Table Manners

We Malaysians more often than not, will answer text at dinner table. We are not use to separate quality talk with disruptive behavior which intervene eye-to-eye contact.

I have seen a friend busy answering text massages while I was sitting in front of him doing nothing, collecting my thought on what to say next; once he finishes with his business. By the time, he finished, I had forgotten on my prepared thought and the moment passed without exchanging any significant point at discussion.

The world has changed so rapidly that people do not respect precious moment any more. As time is gold, work has to be completed at all costs, even at dinner table. No doubt, many relationships fail as people don’t listen, fail to lend their ears and do not respond appropriately to their partners.

New generations are particularly at-risk. They are task-oriented and gadget-savvy people. Nevertheless, they interact less face-to-face. They find no harm interacting with gadget while the ‘real friends’ are indeed present next to them. How on earth, could this happen?

We should be more civilized when it comes to table manners since religion that we opted to follow upon teaches us to be civil and obedience.


Many people staying outside Kelantan may not know what is chotek.

Chotek is a ‘kuah-flooded roti canai’. When I was wandering around Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium, I found a stall called the Red Warrior Chotek. It seems that everyone is associating themselves with the Red Warrior Team even the roti canai stall.

Here, only a handful of roti canai outlet are managed by “mamak”. The rest of the shops are managed by local people. Even one nocturnally operated roti canai stall along Jalan Sultan Yahya Putra is managed by a petite, teen age school girl who seems to be very efficient in making roti canai.

Kuah roti canai in Kelantan is supplied with sugar in case clients need extra sweet taste.

Nothing new when people in Utara ask for ‘banjir’ which means roti canai flooded with kuah. Mamak, the seller, knows that very well. Mamak shops have improved roti canai to roti tissue, a crispy kind of roti canai, made to stand on plate like Teluk Intan Slanting Tower, eaten with sweet condensed milk.

Libya: Whazzup?

NATO has agreed on Friday 25 of March to take over from United States the responsibility of enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya. The announcement came on the same day that Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi challenged the no-fly zone, only to see one of his few remaining planes destroyed by a French jet. In acknowledging the transition to a NATO command, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this evening highlighted the successes of the no-fly zone’s initial U.S.-led phase.

The US, Britain, France and Turkey agreed to put the three-pronged offensive – a no-fly zone, an arms embargo, and air strikes – under a NATO command, in a climb-down by France that took into consideration the strong Turkish complaints about the scope and control of the campaign.

The deal appeared to end days of infighting among western allies, but needed to be agreed upon by all 28 NATO member states. At the end of a four-day meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general, said NATO had agreed to take command of the no-fly zone from the Americans.. Rasmussen contradicted leading western officials by announcing that NATO’s authority was limited to commanding the no-fly zone, but he signaled there was more negotiation to come.

Sad to see Libya being occupied by foreign forces. Domestic infighting has opened ample space for foreign forces to invade the country. We are asking why African Union are not doing any discussion rather than leaving the way to US and Allied forces including NATO. Perhaps they lack action. Very much similar to OIC. I think Gaddafi shouldn’t handle uprising of his own people the way he handled: by sending jet and armored forces. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was wrong when he strongly announced to fight his own people the day they revolt. It is clear that the fight will continue…

Project Management Part II

13. Measure against the baseline
– Discuss what information is sessential
– Identify where the information is generated
– Decide how to capture the information

14. Be objective about threats
– identify the greatest risk
– quantify and analyze the risks
– Define a contigency plan

15. Actively manage communication channels
– consider the purpose
– be efficient
– follow up

16. Optimize project excellence
– be specific about criteria
– Use data to make decision
– Reinforce process thinking

17. Consider project cost issue
– practicality and feasibility
– long term ownership
– make at ease to do the new thing

18. Manage interfaces
– make meeting a priority
– encourage interactions as needed
– Set team communication guidelines

19 Practice self management
– become more introspective
– learn to deal with feedback
– find a mentor

20. Recognize multiple success metrics
– clarify all expectations
– understand the true need
– document goals and achievements

21. Use documentation wisely
– think like a functional manager
– distinguish short term needs from long term needs
– follow company standards

22. Reward excellent team behaviors
– discourage individual heroics
– reward the team as a unit
– Involve the team

23. Miximize learning from closure
– complete the project work
– Ease team members transitions
– Coordinate customer relationships

24. Transfer your lessons learned
– Document problems and their impact
– Explore root causes
– capture suggested improvements

(Lesson I learnt from:-
“Project Management: 24 Lessons to Help You Master Any Project”.
By: Gary R. Heerkens)

Project Management Part 1

Here are some tips which I summarized based on my reading on how to manage project.

1. What is the role of the project?
– develop proses management skills
– built your intepersonal skills
– built a support network

2. Get a solid team ready
– exceptional people matter
– convey confidence in your team
– recognize good performance

3. What is the true need?
– document the problem
– share the document
– get approval to focus on the true need

4. Financial analysis
– cash inflows
– cost outflows
– cash flow table

5. Conduct formal kickoff
– identify which stakeholders to attend
– Plan management presentations
– Use time effectively

6. Pause for reality check
– what is the problem definition
– specific solution identified
– check before full scale implementation

7. Terminate unworthy project
– stay alert to significant changes
– Avoid the term failure
– Beware of letting inertia win

8. Develop a logical plan
– start with a network diagram
– develop a project control plan
– identify critical path

9. Leave room for learning
– match plan details to uncertainty level
– provide ranges
– schedule phase approval meetings

10. Understand team dynamics
– Address role questions in a team meeting
– Meet with team members individually
– Keep individual differences visible

11. Develop a configuration plan
– plan the approach
– plan the execution and control
– plan for communication and personnel needs

12. Manage all project stakeholders
– Get to know your stakeholders
– understand your power and influence over them
– develop strategies for dealing with stakeholder

(to be continued)

What People In Toyota Do?

Toyota not just build cars but people

In Toyota every manager is a teacher. The professional skill is the commodity to be traded in the market. Like hospital with outstanding surgeon….

Toyota philosophy of developing people:

a) Management decision is based on long term philosophy.
b) standardized process are the foundation for continuous improvement
c) Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work and who live the philosophy and teach it to others
d) develop exceptional people and teams who follow company’s philosophy
e) Respect suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve
f) becoming a learning organization through relentless reflection and continuous improvement.

People development policy creates situations in which there is an equal balance between reward and punishment, to encourage the desired behavior. Perfect attendance will be rewarded, repeated absences are the easiest way to lose job.

Training within industry (TWI)

These consist of:

A) Job instruction – foundation for developing talent

B) Job Methods – 3 components:
1) job breakdown provides a method of analyzing the work to determine what is important & how certain aspect of the job should be performed.
2) 4-step method:
i) prepare the student
ii) present the operation
iii) try out performance
iv) follow up.
3) developing a training plan.

C) Job relations – train a trainer, 10-hr classroom session, 10 trainees in each session.

D) Program development

Toyota begin training at a high level to understand the skill requirements of the job, starting with the broad overview and Toyota hire exceptional people in different types of jobs. The workers learn from broad classification to specific skill requirements.

(Those ideas are based on my summary on the book I read, Toyota Talent: Developing your people the Toyota Way. By: Jeffrey K. Liker & David P. Meier).

Problem or Solution focus?

Promoting idea is a great thing to do. Ideas are like children, there are none so wonderful as your own.

Idea has to be used to solve problem. Therefore, generating idea has to be problem focus or solution focus.

Using the word ‘why’ is the usual thing to do when we focus to solve problem. For instance, why the pipe leaks? However, sometimes by removing the word ‘why’ we focus more on solution. for example: what I need to do with the leaked pipe?

Just remember, our subconscious drives automatic perception. Our nonautomatic perception is driven by how we consciously choose to focus our thinking. In short, we can frame and reframe our mind.

We can choose to focus on problem or solution. Most of the time, problem comes first, then solution. We can therefore focus on both but remember in term of practicality of thinking, solution should be the final result!


Generation Alpha?

Let me share the list of generation according to sociologist.

Builders: 1920-45
This generation is strong-willed, hard working, strong-ethically, conservative, follow order and instruction from authority.

Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
The time of prosperity, financially well. vocal on issues pertaining to their right, human right and liberal in their thinking.(Just turn around the four and six)

Generation X: 1965-79

Opposite, cynic, question the authority.

Generation Y: 1980-94

Rebellious, cynic, question authority.

Generation Z: 1995-2009

new generation in the era of internet, FB, Twitter. Tech-savvy, confident but politically oppositional.

Generation Alpha: 2010-2020

highly educated, load of info  -> overload, tech-savy, materialistic.

Politicians, teachers & parents, pls take note…..

Muslims and Their Struggle

How to embrace modernity?

Muslim world has been colonized since the 19th century. In the post-colonial days, there is a continuous struggle between Muslim secular-nationalists, Islamic modernists, scholars and contemporary radical extremist.There are differences and tensions between the Muslim world and the modern West based on how best Muslim should embrace modernity represented by the West. And this lead to the second problem:

‘Moderate’ vs. ‘extremist’
American media uses the term moderate Muslim to indicate a Muslim who is either pro-western in her politics or is being self-critical in her discourse. Muslims do not like using this term because it indicates that they don’t practice religion fully. For moderate Muslims, ijtihad is the preferred method of choice for social and political change and military jihad the last option. For militant Muslims, military jihad is the first option and ijtihad is not an option at all. (Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Professor of Political Science, Michigan).

‘cleric/ulama’ vs ‘nasionalist’ leadership
The controversy over cleric/ulama vs. nasionalist leadership has taken place indirectly by comparing Iran and PAS vs UMNO. The comparison, like it or not, has taking place amid perceived acceptance within PAS. As a result of the above-mentioned differences, the end result is divided loyalty which is ‘state’ vs. ‘pan-Islamism’ loyalty

Body-Mind Health

I am sick with worry or in Malay, ‘saya risau tak tertanggung‘. That is what parents of student studying in Egypt felt in the midst of Egyptian revolution middle of February this year. That is a mere expression of intense anxiety. Anxiety is a disease which can affect body-mind health.

Body-mind relationship can take place in five ways. 1) Concomitant effect. It means that there are known relationship between body and mind but they are not causally related. 2) somatopsychic. It means the physical illness could lead to psychological problems 3) psychosomatic i.e psychological conflict would lead to physical problems 4) stress related i.e stress caused illnesss and finally, all the above (holistic) i.e. all the above mentioned processes could give rise to problems.

It is not uncommon to see kids referred to you for stomach ache and the next day all you know, they refuse to go to school. Body-mind health should be thoroughly worked out. Failing to associate with it, then psychiatric work-out should taken place.

We had worked out a complex case of a kid who refused to walk and eat to the extent of using Ryle’s tube for feeding. Extensive work-out with school and family finally served her well.

Anyone can think of how ulcer could be related to somatopsychic causation?