Tuesday, June 30, 2009

thank you...

Unfortunately, the concept of happiness is such an indeterminate one that even though everyone wishes to attain happiness, yet he can never say definitely and consistently what is that he really wishes and wills. No one can compel me to be happy in accordance with his conception of the welfare of others, for each may seek happiness in whatever way he sees fit” Emmanuel Kant

Today is the last day at my current job. If I take a menu as an analogy, my experience here is akin to ‘sweet and sour’. A combination of sweet and sour produced a mixture of feelings; good and bad, happy and despairs, proud and regrets that add on to the rubric of my life. I have been struggling to write this ‘mini memoir’ for some time. I had to overcome a monolith of restrains (sometime it’s my own) to finish this writing. The difficulty of this ‘mini memoir’ lies in part in the fact that I tries to achieve so much in so little space. I will try (with difficulties) to be concise (and you know it is impossible). Victor Hugo once said “An Invasion of an army can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come”.

I remember my first day at this office. It was on the first day of March 2007. For a billion times, I look at the letter of offer. It says that I was offered a place at the Legal Department and I am supposed to report for duty that day. I went to the HR office and was asked to wait in a room together with other ‘freshies’. We exchanged pleasantry but I guess everybody is deep in their own thought.

I can feel the rush of adrenalin in my body. I tried to talk to the person sitting next to me but I can’t seem to think of any topic. Jokes are dry and we maintained a minimum decorum. Then all the ‘freshies’ are escorted to their respective departments. I was escorted to mine.

The department is still ‘empty’ at that time. I guess it is still early although my watch shows it is 8.45am. Later I found out that the department will only come to ‘life’ around 9am. Some will not start their work before reading the newspaper (no matter at what time they ‘checked in’ the office), as if their lives are depending on yesterday’s event. Some choose to be late or even take an MC (or under the pretext of attending a meeting outside, whatever that is).

Eunice is the first person I saw in the department. She brought me to my cubicle. If I am not mistaken, I only had the opportunity to see the Manager, Seow Si on my second day. Later, I was introduced to Datin Norhayati, Head for Consumer Bank & Litigation, one of the units under the Legal Department. She is a very erudite lady with sharp observation and very quick in pointing up my mistakes. For the next 1 week, I struggled to keep up with Datin’s and Seow Si’s expectations. By the second week, I began to feel at home.

Seow Si and Datin gave me the freedom to complete any task my way. There is no need for constant reporting, unless of course if I screw up (and that can be a handful). In return, I have to be accountable and own up my mistake. That is how you treat a knowledge worker. Mind you, we are not a bunch of school children who need to be told what to do.

Like any other good things in life, it wouldn’t last. Seow Si left the department in 2008. I guess that it is a normal life cycle. A vicious cycle that dark age will succeed the golden era. The same goes in management.

However, I am fortunate and blessed for having the opportunity to meet several great people like….

“Strict but understanding Seow Si”: she will always greet you with a smile. She loves using marriage as an analogy to explain contractual terms. It is a simple logic, but sticks to my mind like UHU.

“Care bears Eunice”; you can always expect her accommodating to your needs…pencils, pens, calculators, foods… and a very good organizer. Never like to beat around the bush, just straight to business.

“Charismatic and stylish Datin”; I never heard she ever raise her voice. Datin has this unique style in sending her message across. She is very creative in answering queries and if she is angry, the creativity will increase ten fold! (believe me, you do not want to be the opposing side when that happen!!!)

“Enigmatic Maznah”; she is very conservative in some issues but very radical in some. Her favorite remark (whenever I made stupid jokes) is.... “you idiot!!!!”

She is a very good listener but do not test her patient.

No nonsense Shikin; do not be surprise that she can dance (err…what happened in Bandung stays in Bandung)

Li T’san; the girl with the ‘exotic’ name. I never see her without that 100 megawatt smiles.

Food station Kak Ana; she will feed you until you cannot take anymore. The foods are ‘bottomless’ limited only to what your stomach can take.

Ever-ready-to-help Julie; ask her any favor and she will do it for you…with a smile!

Melancholic Grace; The name fit the person. I hope that she has the strength to deal with all sorts of idiosyncrasies in the office.

Ever-smiling Caryln: Initially, I found that she quite hard to approach. I am partly to blame. However, once you know her, she can be quite chatty. I really hope that she will figure out how to transfer the photos inside her phone to the computer by now.

Tough-acting Mastura; is a young girl with lot of potential. To stay where she is right now is a waste of her own potential.

Abang Jacket….: I will really miss his jokes at the pantry.

Last but not least, my two ‘big sisters’; Lisa and Shu Shin. They never hesitate to ‘smack’ me back to my senses. I can talk with them on any issues and I can expect an honest feedback. Shu Shin will supply a ‘quote’ on daily basis for us to ponder. However, I turned that into a ‘debate’. There will be a series of emails ‘debating’ the validity of those ‘quotations’. I am amaze on the amount of emails for these sessions. Seriously, where do we find the time for that?

There are others whom I had fond memories but restrictions of time and space is always a stumbling block.

Although from today onwards, I’ll be ire ad largum (at least from this department), I really wish the ‘survivors’ good luck.

The reason I left trample more on the push factors rather than the pull factors. I guess that I’ll remain where I am if Seow Si is still there. Perhaps I can never accept the fact that time had changed. Bosses changed and some people change (like a chameleon), and my self-denial of these changes works against me. My mistake!

My self-denial had turned my presence into an anachronism of the present and the future of the department; an antithesis to the changed circumstances.

My Friends,

“Style is packaging, the only substance is performance”.

When I say ‘performance’, I am not referring to the ‘performing art’ of some drama kings and queens. In working life there will be those who will shed tears, put up a drama, and backstab their friends (even the term friends is a misnomer in this context). Some people succeed and some people don’t. Some who do not succeed, all those bootlicking will not worth a single dime. On the contrary, those who succeed will not build up character.

Cuilibet in sua arte perito est credendum; Credit must be earned and must be based on merit.

There will be servile acolytes which I find very pathetic. I found the servility of some very embarrassing. We should uphold our dignity. There is no need to degrade ourselves.

Let this honest observation to be ephemeral in nature. I was told that my life will be happier if I give my friends a piece of my heart and not piece of my mind. However, the periphery between the heart and the mind is so often blurred, if not because of my own weakness, it is because of the prejudice of the recipient. Sic utere tuo alienum non ledas.

I am passionate about my work and I do not have time for trifle issues. However, I forgot that it is a very subjective concept. I forgot that I do not have to win every argument. I forgot that words can cut deeper than steel. I forgot that I can be misunderstood. The most important lesson; apart from being a colleague, I forgot to be a friend.

Ahh…I feel so cold right now. It is raining at Damansara.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Are you stubborn?

It is amazing how powerful to play with terminology. For example, what is the different between stubborn and istiqamah?

Well, a Menteri Besar in one of the Malaysian state may offer an explanation;

“Stubborn means defending what is wrong. When we know something is wrong, but will not back down, that is stubborn. But when we know what is true, what is right, that is istiqamah”

It is a very good explanation, but there is one tiny problem. How do we differentiate between right and wrong? Even if we feel that something is right, how do we know that we are right? If others says that we are wrong but we say that we are right, does it mean that I am ‘more right’ and the others are ‘more wrong’? Is it (the determination of right and wrong) a subjective or objective test?

It seems that it more questions than answers…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Democracy; lost in transition.

‘Death to the dictator’! ... ‘Death to dictatorship’!

A group of 3000 protestors chanting these slogans amidst the tear gas, water cannon and guns intended to disperse the protestors. The issue is the alleged fraud in the just concluded presidential election. Mousavi, labeled as reformist presidential candidate lost the said election and his supporters took their case to the street.

America of course reminded the Iranian government not to take stiff action to the protestors. This is not the first time America tried to meddle with democratically elected government. Hamas government in Palestine is good example. We all know that America did a good job in restoring and establishing democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. The citizens of these two countries having the opportnity to ‘Rest In Peace’ right now.

The allegation of election fraud should be investigated based on evidence in a proper tribunal, and not at the street.

I support freedom of expression and I support the freedom of assembly. However, there is no freedom when a country is in chaos. There is no democracy in chaos. At the end, the democracy will loss, lost in transition.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peer- to-Peer

The fight against piracy is not limited at the Gulf of Aden but it also extends to the cyber world. Robin Gibb, one of the Gibb brothers from the BeeGees group are considered as best-selling music artistes is lending his voice to the fight against digital piracy. He reckons that the price of album is falling due to illegal download of the songs through the internet.

Like any other technology, P2P proved to be an ideal breeding place of disseminating illegal copies. This issue was given much publicity and scrutiny in the foreign jurisdiction. However, there is not much response or intellectual discourse on P2P in the context of Malaysian copyright law. In pursuing the objective of building an economy based on knowledge, Malaysia cannot deny that the advent of technology especially the P2P will challenge the current concept of copyright law. This new development creates legal uncertainty to the copyright owner, P2P users and providers, and Internet Service Provider.

Just a decade ago, internet users shared their files by placing URL links in their own websites. The demand to share complete albums, video clips and full length movie, the ‘traditional’ method of placing URL had become obsolete. The technology has to play catch up and come up with better file sharing platform called P2P.

The advent of P2P carries with it the same problem of disseminating illegal copies of copyright works. The disseminating of illegal copies of copyright works has a major impact to the economy, jobs, businesses, and consumers that are related to the innovation of the copyright works.

Monday, June 15, 2009

SIS ban issue

It is reported in 'The Sun' today that the PAS Shah Alam MP and division head admitted that he overlooked the resolution to ban SIS.

The resolution as reported by the Star "to call on the National Fatwa (Edict) Council to do research on SIS, which is promoting liberal Islam, and ban the organization if its views are found to be in conflict with Islamic teachings and to rehabilitate its members"

First, I thought Islam is a liberal religion.

Second, even if the view contradict Islamic teachings (and who should be the arbiter?), should the authorities engage an intellectual discourse with SIS rather than banning the organization.

My last posting in my blog touched on Islamiphobia or paranoia. Who can blame the non muslim when the paranoia originates from within.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Islamophobia or paranoia?

When I was in Hong Kong recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of Muslim restaurant in Kowloon. The restaurant serves authentic Beijing style food. The food taste good and it is reasonably priced. The owner showed me a photo of him together with a Malaysian celebrity. It seems that the photo is supposed to allay any fear in me on the ‘halalness’ of the food. After the light of Islam had reached China earlier than the Malay Peninsula, the restaurant seems felt obliged to prove his credibility to me. It is amazing that the restaurant can strive in a ‘non Muslim dominated country’.

Just a few days before, I was ‘detained’ at a foreign immigration station (not Malaysian). There is no serious incident, and I was released few minutes later. It seems that my name is similar to someone. I didn’t bother to ask who. Is the name Muhamad Shahrin bin Hashim is similar to any terrorist suspect? I share the name ‘Muhamad’ with millions others in this planet. I guess if there are 100 Muhamad at that airport that day, all of us will share the same fate.

‘Islamiphobia’ or sheer paranoia?