Monday, June 25, 2007

Trapped in the Elevator

The company security officer, my friend and I were trapped in the office elevator today. It was a very unpleasant 55-minute wait before the door of the elevator was finally opened by the elevator maintenance personnel who apparently was not the maintenance staff of the company.There was not blackout or any kind of supply interruption when the elevator suddenly jerked and stop in between floors. All the buttons inside the elevator suddenly stopped functioning except for the alert bell. In fact, that was the only button that actually made us able to tell the outside world that we were trapped as the intercom button was also went dead (or maybe it was already inoperable under normal circumstances).

As we were waiting for help, we spoke to the security officer about how soon could we be able to get out and should not we just pry open the door ourselves instead of waiting for others to come. He told us we won't be able to pry open the door as it was locked from the outside and the company's maintenance personel do not have the key to this. According to him, only the Elevator's company service personel got the key and only they can open the door ! I was flabbergasted upon hearing this and could not beleive what I heard. In fact according to him, this incident had happened several times before and he was also not very sure of why this elevator could not be opened from the inside under emergency situation. The elevators located at the other buildings in the company HQ complex apparently can be pried openned under emergency like this, so he said. Obviously so because the other buildings are relatively new and of of them is housing the CEO and other top bras.

To me, having to wait for 55 minutes before someone released us from the entrapment just showed the callous and indifferent attitude of whomever responsible in maintaining the elevators. What if instead of us, a pregnant lady or someone claustrophobic was inside? What is if instead of 9.45AM in the morning it was 6.30PM when almost everyone has already left the building? What if the elevator was carrying someone who has a serious nature's call and on his way to the toilet? In fact the security officer was supposed to attend a meeting at 10.00 AM and boy was he nervous when he could only join the important meeting almost one hour after it started...

If we as one of the biggest company in Malaysia are not able even to maintain our own elevators properly, I am beginning to doubt our ability to do something bigger. What scares me the most is the fact that we do things no longer because we beleive or care about it but because we are looking after only to the power that be. Unfortunately, my friend, the security officer and me have become the victims of sheer inefficiency of some individuals and couple with perhaps, serious bureaucracy issue. Decadence of the caring culture we used to have is currently at peak and I hope something can be done before all of us will become the victims...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Chewing the Hard Facts...

As human, we can't escape from making mistakes. In fact, to some extend, we are actually allowed to make mistake but not allowed to do wrong. Often enough, mistake can teach us to do things more prudently. Mistake also if viewed and learned positively can make us a better person. To most people, only mistake can make us wiser whether we are clever or not.

I have many mistakes all my life but nothing beats the feeling of remorseful and sad that I felt yesterday when I was told by a friend that in the eyes of many in the office, I am practically a bad person. I felt the whole world collapse unto me upon hearing this. I felt that I am very insignificant person with nothing to offer anymore and whatever I have offered and contributed over the years means nothing to the company. I felt that there is no more good in me that worth giving to others. I felt whatever that come out from my mouth will cause discomfort and distress to others. I felt that even my close friends whom I knew for so long no longer have faith on me. In other words, I really felt I was useless. But that's what I felt yesterday. Today, is a bit different story...

Despite this setback, I am very thankful to my friend who informed me about the dire need for me to improve certain aspect of my personalities which have been perceived by many as 'manipulative' or 'scheming type'. What I also learned from the conversation is that I don't really have a friend whom I can trust since private conversation between friends has suddenly turned into something public and perceived by others as trying to strategize my next move. I also learned that at professional level, sometimes people that you know for so long is the one that you should put very little trust on. Yes, it is very sad fact but I don't blame these people for having such behaviour. After all, they are also humans. If anything it is me to be blamed as in this transient world, we always tends to focus more on what we can get in the short term rather in the long run. I also had the bad habit of speculating the future which may have been perceived negatively by others. Insha'allah, this habit will go. For whatever it is, I realise my mistake now and ask forgiveness from Allah and guidance from him to lead me to the strait path and avoid His wrath.

If anything, I am not a man of vengeance. Neither I am a scheming type. I just want to live my life with guided from Allah and and I can't promise not to make mistake along the way. But one thing for sure and insha'allah, I am not going to commit wrong. Life is on earth is too short and unpleasant for me to hang on to.

"Ya-Allah; berilah kami kebaikan di dunia dan kebaikan di akhirat, dan peliharalah kami dari azab neraka".

Sunday, June 17, 2007

RC Car Action at Glenmarie...

I received a Fathers Day card from my children early Sunday morning. I am pretty sure the card was actually from my other half and signed by all of my beloved children. On Sunday evening, we stopped by at the Glenmarie Radio Controled Car circuit just beside the old Glenmarie road located approximatley few hundred meters to the entrance of the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. The circuit consists of two type of RC tracks namely the off-road track for buggy-type RC cars, and the on-road track for touring type RC cars. From the look of it, I think this circuit is probably owned by someone or it could also belong to a kind of club which so many RC cars enthusiats being the members. There were not many people playing when we arrived at the entrance possibly because it was already quite late in the evening. I could see several people making their journey home carrying big luggage type boxes possibly contained thier RC cars and tools.

I jumped out of the car first and made my way to the off-track circuit first. I could see a lone gentleman handling his speeding RC buggy along the wet and muddy track. He seemed to enjoy his ride and my son and I watched him play until his buggy crashed out and turn-turled.

We proceeded to the on-road track later on and again only one person was using the track at that moment. According to my son who is at the tender age of 8 is already an 'expert' in racing cars (no thanks to his PS2 Need for Speed game), the car was Porsche 911 Carrera and I think the scale speed of that RC car may have reached at least 250kmh! The person who was handling it might be a veteran of this hobby as the way he handled tight corners was superb and very clean.

In the mid 90s, I was also kinda engrossed in this hobby but gradually stopped because of my study and also more pertinently, the cost involved in this type of hobby is quite expensive. I still have 2 old RC cars in the store at home and my son was asking me whether we can bring them to this track and have a spin. I told him that my RC cars was using battery and those he saw at the track was nitro-engine type RC cars. No way we can compete with these cars unless we switched to the nitro-engine. But actually deep in me, I am just trying to say that this hobby is expensive and we probably better off not get into it again like what I did some years ago. I hope he will understand what I mean. Perhaps, the Transformers robot I got for him earlier on Sunday will turn his attention away and focus more on something more manageable by all of us...

Friday, June 15, 2007

IEEE Industrial Lecture Programme

My boss and I were asked to give a 2-hour talk about Power System Security on Saturday June 17 at UiTM. I decided to participate on this program simply because the request was from a very good friend of mine whom over the years has become almost like a brother to me. However, he made the request while I was in Kuantan and away from the office. Thus, out of his own initiative, he took the photo from this blog and decided to use it in the leaflet he prepared for the forum. Nothing much I can do about it because the leaflets have already being circulated around and according to him, there are already many people registered to hear our talk. I just hope that nobody will have the impression that I am trying the conceal my true indentity by posting the embossed version of my photo and hopefully, we can deliver a good lecture to the academicians and also to everyone else attending the forum. Anyhow, everyone is invited and I also heard that the organiser will also serve refreshment during the forum !

Heroes Test

I decided to give it a try on the so-called Hero Personality test on the net. This test kinda remind me of the Profile Test I took under the Talent Pool program albeit, the result from the Heroes Test is more humorous if anything else.

Your Score: Simone Deveaux

You scored 62 Idealism, 50 Nonconformity, 29 Nerdiness

You think you can paint the future. Fine, paint one without me.
Congratulations, you're Simone Deveaux! You are a loving, dedicated person with a variety of creative interests. You may however, fall in love a little too easily. Your best quality: You are a romantic Your worst quality: You are a romantic

Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reflection on Life

I had a business meeting in Genting Highland last Friday. It was a joint operation committee meeting between the company and one of the IPPs. At the same time, I was fortunate to be able to rent the company's holiday condominium at Awana Country Club for a two-night stay. It is a 3-bedroom condo facing the Awana Golf Club and equipped with two Jacuzzis which never got used anyway by us.

The meeting was held in a very friendly atmoshpere albeit at times, the IPP voiced up their disappointment on some issues related to the commercial agreement which in their opinion, is a kinda double whammy for them to follow. However, my boss being the chairman of this committee, quickly pointed up that this particular meeting was meant for discussion on technical matters related to the day to day operation of the system and any matters on commercial arrangement should be discussed in a separate forum. The IPP knew this but as they said it, they would like this 'commercial / technical' matters be known to all JOC members so that they are aware of it. In fact, I also did not know about this particular issue until this meeting.

When I attended the PROGEM course in Kuantan, we were reminded of the famous Lord Denning Judgement on the role of utilities. I am apprehensive that if we are always to choose the arbitration method to solve our differences, we could get trapped in a situation where the judgement will no longer tip on our favour. I hope this is not going to happen and hopefully some sort of peaceful solution can be reached. After all, Sun Tzu says that the biggest victory is actually when you don't have to fight a single battle.

The meeting date also coincided with my birthday. I am one year older now and getting closer and closer to the inevitable. Being raised in a low income family where my late father was the only bread winner, celebrating birthday was never heard of in my family when I was little. Even until now, I am not very enthusiastic of celebrating my own birthday but I think my other half is very upbeat in celebrating the birthdays of our children and she always reminded me of these important dates! About a week ago, we celebrated the birthday of my other half and I gave her a 3G Nokia Phone as a gift. My other half keeps asking me what kind of birthday gift that I like to have but until today I am not able to conjure up anything!!! I guess, I am more of the giver type than an acceptor :-))

During our stay at the company's condo. I had the opportunity to watch a DVD entitled "The Irrevocable Truth" which stars Al-Gore, the former VC of USA. This is actually a very good documentary on global warming issues. Al Gore being the narrator of this documentary, lucidly explain in layman's term the effect of global warming and how we as humans, can collectively help to prevent such calamity should this phenomena is left unchecked.

Before watching this video, I know very little on issues surrounding the global warming and never really bothered to think beyond what the impact it could bring upon us. As Mark Twain said it, ' it is not the thing that we don't know that gets us into trouble but the the thing we know that ain't so'. In fact, the unusual weather pattern that we are experiencing at the moment could be attributed to this phenomena. I strongly recommend that each of us watch this video to get a quick lesson on global warming although some critics in the US said that the video is a launch pad for Al Gore to get into the race for the Democrat Party Presidential candidate. Whatever it is, the video is worth the time watching...

Perhaps, the trip to Genting Highland will never be completed without the visit to the theme park. Yes, that was what we did on Saturday. I could see all my children relished this moment and I think given an option, they would probably want to stay for another day or so. But all good things must come to an end and we ended the theme park adventure at almost Maghreb time much to the joy and laughter of all of us.

On the serious note, I also got a call from my boss telling me the passing of Danial's sister on the same day. I was a bit shock but not totally as I already knew the condition of Dan's sister having had a conversation with him about few weeks ago. Sometimes, we may feel that we have lot of problems in our lives but what Danial has endured for the past few months makes our problem so insignificant, to some extend. I hope he will be patient enough and redha on what Allah has planned for him and we can only pray for the soul of his sister to be blessed by Allah always...Amin

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Day in the Bird Park

The last time I went to the KL Birdpark was probably close to ten years ago. On Friday morning I told my other half that I would like to visit this park again for sightseeing and also for taking pictures. Thus, at around 10AM, I took the whole family to this park which is located near the Lake Garden KL.

As my last visit was very long time ago, I was not very sure of how this park will look through my vague memory. As we approached the Lake Garden area, I noticed few road signages with the KL Bird directions and also the words " Largest Covered Bird Park in the world" clearly on several of the advertisement boards. Well, I thought this is something different from 10 years ago and definitely back in my mind I am not so sure whether I can cover the whole area just in time for the Friday's prayer.

There were not so many cars when we arrived and finding a parking space was easy and we actually parked right in front of the entrance gate. We proceeded to the ticket counter and I paid RM60 for the six of us. To get to this price, I had to show my IC to the salesperson as the price tickets for non-Malaysian are actually double of the locals.

We were a given a map of the park and we basically followed the map as it provides a good starting point for the visit. First stop was at the peacock area where we can actually pet with these birds as they are very friendly and domesticated already.

I also took close to 200 photos of the birds in the park and I can easily say that the RM60 paid was worth it for photographic experience. The park is well maintained and many of the small trees I vaguely remember last time have now become mature trees and provide nice and comfortable shades from the sun. The weather on Friday morning was sunny and hot but with all the big trees covering every corner of the park, my camera sometimes demanded slower shutter speed because of insufficient lighting. Nonetheless, I fiddled with the aperture control and with 2.8L lens, this is not very difficult to do.

I can see that my children were very happy with this visit although initially they were a bit reluctant to go due to hot weather and also due to the fact they prefer going to the mall with all the air-conditioning and what not. I even suggested that we should also go to the zoo but this time only my youngest child gave me the nod of approval while the rest including my other half, responded unenthusiatically !!! Well, I can understand. When you have been living in the comfort of home and modern shopping malls, back to nature is a big sacrifice to make !

We finished the bird park tour at around 12.45PM and quickly rushed back for the Friday prayer. I also promised my children to take them for a movie on Saturday morning. I fulfilled my promise and on Saturday we splitted into two groups with all my daughters watching the Shrek 3 and my other half, my son and me watched Spiderman 3.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

PROGEM III - Memorable Moments

The PROGEM III course in Teluk Chempedak was probably the longest duration I have been away from home since few years back. Although the program was packed with classes and night-time discussion on projects, I somehow managed to get some time out capturing views of the Hotel and Teluk Chempedak Beach during my morning brisk walk by the beach and also night outings for dinner. The followings are some views I managed to compile for this entry.

I took more than 500 photos while in Kuantan. Most of them were taken nearby the hotel premise but there were also few night photos of the Kuantan River promenade. For day light shots, I used the Polariser filter a lot to deepen the color of the sky and also to get better contrast. For night shots, I utilised a lot of Shutter priority function to get long exposure for capturing night scenes.

I also brought along my 70-200mm zoom lens but unfortunately did not get better oppurtunity to use it. Nonetheless, my 24-85mm was the most used lens during my morning walk by the beach. I got few lucky breaks and manage to shoot few silhoute human photos by the beach.

I have also uploaded those photos to my photoblog at should you are interested to view larger images of those you see here...

PROGEM III - Management Theory Revisited

It was more than 2 weeks since I last posted any entry to this blog. Well,as I mentioned in my last blog, I was off to Hyatt Regency Resort Hotel in Kuantan from 21-31 May attending what the company termed as the PROGEM III or the General Manager Program under the Talent Pool/Succession Planning program.

As this course was almost similar to the MDP program by MIM I attended for the last 6 months or so, I don't intend to list down details of program schedule but suffice to mention several of the course instructors and also to highlight some good management theory I learnt in the span of almost 2-weeks.

The program was handled by National University of Singapore's Business School utilising several very experienced Professors from the the same U and also from other universities such as the Peking University of Beijing. There were 32 other participants from the company and most of them are older than me in terms of age. I enjoyed most of the lectures particularly by Prof Lee Kai Sheang, a Malaysian residing in Singapore, on the topic of Sun Tzu Art of War. I like this topic very much because it relates the War Strategy of the ancient chinese to the modern world of doing business. A few case studies were used in this module and in my opinion going through those case studies really helped in understanding the Sun Tzu's theory.

I also like the topic on Understanding the Service Economy and Marketing by Prof Keh Hean Tat from Peking University. He is also a Malaysian hailed from Taiping and two words can describe his knowledge on marketing strategy, committed and bold. He is also relatively young compare to the other Professors but his sheer determination to master this topic was clearly reflected on his presentation style in class.

The very first day of the PROGEM III course was instructed by Prof Trevor Wilkins from NUS. He is actually an Australian residing in Singapore. He started the class with the broad overview of the course content and his own topic dealt with Financial Management. He is I would say from the old school of thought judging on his style of teaching. He still depends on transparency projector as opposed to using a power point for presentation in class. As he put it, "investments are design to create value, and don't spend money until it can guarantee return".

He stressed the importance of financial management and in his opinion, no other performance measure other than financial KPI will fit and 'fair' to everyone. Key points of his module are on Finance Decision (source of fund), Investment Decision (Use of funds) and the dividen issue (use of funds). Prof Wilkins also highlighted the result of the pre-course survey that each of the PROGEM participant need to respond. Most of the issues raised were HR related and according to him this is actually a popular issue in many other organisations. We were also told to prepare a project for each sub-group created for the course. I have been appointed to lead my group and at the moment we are still undecided on the two projects which we have proposed. Most likely, the topic chosen by me on interconnection between Malaysia and Singapore will be chosen for our group.

Other topics covered during the PROGEM III include Business Law by Prof Philip Chin and Efficiency and Fairness in the Energy Mark by Prof Lim Chin, dean of the NUS Business School. There was also a session on Human Capital Management by Prof Gilbert Tan from SMU Singapore. He used to be a policeman before becoming a lecturer in the university. A very enthusiastic person and according to him, he trained for 1-month in Police Academy in Kuala Kubu Baru some years ago. The followings are the photos of the three professors in respective order.

In my opinion, the 10-days PROGEM module was very useful because it kinda add more info to me on business issues on top of what I have already obtained through my Mini MBA courses organised by the MIM. At the moment, I am feeling much more confident in handling issues other than technical and engineering surrounding my career in this company. I am hoping that with all the money the company has spent on me to build up my management skill I can be a better leader in the future and hopefully, the management will be able to see something valuable on me that they can entrust me to lead the company with full confident...insha'allah.