Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Intro14: A Doctor in the House by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

This is the long awaited memoir by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

I had to place an order for it and wait two weeks before I could get a copy. When I got it, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It is about 800 pages thick but I managed to finish it in three days.

The book gives Mahathir’s own insight into his childhood, education, growing up both as a young man and a politician and finally his view of Malaysia’s development throughout his 22 years. I suppose it is easier to read when you know how his mind works!

The book is interesting reading because it is written typically Mahathir style – simple to understand and direct to the point. 

As usual, you get the feeling while you are reading the book that it does not matter to him whether you agree or disagree with what he has written. He just wants to state his views as he sees it. I actually like this attitude! For example, he writes “This is the problem with the Americans – they want their defence industry to make money and be commercially successful. So they are eager to sell their arms”. Or describing Anwar as “He appeared to be all things to all people”.

What I found impressive about the book is actually the simple manner in which it is written. He also recounts and analyses various vital events in the Nation’s history without complex language. Keeping in mind that this is the memoir of a former Prime Minster who has served almost 22 years, recounting diverse historical events is not an easy task. He discusses various political and national issues that arose during his premiership in a candid manner, sometimes probably too candid for some.

I find this book important to be read by everyone as it will give an insight into a Malaysian Prime Minister’s mind, particularly one who had undergone major political challenges during his time.

The title of the book is probably apt because he is the first doctor in the House of Commons (Dewan Rakyat) who became a Prime Minister.

It is surely a must read book.

Peace !

Monday, April 18, 2011

BN wins two thirds but Opposition makes impressive inroads

The recently concluded Sarawak elections appear to be an exception to the "pendulum" pattern that Malaysian voters are known for. If the pendulum pattern was at work, the opposition should have been trashed in this election because in 2008, the voters had swung to the opposition. The fact that DAP garnered almost 80% more seats than before shows that the voters may be showing some sort of stability and considered choice in the voting. This simply means that Barisan Nasional cannot anymore consider any seats as "fixed deposits" anymore. You can view the summary of the results here.

Secondly, there also seems to be an ugly development in Malaysian politics, which I had long suspected will surface - use of religion in elections and political campaigning. If this trend is not addressed by right thinking members of the society, we are charting a dangerous course for our Nation. In fact, I would say that political parties and politicians that abuse and manipulate religious sentiments to win votes should be rejected outright by the people.

Thirdly, I would see this as a further opportunity for BN to reinvent itself and also to identify objectively why it was unable to retain its otherwise "safe seats". My concern is that there will be charlatans within the BN who will once again thump their chests unrealistically to proclaim that "the people are with us" and continue with denial mode. The people want to be listened to.

Fourthly, SNAP's complete defeat in the elections may add further credence to MCLM which publicly broke away from any possible cooperation with them in the recent elections.

Fifthly, PKR's appeal seems to be dimming and I think their lack of performance in the Sarawak State elections are indicative of what they will experience in the coming 13th General Elections if they do not do a complete overhaul and restore democracy within their party. If DAP is able to successfully evolve into a truly multi racial party and project its image as such, it will overtake PKR as the leader party in the Pakatan. PAS, with its unique theological platform using the "Islamic brand" will take a very, very long time to become a truly national party - that too if it can undergo radical changes within.

Peace !

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sarawak Elections, Najib, and RPK

Sarawak Elections

To me (and I could be proven wrong), the State of Sarawak will go to Barisan Nasional. It is clear that the Federal Government's 1Malaysia policy has gone down well with the people generally.  This policy fires the imagination of the people and opens up many possibilities for the future towards the evolution of a truly 1Malaysia. As I have written before on this blog, Najib's adherence to the 1Malaysia policy is a political risk for him in UMNO. This is admirable. There has been many efforts done by the Government. (though much more could obviously be done). As the Prime Minister rightly put it, the Government is pushing itself towards the transformation stage. Whatever one may say about the weaknesses of Barisan Nasional (and it has lots!) and UMNO (which needs a serious overhaul!!!), Najib has shown to the people that he is willing to work long hours, walk his talk and push for reforms to be transformed in reality. 

Obviously, Najib practically cannot do much as he is actually a Prime Minister without an "electoral mandate". However, one cannot objectively deny that he has pushed this Government forward and one can judge on the policies that he has put forth. Probably, in theory one can say that he can be truly judged only when he gets a proper mandate though the Sarawak and 13th General Elections. Thus far he seemed to have sailed through various political challenges while pushing though various challenging policies.

In short, it is my view that Najib's 1Malaysia and his engagement style with the people that will deliver Sarawak to Barisan Nasional. And if this happens, the people will be watchng najib more closely to see how 1Malaysia can metamorphose to really benefit Malaysians.

Raja Petra's interview

I really fail to understand the excitement that is being caused by his interview. I have read his blogs before and this interview seems to be consistent with what I have read. He has never accused Najib or Rosmah of being involved in the Altantuya murder. This is very clear from his writings and the interview. It is just the low levels to which politicians can succumb to that has given the impression that Najib and Rosmah are linked to the unfortunate murder of Altantuya. I have always maintained that those who accuse the Prime Minsiter of this country with serious criminal offences such as these should be charged under criminal defamation pursuant to section 499 (500?) of the Penal Code. There has to be a limit in political spinning so that we can have a more civilised political environment.

Peace !

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


By Osman Hj. Kamaluddin

Off late, there has been a lot of hue and cry for changes in many parts of the world. The call for the changing of leaders, changing of government, changing of system, changing of policies and so forth could be seen happening everywhere, either by democratic action or by undemocratic actions. Nevertheless, these changes would only bear positive results if oneself change. Take for example of a student. We can change the school and the teachers but if the student doesn’t change, the results would still be the same i.e. back to square one!

To really change oneself is not that easy unless you acquire certain knowledge and/or intelligence. However, in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there is a ‘tool’ called NEUROLOGICAL LEVELS.

The levels are as follows:

  1. Environment – the where and the when
It is the place, the time and the people involved. You may be successful only in specific circumstances or with particular people – ‘being in the right place at the right time’.

  1. Behavior – the what
It is what we do. It includes thoughts as well as actions. Sometimes behavior is difficult to change because it is closely connected to other levels.

  1. Capability – the how
It is skill – behavior that is consistent, automatic and habitual. It includes both thinking strategies and physical skills. Capability at an organizational level manifests as business process and procedures. Capability is only visible in the resulting behavior because it lies within you.

  1. Beliefs and values – the why
They are the principles that guide our actions – not only what we say we believe, but what we act on. Beliefs give meaning to what we do. Values are the why we do what we do. They are what is important to us – health, wealth, happiness and love. On an organizational level, businesses have principles they act on and values they hold. They are part of the culture of the business. Beliefs and values direct our lives, acting both as permissions and prohibitions on how we act.

  1. Identity – the who
It is your sense of yourself, the core beliefs and values that define you and your mission in life. It is built throughout your life and is very resilient. We express ourselves through our behavior, skills, beliefs and values, but we are more than all or any of these. In business, organizational identity is the business culture. It emerges from the interaction of the other levels.

  1. Beyond identity – connection
It is the realm of ethics, religion and spirituality – your place in this world. For a business it means vision and how the business connects with the community and other organizations.

Neurological levels are not a hierarchy. They all connect to each other and all influence each other.

So, how to use the Neurological levels to effect changes? Below is a simple example.

Assuming you are not handsome or pretty since the day you were born! (Sounds familiar!) Because of this, you may feel timid, inferior and you may want to avoid interacting with others. It may also affect your confidence and this may create problem when attempting to learn and/or acquire certain skills. Bottom line, you may be having a miserable life!

From the above example, it would appear that the origin of all the problems is with your Identity – the who. Well, to solve the problem, if you have plenty of money, go for a plastic surgery! But, there again, it may not solve the all the problems and may create other problems. In NLP, you use – change other neurological level.

How? Let say you take up a hobby like bowling. You start playing, alone of course! Later, as you play more and more, you begin to like it. As you like it more and more, you notice, you also good at it. Maybe, some of your friends (you got to know at the bowling alleys) encourage you to joint a bowling competition. You later join and win. It didn’t stop there. You joint more competition and you win more. You competed in a major competition and you won. You are famous. Reporters rushing to interview you, photographers snapping pictures of you and your fans gathering around to get your autographs! At that stage, you are not BOTHERED WHETHER YOU ARE HANDSOME OR PRETTY! WALLA……ALL SOLVE!

How’s that for a change!

Osman Hj. Kamaluddin is a marine surveyor who has for the past many years researched and observed on accelerated learning techniques. He is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) & NLP Coaching.