising data – not that their intellect has been developed.
The findings of child development psychiatrists and research workers have emphasised the deep impressions early experiences have on children and the lasting effects of such impressions.
Comenius, in The School of Infancy, Montessori, in his The Secret of Childhood, and countless others have stressed the importance of right education at an early age.
In Islam, emphasis is given even when the parent is still searching for his spouse, seeking only for one with upright religious bearing since their children will be affected by their parents’ character.
At their early stage, children should be taught the proper use of the tools of learning before they begin to apply these to “subjects”, which should only be taught at a later stage.
At the foundational stage, they should only be taught three things, the trivium: Grammar, Logic (Dialectic), and Rhetoric.
This is quite similar to the traditional Islamic primary education where children at an early age should be taught, among other things, the Qur’an, language, literature (adab), ethics (akhlaq) and logic (mantiq).
Only at the secondary or university levels perhaps whatever subjects suit the national interest and the contemporary age may be introduced.
In general, children in Malaysia are reluctant to go to school, unlike children in the developed countries who exhibit eagerness and enthusiasm.
Children in Europe find school very interesting, and their teachers to be very loving and friendly. In Malaysia, even before going to school, we have a hard time with our children.
Teachers are assumed to be fierce because of their demeanor, like “teacher-cum-police” officers.
They also envision being bombarded with too much information that they are required to know, not to mention writing.
But their ability to reflect, think and ponder is not being groomed and developed. They are required to memorise data where all the answers are given.
Our education policy makers should sit down seriously with educationists and “experts” to come up with a better education policy for the sake of our future generations.
We have had enough of the same old moans whenever review of our education system is mentioned. Nothing substantial has been done thus far. Even the perennial issue of heavy school bags has not been effectively resolved yet.
Hopefully the “people’s Prime Minister” will look into this matter more urgently.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Telling it like it is

Some people cannot stop talking. It almost seems like they love the sound of their voice so much they just can't stop.
These people are the reasons why meetings (if not controlled) become the the biggest waste of time.
For this post, I will quote Barry Maher from his Filling the Glass newsletter.

Speaking of Communication and Silence

By Barry Maher

Here's a tip that a lot of us, myself included, seem to have trouble remembering:
When you have nothing to say, say nothing.
Particularly when we're new in an organization or when we're uncomfortable in a job or in a situation, there's a tendency to want to speak up, to speak up for the sake of speaking up, especially in meetings. We feel if we keep our mouths shut, people will think we know little or nothing about the subject under discussion.
If we actually do know little or nothing about it, the desire becomes especially strong. Get me around a bunch of guys at a construction site, and I can't shut my mouth.

In communications training, we call this panic blathering.

The less you know, the more you want to interject something, anything, and usually what you interject proves just how little you actually do know. In an astonishingly short period of time, you can damage your credibility in a way that can take months and even years to repair.

Panic blathering.

I know it's difficult, but when the impulse to panic blather seizes you, take a deep breath and think before you speak. Weigh your words carefully and contribute only when you have something worthy of contribution. A penetrating question, or even an admission of what you don't know, is a greater sign of intelligence and even expertise than a transparent pretense of knowledge.
Tip: No matter who you are or how new or experienced you might be, if you don't know, that's usually the correct answer.
My father was an attorney and a man who had an answer for everything. Ask him to elucidate the difference between Einstein's concept of special relativity and just ordinary run-of-the-mill, day to day relativity and he'd give you a 20 minutes oration: without having any more of a clue about any of it than you or me.
But he was an excellent attorney, trained at Harvard Law, loved by his clients, and if you asked him a question concerning the law, the response could well be, "I don't know."
"I don't know," is powerful expert testimony.
It makes everything you do know that much more believable. If you know where to find the answer and you can promise to do so, even better. "Let me find out and I'll get back to you on this by Friday, if that's soon enough." Then do it.
When Gary Ames was president of U.S. West, whenever he was addressing a group and got a tough question, he'd say something like, "Excellent question. While I generalize for the next thirty seconds, Jake Hanes who's sitting out there in the back of the room, will be coming up with the correct answer. When I stop talking, Jake will give you all the specifics, because I don't have the slightest idea."
When Gary Ames told you what he did know, you believed him.