Friday, August 29, 2008

MCeeing at an old friend's lair

I was at the Defense University this afternoon. My alumni, ANSARA, is organising a national level blood donation campaign, in anticipation of the upcoming Ramadhan fasting month. It was supposed to be kicked of at the former Armed Forces College. The official launching would be done tomorrow, at Jaya Jusco Klang by fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Our President, YB Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir was scheduled to officiate this kick of at the Defense University. Despite his busy schedule, he made time to ensure that the campaign was kicked of properly.

Left: Dato' Mukhriz and Lt. Jen. Ismail visiting the donours, mainly Defense University Cadet Officers

Our host is none other than the Vice Chancellor himself, Lt. Jen. Dato' Wira Ir. Ismail Samion, TUDM. He was the first Armed Forces College Director and when the instution was alleviated to Defense University, Lt. Jen. Ismail was made the first Vice Chancellor.

I and Lt. Jen. Ismail go quite a bit. We were first introduced back in 2001, when Dato' Mukhriz made me the lead researcher and later, Director of Materials, for a national level aerospace congress. It was organised jointly by ANSARA and MIGHT. Lt. Jen. Ismail, then a Brig. Gen., was the Chief Engineer for the RMAF. So we worked closely for the congress.

Right: ANSARA Deputy President Roslan Bani Amin, VC Lt. Jen. Dato' Wira Ir. Ismail Samion and yours truly

We maintained cordial relationship since then. We met several times as aviation industry associates' offices and events.

Mej. Kalam, TUDM, who is Lt. Jen. Ismail's adjutant and also an instructor at the Defense Univeristy, asked me to MC the kick of. I told him it would be more appropriate if someone from the Defense Univerisity were to do it. However Mej. Kalam and the ANSARA organising committee insisted that I do it instead, since I was a familiar face to both ANSARA and the Defense University VC.

Left: An honour for me

It was an honour for me. Lt. Jen. Ismail will be retiring soon. I wish him the best, after serving the armed forces for over thirty years and will be remembered in history as the first VC of the Malaysian Defense University. For all intent and purpose, Lt. Jen. Ismail is the pride of the Defense University.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I, "Commander Riker"

Often, I asked very close friends. Friends who observed close what sort of personality I really am. Friends who understand my moods and temperaments. What sort of management characteristics I posses?

Would I make a good leader?

Most of them, said "No". Some with a little bit of doubt. Others convincingly state their case. Most would agree I make a very good aide or lieutenant to a leader. But not the leader himself. I'd probably undertake task assigned by the Boss. But not as the Boss. One even said "You'd make a good 'Boss's boy' but a lousy 'Boys' Boss'! ".

I guess, it was enough.

Frankly, I have always thought of myself as an 'Executive Officer'. I have never seen myself as the 'Commanding Officer'. Not even a small unit. Maybe the COO. Not the CEO. Even when my CO is promoted to a bigger unit, I'd rather stay under his/her wing than be given of my own command.

Why? For a start, I'd make a darn good researcher for my leader. I' d present the case in total. However, I don't think I could put myself to be the one who makes the decision and stand by it, especially if it is a bad decision. I would rather 'advise' someone else to do it and support him or her in realising the execution, without actually fronting the full burden of responsibility.

Just like "Commander William T. Riker", the Executive Officer (XO) of NCC 1701E, "Enterprise E". He was the second-in-command of the Starfleet flagship under Captain Jean Luc Picard for many years, starting from "Enterprise D". Even when he was given the command of his own ship, USS Melbourne, he chose to remain onboard "Enterprise E" under Picard.

I see myself as Cdr. Will Riker (Obviously NEVER remotely good looking!). I see myself as Captain Matt Garth under Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher in the Midway campaign. I even see myself as Gen. George S. Patton under Gen. Omar N. Bradley in the post D-Day French expeditory campaign. In many ways, I want to be Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, in the Battle of Gettysburg, who took Lt. Gen. James "Pete" Longstreet's command and instruction. Armistead lost his life on that field, being loyal to Pete Longstreet's suicidal instruction.

Regardless what people might say, I believe I have the qualities of the XO of the "Enterprise E"; methodological, resourceful, innovative and above all, extremely loyal. In a day's work, the CO would to turn to me and say "Number One, make it so!", decisively.

P/S: Oh yes, I am a Trekkie!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An annoying habit....

I have this little annoying habit that I really should shed. I tend to rest my chin on my arm, whenever I am in concentration mode, especially listening to others. I don't see it is wrong but I know this is an annoying habit that I really should do without.

Right: Moderating a forum for Dato' Ruhanie Ahmad and Dato' Sazmi Miah in Petaling Jaya, 31 May 2008

I have been captured on film doing this, even in formal functions. One was even featured on a Malay daily the day after. I guess it was my first committee meeting anywhere, ever captured in a national level newspaper.

Left: Attending UMNO Youth Secretariat meeting in PWTC, as per captured by Berita Harian on 4 June 2008

I was in Teluk Intan in late June moderating a forum for a Bagan Datoh UMNO activist. It was a very interesting experience indeed. What was more interesting is that I had to set the tone and mood of the audience for the keynote speaker, in a session right after the forum.

Right: Moderating a forum for YB Dato' Ibrahim Ali, Dato' Ruhanie Ahmad and Dato' Mazlan Harun in Teluk Intan, 25 June 2008

This one is interesting. I was in fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's office for a private discourse recently. I asked him a question on the nationalism and patriotism of the young professionals and his reply was very comprehensive and well substantiated. He articulated in angles and perspective I thought unimaginable.

Left: At Perdana Leadership Foundation, 11 August 2008

It is simply refreshing to tap the mind of the Statesman. Of course in doing so, I was lost in the process.

This one was last weekend. I moderated for former Agriculture Minister and MB Kedah Tan Sri Sanusi Junid in an ANSARA forum in PWTC. He also addressed the issue of nationalism amongst the young professionals of the day, which I find so very mind stimulating.

Right: Moderating Tan Sri Sanusi Junid

There is another forum in November, which I will be asked to moderate again. This time, for three of the most respected minds in the legal fraternity. I hope I won't be captured on film again for resting my chin on my arm.

Anyhow, I know this person who has this an incurable habit of snapping her fingers whenever something pops up in the mind. I was told, she even does it on national TV, quite recently.....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Moderating Tan Sri Sanusi Junid

This morning, I was given the honour to moderate a session with former Kedah Menteri Besar and Minister of Agriculture Tan Sri Dato' Seri Sanusi Junid. My high school alumni, Alumni of Ex-MRSM (ANSARA) organised a "Sembang Sembang Coffee Corner ANSARA" session at Riverside Cafe, PWTC.

Right: Tan Sri Sanusi, the man, at the beginning of the session

Since I was moderating, I also was given the task to come up with the relevant topic and points of discussion. Therefore, on Wednesday, I met Tan Sri along with the ANSARA Deputy President Mohd. Roslan Bani Amin at his private office in Mont Kiara and we had a discussion on the New Economic Policy (NEP).

Left: Tan Sri Sanusi in articulation mode

So this morning, I asked Tan Sri Sanusi to speak on "NEP: The Perspective of Nation Building and Nationhood". He was supposed to have delivered a full blown speech at a Young Malay Professional Congress, originally planned for yesterday. Unfortunately, for some unavoidable circumstances, it was moved to November. So the organising committee decided to hold the 'Coffee Talk' session instead, to honour Tan Sri Sanusi's willingness to share his thoughts. It has been a while since ANSARA held any of these.

It was a heavy topic to discuss and he spoke at length, explaining from the historical, socio-political, socio-economical and global perspective. After a 1 3/4 hour speech, then there was the interactive session for the next 1 1/2 hours, where he took questions and opinion and elaborated further on the points he presented and pondered earlier.

Right: As Tan Sri Sanusi explained during Q & A, Roslan Bani Amin was really concentrating

Being the moderator of this session, I must admit to keep up with the points he presented was not an easy task. Especially when the issues and discussions raised and angled were very thought provocative. I personally asked Tan Sri Sanusi to dissect the issue of many Young Malay Professionals today, no longer have regards for the NEP, even though they themselves benefitted immensely under the various programs (whether they realised it or not). They just blame on the failure on the some of the wealth distribution / creation program implementation but conveniently failed to consider the many poverty eradication programs which were very succesful, especially education, infrastructure and economic development programs.

At the end of the event, I was glad that ANSARA gave me the honour.

Left: Catching up with small talk over coffee before the intellectual discourse

Earlier, before the session, we had breakfast with the recently removed President of International Islamic University Malaysia of eight years. We managed to get some small talk and he was reminiscing of the past, especially his experience whilst serving as the Cabinet Minister in charge of MARA.

He should be encouraged to chronicle his past experiences in a memoir.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Afternoon discussion with Tun Dr. Mahathir

We had our scheduled afternoon discussion with former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at his office in Putrajaya this afternoon. I invited a diversified group of friends for the discussion, which covered a wide ranging of areas. There should have been more but due to work commitments, they are unable to attend.

Right: Tun Dr. Mahathir addressing the guys

We were as eager and anxious to hear personally what the Statesman has to say as he was also 'charged' talking a small group of professionals like ourselves.

Left: Azrin captured this whilst I was getting a feedback on an issue I raised

There were a mixture of locally and abroad graduates, doing consultancy, professional services to MNC jobs. One was even a scientist, who had her education entirely in Europe. Our common bond; all sons and daughters of the New Economic Policy and damn proud to be developed under it.

It was very inspiring to tap the most precious mind in Malaysian history, with experience and exposure as far back as for than 60 years ago, immensely contributing to society.

Right: Getting personal autographs

At the end of the session, some of us had asked for his autograph for the newly launched "Mahathir Mohamad" cartoon biography by E. Yu. I was fortunate enough to be present for the launching of the book last Friday at Sime Darby Convention Centre, to mark this year's annual Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Lecture Series.

Left: I and Shahzad with Tun Dr. Mahathir

Some of us captured the fine moment for our eternal remembrance, including yours truly. It was a very good afternoon indeed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ahirudin "Rocky" Attan quoted me

Primero blogger Ahirudin "Rocky" Attan, who was the Executive Editor for Malay Mail and Head Honcho for Business Times not too long ago, quoted me in his column in the Singapore's New Paper.

This was about his article on Tunku Mahkota Johor YAM Tunku Ibrahim Ismail Ibni Sultan Iskandar, the heir apparent to the Johor throne which so many Johoreans love and respect. Recently, Rocky had the opportunity to bond with the 'rakyat prince' in his annual Kembara Mahkota Johor, on Harleys.

This is not the first time Rocky quoted me. The immediate the one before this was when Rocky wrote about a 23 year old aide Mohd. Saiful Bukhari Azlan made a Police report against former Deputy Prime Minister and now PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim last month, which caused a lot of attention. In some ways, I have been his reference in his articles so many times already.