Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seeing Home Through An Orang Putih's Eyes

When I first set up this blog, I searched for other blogs using the terms 'Sabah' and 'tropics'.

I found Glenda Larke a.k.a. Glenda Noramly's blog and found it so interesting that I bookmarked her blog and visited it half as many times as I checked my mail.  Which is plenty!

What i found interesting was how she talked about Sabah, Borneo.. Malaysia too.  It was fascinating to read about my homeland and 'see' what she saw through her Aussie eyes.  Granted she's been in Malaysia for ages but she still had lots to say about this land I call home.

I remembered a long time ago as I was poring over storybooks and found one author's description of a tropical wonderland so marvelous that I wished I could be there.  A split second later, I realised I WAS there! 
The author talked of palms waving in the breeze - I saw hundreds of them on my way to school everyday. 
The author talked of juicy pineapples - during pineapple season, we'd eat pineapples till my tongue itched unbearably. 
The author talked of glorious hibiscus and magnificent bougainvillea - I'd crush the hibiscus flowers (red, white and pink ones!) if I sat down on the grass back home and my mum would graft endless buds of bougainvillea onto each other so she could look at a plant with multicoloured blooms...and I'd think ohno! more blooms to sweep off the verandah.

I actually felt my world move.  Imperceptibly...but surely.

Now I've found someone whose blog reveals parts of Sabah that I don't know.  And the way she talks about Sabah is as if she's talking about a foreign land.  For her, maybe.  But it shouldn't be, for me.

Fascinating.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Story of the Hare and Tortoise

This is one of the better forwards I've ever received in quite a while..

Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race.

The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race.

He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ.

The hare woke up and realized that he'd lost the race. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race.

This is the version of the story that we've all grown up with.

But then recently, someone told me a more interesting version of this story. It continues.

The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some Defect Prevention (Root Cause Analysis). He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax.

If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed.

This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.

The moral of the story? Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.

If you have two people in your organization, one slow, methodical and reliable, and the other fast and still reliable at what he does, the fast and reliable chap will consistently climb the organizational ladder faster than the slow, methodical chap.

It's good to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable.

But the story doesn't end here. The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted.

He thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route.

The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river.

The finishing line was a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river.

The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.

The moral of the story? First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency.

In an organisation, if you are a good speaker, make sure you create opportunities to give presentations that enable the senior management to notice you.

If your strength is analysis, make sure you do some sort of research, make a report and send it upstairs. Working to your strengths will not only get you noticed but will also create opportunities for growth and advancement.

The story still hasn't ended.

The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realised that the last race could have been run much better.

So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time.

They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back.

On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.

The moral of the story? It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you'll do poorly and someone else does well .

Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.

There are more lessons to be learnt from this story.

Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure.

The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could. In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort.

Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both.

The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better.

When Roberto Goizueta took over as CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1980s, he was faced with intense competition from Pepsi that was eating into Coke's growth.

His executives were Pepsi-focussed and intent on increasing market share 0.1 per cent a time.

Goizueta decided to stop competing against Pepsi and instead compete against the situation of 0.1 per cent growth.

He asked his executives what was the average fluid intake of an American per day? The answer was 14 ounces. What was Coke's share of that? Two ounces. Goizueta said Coke needed a larger share of that market.

The competition wasn't Pepsi. It was the water, tea, coffee, milk and fruit juices that went into the remaining 12 ounces. The public should reach for a Coke whenever they felt like drinking something.

To this end, Coke put up vending machines at every street corner. Sales took a quantum jump and Pepsi has never quite caught up since.

To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise teaches us many things.
Important lessons are:


The fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady;
work to your competencies;
pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers;
never give up when faced with failure; and finally,
compete against the situation. Not against a rival.

In Short, BE STRATEGIC!

Bill Gates vs. General Motors:

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated,

"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics :

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........
Twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Star Fiction Book Poll

There's a book poll with an April 15 deadline. I hear the kids are drowning it with Harry Potter votes.
Come on and inject some variation in!

Otherwise we are in danger of earning the headline: MALAYSIANS HARRY POTTER MANIACS!
But think of your top ten FICTION titles first before you click on to http://sites.thestar.com.my/bookpoll/

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Book Is Not For Sale In Malaysia

I surfed one of my favourite bookstores on the net and searched for one of my favourite authors, Robin D. Owens. Guess what... there was a short sentence in red just below the title: The book is not for sale in Malaysia.

What the...???!!

Robin writes stories about the people in a community on another planet called Celta. Straightforward love stories which contain elements of psychic phenomena and intelligent cats. Could it be the spellcasting or the ways of recognizing their mates that scared the censors? Or is it the talking cats?

My intelligence is insulted. It seems I cannot decide for myself what may irreparably harm my thinking faculties.

I'm Melting....

The weather is so humid that my head feels foggy...

I step out of the shower and beads of sweat begin popping out down my back.
I breathe a bit too hard and sweat trickles down my scalp.
I lie in bed and contemplate the ceiling, feeling sweat slip down my neck.

The air conditioner has become my best friend.  I know I will be looking at a pretty fabulous electricity bill next month but I'm willing to pay for the comfort.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Little Bloggy Fun

Never tried this before.. in a blog, I mean.

Offline, plenty!

PART 1: ON THE OUTSIDE

Name : Roslyn CT
Date of birth : *go n check my IC*
Current status : Married
Eye colour : Brown
Hair Colour : Black
Righty or lefty : Right handed.
Zodiac sign : Sagittarius.

PART 2: ON THE INSIDE
Your heritage : Kadazan.. a few drops of Chinese blood. OK lah.. many drops!
Your fear : Going blind.
Your weakness : Talk talk talk. Lucky my job requires that skill.
Your perfect pizza : Anything + tomato sauce + cheese + onions + garlic + more onions.

PART 3: YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW
Your thoughts first waking up : "Am I late?" *Check alarm clock. 6.15 a.m.* "I'm late I'm late I'm late..." *scramble scramble scram*
Tomorrow : I won't be late.
Your bedtime : 9.00 pm. A target most often missed.
Your most missed memory : Sitting in front of a great band in Shenanigans, feet on the speakers, Top10 in hand. Becoming allergic to alcohol has really spoiled my fun.

PART 4: YOUR PICK
Pepsi or coke : Coke.
McD or burger king : Can I not choose?
Single or group dates : Group! Me, hubby and son!
Adidas or nike : Next question, please!
Lipton tea or nestea : Tea??!! Ack! Urk! Bleurgghh!
Chocolate or vanilla : Both swirled together.
Cappucino or coffee : COFFEE.

PART 5: DO YOU…
Smoke : No.
Curse : No.

PART 6: IN THE PAST MONTH
Drank Alcohol : Does chicken dunked in rice wine count?
Gone to the mall : Yes.
Been on stage : Does giving a speech count? Yes.
Eaten sushi : Nope. Ack! Urk! Bleurgghh!
Dyed your hair : Not yet... appointment comin' up.

PART 7: WHAT WERE YOU DOING..
1 minute ago : Surfing blogs and drinking coffee.
1 hour ago : Surfing blogs and drinking coffee.
4 1/2 hours ago : Munching on kuih lapis Sarawak. It was blue (!) in colour and had a peppermint taste.
1 month ago : Thinking of headcounts, analysis, kids who cut class and my next Nescafe fix.
1 year ago : Hanging out in airports, crunching data in Excel, surfing blogs and drinking coffee.

PART 8: FINISH THE SENTENCE
i love : my books and my coffee.
i feel : like I don't have enough time.
i hate : not having enough time.
i hide : my white strands of hair.
i miss : my super flat stomach.
i need : more coffee.

PART 9: TAG 5 PEOPLE
Must I?
Hmm, serenadez, audreyst, grinmamablues, beatrice, sweetcrankyangel