Saturday, 20 November 2010

May Ron rest in peace...

Ron/Eik Hoe has peacefully passed away today.
The funeral will be on the 25th Nov (Thursday).
Anything do contact his handphone number.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Book review - - - THE SECRET

Name of Book : THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
First published in Nov 2006.

This book is not for the sceptics. Neither is it for those who expect to find the secrets to be unravelled. It is for those who believe in the secret that The Secret secretes.

I did not stumble upon The Secret,after all it has been in the bookshops since 2006,but rather went to search for it after a recommendation by a friend.A friend whom I have not met for 1 year;he has a noble intention to egg me to see the world in another prospective, not to give up on life easily & be positive in future outlook.Everything can be achieved- If You Think You Can, You Can.

The Secret tells us there are secrets to six areas, Money, Relationships, Health, The World, You & Life. The secrets to each area are revealed, made simple,taught the usage & shown the powerful processes.

The Secret wants you to believe in the Law of Attraction, to achieve what you want to achieve. It's what you are thinking that matters; you attract what you think & you will achieve what you think.
Because the legendary existence of famous poets, musicians, artists & thinkers has survived for centuries, their names are quoted that they believe in The Secret. William Shakespeare, Beethoven, Socrates, Plato,etc. It's a wonder the author didn't mention a longer list.The author even mentioned that this law of attraction was recorded in stone in 3000BC.

There are some logical simplified secrets. For example,the author quoted that .."The principle of feeling good applies to your family pets, for instance.Animals are wonderful because they put you in a great emotional state. When you feel love for your pet, that great state of love will bring goodness into your life."
-It is this combination of though & love which forms the irresistible force of the law of attraction..

I disagree with the author in many of her Secret.
Most of The Secret are inspirational but downright ridiculous & lack convincing support & evidence. It's only talk, talk & talk. Of course, it's motivation book which suits salespeople. I am sure most insurance managers have read The Secret. It suits religious people to a tee.

In one chapter, The Secret brought up a case of a personal story by one Cathy Goodman who, through one reason or another, declined medical treatment of radiotherapy and chemotherapy :" I was diagnosed with breast cancer.....I truly believed that I was already healed. Each day, I would say 'Thank you for my healing'.I believe in my heart that I was healed. I saw myself as if cancer was never in my body. ".
Cathy Goodman watched very funny movies & all she would do was just laugh, laugh & laugh. She was healed within three months after diagnosis.

In another case,a person(no name mentioned) had been wearing glasses for three years before he discovered The Secret and now his eyesight had been restored & did not need glasses for reading because he could see clearly.. What he did was simply, in a three-day period, "..imagined myself in dark restaurants, on planes, and at my computer, reading clearly & effortlessly. And said over & over,'I can see clearly, I can see clearly.'
Just like in the Cantonese drama serial by Charmaine Shek,where she kept chanting 'If I Think I Can, I Can.' & proceeded to do everything that came her way.

The Secret is meant not only for the feeble-minded who wants achievement the easy way, it is also meant for the money-spinners who are in the direct sales business, motivation speakers, et al.

Normally, I finished a reading a book within a week. The Secret took me more than three months because I have expected the same stero-typed secrets to be revealed all the way. The book costs RM79.90.I normally scan the book before buying it but in this case,it was plastic-wrapped & didn't gave me the chance to do a quick review on the spot. Not worth my money.This one will remain in the same location in my shelf for a long time.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Still Working Overtime........?

It's 7.30pm on a nice Monday evening, no rain, clear sky,no traffic jam. And yet Steve Beh was alone at the office,churning out some reports, occasionally stopping & ingrained in deep thoughts.
Yes, Steve Beh was working overtime again tonight, and tomorrow night...until Friday night.
To him, the world around the company he was in would stop soon if he did not complete the overtime for tonight."What would my wife say if I return home now?". "What would the boss say if I don't submit the reports tomorrow?"."What would...?".
This may not be a typical scenario of an executive working overtime daily in a typical company in Malaysia but it does strike an accord with me, and resembles what many of my colleagues have been doing for the last 30 years,20 years,5 years, 2 years and some who have just barely been working for a year.

Theories that I have gathered from friends have it that the main reasons for an executive working overtime ( which means, unpaid overtime!)are:
1. Workload
2. Avoiding family problems
3. Avoiding traffic jams
4. Short of manpower
5. Less interruptions in work when most others are not present
6. Requested by supervisor,due to abnormal or seasonal demands
7. Perceived financial rewards
8. Perceived promotion prospects
9. Fear of losing job
10. Job satisfaction (this reason is my input, which unfortunately, only two colleagues concurred).

After retirement,I found out that reasons no.(8) may be valid for long serving employees but the rest of the reasons are applicable for the relatively newer employees.

Time management is definitely the main culprit for most of the reasons above and I would advise everybody to look into this aspect seriously.Most of the time, we procrastinate during normal office time...well,sometime fighting fires (I see smokes!) or building new toilets(cannot stand already!)when required!A good boss should understand his subordinate's predicament. There is so much a person can do.All that may have been planned may have been thrown down the drain if the boss frequently, out of the blue,instructed for an immediate job instruction change or new job instruction to be completed.Yes,there are still such bosses around in this millenium.

There is no point in trying to impress upon your boss if you frequently worked overtime. Your boss is not a stupid person. Financial rewards or promotions are not gotten these ways. Your boss will just think that you are inefficient...remember sometime your boss may have asked you before,"Why are you still working so late?". Is this your boss's concern for you or is it a rhetoric question?
Financial rewards and promotions are gotten from your performance results,sometime irrespective of your working attitudes!

A case of exemption for thoughts:
Previously a multi-national company I know of,has such a good management and human relationship system that the employees worked overtime voluntarily to achieve higher productivity & efficiently and achieved consistently higher and higher profit for the company. Fianancial rewards and promotions were abundant as a result.
Later, the company was taken over by another owner and there were almost zero human relationship among the new management and the employees, the former with the system of "I boss, you slave". From thence,almost all employees stopped work at 5pm and the work attitude became laissez-faire (tidak apa). Of course, there were still one or two who stayed behind due to financial rewards or promotion prospects.....

I have learned that working overtime frequently caused unnecessary stress and fatigue when it deny you the chance for other healthy activities, like staying or going out more often with your loved ones or like exercising and playing games. Devoting less time to such health promoting activities may lead to other health problems in later lives!

So, what is the time now? 8.30pm. And still in the office??

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Check Your Perodua Car Warranty

Just completed the warranty replacements on Perodua ALZA.

Both Proton & Perodua have this habit of not doing recalls on car defects which they have detected. True, there have been one or two recalls, e.g Waja's rim in 2005 but on the whole, there are still many other defects which were omitted.
I remember in the beginning,many Waja cars have defects in central locking system, the power window system, easily broken door handles,torn engine mountings(cushions),etc but they were never recalled. Most of the owners have to fork out their money to repair and change those items.

Coming back to the ALZA.

*I have changed the hatchback's two backstays:you know, the two superthin shock-absorbers supporting the hatchback door when it is open. There is a funny squeaking sound and the hatchback is very tight (& slow) when it is opening: it should be smooth & consistent.
Come to think of it,ALZA never have this feature mentioned in their brochures.

*And then, the RH side window: when you are driving, there is an air hissing sound, like air coming in from outside. Actually, it's the outside air leaking through the small triangular glass window and flowing inside the door does not escape into the car compartment though, but a nuisance to hear the air hissing sound.
I heard it happened either to the RH or LH side of the front glass window.
To rectify it, the plastic sealing strips of the triangular window have to be changed and it took nearly 4 hours to do it!

There!If your ALZA's still under warranty, go to the nearest Perodua workshop now & report it but be prepared to have a long wait:they have a habit of procrastination.
The first time I reported it a few months ago at the Sg Choh's branch near Perodua's factory, the workshop assistant said if you want to know the problem, you ask the Japanese in the factory! Until to date, this branch never communicated the result of my claim to me. My current claim was directed to the Prai branch.

So what are you waiting for?

Saturday, 14 August 2010


I have always wanted to write about this type of scenario, chicken or egg first?

Anyway, there seems to be some sewerage leaking under the ground. See pics. The situation has been ongoing for the last few years and it is getting more serious now. When it rains, the whole adjoining roads will be overflowed with the dirty septic water.

Of course, when the complaint first went to MPSP, they replied ,"LUAR KUASA MPSP"! And that without checking the actual condition at the location. I think, MPSP saw the word 'sewerage' and automatically flunk the complaint out, probably to the sewerage people? The thing is, how did they know it was out of their jurisdiction if they have not studied together with other related departments or bodies, e.g. IWK, JKR, etc? How do they know whether JKR's or MPSP's contractor have damaged the underlying ground due to the contractor's excavation work? Wouldn't it be part of MPSP's responsibility towards the people too?

The complaint has now been directed to IWK (sewerage body)and waiting their feedback. I have a forewarning that the reply may not be responsive but let's not jump the gun.

One of the last resorts is to highlight the complaint to the local newspaper, which would be very effective, as I have found out a few years ago when the local contractor did a haphazard job and cut corners when building the monsoon drain's railings......

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Respect the non-Muslims (sic..non-Bumi).They have rights too.

I read with amusement the recent remarks by a few Ministers who were literary fighting for the rights of the non-Muslims which also,in this country, refers to the rights of the non-Bumiputras (Prince of the Earth).

With regards to sports betting which the Govt intends to introduce (via a monopoly licence to a crony),the reason being the non-Muslims',esp the Chinese,culture to gamble. What a sweeping statement. The Minister in the PM's dept even babbled on that the Govt can always introduce and enforce regulations to prevent the Muslims from being involved in the sports bettings and other form of gamblings. I wonder why didn't the Govt enforce it now for the existing 4-D,Da Ma Cai & Toto gamblings?

Even today, read what the Star reported,"Sports betting and gambling should be legalised and governed by proper laws and regulations, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said on Wednesday. He added that tax collected from sports betting could be used for the welfare of non-Muslims under a Government escrow fund". What a nobel idea. How i wish there were more Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

In the light of the year in & year out complaints that many bright students were deprived the chance for the JPA scholarship (and the promise that all deserving students will get it),instead of solving the problem, the Govt thought it would be better if there were NO JPA scholarship...and presto, there will be NO complaints! I shudder to think what would Kepner-Tregoe do for a living if their Problem Solving and Decision Making strategy were so easily replaced just by eliminating the problem directly,as what our smart-alec Minister in the PM's Dept in the same breath, suddenly decided not to respect the rights of the non-Bumi apropos the PSD(or commonly known as JPA)scholarship issue & intended to do :
" The Govt had earlier announced that 1200 of the 1500 PSD scholarships would gradually be phased off from next year onwards. Minister in the PM's Dept Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said this was because the Govt could no longer afford to fund the studies of the growing population of bright students pursuing undergraduate studies abroad."

Deputy Education Minister, Wee Ka Siong would do better to see Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz about the MARA scholarships.

Is our dear Minister in the PM's Dept implying that there are no more growing bright students applying for the MARA scholarships?

Saturday, 5 June 2010


Two recent events really stumped me that there are still such uncouth people around the block.

A month ago,a 4-W drive parked beside my brand new car & two doors open simultaneously by the driver & the passenger. Bang! I quickly went back to look at my side of door & sure enough, there was a deep dent & paint peeling off. Told the she passenger beside the driver why she was so careless. She replied," Accident ma! i didn't purposely bang want! What to do ar!"
No apology, no nothing. And the driver husband just nonchalantly walked away as if nothing happened too!
I walked to the outside of the 4-W drive & the other car, a Mercedes Benz, had its rear view mirrow dented too! And the owner is nowhere in sight.

Then last evening, I heard a crash sound outside the house & rushing out saw a fat Form 2 boy bicycling away with her mother beside her scurrying away. And one of my flower pots outside the gate has been broken!
Told my missus & pointed to the boy still outside his house, about 6-neighbour houses away,"That fat boy did it".
The mother replied," Accident ma! he didn't purposely bang want! What to do ar!"

Deja vu. I rest my case. Period.

IN these two cases above, any sane person would have apologised & offer to compensate eventhough it would not be accepted & just forgiven because of the small amount involved.It would be left at that. It would be civil enough then. Don't you think so?

Friday, 28 May 2010


So everybody would have known by now that the Malaysian Govt is going to gradually reduce & eventually abolish subsidies to a range of products & services.
Do not hit the panick button yet because there are some Mitigation Plans for low income rakyat to reclaim yet some money!(See table below;source:PEMANDU).
(CLICK image to magnify)

For the Mitigation Plan under Fuel & LPG,I am not sure what 'Single Vehicle Owner' means but if you are owning two vehicles now, you might want to transfer one to your wife or children now?

Mitigation Plans for these four items affect mainly the more than 60% of the rakyat of one race where their main livelihoods & services are dependable on. These mitigation plans will again need some braincracking and I think it will be back to square one as the definitions for the medical poor, low income household,fisherman & farmer remain as you thought it would be!

In Economics, a subsidy is a type of financial government assistance, such as a grant, tax break, or trade barrier, in order to encourage the production or purchase of a good. I thought this was I learned during my Economics lessons many donkey years ago, whereby subsidies will affect & assist in the Supply & Demand of certain essential goods & services, especially for those basic neccesities, like sugar,flour & rice. The problem actually lies in the control mechanism to prevent abuse of the subsidies, which the Govt said 'I have enough too'!

Apparently, the Govt thought they have had enough of these subsidies thing which are causing the loss of billions from the Govt coffer, stopping short of the subsidies given to other products/services,like the highway toll concessionaires and the independent power producers(IPPs). Of course, subsidies to cronies will continue because they are the ones who can manage the jobs well, as what one of our famous PM insisted.

At least the present PM is daring enough to push this subsidy thing though eventhough it is going to affect the BN in the next GE.

Monday, 26 April 2010

KAIZEN- what the Japs didn't tell you.

KAIZEN - as what most of you may know, is the Japanese management system of Continuous Improvement.

As contrast to the American system where there is quantum leap in improvement & the Chinese where the improvement is reformative (kai ge), the Japanese continuous improvement is a series of slow, slow improvement over a long period of time. That's why if you work in a Japanese company, you must improve (it is compulsory; in fact you need to churn out a Kaizen report every month without fail)but as long as you have a small result reported, it suffices. It keep you on your toes....that's where creativity comes in.

However, having worked in Japanese factories all my live until I retired, Kaizen results are very misleading indeed.That's why in world productivity reports by manufacturing companies over the world, Japanese companies,like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, etc always lead in the productivity figures & subsequently by countries, Japanese always lead the pack whenever the data are released by the Americans or by the Japanese productivity centre.

I could not get the latest figures published (something is wrong..anybody have the data?) but the 2002 figures may suffice as a guideline:
The Jap Productivity Centre reported that Japan ranked 18th among 30 OECD countries in productivity in terms of GDP(using dollars & PPP) over the Labour Force Employed.. Japan at USD54,264 was LAST among 7 major industries by countries. Among the non-OECD countries,Hong Kong & Israel were ranked high at USD50,000. China was ranked 51 out of 58 countries...which is a lot for everyone to ponder,seeing that for the last 10 years, China has consistently raked up more than 8.5 productivity growth rate,e.g. between 1990-2002, China was ranked 1st out of 81 countries in terms of growth rate at average of 8.5% while Japan was ranked at 37th at average of 3.7%.
However, in terms of Physical Labour Productivity, Japan was ranked 3rd out of 37 countries!With Ireland at No.1. In terms of productivity in Manufacturing Industries, Japan ranked 3rd out of 22 countries. This Physical Labour Productivity is measured by using Output over Amt of Invested Labour Hrs,i.e. man-hrs, NOT over Headcount.

Now for my scepticsm at the labour productivity data reported by the Japs:
owing to the immense pressure from top mgmt to churn out an impressive Kaizen results, and hence a high productivity figure,local mgmt have no choice but with the close-one-eye explicit approval from the Jap mgmt, the input man-hrs are mostly manipulated to denote a lower number. So,instead of man-hrs, headcounts are used! Of course, using Headcounts as input is allowed in productivity calculation but the unit of measurement differed & have to be specified instead of misleading the overall figures as XXX/man-hrs. What actually happened was that Japanese companies almost invariably depend on overtimes for their daily output. This is also the pressure on local mgmt to reduce labour intake & hence, a lower headcount reported in Japanese countries.In fact, when I was in Japan on numerous occasions since 1975 up to 1991, I have personally experienced the daily 3 hrs overtime which the supervisor will go around taking names 10 minutes before time-out. Most workers have to comply or else....That's another reasons why most Japanese never return home to their wives & families before 8pm. Either they are at work, or they are at other outlets (Pachinko,entertainment outlets,etc)or they will feel ashamed if neigbours see them home early.

Coming back to my experience,sometime overtime working hours are not computed into the overall productivity calculations but nevertheless, the units employed are still "per man-hr" (which should have been "per person"!)

The one other factor which the Jap mgmt would like to mislead the world at large is out-sourced labour,which directly affected the productivity calaculation:
Almost all Jap factories whether in Japan or overseas out-sourced their labour by about 40%. These out-sourced labour (in Malaysia,we called them 'contract labour')usually worked in the manufacturing factories concerned;they sometime wear the same uniforms as the factories employees but some out-sourced labour have their own separate uniforms. There are reasons to the choices.
These out-sourced labour are paid a flat rate (to their bosses).Their bosses in return may pay their employees overtime rate as necessary. However,note that the Jap manufacturing factories compute their labour productivity based on the flat rate which are normally lower than the standard rate paid to their own employees (less the compulsory employees fund, insurance, etc).
One important factor to note is that invariably, not all the out-sourced labour work time are taken into consideration when computing the labour productivity results;in fact, they are not reported at all...they are reported as overhead expenses! Of course, these out-sourced labour work tome calculation are selective & may vary each month; e.g.the main assembly line workers may be considered as direct labour & their work time taken into consideraion but the sub-assembly work labour may be discarded completely.
Out-sourced labour may also be equal to out-sourced work, whereby most of the components purchased are supplied in sub-assembled forms, thus reducing the number of direct labours required in the plant. Ingenious!

So now you know what I meant. In the past, the Americans & the World have been throwing accolades at the Japanese for their strict work ethics & high productivity figures..but I say, don't be misled; what you see is not what you get.

This is not to say that the Japanese Kaizen mgmt system is no fact I love the system because it makes everybody on their toes & really comes out with monthly improvements, no matter how small they are. There are no chances for lazy bones if their intentions are just to come to the factories & just perform their daily chores.

Anyone....Japanese factories? You may also use these methods to improve your company's productivity rate too.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Who invented the Pen Drive?

I happened to see a programme in Astro AEC today which highlighted the inventor of the pen drive was a young engineer from Sekinchan in the State of Selangor in Malaysia!

His name is Khein-Seng Pua. However, he migrated to Taiwan & the pen drive invention is accredited to the company he worked in.

Now this is very interesting indeed. There were a lot of contradiction as to the invention of the pen drive & nobody wants to be left out, Samsung, IBM, etc

See link here to read some interesting correspondence from another Malaysian inventor Robest Yong who hails from the Methodist Secondary School, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia.