Monday, January 29, 2007

Serious Intellectual Gap

What I am going to write is not based on scientific findings or random sample.

It is based on my observation ONLY. I could be wrong. And I have been saying this over and over again…

There is a serious intellectual gap in popular content generated by the Malay media compared to the media targeting English speaking audience.

Just listen to the morning radio programmes. To be specific, programmes targeting the age groups of 17 to 35. Compare the talking points of the Malay programmes and the ones conducted in English and you will understand what I mean by analyzing the choice of subject matter, the frame of reference, the arguments and the general knowledge of the production team. It seems that the Malay world is so small and so inward looking dan berputar-putar atas issue yang sama.

And in the evening, on TV, kalau penonton Melayu, balik-balik santau, hysteria, ahli korporat hanjing, datin gila status, haruan makan anak and the talkshows still revolve around resdung, makanan seimbang, rawatan awet muda – all these dah ada masa I mula jadi broadcast journalist 15 years ago.

Sampai bila orang Melayu harus terus diperbodohkan dengan kupasan ‘extra light’ yang kononnya ada ‘human interest’ elements. WTF!!!

Bukan susah sangat to make complex ideas simple and palatable…and entertaining (inform, educate & entertain).

When I read “The Reluctant Politician – Tun Dr Ismail and His Time” by Ooi Kee Beng, I terus jadi worried for the coming generation.

In those days our ‘founding fathers’ had to draft complex social contracts and beat the orang putihs at their own game.

Today, my students and ex-students don’t even follow local current issues and understand global issues, let alone able to read between the lines cerita-cerita yang disulam in our extra ‘careful’ media.

Kalau bosan, bukak TV, bukak radio, chat, main game on the net.

And the content? Balik-balik panggil artis kat studio. Adalah jugak artis yang pandai tapi, ramai lagi bijak pandai yang cukup menghiburkan.

Oklah gua boring, gua sesuai tengok forum-forum tu… Siapa lah gua…

(Note: Pix from

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Weekend reading materials to keep me sane…

Today, we (Rizal, Ian, Ashwad and I), decided to skip lunch and go book-hunting for our coming weekend reading marathon.

And did we skip lunch? No… we failed again… And we ended up at Little Penang Café at The Curve – makan Char Koey Teow, Nasi Goreng, Pie Tee etc… At times like these, we sure do miss Mokciknab our resident Ratu Shopping Centre.

After makan-makan we had multiple-orgasm with books .. oh books.. we love em books at Borders and MPH..

So what did I get me this time?

After hearing so much about it, from friends and also Le Kimster, I decided to buy Ooi Kee Beng’s “The Reluctant Politician – Tun Dr Ismail and His Time”.

The book is about Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister who passed away of a heart attack on August 2, 1973 and current issues of that era.

It provides new perspectives about the struggle for independence, regional issues and UMNO’s internal conflicts, among others.

And because I am the type who would normally read 3 or 4 books at one time… yes… I would read Book A for one hour, then take a break, pick Book B, read it for another hour, then Book C, and so on and so forth, I ended up buying 3 other books for the weekend reading marathon.

The next book is “The Google Story” by David Vise.

It tells about the latest developments and issues facing Google as it continues to expand and innovate while trying to sustain the guiding vision of its founders’ mantra: DO NO EVIL…

Next, a very interesting book…

The G Quotient by Kirk Snyder.

It is about why gay executives are excelling as leaders.

The G Quotient is based on a five-year study into the beliefs and behaviours of more than 3,000 managers and employees across major economic sectors in the United States.

It redefines successful leadership for all managers.

According to the study, organizations and working units under the leadership of gay males are collectively experiencing 35 percent higher levels of employee engagement, job satisfaction, high workplace morale and reporting greater employee loyalty and productivity.

And the 4th book, is the winner of the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of The Year Award – Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”.

I just have to read this book... oh well.. at least I will appear a bit intelligent quoting some points in the book while attending those boring cocktail receptions. Kan kan kan?

Happy reading to me….

And to Jeff Ooi and Rocky, you have created history. Kalau menang pun you menang, kalau kalah pun you ‘menang’. Know what I mean… wink..wink…

Monday, January 22, 2007

What will they think of next?

I was driving to the office at around 10 am when Mix FM’s Shazmin announced it on the radio.

And as soon as I arrived at the office, I can’t help but to ‘google’ it.

And the first on the Google News list was a report from Independent Online of South Africa.

Let me summarize for you:

An American underwear manufacturer has invented pants designed to hide the smell of flatulence.

The pants have a built-in, multi-layered replaceable filter, made of felt, charcoal and fibreglass wool.

To prevent gases escaping without passing through it, the underpants are made from air-tight fabric and completely sealed with elastic around the waistband and legs.

The pants are machine-washable and the filters last several weeks to several months, depending on the frequency of use and laundering. -

Hopefully soon there'll be 'baju pagoda' to lock-in the bau from deodorant-resistant people. Because if you take the LRT after office hours, boleh pengsan mak oiii..

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tell the story well, and you will influence them….

Yes, it is true.

It is amazing how good storytellers can change our perception on things and can also influence our decisions.

Talking about story telling, storyteller extraordinaire Yasmin Ahmad’s film Mukhsin has been selected to be showcased at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival.

And her film will go against my favourite film “Dorm” from Thailand.

And talking about how good storytelling can influence our decision… I was ‘influenced’ by the style of the lead actor of “Dorm”, and I changed my hairstyle from 'safe' to ‘crew cut ala-Siam’.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

And what we do with all the info?

Well, start with:

1. Package them into action plans... then,
2. Sell the package & plans... after that,
3. Update the package with new info and sell the new improved solutions, and go for bigger regional markets.
4. And very important, don’t forget -- tell the rakyat about it so that they will not be angry later for ‘non-action or slow action’.

What am I talking about?

It’s in the The Sunday Star, front page.

“Sea Change – Rising temperature in Indian Ocean may have caused Johor floods” – according to experts, yes local experts.

Now, my question is:

1. Why do we always get explanations blaming ‘mother nature’ after something tragic happened?

2. Was there an ‘alert memo’ given to the authorities by experts to warn us of all these (read: proactive)? Is there a culture of info sharing by the experts with decision makers for fast proactive rescue plans?

3. Is there a standard operating procedure for packaging valuable information like the Sea Change Phenomenon (read: making money from knowledge management while saving lives and limiting damages…), or are we seeing silos – the ‘standard habit’ of compartmentalizing knowledge and power for self-consumption and later storing the info-packages in libraries with nice indexes & beautiful bindings.

We should value research and forecasting efforts more than some normal but hyped-up ‘brick and mortar’ projects.

Perhaps we should have a new-improved roadshow on defining the real meaning of ‘knowldge management & knowledge economy’ AGAIN.

Because the last time, ‘knowledge economy’ was loosely defined as ‘buat perisian dan ketuk-ketuk komputer’ or ‘anything relating to dealing with computers’.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

(Note: Pic from

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The best might not necessarily end up in the best position.

Kak Limah makes the best sambal ikan bilis (other than my mom of course).

But Kak Limah operates from some obscure place in Chow Kit. Only the sambal and nasi lemak connoisseurs know how to get access to Kak Limah’s lauk-pauk.

Kak Limah once tried to go ‘mainstream’, with partners, investors and spin doctors but she was not happy as those 'non-hands-on accountants' cut her expenditures on bawang, bawang putih etc.

Today, she is happier going at her on pace, on small scale, enough to pay her obligations.

But she is still the best, better than those Global Brands.

Only that she will not have surplus $$$ to enjoy 3G internet access using Nokia N80 and write enlightening blogs (which could end up disaman oleh individu dan organisasi gergasi) .

And we all end up eating low quality lauk-pauk from all those 'kununnya' global players.

Ha... itu baru kiasan atau pembayang maksud... fikirkanlah... kitakan pandai...

(Note: Pix from

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blue Print For Change

Today, on The Star’s front page, the headline is the launch of “The National Education Blueprint”.
And Pak Lah was quoted as saying that The National Education Blueprint will produce students who can ‘think out of the box’.

This is great. Provided it comes with excellent content, planning and implementation.

Talking about ‘thinking outside of the box’, I truly believe, the role of teachers must change.
Teachers must evolve from their present role to facilitators. And this ‘facilitator’ thing is not something new.

When I was in Malay College from 1975 to 1979, the teachers there were great facilitators and helped the students to be lateral thinkers and resourceful young men.

In addition to all of us getting First Grade in our MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education), our organizing and communications skills were polished to the max.

How? By having the students ‘run’ the school.

Yes, we students organized and managed all the activities in school.
The principal and teachers functioned as advisers who provided the directions and the ‘real blue print’.
All these taught us ‘responsibility’ and ensure things done well with creative approach.
Now, that is thinking outside the box.

We should also think outside the box to change threats to opportunities and weaknesses to strengths.


Take the obvious example.

Something is not quite right when it comes to how we use information to manage our environment -- the floods in Johor. Yes, it’s true -- the amount of rain that fell in Johor was out of the ordinary, and as a result we have floods everywhere in Johor today. But then again, this is the time for us to ‘think out of the box’ and start working fast on implementing an excellent proactive flood prevention program.
We have the experts in the institutions of higher learning to help us out. And soon, when the rain comes, we will no longer worry about moving people to evacuation centres anymore but using the much needed ‘excess’ water to improve our lives. Let us take Holland for example,

Holland has always been at the mercy of the North Sea windstorm that would cause storm tides.

In January 1953 Holland suffered a combination of heavy rain and a tidal surge of the North Sea that caused water level to exceed 5.6 meters above mean sea level.

The flood and waves caused extensive flooding.

What did they do?
Holland and its European neighbours applied lateral thinking skills. Ambitious flood prevention systems were conceived and deployed.

One example is The Delawerken, designed to protect the estuary of The Rhine and Meuse.

The works were completed in 1998.
Today they are proud of the storm surge barriers. Among them the MeasMeaslantkering in Nieuwe, near Rotterdam.

Flood barriers, improved weather forecasting, modern communications and sophisticated emergency services helped position Holland as a ‘forward thinking’ nation.

And better than that, they created ‘drama’ out of all these efforts in their communications channel to turn the flood prevention projects into tourist attractions – now…talk about great knowledge management and smart spin.

And millions of tourists from all over the world would flock to Holland every year to see the successful flood prevention program and how the experts ‘added’ landmass by conquering the sea (reclamation) and used the land to plant beautiful flowers for the export market.

That is tourism. Not oversized ‘tengkolok’ on heavily made-up male dancers who ‘put on’ shows for tourists. We must show tourists how clever we are in managing our environment and make big bucks from it, with or without the ‘big wheel spinning’ – oklah adalah sikit excitement kalau naik gondola tu.

Note: Pictures from:

1. Google Image.
7. The Star.

Missy rambut berkerul....

Pic from


Ada satu missy
Rambutnya berkerul-kerul
Bila dia baik, dia baik
Bila dia jahat, dia cukup-cukup jahat

(Pantun ini diajar pada minggu pertama, tahun satu, pada 1969 di Tranquerah English School, Melaka oleh Miss Pang) ... dahsyat....

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Shima takut bang…"

Pic from

I do lots of presentations to various organizations in Malaysia, to collaborate on many interesting projects involving content research and development and the new media.

Sometimes, it scares me to know that many people who are holding positions of power are ignorant of pertinent but easily available information that can actually help realize their true potentials.

And it is ‘scarier’ to know that these people are the ones who will decide on many major things that will affect our future.

And, many of them are not just ignorant. They are also arrogant and do not want to acknowledge what they don’t know and do something to help themselves.

And appropriately a friend whispered to me…. “Shima takut bang…”

“Abang lagi panic…Shima”
And at times like these, my feelings can only be described by Le Kimster's kata-kata pujangga (dengan izin yer En Kimster):
"By the end of the programme (read: presentation), I have lost all faith in the human race. In fact, I already had plans to move to Tibet and live there as a goat".

Ketuk Laptop

Spent the last 3 days preparing the materials for the coming training sessions, a collaboration with Mirza Ahlilseeheer. Itulah pasal tak update blog ni.

What training?

1. Change Management.
2. ‘Adaptive’ culture.
3. Branding -- Grooming for frontliners.
4. Writing business plans.
5. Presentation skills.
6. Creative thinking – turn problems into opportunities.

Next, makan sambal Kak Limah.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Someone sudah 'langgar' my car from behind yesterday.
Papa Khalid was driving and I was sitting in the front-left seat.

The guy got out of the car and was shocked and he apologized over and over.

And guess what we said to him...

"Are you alright? It's OK, just a little scratch."

And we exchanged cards and information and we said, "Let's go have something to eat, have tea perhaps..."

And the guy who expected a "YELL" didn't know how to react.

Look Chong, there's nothing wrong with the car, relax... sometimes, kita tak sengaja tersondol kereta orang, so Chong, it's OK... Jangan risau.

Chong called later to apologize again... And I said, don't worry, just calar sikit jer...

And he said, "You Suhaimi the Artiste kan? Are you sure your car is OK?" (Artiste?)

"OK, OK, have a good rest and see you in Sungai Petani, someday..." (He is from Sg Petani, visiting KL at the mo...).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Ada kalanya mereka perlu tahu apa kita rasa,
walaupun kita akan jadi hiba.

Jika tidak mereka tidak akan tahu,
terus berlaku perkara yang kita tidak mahu.

Bila jahil,
tiada yang mustahil.

Boleh hancur,
semuanya lebur.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hello Jakarta...

Mokciknab's beautiful house in Jakarta

Sometimes talking to friends = therapy dan motivasi yang paling mujarab.

Me, Rizal and Mokciknab bersembang panjang this morning on the telephone.

Mokciknab just had to talk to orang yang kepala ‘ek-oq’ (that’s us) to keep her sane in Jakarta -- We all kat sini sama gak. So now we are so inspired to work on a Monday by just talking nothing really – it’s the feeling that we are there for each other yang penting.

Anyway, over the weekend I read a very interesting article in The Star about Zang Toi – how he started, the pains, the ups and downs, and managing success in the Big Apple.

Stories like this can help make us strong to make it big in the business world. Kalau budak Kuala Krai boleh berani meredah lautan, takkan budak urban dan urbane plus sophisticated tak boleh!

Actually therapy is when we can ‘double check’ ourselves, either sendiri or with kengkawan. Kan kan kan?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It’s the first working day of 2007.

Start-start New Year dah kena chase clients for payment. Clients ni ada yang liat nak bayar lepas kita bagi dia ‘job well done’. Kenapalah susah sangat… Inilah nasib 'sub-contractors'. Contractors dah dibayar tapi contractors 'suka' lambat-lambatkan payment to sub-contractors. Anyway, hopefully tahun ni rezeki melimpah ruah…

New business ventures? Aha… tengok gambar bawah ni…Taken by Mar Izwan this morning…Kebetulan teksi tu lalu masa dia breakfast… Bukan I punya, tapi nama ada sama…

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bau Bau Café

When Hishamuddin Rais said please come to the opening of Bau Bau Café, on Jan 1, 2007, how can I refuse… This is THE Hishamuddin Rais, the interesting personality – my super senior at Malay College, writer, director, thinker, film maker, change agent/activist – but most of all, he is a nice man.

.........................Hisham Rais

The cafe opening programme was an interesting one.

With candles as the source of light (yes, macam blackout), it started with a 'sajak' recital by Datuk Samad Said and later a group of talented young men provided the music that sounded like the carnival in Rio De Janeiro + Barbados + Jamaica.

.........................Dalam gelap nampak silhouette

.........................Dalam gelap nampak Rizal

.........................Dalam gelap nampak lauk

According to Hisham, the Café is a project by his friends to make a bit of money and give it to charity after deducting the operating costs. A wonderful idea indeed.

Hisham’s guests were an interesting mix – journalists, artists, investment analysts, bankers, politicians, students and ‘beautiful people’ that you just can’t ‘silo’ into ‘categories’ as they are ‘fluid’.

Old Boys of MCKK were there to give their support -- Rizal, Pian, Zaim, Man Cowboy, Aziz ‘Conot’ Hassan and others.

Oh yes, where is Bau Bau Café? It’s at Central Market, right next to Liquid.

And the food? I enjoyed the rendang and sambal udang. And yes, they have ‘air sirap’.

And the nasi goreng and roti jala pun sedap.