Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Timing Cry

Time was not linear. Far, far from it. Time wrapped in on itself, converged and entwined and embraced events and feelings and moments, then danced away into separate gleaming, shining, precious strands that stood alone and resonant before merging again into the vast stream.

The Preserver rested and dreamed, and time wove itself in and around and through him. Memories fluttered through his mind like gossamer-winged insects: a word that shattered centuries, a thought that changed the course of a civilization. Individuals whose insights and aspirations and even greed and fear turned seemingly inalterable tides of destiny into something new and fresh and hitherto inconceivable. Moments where everything teetered precariously on a crumbling brink, where something as intangible as an idea would send everything hurtling into oblivion or pull it back to safe, solid ground.

Each thought, word, deed, life was a mere drop in the vast ocean of time, constantly merging and separating to merge again. The concept would challenge some minds, the Preserver knew; but his mind had been destined to hold such contradictions as things being separate and having no separate identity. Grasping such elusive concepts was what he was born for.

Over all these thoughts of words and lives and ideas floated a terrible urgency and fear. Time was not linear; time was shifting and changing. But there were patterns that floated to the surface, their interwoven strands so clear and strong that even the dimmest minds could grasp them. Inevitability? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Again and again the pattern appeared in the swirling waters of time and destiny and luck, submerging and manifesting with a cold precision that made even the Preserver quail.

All the knowledge he held was precious; every memory, every sound, scent, sensation, voice, word, thought. All were vital to his being.

But this knowledge, of the pattern that had happened so often before and was about to happen again–ah, this was what made the Preserver more than important to his time.

It was what made him indispensable.

He opened to what was out there, every second that ticked by in its nonlinear, unique majesty challenging him to close in on himself, to not expose himself to the pain of the debris caught in the swollen river.

He could not allow himself such luxuries.

Not when the horrific knowledge of what had come before, and what was certain to come again, polluted the waters of time in his psyche.

He summoned all his energy, and sent forth the cry.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Of Skis, Guitars and Guns

I guess being on the road can be a harrowing experience if one lets it. For me, the 24 hours travelling time I clocked yesterday weaved by easily. It is amazing what the loneliness and solitary mood escorting me at the outset can be a rousing force to put a ceasefire to my lonesomeness. I met about three to four different characters throughout my journey - people whom I never would have thought I would know in my life.

On my first leg of the journey, I sat beside a couple who was returning to Sweden. We warmed up to each other almost as soon as I took my seat. We mostly talked about vacation spots particularly in Bali and they kept mentioning how beautiful and nice KL was. They briefly visited KL just a few days ago and wanted to return for a longer trip next year and asked me for some recommendations. I broached the subject of visiting Sabah and they were convinced, I hope they see it through. We even shared a common interest for skiing and I now know the spots to go to if I ever visit Sweden. These were very polite, humble and nice people. They asked about my job and purpose to New York, I even found out their first grandchild was born a week earlier and they can't wait to see him. They even shared a little about their marriage - marrying at the age of 20! When we parted at Arlander, it was with a sense of apparent friendship. They kept on reminding me how beautiful KL is, and how great and friendly its people are.

I met another interesting character on my way from Stockholm to Newark. Here was a lady who just got married a couple of weeks back and was missing her husband so, so badly even though he was just 20 rows behind us. I found out that she manages 3 local rockbands in Sweden and her husband discovered the 3 bands and also co-managed them with her. She is more on the administrative side and her husband more to the talent discovery and song production side. She let me hear some of the songs they produced and although I do not understand most of the words, the tune was very nice. I liked it very much. They were going to Brooklyn to visit the husband's family after their marriage and we talked a little about meeting the right person of your life and doing the things you love with the person you love - there can be no greater joy, or at least one of life's greatest joys. And these two were hardcore rockers that came complete with the tattoo and piercing package. They were dating for 17 years before tying the knot.

The final character was by far the most interesting. I met him at the arrival in Newark airport. He was my driver. During the trip to the hotel, we began our conversation with the usuals - weather, journey, time, vacation spots and the likes. Eventually I learned more about him. This chap was formerly in the army and was an army detective during the Vietnam wars. He was stationed there for 2 years and completed his tour of duty in '68 just before the US pulled their troops out of there in '69. He then enlisted in the police force and then became a detective in the NJPD. This career of his lasted 27 long years and he has been to many parts of the world and seen many things. He was asked to join the NYPD but declined many times for reasons he only wish to leave it as - he loves life. He spent the next 17 years in semi-retirement as a limousine driver. His grandson is enlisting to become a member of the NYPD and he owns a house in a small island in the Bahamas where the water is only 48 feet from his house. He is divorced, does not speak freely of his wife and children and has strong reservations against the current leader of his country.

I finally arrived safely at New York and realized that meeting these people truly has added to my perspectives in life. But recalling all these people I met along the way and the conversations I had with them - I can't help but see the irony in all that has happened to me or around me the past 24 hours or so. Some people are too refrained in living their lives, some has too many open-ended outcomes, while others use sincerity as a weapon to smother the doubts in their hearts. We are all knowledgeable in our own ways and using it to assist us in the best way to live our daily lives. It is not our job to judge others for what they think, do or feel.

The paradox of an informed society is that over a period of time, it is susceptible to bias towards the same sources that project powerful information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Other Glass Story

I could only sit still in silent sympathy as I watched him digest the news of the passing of one of his closest friends. The abridgement was overwhelming and his staggered silence was the greatest testament of all to his loss.

The passing of one individual that day rattled the entire household and unnerved us all. It felt like He took away something or someone that was part of our lives in one instant and then expunged all emotional connection and relation that was ever existent and replaced our temporary void hearts with that of blissful ignorance. At least that was how I felt...

The suddenness was unsettling, epsecially towards him. I feel for him because to be at such an age now where you have fewer friends and even fewer true friends, this loss is significant. Plans for the entire day were cancelled in exchange for self-imposed mourning. Walking down the lonely path of remembrance was what he needed as he viewed flashbacks after flashbacks of his own vivid hallucinatory images of what once was and what it could have been.

I pitied him even more so as I approached him. The creases and wrinkles on his face was deeper and more defined that afternoon, filled with deep apprehension and sorrow. There was nothing much I could do, or I walked away. I knew he was embracing this loss and strengthening himself up. It was the only thing he was in control of, his feelings.

As I comtemplated on this turn of events, I realized how old he has become and how fragile he is becoming. Time which was once a measure of wealth has now become a gauge for longevity. The permanence of his existence and purpose in this world are now measurable, distinct and variable. I knew he felt like what if it was him instead.

And I can relate to his feelings. After all, the person in question was a man of great stature with enviable humility. He was one who despite his achievements overseas, remain a very down to earth man and to be in his presence was to be humbled by him. A person who placed his family first above all else, a man who provided unceasingly and abundantly and a friend who cared unconditionally and indiscriminately. It is also because of all these traits that he was highly valued by his company, widely known for his commitment and dedication beyond his scope of responsibilities.

When I looked back at the man sitting downstairs, I see so much resemblance in both and I feared the worse. I can only pray and hope to Him that he will start to realize that he is still working too hard for his age and he should start to let go, first by learning to trust others and then loving himself more. It would be such a pity for one to work so tirelessly and provide ever abundantly only to not able to enjoy the fruits of your own labour and nurture your legacy in the end. That man left behind a wife and a daughter and I sincerely pray for them to be strong in weathering the life ahead.

At the end of the day, I thought to myself that life is not so much about getting the highest paying job or the most rewarding job or the best track to career supremacy. Working should be viewed as a way of life, not living your life away with it.

I could only imagine that family's loss when I think of the things that their father would have wanted to do with them still, the marriage in which he wished to walk his daughter down the aisle with, the grandchild he had hoped to carry one day and knowing that at the end of his tenure on earth one day, he could finally rest satisfactorily knowing that his life was not measured by the number of breaths he had taken but by the number of moments that took his breath away. I sincerely wished that for him for he was such a fine man. But often in life, we do not get what we want, sometimes not even what we wanted for others.

It is cruel...

I will never look at certain things the same again because seeing one man who has already done it, and living with one who is doing it is not an easy task. As much as how we are all taught to believe that everything happens for a reason and God always has plan for everything, I could easily as well look at my life in a perspective of a half-full glass rather than a half-empty glass.

But there is another side of this 'glass' story that few of us realize. Imagine holding a glass filled with water. It is not about how heavy the glass is or what is the weight of the water inside. The key lies in how long do we hold this glass. It is easy to hold it for a few meager minutes but as the duration lengthens and the minutes become hours and the hours become days (if that is even possible), the act becomes tougher until it reaches impossibility. It is simply the longer we hold it, the heavier it becomes.

Looking back at our life and how we balance it with our work, holding this same glass of water reminisces the way we handle our work stress. If we carry our burden all the time and bring home our stress for the most parts, sooner or later this uncompromising weight will come crashing down on us. We have to learn to put things down for awhile like resting the glass of water after a few minutes only to carry it again, and again and again. When we are refreshed, we can continue on carrying the burden.

Work is never ending but our life will end one day so learn to let things go everyday and never carry it home. You can just easily pick it up tomorrow.

As to the bereaved family, I pray for them strength and hope that they do see the only way to show others that they are strong is to be weak in their hearts, but stay remembered...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Penury of Credence

It felt like the crucifying crushing of a thousand perfidious stakes through my heart. It felt like the overwhelming pressure of the paltry waters drowning in the ocean depths of hypocrisy. It felt like vindictive suffocation from the duplicitous air of unyielding intellect. And it felt like the misplaced trust of an unfaltering stanchness on an emotionless rock of affectation.

I lived through these senseless adages in a day that was filled with perpetual pleasantness until the hammer of adjudication fell in one fleeting motion of reversed affability. There was no way I could have envisaged the coming of the corporate onslaught. A circuitous blow from one of your own is usually not expected. It was almost evocative of a friendly fire literally behind enemy lines. Suffice to say, I was unprepared from the result of coming up short in my wildest imagination department.

We sometimes sell ourselves short of our own expectations in order to meet the unrealistic demands of others. I then wonder how could I have allowed myself to be placed into such an uncompromising situation to begin with. To live with this given obduracy is to condemn yourself into reviling reproach.

With recent events snapping into place in a series of perspicacious puzzle, I cannot help but be contented in the discernment of my own vocation. The acuity acquired is astute and inestimable. Hence for now, I shall immerse myself in the unrelenting forbearance of elucidating waters.

The proving grounds which I have so often and consistently whet upon will now serve as a reminder of how perilous and precarious it can be at times of unremitting adversity. The order of the day is the penury from which all my source of destitution stems from. With this in mind, I know that the custodians of my trade maturity has only so much to offer in terms of enduring enthusiasm in revealing the road to perdition before me.

It is very hard to live through such proxies day-in and day-out but I know the resilience lies within me as I try to shirk the belief that I am already at the edge of my patience and tolerance...two words among the very few in my life from which I borrow all my credence from.

And as I move onwards with both eyes affixed onto the finish line, I learn that life as I see it, is not painted with colours...but by colours of knowledge, choice and absence where we attach our faith onto. Sometimes we see the colours, sometimes we gain and lose some knowledge, sometimes we observe the choices, sometimes we recognize the absences...

And sometimes in life we do not get things the way we wanted, but we gain extra knowledge of what others wanted.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Devil Is In the Details

In five days, the crusading contingent from Old Trafford will take on the expedition of the season. These seeking souls will be presented with a providential prospect of re-writing the history of football for the land which they hail from - England; and the charismatic club they humbly serve - Manchester United.

These gallant knights from the proving grounds of Carrington Field will embark on a valiant quest to invade the Roman fortress of Olimpico, wherein await the Catalan knights from the Camp Nou and their horde of Spanish culers. But how did it all began? Where did it all turned for both clubs? What were the stones that shifted in order for this momentous event to fall into place?

It all began about a month ago on a fortuitous night during the campaign to raze the Emirates where United - led by Sir Alex Ferguson, produced an awesome and overwhelming attacking display to destroy Arsenal. Park Ji-sung's opener was a result of fate and preordained fortune coupled with the faux pas of a young individual by the name of Kieran Gibbs - whose name will be remembered by the United followers for a while.

At that point in time, the United contingent went delirious. They knew the prospect of Arsenal getting three to go through was so remote to be beyond comprehension. But if United's opener came courtesy of good fortune, their next was the result of sheer audacity and bold impudence mixed with soaring ability.

Ronaldo scored a crackling freekick from 41 yards. To even think of going for goal from the spot would be dismissed by most as rash and imprudent. As Ronaldo stepped back and waited, ready to unleash his missile, Almunia knew what to expect. Indeed, it could be argued that from such distances, Almunia should not have been beaten. But as Ronaldo let loose his projectile - with venom and vigour, infused with his bodily spite and malice, and watched his shot dip and flicker, Almunia was powerless to prevent it from ripping into the net.

The rest for that night was history. As Sir Alex's men capered in exultant glory and cavorted in triumphant glee, he ordered them to tone down their merriment out of respect for the conquered combatants. It was the only mercy the Red Devils showed all night. Yes, not the chivalrous knights of Old Trafford but in truth, the fiendish Devils in disguise. The victory however, came with a price.

Darren Fletcher - one of the most honest men under Sir Alex's command, was red-carded in that battle. He was the only casualty from that fateful battle and will now miss the invasion to Rome and the siege of Olimpico.

His was the result of an unfortunate decision by the match referee in the form of a war priest whose blessings for the champions before the conflict and deliverance during the scuffle ensued in an error of tidings and injustice.

However costly this casualty was, Fletcher will be remembered as United's martyr on the day the history books were opened to be re-written. The rulling must stay as was etched in the stars. The decision of the referee should be final no matter what as it would destroy the very fabric of football reality should a red-card decision in a match of such magnitude proportions be ever reversed.

In a way, it is like opening Pandora's Box if you can challenge every decision. When you rule that it is not a red card, you are also saying it is not a penalty, and therefore not a goal. What do you do then? Start changing the results of matches afterwards? It almost feels like heresy in football. It would destroy the very foundation of decades of match rullings.

As harsh as it was, it is not an excuse and the Reds will go marching onto the Roman plains in five days. United have a date with destiny and under the tutelage of Sir Alex himself, will take on Barca hoping to come out victorious but not unscathed. Difficult and impossible decisions will be made, strategies and tactics will be revised and retried, knowledge of the enemy will be hungrily extracted and no soul will be left untouched by the deciduous inquest of the Red Devils.

The key to success and the devil, is in the details...

Monday, May 18, 2009


The sun rose up into the enthralling expanse of the surreptitious skies and descended into the mesmeric mesas spread out across the haunting horizon of the furtive flatlands. The wind blew athwart the untainted uplands and left behind a lingering squall of riveting breeze. A streak of fiery flare whizzed across the blackness of the starlit night, leaving a trail of blue brilliance as the only evidence of the overlooked shooting star.

The outline of a distinct figure stood at the edge of a ledge observing the singular spectacle unfolded before him. With a knowing gaze, he tilted his head down and noticed the periphery silhouette of reality around him...the realization that he has not trespassed in the secret plateau lately. It was the infringement of steadfast constancy that has been purged from this land.

But little did he knew that just at the apex of the distant horizon looms the encroaching enigma that will revivify the inhospitable terrains that now plague the panorama before him. As the tectonic shifts of relentless reproach reshapes the ground below his feet, weariness cloaks the lone figure but not before imparting on him the truth that if he cannot be contented with what he has received, be thankful for what he escaped instead.

Reeling from relentless restlessness can be resentful but rewarding if rightfully requited.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Without Wind

Launching a new range of products is like going through the entire process of making a baby, expecting one, labouring for one and finally looking after the baby during its infancy. It is almost as if you were playing the part of the expecting parent, as a he or she where applicable.

Before launching a product, you have to sit down with the key stakeholders of your company to discuss the prospect and feasibility of this launch and the planning involved in all related functions. Topics that are commonly touched are the launch timing, market positioning, competitors, financials, demand and supply planning. It is just like the forethought that a couple has before deciding to make a baby - the timing, financial aspects and supportability of this endeavour all comes into consideration. It is what we like to call prudent thinking.

Once all plans are finalized and management has given the project a go-ahead, the execution begins. Demands are forecasted, supply planning begins, marketing initiatives are conceptualized and new product development is initiated. Very much like the conception of the baby in the womb of the mother.

When pregnancy is confirmed a couple of months later, preparation for the birth of the baby begins. This is reminiscent of what happens when trade plans are confirmed, the artwork and formulation of the product finalized and approved and production planning begins. It is like what we do in anticipation of the baby coming into our life - seeking professional counsel in clinics or hospitals for mothers-to-be, shopping for the baby cot or the clothings, and preparing that heavenly baby room in the house.

Strange enough, the entire process of a new product launch spans approximately 9 months as well just like the pregnancy of a mother. What is even more uncanny is that the nearer the timeline of the launch approaches, the more complexity in the project arrises just like the more frequent contraction of the mother's womb when her expecting date looms nearer.

Finally when the baby is due, Murphy's Law kicks into full swing and anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The baby's expected dates are never exact and sometimes they are born earlier or later. In severe cases, giving birth may be a problem and the mother has to opt for a caesarian instead. In some instances, the place where the labouring takes place is not even planned. Similarly with the launch timing of a new product where sometimes it has to be deferred to a later date due to supply issues or moved forward due to business needs related to competition. Sometimes it is so critical that the products itself has to be airfreight from the sourcing site to meet the timeline - this to me is what I call 'pulling a caesarian' on a new product launch.

But after all the months and months of hardwork and planning, the product is finally launched and everyone in the team can breathe a sigh of relief, but only temporarily. It is like the calm before the next storm. You still have to monitor the sales and the market offtake. Perform a litmus test on the project to see if the demand captured was correct, how is the product doing at the consumer level and whether the launch is going according to plan. It is like that first moment when you hold the new born baby in your arms, checking if he/she has all 10 fingers and toes, ensuring if the baby can see and hear and cry.

Some weeks and months later, you still have to go back to the clinic for a follow-up check on the health of the baby. If there are any problems detected, the doctor will give advice and treatment accordingly for those less-fortunate babies to ensure every fighting chance of survival is given to the baby. It is no different with the new product. Every month the management will review its performance. Forecasts are adjusted accordingly until it reflects the true demand, consumer behaviour towards the product are still monitored and supplies are managed diligently to maintain an optimum level of inventory.

The rest, they say is history...

The milestones of the launch are like the milestones of the birth. We always look at the sales target achieved, market share obtained, brand equity developed and customer service level maintained but little do we realize it is like looking at our baby taking the first step, uttering the first word, going to school and so forth.

Be it a successful launch or not, it will always be our baby and it is love unconditional. It is what we all here go through day-in and day-out. When I look at it again, I see the irony of what we already do in our work with that of our lives, in the backdrop of a baby company. It is priceless.

It is never easy what we do as we are all very different people with different background and different mandate in the company. But we all strive to achieve the same goals. For me, it is about learning to adapt and meet everyone halfway. Deep down inside, I think the failure to launch maybe the single most valuable experience I can take away from this when it all finally comes to an end.

I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. I am almost there now finally...

But a constant question remains at the back of my mind - what if there was no wind to begin with?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Intricacy Without Delicacy

Jamie folded her arms across her chest. The mood in the meeting room was becoming thick with tension, “We have been tolerating this immature behavior for some time now”.

“I totally agree. I think we can use this incident as an opportunity to make the change,” replied Terence. Already feeling a trail of sweat trickling down the back of his head, he continued, “I do see your point but it’s not like we can control our customers”.

All this is good finding but can we go on with the training? It’s almost 5pm…

“Yes, we don’t control the customers but we can teach them, educate them and share with them the problems we face when they do not co-operate with us,” interjected Lynn who suddenly became animated with life.

Suddenly Carrie felt the need to cut in as well, “It is so ridiculous when we have to reject back the orders just because their order is short of 1 or 2 pieces”.

Terence’s hands were both on the table now, “I see your point but who are we to educate our customers, we cannot just tell them what to do”. He chanced a glancing look to his side at Amber and continued, “Besides, we need to also try to understand their ordering system. They consolidate the total quantity from all outlets into one single order and more often than not, these numbers are not round figures and they do not have a system or program to round up the numbers”.

Great! This is going to take longer than expected. I thought this was supposed to be a training, how did it become a discussion now? When will this end?

“But can’t you tell them that for us, we have a minimum order quantity and everytime the order is short of 1 or 2 pieces, it gets rejected and this affects our customer service”, added Michelle with a scoff.

“It’s true you know, Terence. We are talking about our KPIs here. This is something that can be easily controlled and solved,” uttered Erica in the most innocent manner.

At this point, Terence was hoping that Amber would add a few words here and there to support him. Isn’t she part of his team anyway? But to his dismay, she continued to sit silently beside him.

“But I don’t see why we can’t solve the problem from our end. We can easily manipulate the orders upon receiving to round up to the nearest number as well”, retorted Terence.

Guys, guys! Stop it please, it’s past 5pm now and we are still going nowhere with this. I think I have to take this into my own hands. Should I intervene? Use subtlety? How do I make this end?

Jamie began again and this time with less aggressiveness in her tone, “We can manage it on our end but it is too much unnecessary work”.

“Non-value added as well”, said Lynn.

“Imagine you have to manually edit the orders line by line in the system. How many orders we have in one day from this customer?” queried Michelle.

“About 20 orders for one region…” declared Nina.

“So that is about 100 orders in total!” stated Jamie.

“That is why it’s so much work. Daily, do you want to key in 100 data points?” challenged Rachel.

That’s it. I know what to do now. I’ll just throw them off in a different direction that will lead to the conclusion I want. I can’t take this anymore. This will work.

“I guess that is a lot of work,” Terence conceded.

I saw my chance and started, “I think this is a good discussion. This is definitely an opportunity we can explore for both sides. We need to solve this, so will we be organizing a separate meeting for this?”

Immediately, everyone stopped the discussion and realized the time is past due and we have severely moved off topic. “Let’s follow up with this another time, we need to get on with the training first”, announced Jamie.

Ahh, the power of subtlety and sincerity!

The rest was history. How simple it was. Sometimes it is in front of us but we missed it. Sometimes we must recognize a problem for what it is and act on it but do so with the right state of mind, the right resources, the right commitment and the right timing. If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Portals of Discovery

More often than not we live through our lives as a series of connecting dots interweaving it with defining and profound events intertwined within the conundrum of possibilities.

Sometimes we are on a collision course and we just do not know it, whether it is by accident or by design. Either eventuality presents the same degree of futility. There is not a thing we can do about it.

A new man on the job changed the frequency and amount of work being sent each time to a group of workers in the suburbs. The first few shipments were inefficient due to this change which resulted in lesser work actually shipped out.

A few days later, a woman in the suburbs was on her way for her morning grocery shopping. But she had forgotten her basket and went back to get it. When she had gotten the basket, the phone had rang. So she stopped to answer it and talked for a couple of minutes.

While the woman was on the phone, Naveen was preparing lunch at home for his wife at work.

While he was cooking, the woman was off the phone now and had gone outside to her waiting husband in the car. But while she was momentarily distracted in locking the gate which took a handful of seconds more than usual, her husband hurriedly decided to drive their other smaller car instead.

Now while her husband was getting the smaller car ready, the woman got into the car just in time. The husband, who had been waiting for a long while, decided it best to take the smaller car to save on petrol, anticipating a long day doing groceries with his wife since the woman had been pretty slow so far.

All the while, Naveen was cooking.

The couple drove and had to stop for a boy crossing the street who left for his football game 15 minutes later than he normally did because he forgot to set his alarm. While that boy, late for his game was crossing the street, Naveen had finished cooking and was getting ready to do some house chores until noon before sending the lunch to his wife.

And while Naveen was taking out the garbage, the house phone rang. He picked up the call and his wife informed that work would end before lunch; a lot earlier than it normally would that day because there was not enough of work to go around from the new change in shipments. Her supervisor had sent all his workers home early because they were on hourly wages.

Naveen was already on his bike to pick up his wife home.

The husband earlier was waiting outside a bakery for the woman to pick up a cake which had not been packaged yet because the girl who was supposed to do it had broken up with her boyfriend the night before, and forgot. When the cake was packaged, the woman was back in the car, which was blocked by a delivery truck.

All the while Naveen was driving.

Then the delivery truck pulled away and the couple in the car was able to move. While Naveen, the last to queue up behind some motorcycles at the traffic light, waited patiently for the bike in front to restart its engine when it suddenly died off during the wait for the green light.

Nearby was the couple approaching the traffic light as Naveen finally moved along.

And if only one thing had happened differently, if the bike's engine had not died off; or that delivery truck had moved moments earlier; or that cake had been packaged and ready because the girl had not broken up with her boyfriend; or the new man on the job had ensured the workers had enough work to go by; or the boy had set his alarm and got up 15 minutes earlier; or the husband had not decided to change cars; or that woman had remembered her basket and locked the gate faster; Naveen would have crossed the street and the couple would have driven by.

But life being what it is - a series of intercepting lives and incidents out of anyone's control. The couple did not go by and the husband was momentarily distracted as Naveen unknowingly followed the bike in front across the street when the lights just turned red. And that couple hit Naveen.

He died on the way to the hospital but his wife was informed that he was in a critical condition at the hospital. Close family members withheld the truth until she was safely there for fear of her emotions affecting her judgment.

Naveen left behind a faithful wife - Prema, and four loving, and bright daughters with the youngest being six and the oldest at sixteen.

About a month ago, I discovered that a man's errors are his portals of discovery.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Butterfly Effect

Imagine a vast expanse of unequivocal plane and its pale and windswept seascape. Then envision a fragile layer of ice spanning across a large body of water superimposed onto this precarious panorama. With only the blustery breeze to buffet the amorphous surface of the ice and the wailing wind to warn the unwary of the approaching storm, the serenity of the surrounding is enthralling in its own right, evenhanded in an equilibrium environment.

Then picture the drop of an illusionary icicle with deadly precision and peril onto the arctic ice and spectate the instantaneous fissuring and rapid descruction of the entire view in one single sweep.

This is a glimpse of our Earth's current dire situation and its "promising" future if we maintain our present principles. Our current environment is like the thin layer of ice on a large lake. Left alone and preserved properly, it can withstand the forces of nature perpetually in its strong but brittle state. However, this arrangement is tenuous that all it takes is a small group of irresponsible people to continue leading the world in ignorance of the existing environmental issues to destroy it. Like the deadly icicle falling onto the thin ice. The damage perpetrated then will be permanent, irreversible and too late...where the ice on the lake is shattered and no more.

Now visualize the fading lushness of a vanishing oasis and its evaporating water basin surrounded by the putrefying carcasses of hopeful creatures seeking its lost reprieving riches. Then envisage a desolate desert beyond despair amidst the arid landscape of desiccating death translated onto this vicious vista. With only the coarse sand to contain further deciduous acts from the bleak backdrop and the loutish vultures roaming the skies for its precious prey, the barrenness is despondent in its deathly display.

Then consider the odds of a windfall of rain onto the lands below and observe the oasis transforming into a verdant vista overnight with tremedous life supporting capacity until the next draught cycle.

This is a glance into the possible state where we can bring our planet to if we change our attitude and tenets regarding environmental policies now and actually act on it. Consequently, all hope is not lost yet as our current environment is like the oasis in the middle of a desert. To revive it back into a sanctuary, all it takes is a lot of rain...just like how it takes the efforts of many a great people on this planet to come together and start making the change. Even then, that will not suffice as it is also about preserving and sustaining the environment once it is saved because the next draught is always around the corner.

It is a case where to destroy the world, it only takes a handful of people and little effort but to save it, you need the world to unite in a world-scale endeavour and then to galvanise and sustain this definitive dilution to preserve the planet thereafter.

The world is less than a week away from witnessing one such world-scale undertaking. It is prominently and aptly called Earth Hour - hailed as the biggest ever global movement, a vote for the future of planet Earth. Just hearing these two words gives me the notion that it has such a simple meaning to it yet so profound a result, requiring only a little effort from each of us all to create a chain reaction...a resolute renaissance of our environmental awareness to start heeding the cries of Earth Mother.

A little more than a week ago, Prince Charles of Wales issued a warning that the world has less than 100 months to act and save the planet from irreversible damage caused by climate change. He counseled that the need to tackle global warming is more urgent than ever, even in the face of global recession. He also urged us not to lose sight of the "bigger picture".

Our local 8TV station has been actively creating this awareness amongst the populace and spearheading the Earth Hour movement locally. One of the station's strongest message sent out so far, besides the advertisements and celebrity endorsements, is that it will cease its transmission from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (during primetime) on the 28th of March, 2009 in conjunction with Earth Hour. Also, for the entire month of March 2009, it will air one hour less of transmission daily to support this movement. Apart from that, two major landmarks in our nation has been cited to switch off its lights during Earth Hour - the KL Tower and the Penang Bridge.

Mankind are narcissistic by nature and we can continuously live in careless complacency indefinitely as long as it does not affect us. But when it does, we start to panic and figure out how to act. More often than not, it will then be too late. This does not mean we are ignorant creatures that will never change. When pushed to the edge, we cling onto the cliff for our dear lives. When stripped off of our possession, we feel the loss and yearn for the familiarity again. At the precipice, we change...

This is our time now, it is our precipice and time is still our ally. Most of us do not realize that if we continue on with our old habits, no matter how small or insignificant it is like the wasteful use of water, electricity or paper and littering, all this contribute to the subtle but impactful deterioration of our environment.

This is called the Butterfly Effect where small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behaviour of the system.

However, imagine what can also be achieved if we start to ensure we save that little bit more of water or paper everyday or do a little bit of recycling weekly. When you explode the efforts of billions of people, you observe the impact on the world at a scale of epic and profound proportions. All it takes is only a little from you. Nothing more. That is what Earth Hour symbolizes.

I can only do my part and express my views here in hopes of inspiring others to share my opinions and spread their beliefs to others because our generation is the deciding dynamic...the DETERMINANTS of our future where our descendents will look back in time and judge us for what we did today. It is as simple as that. We are the ones, not our parents...but WE.

So let me return to the beginning and reaffirm that if the ice is left in its own fragile state without outside interference, it will remain stable and long-lasting but introduce a new variable into the environmental equation - the icicle, no matter how small or insignificant it is...and it will destroy the balance within and shatter the ice shelf forever.

It is up to us to create our very own butterfly effect of our generation for good, or for worse for it has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Flickering Millstone

Subatomic particles flicker in and out of existence depending on whether I am watching them or not.

~Everyday Immortality / Deepak Chopra~

Living today was like tiptoeing along the insipidly thin cord of rickety nature. The diaphanous makeup of the rope which I gaited on was perilous and tenuous indeed. It felt like I was languidly skimming through twines of fallacious caricatures with a pensive mood as my only companion.

It was a day when I realized even the most majestic and mightiest of arial predators can easily become the most prominent of preys for the land marauders simply for being too prevailing in its firmamental ecology. Even the swiftest and lithest of eagles get shot down by credulous hunters for flaunting its guile conceitedly.

I never would have thought I was capable of such a ludicrous mistake. It was because of my ingenuous imprudence that led to the disappointment and inconvenience of others. My oversight in my work today dashed the sanguine optimism of an individual. The most anguished part of all was that I already received the gratitude and appreciation before all hell broke lose.

Time is what I hope to transpose. Its antithesis being that of a defaulted day. But I realized the seeds of the inevitable fault was already sowed a few weeks back and there was nothing I could have done today that would have reversed the inexorable. It was preordained that the yield of prejudice would have indiscriminately sprouted from the ground of self-reproach today. My terra firma of culpable disposition.

As I drove back torpidly in my insidious indolence, I mollified myself in my own existence of placating flashbacks. This was when I discerned the fathomable flickering of my proverbial surroundings. I recalled that I am but only one of the many millions of playing pieces in the boardgame of comtemporary musing that we all have come to know as Life.

What happened to me today was a direct result of the infinitesimal undertakings in my life. When I saw this rapport between today's events and the people surrounding my proverbial environment, the affinity harnessed could not be more edifying and humbling. I could then relate to the didactic individual involved who was disappointed and realized that even subatomic particles of immaterial things are made up of atoms anyway whether it is static, in motion...or flickering.

I will not muse on this issue further after tonight because Life has a very cynical face to it - when I am not looking or seaching or yearning, it rewards me in the most unsuspecting way; when I deliberately seek and crave for an elucidation, it mocks me in the most comtemptous manner. Hence this existence that I have created for myself and the people that I work with while silently perceiving the millstones of my experience.

I will continue to remind myself that an error only becomes a mistake when it is repeated.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Legacy

A mother's touch is what breathes life into this world...

It is merely a feel, yet its effects are felt throughout the lifetime of a baby. It is so fragile, yet its nurturing power can smother the greatest fears a baby can face. It is sturdily delicate, yet its tender fostering is the only incalculable force in the world that can mold a life form into a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager and finally into an adult from the humble creation of a baby. This single inimitable feat cannot be replicated on any other known existing creatures or materials, natural or otherwise.

From this, a child of innate providence in its cocooned state of undeveloped individuality will come into being and into our lives. It is then that we realize how frail and forlorn this world was before their existence. The loneliness within that knew everything we kept inside is then dispelled away from our hearts.

Arising from the embers of loneliness, our hearts, minds and souls converge into a state of awareness knowing that what was before is not the same when realizing that the love of our lives, the love that we need, the love of our dreams and the love that we want ultimately come from the same source. The babies of today...our children of tomorrow...the hope for the future.

Therefore, we must cherish and care for our children to the very limit of our abilities and the best of our potential. They are the legacy of our birthright and if not cared for adequately, our heritage in this world would have been wasted down the age.

When you gaze upon the tiny frame of a baby, you are looking at the person that will inherit your affluence to live in your future and shape it for the next generation.

When you stare at the bulging sole of a baby, you are looking at the filial legs of your progeny who will carry you on in your twilight years.

When you watch the flimsy fingers of a baby, you are looking at the hands that will feed the world of tomorrow.

When you glance at the soft and undeveloped ears of a baby, you are looking at a listener who will heed the call of familial devotion.

When you glimpse the tender pink lips of a baby, you are envisioning the voice that will be the first words, laughters, cries and loving utterances, the source of your all-encompassing happiness.

When you perceive the wistfully dreamy eyes of a baby, you are looking into the soul of your own essence that completes you finally...and that is when you know that you have all the strength in the world to do whatever for him or her.

It is when you realize that this very being you will raise and nurture and eventually learn to love with all the fibre in your soul, will one day give you their every ounce of unending warmth and devoted affection. From there, you will finally understand what it means to love unconditonally no matter what because our babies are actually the reflection of our life. How well we lived ours will be played back in theirs. It is what pushes us on each day in our life in the pursuit of happiness. It is our legacy.

When we finally do pass on, we can tell God that during my time on earth, I learned that being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dear Malaysian Politicians

Dear Malaysian Politicians,

Please stop the power chase, call for a truce and focus on the economy.

I do not claim to speak on behalf of all Malaysians, but I have strong convictions that many share my sentiments.

Our concern today is not who rules the country or heads the state government but the looming bad economy.

Whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat leads, it is meaningless if Malaysians have no job to go to, no money to pay rent and no means to put food on the table.

I am a business owner, like other business owners and managers of corporations I have responsibility to ensure people under my care and payroll continue to have jobs and a decent income to take home. We work hard and willling to go the extra mile to make sure our nation only survive this crisis but come out stronger and wiser. We need your help.

Let me explain. I am in the business of Training, Development and Consultancy and have 20 people in my team.

Saedah is 42. She keeps the office clean and helps organise the training rooms. She has four children and her husband is unemployed. She was first hired on a part time basis, because she is very hard working and has a great attitude, we offered her a full time job to help provide a stable income for her family. Even then, when her third child started school this year, it was a struggle for her to buy new school uniforms and other necessities. Saedah lives on a 'kais bulan, makan bulan' basis, so, if she is jobless, her tap runs dry.

Samsuri is 27 years old. He lives with his sister and her family in a low cost government flat in Sunway. He does our despatch, helps with various clerical works and occasionally acts as a driver. During the first week at zubedy, we learned that he not only did not have money to buy new clothes and shoes for work, he had no money for lunch. Like Saedah, if has has no job, his tap runs dry too.

Alicia in Client Servicing turns 26 this year. She lives with her dad who is 71 years old and retired. Her mom passesd away when she waas little. Alicia is a hard-working team member, has a gentle caring outlook and fun to be with. (We like to poke fun at her as she blushes easily). Last May her dad went through a major operation, thank God he has recovered well. Alicia needs a job, both for herself and her dad.

Sudesh, 38, is one of our facilitators. When his father passed away last year, he moved back and lives with his mother in Seremban. He shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Seremban daily, leaving home sometimes as early as 4 in the morning and returning late at night. He is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice, he knows what he needs to do to survive and to care for his mother, but he too needs a job.

Like fellow Malaysians, every one of us in zubedy needs employment, those that live from hand to mouth like Saedah and Samsuri and others like Alicia and Sudesh with family to care for. We Malaysians need the Malaysian economy to be strong. We need you, our leaders, to work hard and to work together to make our economy viable.

So this is my plea.

Pakatan Rakyat, please stop your attempts to take over the federal government and persuade BN's lawmakers to join you. Stop all legal proceedings, no more 916 and let go, just let go. The nation can wait till the next general elections if they want change. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and gracious and give you their support in the next elections.

Barisan Nasional, please stop any attempts to take over PR states and win over PR's lawmakers. You have proven your point with Perak. The nation can wait for the next general elections if they want your party. Focus all your talent, energy and hard work in steering the country out of an economic downturn. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and smart and give you their support in the next elections.

BN and PR! Call for a truce. Get together and compromise. Someone has to give in. Or has hate consumed your heart till it blinds you? You can do it. You have enough intelligent people between you. I am sure you can find solutions. Take the nation to heart. That is why you are in politics in the first place.

Focus on the people.

Focus on the economy.

Anas Zubedy
Managing Director
Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd

Post credited to

Monday, March 9, 2009

Let There Be Truce

It has been a year since our nation's 12th General Elections. As with all things that we go thru in life, we reflect...just like how we reflect on our actions and consequences at the end of each day; how we recall the learning we gained throughout the years on each New Year's Eve; how we reminisce down the lane of token memories during the anniversaries of our birthdays or marriage; how we echo the thoughts, hopes and dreams of the people close to us; and how we replicate the achievements and recognitions of a successful company year during the annual business planning session.

But how do we evoke the sense of partisanship towards our nation, where patriotism and nationalism, like the ideology between a citizen and civilian, are now indistinct from the departed devotion of a drifting nation impelled by its directionless custodians and wardens?

I do not have the answer, and many do not. But I can try by mirroring the erudition of our nation's last General Elections that was the political tsunami then.

Let us begin by serving a slice of truth as starter where it is no secret that the National Front has no need for a celebration as they had the worst election ever in their history and justifiably so. The irony actually lies in the true hors d'oeuvre where the People's Alliance are actually finding it hard to celebrate anything, considering the fact that it was their best elections ever. Therein lies the satire of silent mockeries from a paradoxically-aware nation.

For the entree, I would like to think that the nation is still abundant with hopeful individuals of idealistic conviction or realistic fervor. One such implicit individual by the name of Anas Zubedy perpetrated an unthinkable but not so inconceivable act of voicing out the cry of the nation to our misguided and imprudent stewards.

On the 26th of February 2009, Zubedy sent a message to the entire nation in a full-page advert on The Star. In that page, he called for a two-year truce between the Front and the Alliance to accept the current status quo of the power equation and to stop all further power struggle. He highlighted two important things that both parties should concentrate on - our nation's economy and the strengthening of their respective internal team.

Two days later, our DPM acknowledged Zubedy's message with one of the key contents being the following:

"...his letter was not only fair, but clear in pointing out the real issues that we as a nation must focus on to move the country forward...I acknowledge your call for a united and effective front among us..."

The de facto leader of the Alliance has yet to officially respond but has indicated that some soul searching is needed by the party in light of the recent events.

Zubedy's message is significant to me because apart from touching on the issue that is close to my heart, his message was also conceived on my birthdate and published the next day nationwide. I take it as a gift from this realm where I was born into, at a timing so pertinent to reinvigorate my sense of citizenship and faltering faith in this country.

As we battle the tide of global economic recession and keep ourselves abreast with what little tolerance we have left for our nation's political seesaw, we must determine if we are to be citizens or civilians in this time of upheaval. A civilian is someone who is looked-after and taken care of during times of peril, a nation's resource, and a statistic. A citizen is someone who decides, chooses and acts in tumultous times, a nation's source, and a strength.

With the message now spreading, and with the spear tip of recession already penetrating our nation's economical epidermis, it does not take wisdom to see that Zubedy's calling, which echoes the calling of millions in this nation, is the sensible and sagacious one...that we should all band together and save our nation from the impending economical turmoil that has already consumed hundreds of thousands around the world, and millions more if the right actions are not put into place now and the right reactions not harvested from the field of repetitious rectitude. The Front and the Alliance, setting aside all differences and with all means necessary, must ensure that the nation survives through the ominous crisis with minimal pain.

In tandem with this, and resonating some of Zubedy's message, both parties should take this opportunity from the truce and spend time rebuilding their leadership team and the party as a whole. As the Federal government, the Front's caretaker need to look into building a solid, unyielding, honest and devoted team to lead the nation. The stalwart of the Alliance can start forming a shadow cabinet and reinforce their ranks. We need a true, formidable, and strong opposition party in this country if we are to slowly graduate into a two-party system - just like the Democrats and Republicans in the States. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved that carries the name of our nation in their passports.

It is high time we stop all these puny and petty internal squabbling. We must realize that these paltry tactical espionages and detestable politicking are becoming jokes of the nation if not already for the world.

If only these self-styled leaders could see that weak leaders try to win by weakening their enemies but great leaders win by strengthening their own ranks first.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Everyday Immortality (4)

Subatomic particles are not material things; they are fluctuations of energy and information in a huge void.

As I gaze upon these words above, an instantaneous state of comprehension clasped the actuality of my existing psyche. I did not require any assistance to sort out the affirmation from my amorphous credence of nebulous hallucinatory. I could discern the very simplistic and one-dimensional words of friendship, hopes, dreams, and deceit.

In my preceding reflections of these quotes, I concluded that the make-up of immaterial things were progenies of a life's hopes, dreams and energy. Therefore, the people that we come into contact with are playing pieces in the boardgame of comtemporary musing. They make up for what we all call our daily proverbial surroundings...the milieu of infinitesimal undertakings in each of our respective lives.

Within this proverbial environment that we call our norm, we are relentlessly inundated by the deceitfulness of individuals that culminates up to the huge void within us all. Humans are creatures of habits and we live in incessant denial. If only we were feeble in this persistence...because an environment of fervent fraudulence is what embodies the huge empty space within us all. It is how we know that we are living in reality and not in some flight of the mind's eye.

It is such a coincidence that I am pondering on this quote from the aftermath of a very similar and relevant incident that occured yesterday.

I am thinking at the moment that the friendships I have made thus far in my life, and the people that I have known to date, are the source of my hopes and dreams. They fill me with energy. But they also surround me with deceit on occasions. These interrelate with each other to give me a grasp on my reality, knowing that I cannot have one without the is called denial. With this knowledge from yesterday...this information, I am able to better endure, survive and exist in my sometimes unsympathetic ambiance moving forward...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Unseen Truism

It was like soul-surfing across a torrent and surging stream of rapture. It was like mind-drifting through the serene forest of intrepid serendipity. It was like heart-soaring into the vast open air of gratitude...and it was like judicious-rifting within the cauldron of bequeathing blessedness.

In the year where wavering permanence and erratic solidity have been constant eventualities so far, yesterday was the first day of the year to be remembered for me. It was euphorically unnerving to say the least and in simple words...I was happy.

As I mature over the years from my humble creation, the iridescent gemstones of promising amity grow ever more profuse inside my propitious pouch of cherished chums. These adventurously wild and mildly cultured people of my life will forever be kept close to my heart, their good deeds perpetually committed.

I was delighted to receive so many well-wishes and wondrous feelings from adored and beloved friends through all means of contact, across lands encompassing this world, through various moments of the day. It made me feel remembered and cared for, it made me feel treasured and cherished...and it made me feel important.

The Rays of perpetual brilliance once again flickered fleetingly in my life. In its wake, it left me with imprints of an alternative opportunity in life. The small but intensely bright spring of luminosity engulfed me in its brief pithy of fiery inferno only to be smoldered rapidly into a dead ball of earth. The restoration of the Ruins to its former glory is a question of choice, not circumstantial.

Then there was a brief respite of sailing across the reprieving sanctuary at the Sea of infinite reaches of likelihood. But things have changed now and with the new found serenity in this vastness of open waters, the quietude is soothing. The charts have been interpreted and the course plotted. The navigation of affable affinity is inevitable.

Standing resolute at the point where I left off, I still face the coming tides of impediment. Picking up the columns of dedication from the aftermath of the previous onslaught has helped me to better lead the procession from my Cavalcade. For in the lead caravan I found my last vestige of Conscience that is leading me back to idyllic reality. The pilgrimage persists on.

But of late, the Night of endless reveries have been filled with inconclusive endings. The constant haggle of honest proposals have garnered me valuable insights of questionable and moot Nuances. When these have been deciphered, I hope to conclude the omnipresent vacillating sentiments of understanding. It is during the Night that I am at my best, existing in its reflection of idealistic aptness. It is like art imitating life.

After an eternity in exultant jubilation, I thank God for the life that has been bestowed upon me yesterday from all these adages. Along this road I am walking now, I have begun to connect the dots as I look back and am always aware of where I am going forward...anticipating the path to tread next so that after living through it, I can filch another look back again to see how they all connect.

From my encounters yesterday through these gemstones I keep in my propitious pouch, I realized how forthcoming and effortless the waves of contentment can descend on me. It is then that it dawned upon me I must have been doing something right, and life is full of pleasant surprises.

I saw that the best things in life are unseen. That is why we close our eyes when we kiss, cry or dream.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Everyday Immortality (3)

Atoms are composed of subatomic particles moving at lightning speeds through huge empty spaces.

I have been mulling over this statement for days now, ever since I first read it a little more than 3 days ago. The true meaning of these words somehow still evades me. I have yet to lurch onto that elusive state of epiphany when one finally discerns the truth from the ethereal mendacities and sieve the facts from the interminable verity.

Be that as it may, the notion of this narrative anecdote has its own share of shrewd contrive and incisive intrigue.

In my case, I am talking about people. The ones that are always there, the ones that are sometimes around, the ones that are sporadically appearing and disappearing in your life and the ones that you only come across once in your life by some upshot of providential fate.

Whatever the case, these casts of your own life where you are the main character, are the ones who will ultimately sing the songs of your existence's vivid chronicles. They are one of the foremost factors in life - defining who you really are.

It almost seemed as if it was like inserting the pertinent dowel of verve into the axle of triumphant brooding, and then steering the wheel cart of apposite fulfillment along the boulevard of renewed restitute.

The subsistence of this is that whoever we meet or keep along the way, we have to be wary. More often than not, every one has their own clandestine memo. It is up to us how we choose to filter the words uttered and exchanged that will consequently envelop us in the protective shield of probity.

I had to learn it the inconvenient and discomfited way. It is the nature of our environment that accelerates the prospect of social networking, camaraderie and mutual amity, that sometimes we forget to listen to our heart and be brave enough to walk away from pretentious and conceited individuals.

The epiphany engulfed me at last...the subatomic particles personify the individuals whom we come into contact with in our lives. They are all then typified by the atoms when they become an assemblage. Finally, the movement at lightning speeds epitomize the condition in which friendships are made, no matter how superficial or meaningful it is, in an environment of fervent fraudulence that can only be embodied by the huge empty space within us all...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Larger Than Faith

In our daily reveries and nightly dreams we all aspire to great things. Yet most of us simply aren't creating the results we want. We always yearn for a little bit more of riches, triumph, anecdote and fable. Simply put, we do not have enough money, romance, success or joy in our lives. Why not? What is holding us back?

The common person could probably list at least three good reasons to attest why he or she cannot do whatever it is he or she really wants. But in the deepest recesses of our hearts, don't we really know that we could do it all, if only we were to heed the challange of timorous and immolate ourselves in the holy fire of provocative penitence? If only we dared?

Is it possible that the only main thing holding us back is fear? The answer is yes. It is fear that foils and thwarts us, stalemates us with an impasse, erodes away our self-worth and places imaginary cordon in our path. Fear keeps us from taking action, and if we do not act, we will never get beyond where we are now.

But our fears disappear when we confront them, evaporating away into oblivion by the warmth of virtuous rectitude. And once we take charge of ourselves by donning the armour of valour, we can have, do and be anything and everything we have ever dreamed of.

You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Of Fear and Shadow

"this is great...he is really making a difference..."

It was like a sudden hail of awareness. Many times in the past months I constantly found myself in the darkness. In those lonely moments, I recall the time when I first set my eyes on the mountain ahead, standing atop a plateau overlooking the valley below wherein it lies. I convinced myself of the mammoth but promising journey ahead and took my first step without looking back.

"...with him onboard, the right questions are asked..."

As I scaled down the cliff of the plateau, I could not help but stare down at the precipice below. It was when I realized that I've always had this small fear of height. Despite the vertigo, I descended on the thin line that was holding my weight and my ambition.

"...he is always seeking to get things done fast..."

As I hit the ground, I felt the sense of familiarity coming back to my feet. I moved forward ever closer to the mountain and prepared myself for the inevitable and perfidious climb. But as I near the foot of the mountain, a distant darkness etched onto the very fabric of the mountain itself loomed clearer. The tiny speck of darkness gradually grew into the opening of a tunnel. I found my deliverance at last. Or so I thought.

"...appreciate all the work he has been doing in the last couple of months..."

I stood at the mouth of the tunnel. In my mind, I was trying to discern if it was a cave instead. My mind did not matter then and as I gauged the depth and height of the unnatural warren, a speck of distant white light captured my attention. I saw the end of the tunnel. With my mind over the matter now, I journeyed into the maw of uncertainty and braved the treacherous dark path ahead.

"...I know it can be frustrating..."

Those times were long gone now. They are behind me and I have moved on, resolute and unswerving...only to find myself lost in the darkness now. With the beacon of light long gone when my intransigence took the better part of me, I ploughed forward aimlessly like a brave fool. I no longer know if I'm still in the same tunnel or in an immense void that has no bounds.

"...but hang in there..."

I felt a cold breeze. Soft but sure. Then came the hail of wind, the hail of awareness. I realized that to overcome the challenge of the mountain, the right way is not up and above it but down and below it. I smelled the fresh water in the darkness ahead and the trickling of water on stones. In an instant I could hear the distant rush of current nearby and found my liberation, the river of emancipation. I jumped right in and let the current write my fate.

"...we will resolve a lot of the problems he has..."

I emerged at the other side of the mountain at the top of a steep waterfall and plunged into the depths below. As the surface of the water neared, I found myself turning around one last time and looked at the majestic beauty of the mountain. Regal and stately in its own right. I smiled one last time and gave a silent prayer to its magnificence before submerging into the lake below.

"...don't work too late"

As I swam to the nearby shore, a sense of comprehension washed over me like holy water. I realize that I must have trusted in something. And that trust translated itself into unwavering faith for me. And that was it!

Never fear the shadows. They represent the light that is shining somewhere nearby.

Scapa Diabolice Evolutia

The dragonfly’s name comes from an ancient Romanian folktale. The Devil turned a beautiful horse ridden by St. George into a giant, flying insect called the “Devil’s Horse”. Peasants viewed the Devil’s Horse as a giant fly and started referring to it as the “Devil’s Fly”. The Romanian word for devil was “drac”, which was also the word for dragon. Devil’s Fly was erroneously translated to the English Dragon Fly which evolved into “Dragonfly”.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Everyday Immortality (2)

All material things are made up of atoms.

It is true that from a scientific and logical point of view, all materials in this universe are made up of atoms. Each particle of iota merging together into substances of molecules that are part of a larger constituent of matter that fuses with other particles from the surrounding elements.

To me, it simply means that whatever endeavours we go thru in life, any experiences we encounter while growing, or simply a problem that we have to unravel are all made up of dimunitive components of circumstances.

Nothing we face in our everyday life is impossible to weather past. Every problem has many causes and not just one cause. We must learn to see a situation or a problem or an experience as a constituent of many atoms. There are reasons for all of these. It is simply cause...and effect.

When we can see a problem for what it really is, we have to then take things one at a time, every moment of every day. It is from this realization that we decide how best to proceed next.

We often comfort ourselves with the fact that sometimes we have to learn things the hard way in order to grow, to become stronger and be the wiser. I say we all have choices and when we concede that we have to learn it this way or that way, we are surrendering to the fact that we are forced to do so. In truth, we are the determinants of the difficulty level in how we learn things. How easy or hard it is, is really up to us ultimately.

So if these are the make-up to all material things, what then of immaterial things?

Immaterial things are irrelevant.
They are unimportant and of no consequence.
They are beside the point, neither here nor there.
It makes no difference and it doesn't matter.

But immaterial in life is who we are.
It is ethereal, it is elusive.
Its vagueness are subtle.
It is all intangible but it is our mark.

All immaterial things are made up of a life's hopes and dreams and energy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Under St. 00d

I only recently realize how abstract most of my entries have become. It was never my intention to perplex anyone. Though I must admit that bamboozling a few people around does give me some kick. Jokes aside.

Several people approached me and queried as to why I couldn't be more direct in what I wanted to say? My standard reply would be because I have to be sensitive to others. The stuff that I write about concerns real people in real life who may very well stumble upon this "secret plateau".

"Then why do you write if you're afraid others might find out the real meaning of your writings", they usually ask after that. My customary response would be because I need to let it out of me as I hate keeping things inside me. I love writing too and it is a form of relaxation for me, to reflect on things in life, to mirror it, to look at it from various perspectives and when that isn't enough, I reflect further.

Just when I thought I've satiated their curiosity, they'd go and ask me "In that case, why don't you just write privately or have some personal diary? That way you can write all you want without censorship and still feel satisfied from the fulfillment of writing?". My next routine retort would be because somehow I feel the need to share, so that people will challenge my thinking, my limits and my perspectives. I like to be pushed as it makes me feel alive. It is very interesting to me when someone comes and offers a totally different set of opinions and experiences from the same exact sentences that I derived my experiences from.

"Then why do you want to write in such confusing manner that is so hard to understand what you're talking about more than half the time?". This is where plates and saucers, steel knifes and forks started flying around. Right. Please read the following paragraph for my regular answer:

It is because I write for myself ultimately. Shit happens to everybody everyday. Happiness falls upon unsuspecting individuals as often as the rain would fall from the sky. It is how I pen these life experiences down into words that will give me a perspective on what, how and why these life incidents happened to me. It is for me to one day, and regularly, read back on these entries to remind myself of what happened and how I saw it at that point of time. And if I still am of the same opinion, it means I haven't change, it means the situation hasn't change, it means nothing can be changed or it means the change has yet to come.

If I were too obvious in what I wrote, pinpointing down to the details of the names and the places and the events, I would lose one very important thing. That would be the lesson learned from these incidents. Over time, the nature of the events that took place, or the details of it would matter very little. It is the essence of what happened, and how I pen it down in the language that people call it Confusing, that will remind me of what I lost or gained, given or received, loved or hated, triumphed or failed and learned or passed on.

Come to think of it I don't write to be understood, I write so I won't be misunderstood.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wasted Faith

I am just so very disappointed with someone right now. The feeling is immense and overwhelming. But I learned my folly and will tread wisely from here on. Maybe I assumed wrongly, but after all that is said and done, I know I am at least half-correct and that in itself, is statement enough of my stupidity and oversight, justification enough for my feelings.

To wish you were someone else is to waste the person that you are.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Everyday Immortality (1)

The material universe and the physical body that I experience through my senses are only one aspect of reality.

I think this statement is factual. Just like how the different facets of a diamond give off different coloured perspectives when viewed from different angles, so does all the different facades of veracity will give the beholder varying perceptions on his experiences.

To me, experiencing reality is not only about the corporeal aspect of it, it is also very much to do with the spiritual and intellectual part of it.

Not so long ago, I concluded that an aspect of reality very much related to the spiritual facet is only an illusion caused by the temporary absence of reality. A friend debated this with me on the contrary and I held my ground. Seeing this now, I think I was wrong as when reality is absent in your experiences, there is no way you can live through all the aspects of it, be it an illusion or otherwise.

They are all spokes on the same wheel.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Finite Disappointments

A beaver’s skill in building a dam is only as good as the tree parts that are used to construct it. The flair that comes with its innate skill is only matched by the propensity flaunted to attain the finesse in which the twigs, the branches and the stems can offer.

This was how I perceived the interaction between the participants when I attended my company’s Regional Demand Summit held in Singapore a few days ago. The water embodies the market where we work in. The twigs personify our regional counterparts. The beaver exemplifies us, the demand planners.

It was my first business trip with the company and I was extremely excited and motivated, but not before skirting precariously on the edge of disenchantment. It was a huge step in strengthening our relations. I never would have imagined that meeting all these individuals could really augment our collaboration to new heights. The mere act of just setting the faces to the many names, e-mails and voices that I have been working with for the last year can truly propel our bond with each other by leaps and bounds.

Furthered by the fact that the last summit was held 7 years ago, it was high time the regional office thought it proper to assemble all the demand planners collectively under one roof to align on new regional objectives, leverage on best practices and devise innovative solutions to improve performance. With a new futurist avant-garde at the nexus of the regional vessel, it was inevitable this summit ensued.

Underlining all these, there were a few events which occurred that I will deem as sweet memories…

Suffice to say that I was privileged to have the acquaintance of someone of high import. The circumstances that we interacted in and the revelation I acquired of the nature to his query of me was truly a sycophantic adulation indeed.

In a separate incident, I learned that what goes around will eventually come around. It was folly of me to even consider losing hope and succumbing to the song of the sirens. No good work will go unnoticed or unrewarded. It was truly gratifying when I learned something sanguinely insightful of myself through the custodian of my providential fate from a provincial comrade.

Be that as it may, I am convinced now I have found the answer to the question of my verdict not so long ago when I exchanged my sword for a rapier.

Ultimately, as a human life in verity, we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Absence of Reality

I learned a lot about myself in the last week. I realized that somehow I may need to compromise my nature in order to better coalesce with my contiguous environment. Sometimes, it is these innocent adages expressed by sympathetic souls and their solicitous ideals that lend to my self-imposed reflection. It is not a path I wish to tread but it is also not a path I can afford to stride through. Sometimes we trample on the path we chose to walk, only to comprehend that the path now left behind is secreted from the next hiker.

At first I was contented in jubilant reverie. Later, I realized it was all ephemeral. The fleeting rickety of my familiar persona was nullified into oblivion. The void of my abysmal emptiness has left me with a smear. The blemish is now irrepressible. I can choose to let it steer my ship's course as that would seem the wiser choice or I can dictate the consequences of these imparted adages to affix a sense of worth into my moral fiber.

In another contemporaneous reality, I discovered a revelation. The Rays of perpetual brilliance has been glittered down to only a glancing glint. What was formerly a luminous and radiant beacon of latent amity is now only an ordinary flicker. The Rays have become the Ruins of a crumbling foundation of familiarity. I have seen what the long years will do to it and can only regret when I've trespassed this sanctuary. These Ruins will fade in time and become only a footnote in the annals of history for departed devotion.

I now look to the near horizon. Into the crashing waves from the Sea of infinite reaches of likelihood. The Sea will provide the breeze that I need to weather the searing heat predicted in the days ahead. This Sea will also bring forth the Sand that will become the foundation to my feet, to soften when I'm laden with burden, to harden when I dash for the victory lap, and to caress with its coarseness when I need my scars to be smoothed.

Most importantly, I look to my Cavalcade for the definitive answer. I am still learning how to lead this procession because as of late, the columns of dedication have been faltering but I stand resolute at the point. I will not yield in the face of expected impediment, like all other pilgrimages. For inside the lead caravan lies my only hope of Conscience that will lead me back to idyllic reality.

In the months ahead, I have to constantly remind myself that happiness is just an illusion caused by the temporary absence of reality.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Being Alive

It has been almost a week since I experienced one of the most enlivening and gripping trips with a bunch of people in a long time. It still feels like the escapade only ended yesterday. The Sales & Marketing Company Conference was truly a magnificent jaunt. It was held at a land which I've visited thrice in a short space of 12 months...none other than the land below the wind, Sabah.

It was gratifying. The Conference exemplifies the very quintessence of mind and body revitalization. The abstract was a good year where we achieved all our major company objectives and performed above expectations. All these thanks to the great aspirations held by all who were involved.

It was edifying. While taking in the pleasures of the surrounding, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Johnson's Baby No More Tears formula and brand. I learned that the eyes of a baby are the last senses to develop after birth. They have delayed "blink" response and are less able to protect their eyes from splashes and products. An infant's vision is nearsighted and is most developed at the periphery.

It was exhilarating. The activities laid out were so full of fun and excitement that I could hardly pause. I would have never imagined myself doing some of the things I did. Somehow, certain things were fated and all the trepidation was unfounded in the end. I even surprised myself and when it was over, I couldn't be more spirited than I allowed myself. Many others surprised me too.

It was invigorating. I love beaches and relish at the opportunity of basking in one whenever I can. The physical activities that came with it was also to my liking. Everything that was planned fell right into my very own puzzle of contentment. The energy harnessed from all these will provide me with enough supply of zeal and ardour for a considerable length of time.

Most important of all was the fostering of absolute amity. I learned more about the people in that 3 days than all the last 10 months put together since joining the team. I met many acquaintances and am able to put faces to the many names now whom I've been communicating with via electronic means for the last 10 months. I made many friends whom I feel are all a great bunch of colourful characters. Most valuable of all is that in this sea of precious stones, I discovered a few gems. These gems personifies the people that I will hold dear in my heart for a very long time. My only regret is not finding these gems earlier.

When all was said and done, I could only look forward to the next trip with these bunch of great characters. This episode of my life has really made me feel alive and I know its verve has changed me. My outlook on certain things have expanded and encompasses a greater deal of points in my board of fate threads.

It has revealed another part of myself, another card unfolded from my deck of intrepid disposition. Several incidents will form snapshots of assiduous lassitude and precariousness. The inertial upshot of the consequential horizon and ensuing probabilities may have far-reaching corollary. This is my choice.

I don't believe we are all looking for the meaning of life as much as looking for the experience of being alive.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dancing In The Rain

That's all, 2008...hello there, 2009! How diminutive this statement is, yet its nuance so profound. To abridge the last 12 months of living, endeavours, disappointments, attainment, discontent, realization, angst and triumph into two (3) words: that's all - is such an understatement in bringing forward these cultured mementos into the new year.

Be that as it may, 2009 will indeed be a tumultuous and volatile affair indeed. Its very capricious nature will be true tests to all individuals, families, companies, corporations, governments and nations alike.

As a person, a citizen or an individual, how much do we know of the global economy today? Some will claim to know it all and rightly so, but others couldn't care less and that's where the danger lies. You have to plan right to make things happen for yourself. The world will not be so merciful in the many months ahead.

The face of global economy as we see it is changing. It is morphing into an unstoppable and cruel entity. It is currently in its state of sub-prime crisis. Banking illiquidity is sprouting everywhere. Falling asset prices are their best friends. The market volatility is sweeping across the continents and the tide of recession is already hitting major economies worldwide. High food prices is one of the major symptom and shaken consumer confidence one of the main reaction. Then there is of course the mounting of unemployment or underemployment. Headcount chop or headcount freeze if you're fortunate. Growth in nucleic economies and its dependent subsets are slowing down.

When I try to make sense of our economy in the next 12 months, here is what I thought:
It could be worse.
It is a game of survival.
Cash is king.
Delayed consumer spending.

To manage the hard times ahead, you have to switch your thinking cap from a micro view to a macro outlook. You have to think big. Ask yourself this: if you were an Executive Committee, the crème de la crème in your company, what would your top 3 priorities in managing the business in the next 12 months be?

I think you have to understand the bottomline and protect it. 2009 is not the year to grow the business, it is the year to protect the business. Protect the MNI. With lower A&P for most companies in 2009, they have to manage the SG&A. It is just not affordable to throw away the GP and spend on A&P. Cost cutting is another infamous method but just for the sake of being politically correct, we will call it optimized spending here. Selective investment is another way but can only be accomplished with the utmost discipline. Increasing productivity, not just in the sense of output from a factory but also in terms of work contribution is a key strategy. Less for more. Finally, the acquisition of company is a sure bet. You will see in the months ahead there will be major takeovers or merges worldwide. Cash is king and don't be surprised that an unknown royal in Eastern Europe, a sheikh from the Middle East or a multi-billionaire businessman from China suddenly buys over Citibank. Let's not go down the list of possibilities.

I do want to highlight that the electronic and electrical industry will be the first indication to be hit. When you have less money, luxury wants are the first to go from your shopping list. 45% of an individual's wants consist of electronic/electrical items alone. That says a lot.

Many people among us still believe we are immune to this global threat. Our nation's leaders claim that we will not be affected. I am unconvinced. In Q3 2008, our country's net real export of goods and services declined by 14% (vs. 20% growth in Q2). The Consumer Price Index soared to 8.4% in Q3 (vs. 4.8% in Q2), with a backdrop of GDP slowing down to between 4.5% and 5.0% by 2008 closing. For your info, our country's GDP is valued at approximately USD200 billion.

According to FMM (Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers), 4 straight quarter year-on-year decline in orders are to be expected in 2009. Last October, exports slid for the first time in 15 months. The numbers have been dipping since.

The chart above shows our GDP growth in 2007. Take a look at our 2008 GDP growth below:

This is a great example where two pictures paint a thousand words. The steep decline in our GDP within the last few months is staggering. Our government's GDP projection of 2009 closing is only at a 3.5% growth, mainly coming from their RM7 billion spending on infrastructure for 2009.

For the last 5 years, our nation has been experiencing a double digit spending growth vs. year-on-year until last October. For the first time in 5 years, our spending growth was flat and in November, it was negative. These are all signs of things to come. You may still see families flocking to shopping malls as though the global economic crisis never happened. That is because it is festive season now with Chinese New Year coming. Once that has passed, I will be very curious indeed to see what the latest numbers are.

We cannot continue to live our life thinking this nation is protected. We are the Top 30 trading countries in the world. Therefore, we cannot make stupid statements saying that although other key world economies are declaring recession, we will make it through the year without one.

In short, 2009 will not be business as usual. We have to make focused choices to maintain a healthy business and a sustainable livelihood.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.