Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Takeaways - Hai 2008

Kuala Terengganu from Heritage

As usual every year we strategize and plan for best performance in terms of works, family and social achievements. Some of us pass with flying colors while others may just scrap through. But one of the most important aspects of the exercise is the lesson learnt and our ability to share it with friends who may benefit from our life experience.

I would like to kick the ball rolling by sharing some of my key takeaways for year 2007 and the lesson learnt from them, hopefully it’s a reminder for me and beneficial to my cyber friends. Further on I will tag three other friends to share their 2007 key takeaways that may be useful for us to navigate the 2008 challenges.

After more then ten years of its inception the company I am working with decided to undertake major reorganization exercise to meet the current and future challenges and expectations. Being a subsidiary of corporate giant and member of the fortune 500 companies the exercise has to go through proper process, procedures and facilitated by the competent person from Holding Company. We spent a few days in Cameron Highlands, Kuala Terengganu and five star hotels in KL to brain storm on the reorganization. There were two school of thoughts on the reorganization, one in favor of putting all company business under one division (option 1) while the other putting it under two divisions (option 2). By putting the business under one division the Head of the Division will certainly get his grade promotion while by having two business divisions the Heads may get their promotion or may not depending on their hay points and accountabilities.

The option 2 will better suit the company for current and future business expansions while giving more opportunities for the young leaders to progress in their career. Of course there were big deliberations and arguments on the two options. Being the proponent of the option 2 it was rather tiring trying to convince what I felt was the logical path to be taken for the future of the company and staff. At last with some modifications option 2 was accepted and named Option 3.

Lesson learnt was that to push through noble ideas we need persistence, intelligence and majority support. You may end up not popular to small quarters but the majority will eventually see your sacrifice and in the years ahead you will be proud of your contributions to the organization. The set back be ready to miss your quick gain/promotion.

It is normal for working couples to strive very hard to ensure their career success at times forgetting that their children also need much attention and support to be successful in their studies and life. The beauty about God creations is that our children may look the same but they are full of differences in terms of their capability, endurance and emotional stability. My first daughter was smart, fast learner and scoring straight A’s is not much of a problem to her but my second daughter is a bit slow in learning. She did not get straight A’s in her UPSR but then worked very hard to ensure she did as well as her sister in PMR. With her determination, hard work and full support from us, especially my wife she scored straight A’s in her PMR. Her success gave a real joy to all in the family.

Lesson learnt we should not quickly give up when our children fail to achieve excellence in fact we must spend more time to assist them. We must help them overcome their weaknesses and sharpened their strength. In the process we will understand each other better. We must also be ready to sacrifice some of our personal success to ensure we could achieve more wholesome success for the family.

For many years my family and I have been blessed for being able to give out some Zakat to the less fortunate. The sweetness of giving could only be felt by those blessed being able to give ….. actually the amount doesn’t matter but most importantly the spirit to give, what more to give when our business or financial position was on the decline.

Usually I will give part of my Zakat to “ Pusat Pungutan Zakat” and the rest to less fortunate family members and orphanage centers. In 2006 I have decided to give all my Zakat to the “ Pusat Pungutan Zakat “ and my less fortunate family members only. It was an easier option without going personally to the orphanage centers and most of my payments can be deducted from my income tax. The result was my life was less cheerful and blissful in comparison to the previous years. May be it was just a coincidence or my subjective feelings for the year.

In 2007 I decided to go back to my formal routine and improved on it by giving more to the less fortunate directly. I was also given the opportunity to give to a Madrasah in Myanmar when I met the Principal by coincidence at my in law house. Despite the various challenges and trying times, 2007 has been a wonderful year for my family and me. The good old feeling is back in me, I guess the lesson learnt here is that the more we give direct to the needful the more blessed we are …….. blessed in knowing the real person who received our gift and seeing the light in their eyes.

I hereby cordially invite - Zabs, Elviza & Mat Salo to share their 2007 Key Takeaways to our bloggers friend. Happy New Year & All The Best for 2008 to all my bloggers friends.
Some of the Takeaways 2007 from our bloggers friends. Many thanks for sharing .

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kak Teh & Awang Goneng @ BTS

Isn't it Lovely ... Kak Teh & Awang Goneng
It was a very special occasion for very special friends. Happy 28th Wedding Anniversary to Wan A Hulaimi and Zaharah may the past happiness flourish as the years goes by. Of course to Awang Goneng well done on the success of GUiT, it is an inspirations to other bloggers who may in future follow your footsteps in publishing their exciting entries.
Bowl of Tea .... Bloggers Tea Session

Many thanks to fellow bloggers Zawi, Akmal, Zabs, Mat Salo, Elviza & Luqman, Dr Bubbles, Ancient Mariner, Kak Teh and Awang Goneng who made the meeting possible, full of laughter and memorable. We finally put a face to the virtual names. Many thanks to Kak Teh and Awang Goneng who made the time to be with us beside their hectic scheduled and having to rush for a wedding after that.
Name to a Face, Zabs, Akmal & Zawi

Based on the success of the Bloggers Tea Session ( BTS ) we should try and arrange similar BTS in the future. It’s great to be able to communicate virtually on a regular basis but the meeting will definitely foster higher level of friendship, sharing and comradeship among us.
Mat Salo @ Work
Dr Bubbles in Actionnnn

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Voyage 3 - First Trip

For the seven of us the midnight flight to London was our first experience on a plane but everybody was rather well behaved and excited on our first trip abroad. The service and food on the flight was better then what you get flying MAS today. We landed at Heathrow Airport early in the morning and it was still dark when they took us to our bed and breakfast hotel. It was cold but the heather and excitement of finally in London kept us warm.

Before noon we were taken to the Malaysia Hall to meet Pak Wan the student council. After the registration at MSD we were given a pep talk by Pak Wan for us to keep our focus on our studies and not to be swept away on the new culture and lifestyle that we are going to face in Liverpool. Being fresh and obedient we listened without much questions. We were in London for a few days before taking a train to Liverpool. My quick observations, there were two types of Malaysians in London. One was the very friendly and concerned, especially to us the new comers and they were willing to spend time talking and advising us on the life in UK. The second type was arrogant and unfriendly Malaysians, they will not even response to your greetings or talk to you, maybe they felt that their eyes were already turning blue and hair creeping blond.

We were more then happy to leave London for Liverpool, our final destination. At the Lime St. Station, Liverpool we were received by Cadet Officer Manoharan. He was very angry with me for mistaking him as a porter when I asked him to carry my luggage. Sorry Sir your uniform made you look like a porter.

Anyway we were taken to Aulis the training centre and hostel for Ocean Fleets Ltd the famous and one of the largest shipping companies in UK those days. The facilities and hostel was quite good and the warden friendly. The first few weeks in Liverpool was quite challenging because the local could not understand our English while we were lost on their scouse slang. The only positive part was that all the girls and Mak Cik Salleh there called us “Love” …. How are you Love ….. Charrr Love ….. some of us began to feel that the girls were falling in love with us.

We did go to the Malaysia & Singapore Club at Jermyn St, Liverpool 8 to get the taste of Malay food. The Pak Cik sailors there were very friendly and happy to receive us …. the budding mariners. We kind of remind them of their adventurous and care free sailing days. In fact they started sharing with us their sailing experiences and gave various good tips to survive the sailing life.

After undergoing two months induction course on seamanship and maritime safety we were ready to be sent on board as Midshipman. Three of us were sent MV Flintshire, a Glen Line general cargo ship trading the Far East route. The ship will take us back to Penang, Port Klang, Singapore, Manila, Cebu, Hong Kong, Taiwan and back to Rotterdam and London. Fancy that sailing back to Malaysia just after two months of flying out to London. By now we were clearer on what going to happen to our life for the next ten years. It will takes us about ten years of sandwich courses between college and sea time for us to become a marine professional - Master Mariner or in my words Master of the Sea. In fact two thirds of our time will be spent on board roaming the seas on all types of ships, like Vasco Da Gama, Magellan and Henry the Black @ Panglima Awang in the early days. At College we will be taught on the theory of seamanship, navigation, ship stability, cargo work, shipping business law, meteorology, astronomy, naval architecture, marine engineering etc. While at sea we are expected to put the theory to works. In fact we are going to do a parallel program where at the end we will receive both our academic and professional qualifications. In the end we must be competent to sail the ship to any parts of the world …… takes her pass the storm and depressions to reach the port safe and sound. I know ten years going to be a long voyage but then it’s the route that I have chosen …. So open sea here I come.

The crew of MV Flintshire was all British with the exception of three of us Malaysians. But they were all friendly and professionals, in fact I could say that all seafarers are global people without much prejudice on culture or race. We settled in the half deck behind the ship funnel separated from the crew and officers …. It’s going to be the home for the six of us midshipman for the next four months. Our ship sailed down from English channel to the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, Indian Ocean and finally to the Straits of Malacca before calling Penang and Port Klang.

As a Midshipman, we have double life on board, one as ship crew and the other as budding deck officer. As a crew we have to do all the dirty and heavy jobs like chipping, painting, greasing, washing down the deck, rigging and securing derricks, lashing and securing cargoes and all other jobs that the crew chose not to do. This is what they say learning from right at the bottom ….. some of my friends start to wonder why the hell we were doing all this after scoring good grades in MCE and given multiple choices to study abroad. Have we chosen the wrong course or getting soft??? The other life as budding deck officer wasn’t that bad at all. We put up smart uniform learn how to use all the navigation equipments on the bridge, shoot the sun and stars using sextant to get our ship positions in open seas, practical aspects of ship handling and emergency maneuvers/drills and many other duties including to be an officer and a gentleman.

Before we took off to sea all the six of us helped the crews to secure cargoes on deck and in the holds. Secured the twenty four derricks that we have on board and took the soundings of all tanks and cofferdams on board. It was important to ensure that the ship was fully battened down to face possible bad weather at sea. Any heavy movements of cargo or equipments in bad weather will change the ship stability and may result in the capsizing of the ship. Sailing was not much of a problem to me because of my experience on fishing and passenger boats in Mersing, the difference was that I am now on board a bigger ship and oceans.

The weather was good to us even as we crossed the famous Bay of Biscay but as we entered the Indian Oceans heavy depressions hundreds miles away gave us the taste of wind force 4 to 5 resulting in heavy rolling and pitching to our ship. Our Ship Master Capt. Black Mac was an old sea dog, very serious, competent and highly disciplined. I hardly see him smile and he always talked in a Commanding note. Every Sunday morning he will inspect our half deck wearing his white gloves ….. he just runs his fingers on our deck head and beds ….. if his gloves turn brown or dirty we will all be reprimanded. At times he even lifted out mattresses to see if there is any rubbish down there ….. all this are very unfamiliar to me but surprisingly we all take it in stride and as a challenge to become a good officer.

As we approached Sabang to enter the Straits of Malacca, I could see the glitter and smiles on all the crew faces ….. everybody was joking and laughing as if we were going to a party. The thought of reaching our first port in the Far East after one week at sea was such a wonderful feelings.