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Why I do what I do?

I was always busy building businesses to grow bigger as an entrepreneur to dominate the world. It was always about how much I can achieve with my life. After 10 years working on it intensely, my health was badly affected. I was eating unhealthily, lots of late nights and I was not sleeping at all. Worst of all, I was afraid to visit the doctors. So for the last 4 years, I decided to only work on only meaningful work that made a difference to make lives better.


I decided to terminate businesses and people within my group that did not make a difference that was not meaningful. I decided that I was NOT going to carry the weight of people with me that did not go the distance with me. I decided to lose all the burden and baggage of unhealthy (negative, free riders and people with bad intentions people) I decided to live a healthier life that is worth living. So today at 44 I am feeling pretty awesome and I look forward to many more years ahead and it all starts with me taking care of my life as I cannot provide if I am not healthy.


I have since lost 25kgs in total and I am still working out in the gym every morning and watching what I eat everyday. I am still a work in progress and I intend to live the rest of my life healthily. I encourage you to do so as your internal body system will drive your positive and motivated life forward. With desire, the belief and massive actions, anything is possible. The question is are you ready to make that sacrifice to get to where we want to get to? Or are you just here till the next thing comes along? I will not be waiting for you if you are not all in and all out in this awesome journey ahead. Those that do not will be removed and I wish you all the best in your future. And those that do will have an awesome and amazing journey ahead with us!


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2017 is a BIG YEAR for ATCEN Education Group

Most of you would have heard me share about what is to happen this year for us. If everything goes as planned, we WILL BE RIDING ON THE NEW WAVES OF EXPONENTIAL GROWTH coming soon.


I am very excited and I am looking forward to ensure that we achieve our desired goals. Please remember that the holidays are over and it is now full steam ahead.


I cannot do this alone and the team MUST step up and pull your weight to do your part. This next few months and this year will be a defining moment for our next phase of growth. We need to do things we have never done before. We need to go above and beyond our normal call of duty. There has never been a better time than now for us to make this happen. We must NOT miss out on this window of opportunity. And to those that do, I have eyes to see and I know who are those that have gone above and beyond to deliver desired results. Do not look back and regret. I know I will not.

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I will only believe when I see you at the finish line with me. Then we celebrate!

Over the many years I have shared my vision and dreams to achieve what most think is the unthinkable and unachievable. As per my presentation on 10th December 2016 on our strategic directions for the ATCEN Education Group, I have committed to work towards getting our group of companies listed so that we can all benefit and become shareholders of the companies by 2020. I will tell you that I cannot do this alone. I can only do this together with everyone putting their heart, mind and efforts.


I have also been told over the years by many of you that said that you wanted to be part of this tough but amazing journey. Something that can really make that difference to make lives better. I believed you. I also do understand that people will have different needs at different stages of their lives. But let me remind you one thing in our lives. We are what we do. Not what we say we will do.

So till next year, I will only believe when I see you at the finish line with me. Then we will celebrate.

Have an AWESOME 2017 and Happy New Year as we move towards making more differences to make lives better.

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Committed GOALS!

A lot of people set goals. Some achieve their goals but most do not. If you have set a goal and did not achieve it, the reason is simple. You are just NOT committed to your goals.


What is a committed goal? A committed goal is when you want to achieve a clear and definite objective. You want to deliver the results that you have set. You put aside all distractions. You focus and you take massive actions. You will NOT take no as an answer. You get what you want with whatever it takes with integrity. In simple words, once you have decided on the committed goals, DIE DIE must do. DIE DIE must achieve.


Please answer the following 3 questions:

  1. Did you set a committed goal to be achieved for 2016 for the company and yourself?
  2. Are you achieving it?
  3. If you have not, you still have 31 Days to do so. The year is NOT over with. You still can achieve your committed goals. Get there.

NOW is a good time to work on it and get it done. Not tomorrow. Not next year. NOW!

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Year End - Rest or Pick up the Pace?

In general everyone looks forward to year end as it’s a time of celebration and for most people its the holiday season to go on holidays. I beg to differ. Everyday is a time for celebration if we achieve the desired results that we have set from the beginning. Everyday can be a holiday if we have achieved our set targets.


The problem is that most people live to celebrate and go for holidays without realizing that most do not deserve it just yet. In life we do not work for work life balance. If you are always looking for work life balance, then you are really never going to be truly successful. In life we must just look forward to having an awesome life. I like to call it work life integration. If you are able to live life with meaning to deliver results, than you will not be looking for year end holidays and celebrations as everyday can be celebrated and can be a holiday.


I strongly advice you to go all out and pick up the pace as we close of the year. You will realize that those that put in the extra effort when others are slowing down will gain and benefit for the beginning of the year. This is not the time to slow down. This is the time to step it up and close off with a big bang. Finish strong and an awesome year awaits us in 2017.

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The 4 Key Strategies - Part 4 of 4

I share with you a portion of Chapter 1 of my new book that will be published in 2017.

Remove People That Does Not Fit Our CULTURE


Before I even started my own business 13 years ago, I had many years of experience building both big and small businesses. I have always understood what it took to buy, fix and sell businesses. I have always understood how to grow businesses fast with the number 1 resource – people. However, leading people and managing businesses that did not belong to me had a total different meaning and experience all together when it came to the real pressure of becoming my own boss with real bills to pay at the end of every month. When I first started my own business, the pressure was real. The bills I had to pay were even more real. This is when I learnt the real lesson that people was NOT the greatest asset to a business.



A) Setting high accountability standards.

Like most entrepreneurs and business owners, we are always suckers for wanting to do the unthinkable to create value and make a difference. We are curious and we want to know how to inspire, motivate and encourage our people to do more, work hard, and smarter to differentiate from the previous places that. We want to be able to provide a place of employment that could be so different that could attract and appeal to talented people to work with us. So I researched, read and applied the best practices that well known global organization put in place to make things better for their people to work and achieve. And yes I was one of the suckers that believed that by providing a more creative workspace and office with continuous monetary and non monetary rewards will definitely keep my people excited and motivated.

I wanted to be the Google of Malaysia. I wanted to be known as the best employer and the best place to work in. This is where I got it so wrong as I was building a business focusing on all the wrong reasons. If I wanted to build a great business, we need to have high accountability standards by everyone in the organization. That means everyone needs to carry their weight to take the company forward. NOT depended on me the boss to carry everyone forward. If you do not produce results, you will have to go.


B) Develop capabilities to achieve collective mastery.

After 10 years of continuously and consistently working hard building a great place to work for my people, I began to feel tired. I started to feel angry. I started to feel that I was taken for granted all these years building a business for my people and no matter what I did for them, they will always ultimately leave me for all different reasons. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes their fault and sometimes it was just nobody’s fault. It was just a progression of life expectations, desires and growth that was no longer a match for both parties.

It was also at this time that my beloved mother passed away from a grueling battle with cancer. I was also getting a little older and with the years of wear and tear, and intense working lifestyle I decided to take a step back to reflect on the past in order to move forward. I realized and learnt that the number 1 resource that I have always believed to grow businesses – PEOPLE was absolutely wrong as I was working too hard to keep people motivated and encouraged. When things were working well, I invested in both monetary and non-monetary resources to keep my people motivated and encouraged. When things were not going too well, I invested even more as I believed that as long my people were motivated they would perform better. This is where I had a wake up call and a real rude awakening. I had gotten it all wrong.


The people we hire, develop and trust to help us grow our businesses can either make you or break you. After years of building businesses, I finally came to the conclusion that people are NOT the greatest assets of a company. In fact your people can be a huge liability. Over the years I have experienced trusted employees that we empower to do things lie, cheat and steal from our businesses. This is even after consistent and continuous sharing on the critical importance of integrity in the way we conduct our business internally and externally.

This is when you will learn that highly competent people without integrity can be very dangerous to your business. We must never allow the growth of our businesses to be led by business growth for the sake of growing. This is also why we must never lower and negotiate on our standards for the required competency and character of the people that we work with to build sustainable businesses. This is where you will learn that ONLY GREAT PEOPLE are assets to your business. And by that, great people are by definition highly competent people with high character. Great people know why they join you in the first place. Great people have their own mission and objectives that are aligned to your vision.

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From Strategy to Execution - The 4 Key Strategies - Part 3 of 4

Reduce Business COST


The market is changing way too fast and it has made doing business more difficult and challenging. The economic uncertainty has also not helped with the continuous rising cost in almost everything especially doing business. The 6% GST has also not helped and it is expected to increase further by next year. So what do we do about it? How do we overcome such challenges?


The good thing is that we have already been planning for this since 2015. We have streamlined our businesses to be more focused on its resources. We have sold & closed non-core and non-profitable businesses since 2015. Our focused is now solely on education. We have also streamlined on program & service offerings. We have also put in place processes to have better internal control systems to manage and control internal/external resources. Thanks to Carole. A growing organisation must have a solid foundation and internal control system. If you get questioned by Carole or you do not get things approved so easily, you do not blame her for making your work life difficult. It is purely MY INSTRUCTION and DECISION. If you do not like to a grow with us further, I wish you all the best as you take your own directions further. This is fine as people come, people go. Most importantly, come on a good note and leave on a good note. The business world is a very small world.


We have a clear direction and focus on where we want to be by 2020. A Public Listed Company. 2017 will be a very big year for us and you will all hear more on 4th December 2016 in our ATCEN Education Group Strategic Direction & Business Plan Meeting. Lock that date down as I will share with you what we will be doing in the next 4 years. As such, the remaining of 2016 is critical for us to put in place the right team and right system to grow & sustain our businesses to achieve our very own Vision 2020.


For the team’s better understanding I have explained the cost reduction strategies below.



A) The idea of doing more with less.

Whenever you decide to do something within the ATCEN Education Group, always ask if this is going to achieve more with less. More in terms of ROI, results, revenue & relationships. And Less in terms of expenses, resources, people & time. If you can just focus on whatI have just stated, you will be able to help the organisation to reduce more cost in doing business. Leverage on technology and we will be serving even more as we launch our new Learning Management System for PORTMAN College. Asia is waiting for us.


B) Optimising on what we already have.

Over the many years of doing business, I have personally experienced our team members taking it lightly and for granted that we will always have budget to buy/ purchase whatever we needed as we do spend lavishly on equipments and facilities. Due to the incompetency of some previous staff that did not care enough to handle our resources and equipments, and also did not return items to its respective place, things are always broken and lost. This has also caused a lot of unnecessary expenses. So before you think about asking the company to spend on anything, please ensure that you have checked carefully and asked enough question within the organisation to make sure that we have exhausted all resources before we purchase/ buy anything.

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From Strategy to Execution. The 4 Key Strategies – Part 2 of 4

This is Part 2 of 4 on the 4 Key Strategies moving forward for the ATCEN Education Group.

2. Create GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES

Most would think that it is impossible to create growth opportunities in such uncertain economic environment. I totally disagree. In good times everyone seems to go full force to capture market share. But in bad times, most will scale back and have the look and see attitude. On the contrary, believes that the best time to capture market share is to capitalise on the bad times where things are cheaper and when the competitors are struggling. So how we really plan to create growth opportunities?Here you go.



A) Develop new online products & services targeting the 4 Billion ASIAN & 600 Million ASEAN markets.

The Malaysian market is just too small. If we are going to be THE Education Group to be reckoned with, we will need to focused on a 4 Billion population market in ASIA. We intend to bring education to the world ONLINE. This is why you start to see the organisation focusing on developing online products & platforms to capitalised on the Asian market growth.



B) Leverage on Government International Market Development Grants and Soft Loans.

We are taxpayers and it is only right for us to get back what we deserve from the government. The government do have programs for International market development grants & soft loans to help Malaysian companies grow. As I write this we have already executed our plans and submitted our first application for approval. It will happen. Now its to continue leveraging on the government.

Whatever we have presented, we will now need to stay focus to implement. A Good strategy means nothing if we do not execute.

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From Strategy to Execution – The 4 Key Strategies – Part 1

Since last year when I presented on the ATCEN Transformational Plan, within a 6 months period I have ensured that the strategies put in place were executed effectively. As such, the company is doing much better and in a very good position to grow once a again.

After last Saturday’s Mid Year Review, I have presented on our 1st Half of the year results. We have a shortfall of 20% from the set target for Mid Year. This is fine as we were still working hard to put the house in order and the market conditions have not been that good. However, we are focused and ready with new strategies and plans to ensure that we achieve our set target for the financial year of 2016.

A lot of times when I present strategies, most team members are in awe and think the strategies are amazing. However they either do not understand how to implement or they do nothing after the presentations and end up as casualties from the organisation. Meaning they get terminated or they leave the organisation realising there is no longer a good fit with what the organisation is trying to do and achieve.

Let me remind you on the 1st Strategy

Increase MARKET SHARE

A) Commit to a focused Education Group Brand Identity.

This is really about how we communicate our brand from every aspect of our businesses. This is about how we conduct our behaviours in regards to education. This is how we provide exceptional educational experience for our students & clients from every learning touchpoint. We must be seen as the organisation that develops and educate the people in Asia.

1. When people ask you what does your company do? Your response will be, "We Develop People through Education.”
2. What is so special about your organisation? Your response will be, “We are a One Stop Education Provider”
3. Why is your organisation different from the rest? Your response will be, "Our Culture of Making a Difference"


B) Capture Market & Mind share through Aggressive Online & Social Media Marketing.

Mindshare - This is when we want people to always remember us by. We want people to associate us with People Development & Education. When we own the mindshare of the customers, we will win the market share.

Marketshare – This is when we want to dominate our niche areas by leveraging on online & social media marketing. We have put in place a very heavy budget to advertise and market on FB and other channels on social media. You will start to see even more aggressive marketing online starting this September.

Look out Asia as we are coming for you!

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The Power of NO BULLSHIT!
  1. Over the years I have worked with all kinds of races. It does not matter if you are Chinese, Malay, Indian and all others, bullshit does not recognise your race. Bullshit is bullshit. It stinks the same.
  2. Over the years I have worked with all kinds of seniority. It does not matter if you are old or young, experience or inexperience, bullshit does not recognise your age or experience. Bullshit is bullshit. It stinks the same.
  3. Over the years I have worked with all kinds of competency level. It does not matter if you are competent or incompetent, bullshit does not recognise your competency. Bullshit is bullshit. It stinks the same.
    1. Moral of the story:

      Do yourself a favour and CUT OUT all the BULLSHIT in your life and I guarantee you will live an awesome life.

      And YES here’s to building a team of NO BULLSHIT!!!

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OUR CULTURE

A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

If you have noticed by now that we have a very strong culture in PORTMAN and the ATCEN Education Group. As we grew over the years, we made some mistakes by hiring the wrong people. We had to pay for it with lots of time and resources wasted. Some with selfish intentions and some that were good on paper but totally incompetent. And of course those that just did not work with the team or just did not care enough to work at all.

Since last year when I presented the Business Transformation Plan for 2016, I have taken drastic and very focus actions to remove, replace and retrain people that can and will perform and produce results. 6 months has passed and the right foundation – The Culture needed is in place. It’s not just in place for the staff but also with the students. With the MOST important ingredient in place, we are NOW ready to grow the size of the team again with new blood that are passionate to help us move forward.

In less than a month, you will find 10 new team members joining us in the ATCEN Education Group. All are our own students being groomed for the last 2 years to take on new challenges and roles to help grow us further. Remember that they will be your colleagues and no longer your students. You will all need to buck up and upkeep high performance, productivity and most importantly quality in everything that you do. It will be embarrassing for you if you are being corrected by your former students. They are told to do everything they need to by abiding by the rules and regulations. Integrity is No. 1. They will not tolerate anything less. I will not be tolerating anything less. We ONLY want highly competent team members with high character. Those that desire to work with a team that wants to grow the Group for the betterment of everyone and most importantly our students.

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Remove, Replace & Retrain

When I presented the above in our Annual Strategic Direction & Business Plan Meeting last year, many saw but did not seem to understand as their behaviours remained the same.

I am a firm believer that everyone should be given an opportunity to change and become better to perform and align to the organization’s focus and directions.

If you read back on all my previous blog postings, you will notice very clear communication as to my expectations for all our team members. If you are still not clear on this, please read this carefully again as I will NO longer tolerate any bad behaviours and the "I do not care attitude” or the “Its ok wanlah attitude" from anyone. You either follow, perform, produce or I will tell you to leave and wish you all the best.

So for the most part, you would have by now noticed that I have not renewed or terminated your colleagues that have not been performing or does not meet my fundamental requirements. If you did not, then you will be next on the termination list.

I always want to be clear with my expectations. I do not like to surprise anyone. I want you to grow with us. But I no longer tolerate any nonsense from anyone. You must perform and respond to my expectations. If not, then this is not the organization for you.

If you are with me, you are expected to go all out. If not, then I wish you all the best.

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Results do not lie. Sincerity does not lie.

If we are sincere is everything that we do, we will achieve desired results. The question you will need to ask yourself is, are you sincere? Are you suitable and capable for what you are doing? Are you performing to deliver desired results? How will you know? Results do not lie. Sincerity does not lie.

We cannot be expecting a fish to compete with a monkey to climb a tree. The fish will lose. (This is your SUITABILITY).

We cannot be expecting a small fish to survive in the vast and dangerous oceans with Tsunamis, Huge Waves and Thunders. The small fish will die. (This is your CAPABILITY).

If you are a small fish, its best for you to look for the aquarium that is safe, calm and more suitable for you. Nothing wrong with that. Just what is best for you.

  1. For those of you moving on, I wish you all the best to find what you are suitable and capable of doing to achieve your desired dreams and goals.
  2. For those of you that are still with us, remember that Results do not lie. Sincerity does not lie.
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Non Performance is NOT accepted!

Over the years, I have worked extremely hard to create and provide lots of opportunities for others to grow and build a career with us. I still do that but only for those that work hard and care about delivering results.

As my own in-house developed and trained human capital graduates from PORTMAN College, the expectation from the current team is even more. Always remember that everyone is replaceable. Myself included.

Just to share that it is now the employers market. We posted for a Lecturer position on Jobstreet. In 48 hours, we have received more than 435 applicants.

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Trust & Credibility vs Results & Performance

How many of us really do understand the above words? If you do not then you have a very big problem.

You see, it will take you 3 years to build trust and establish credibility and 3 seconds for you to destroy it all. When you are entrusted with a responsibility and a task, you are required to deliver on it. Once you promised and committed to it, you must get it done. I get very annoyed working with team members that do not deliver on their promise. I do not like working with people that do not deliver desired results. I do not like to work with people that are indecisive. I do not like to work with people that are slow in response. I do not like to work with people that are provided with an opportunity and does nothing with it. I do not like to work with people that make empty promises. I am a very results driven man that believes in integrity. If you do not have this fundamental and cannot work with this understanding, then I cannot work with you. Please do remember that you are working with a boss and yes I am your boss. I pay you a salary and I do not owe you a living. When you are paid a salary, you are expected to deliver results and perform. I do not run a non profit organisation or a charitable or religious organisation. I run a focused, profit driven organisation that makes a difference. If your values and ideals are not aligned with mine, I advice you to not work with me as you will get very miserable. Honeymoon is over as we prepare for a very tough 2016. We are ready. However we need to be extremely careful and cautious. We have to deliver and do what it takes to not just survive but excel. And we will excel in 2016. There is one direction and single minded focus to grow our education group to educate and produce business leaders that makes a difference.

I strongly advice you to go beyond your normal call of duty. That means if you think you work hard, work harder. If you work smart, work smarter. Make sure you are doing the right thing and do things correctly. 2016 is not a year of making mistakes that causes us to waste and lose money. We need to reduce cost in everything that we do and and focus on achieving profits. No excuses, no blame and no complains. Get it done. Solve all problems. That’s what you are hired to do.

I drive results and expect performance. If you do not do what is expected of you, then you will not have a very good career with me and it will not last very long. I want to be clear and communicate how we will work together. If you can do this, we will do well together and you will have a great career with us. If you do not, then I wish you all the best.

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The Year is Ending?

How many of us really do understand the above words? If you do not then you have a very big problem.

Most people look forward to the year end holidays and celebration festivities. You really should if you have been working very hard and achieving desired results. However if you have been lazy and did not achieve much for this year, I strongly advise you to work extraordinary hard to end of the year and start the new year with a big bang. Time waits for no one. And results will speak loudest for us to move forward. Talk is cheap. Results is what we believe in.

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ATCEN Education Group Transformational Plan

As we get close to ending a very tough 2015, there are many uncertainties that looms over us in 2016. With warnings of global recession, economic downturn, Malaysians losing jobs and rising cost of living in Malaysia, we have only one option.

The ONLY option we have is to perform exceptionally well for 2016. I am a firm believer that in every crisis situation there lies an abundance of opportunities. As an organization, we have taken a strategic decision to ensure that we are well prepared for the growth of the organization for 2016 and moving forward.

Tough decisions were made and will continue to be made to ensure that we only have highly competent professionals with high character working with us. For those that do not understand what this means, let me make it very clear to you. We will ONLY have team members that will perform and deliver desired results. Our work values of Integrity must be upheld. That means we do not cheat, lie or steal. We will take legal actions on those that has abused the trust of the organizaton. Our work philosophy of not blaming, complaining and giving excuses must be abided by. We do not appreciate laziness and we sure do not condone people that do not care enough about what they do. We are now moving towards a rigorous process of ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of everything that we do.

I will be sharing more on the 21st of November in our strategic direction meeting.

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Good Times vs Bad Times

It's never easy to know who are your true friends, teammates and family members in good times. Everyone is happy when everything is fine and dandy. The test of true friendships, team & family support is in the bad times. You will see true colours of those that will be there with you through the good and the bad. The world economy is going through a very tough time now. Malaysia is heading for more economic uncertainties as more businesses close and individuals going bankrupt. Malaysians will be looking to suffer even more in the next 1 year. It is a very tough time for all.

We have gone through both good and bad times in the last 12 years with our businesses and we have always overcome adversity. It is not going to be an easy next 1 year but if the team stay focus on our core strategies, work harder, sell more, close more deals, reduce cost and get the results we need, we will not just overcome this tough time but we will excel and achieve awesome times ahead for all in the team.

With this, the management will be extreme on driving results and cost cutting measures. We want you to make this happen together if you intend to grow with us. This is the only way forward. Be ready as bad times wait for no one.

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Never expect anything great to happen without any extra effort on our part.

Some of us decided that last weekend was probably the right time for us to take a long needed break. Some probably felt it was not important as nothing will change since our government is too corrupted and all too powerful. Some just did not support such a movement and did not bother. And some probably went down for both days as you truly believe in the movement. Whatever your decision may be. Action or in action, be prepared to deal with the consequences that comes with it. Be the change that you expect to see in your life & career.

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My Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) & Life challenges!

Some of you may have heard or know that I have recently started on my DBA. As I write this, I am actually in a coffee house on a Sunday afternoon working on my DBA assignments. And for those that really did not know, I actually started my first attempt at my DBA 15 years ago but did not complete. I was half way there but lots of distractions came into the picture. And when I said distractions, I mean challenges in life and time commitment to many other things. As I made the decision to start my DBA again and I mean from the start (as my last DBA is no longer valid after 15 years), it is by no means that my life challenges and time commitment are any less. In fact I have more life, & business challenges and much less time. As a matter of fact, I have been spending every weekend and the Raya holidays working on my DBA assignments. Is it tough? You better believe it is. The reality is simple. Sometimes we just have to let go to move forward. If you have not done that lately, its time to let go of whatever that keeps you from going forward. Have a great life ahead as I will. Always.

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Life Challenges & The Support System!

I have had many life changing moments in my life and this past week has been another life changing moment for me. I was a dengue patient. I am feeling weak and tired even as I write this and never thought it could happen to me. But reality was that it did and I was a casualty in the process of having to deal with it. The whole incident reminder me of a very big lesson in life. Its not about how big the challenge will be there to make your life difficult and miserable. But how you surround yourself with the right support system. I honestly dare say that if I did not have a loving and caring wife, good friends and family members with their continuous support this past week would have been almost impossible. So do remember that its more important to have the right support system in place so that you can overcome any life challenges no matter how big it can be. I am blessed and you will be too, if you work hard to develop that support system. We all need one.

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Character vs Competency

I have always hired people based on the above 2 Cs. Sometimes, I hire the right people with both Cs. Sometimes I hire the wrong people without the Cs. You see, people can tell you all sorts of things in interviews and stories that make you believe that they have whatever that you need for them to do the job. And sometimes they really do have it. However, a lot of people get too comfortable and stop working hard to do what is necessary to do better and achieve more. They let their ego and overconfidence to get the better of them. I honestly and sincerely believe that people can be good people. BUT THEY NEED TO STOP CHEATING THEMSELVES. We need to learn to really want to make a difference with the right moral values and integrity. I will respect you more if you own up to your mistakes instead of always blaming, complaining and giving excuses. These are 3 cardinal sins for me. For me, once you break the trust I have for you, it will be hard for me to work with you ever again. So please work hard to preserve the trust as it takes 3 years for you earn my trust. It will only take 3 seconds to lose it. You may have competency but if you do not have the right character, you will not survive here, you will not survive anywhere.

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Got LUCK or NOT?

A lot of people like to blame bad luck for their misfortunes. The same people also tend to give too much credit to good luck. So what is luck? Why do people tell each other good luck? To those that know me well will know that I do not believe in luck.

I have always been a firm believer that our results and achievements are the results of our decisions and actions. And if you must insist that there is such a thing called luck, “Luck” to me is when preparation meets opportunity. This means that we must continuously and consistently be preparing ourselves to be better each and every single day. We must be ready when the opportunities prevail itself. Only then we will be having good “luck’. So if you intend to have good luck all the time, be prepared and get better every single day.

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Awesome Education Can Change Our Future Generations!

I always knew the critical importance of great education in building a successful community, society and ultimately a great country. I have always been a big fan and student of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. One of my favourite readings on him is the the book titled “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going.” With the passing of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew a person that I have much respect for his conviction and determination to make Singapore from a Kampung to a Metropolis in just 50 Years, I am even more encouraged & inspired by his work and legacy. Nothing happens and changes without an iron will and great education. A country with no resources other than their people, Singapore has transformed itself from a Fishing Village infested with Mosquitoes to a respected nation in the world. I am proud to say that with each passing day, PORTMAN College is making huge differences in our students lives through awesome education and with little resources. However I strongly believe with the right people with the right attitude and competency with us on this journey, PORTMAN College & the ATCEN Education Group will shine and achieve our mission to develop competent business leaders that will make a difference not just in Malaysia but for Asia.

The best part of all is that you are now part of something really awesome that will help make a difference and transform lives for the future. Yes you are part of something that will change the way education is done in Malaysia and Asia. Stay focus, work hard with me and we will enjoy the rewards that come with it in the near future. Only those that desire and work hard for it will get there. I look forward to you being part of this awesomeness happening right in front of our eyes. 2015 will be an exceptional year for us, GST or no GST.

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Of Money, Failures & Achievements

Any achievement that is worth any appreciation never comes easy. To those that know about my past would know that I started my first business venture when I was 27. I was cheated by a crooked business partner and that was the end of it. I was a failed business entrepreneur. This is the 12th year that I am doing business for the 2nd time around and over the years, I have work on projects that have achieved tremendous success and made a lot of money. I have also worked on projects that have failed and lost lots of money.

After so many years, I can tell you that I have never worked harder than what I am doing now. I can also tell you that I have never been more excited to work on a lifelong project that is so meaningful that can make a huge difference for our country, community, our team and most importantly our students. We are just at the kick start of this amazing and awesome journey called PORTMAN College. Stay focus, work hard and be patient with me. Rewards will acknowledge those that endure the challenges and sacrifices that comes with it. Make it meaningful.

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Decisions and Choices We Make in Life!

I am a firm believer that we are the outcome of the decisions and choices that we make in life. If you are not happy with your current state, do something about it. Nothing will change unless we decide. Nothing will change unless we choose to move forward with the right intentions. Our lives are what we make of it. Do not leave it to chance as it will not be on our side. I do not believe in good luck for my successes. I also do not believe in bad luck for my failures. I only believe in our beliefs, choices & decisions we make and actions that we take. The ONLY "Luck” I know is when when opportunity meets preparation.

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Tough Times do NOT last. Tough people ALWAYS do....And I am thankful.

2014 has been an extremely tough and challenging year for me. Too many things happened that was NOT in the plan and was NOT supposed to happen.

It was painful as I was taking care of my mother that was battling cancer. I worked hard to find solutions that would make her better. I failed.

My mother’s passing made me very sad but definitely a lot tougher to learn that when things are not in my plan, I have to stay focus to keep moving forward.

What goes up must come down and what is down will definitely go up. Timing vs Perseverance.

Yes, I had a very tough year with too many things happening all at the same time. But I am very thankful for my beloved wife, trusting business partners, good friends, loyal team members that continue to support me even when I give them hell. I am grateful and thankful for all that is not going right, I am tougher because of each of you and its time to go up. And I really mean UP!

Let’s intensify our efforts and make 2015 a damn awesome year for all of us. Things are about to change.

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24 Hours & Productivity

We all have the same number of hours in a day. 24 Hours in a day. However we do not all have the same amount of productivity. It is important for us to note that wasting time is a real sin that will NOT just become a bad habit, it will also become a pain in the ass for those that work with us. I would like to bring to your attention that we waste most of our lives away by making empty promises. And some of us just waste it away by hanging out at mamak stalls day in day out without being productive. If you find yourselves spending more than 1 hour hanging out at mamak stalls daily with no particular purpose or reasons then you better start to re-look at your productivity rate of being a productive person to be more, to do more and to achieve more. If you feel that I am speaking to you then I am. Do something about it before you are being position as an unproductive person who is just wasting your life away.

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Sacrifices or Delayed Gratification?

A lot of people have asked me on why I do what I do? Why don't I just stay focus on becoming the most successful professional speaker in the industry and enjoy the lucrative rewards that come with it. The response is simple. I have already achieved that and I want to do much more to make a much bigger difference. Many see it as a sacrifice. I see it as delayed gratification. To achieve our dreams, we have to know why we do what we do. We need to stay focus on the journey and not be deterred by things that try to distract us. There are and will always be lots of temptation. However, we need to keep reminding ourselves that Rome was not built in a day!

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Sacrifices or Delayed Gratification?

A lot of people have asked me on why I do what I do? Why don't I just stay focus on becoming the most successful professional speaker in the industry and enjoy the lucrative rewards that come with it. The response is simple. I have already achieved that and I want to do much more to make a much bigger difference. Many see it as a sacrifice. I see it as delayed gratification. To achieve our dreams, we have to know why we do what we do. We need to stay focus on the journey and not be deterred by things that try to distract us. There are and will always be lots of temptation. However, we need to keep reminding ourselves that Rome was not built in a day!

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I am very concern...

With the recent increase in petrol prices, the implementation of GST in 2015 and inflation that is bound to follow causing the cost of living unbearable for most of the middle class and poor. I would like to stress that this is mostly going to affect the poor and middle class. That means those that constantly complain about how difficult it is to survive in today’s lifestyle. I am very concern that the continuous complains is not going to help those in need as what they really need is to work harder, smarter to get a whole lot better.

Yes and that goes for my staff, students and team members. How do you expect to be getting higher salaries, rewarded with bonuses if you do not even possess the fundamentals of what is required to do well in your career? What are the fundamentals? Work harder than is required of you. Put in more hours with passion to help the organization grow. Help yourself by improving your English both speaking and written. How can most of you be wanting more if you do not even write a proper sentence with no grammatical mistakes? How can you want more when you just leave when the clock strikes 6pm? How can you want more when you do not even possess the fundamentals of the knowledge and skills required of you to do your job right? No I am not hiring robots and I am not teaching idiots. I want to hire staff and work with students that are passionate about their life, their work and does not complain the moment things get difficult, blame others for their shortfalls and continuously giving excuses when things do not work.

I am very concern.

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Slowly BUT Surely...

A lot has been said about the PORTMAN College Brand. Good things, bad things, nothing. But something really stands out among all the things are that no matter what happens, PORTMAN College is on its way to become Malaysia’s leading business education specialist. Its awesome to note that even with all sorts of challenges and difficulties brought on by many parties, we will still be moving forward. Slowly but surely...Thanks for those that believed and still supporting all these years.

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Taking A Needed Break?

Welcome back from the Hari Raya Holidays. I recently came back from a much needed break as I have been working round the clock trying to move things at a speed of light. The biggest challenge I have is that most people do not function that way and always seems to have “reasons” why they do not know about something that needs to be done that fast or to be completed. Now that's disappointing. But I have also learnt that sometime, I just need to slow down at certain times to take a much needed break to allow others to catch up. So the next time you take a break and before you take that break, seriously do ask yourself if you really do need that break or is it really a great time for you to catch up with all the back log and delayed work that is holding others back.

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Never Take Anything for Granted: Especially Ernie Chen

I can be very nice, supportive, encouraging and giving. However do not take for granted, not even once as Ernie Chen is a no nonsense type of guy. He can laugh with you, play with you, care for you. But remember when he wants something done, you all better get it done. And get it done fast accurately and precisely. Deliver desired results each time and we will be fine. Thank you.

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AWESOME LEADERSHIP CAMP – Feel the awesomeness in you!

Lots of people have asked me the reason for the the word awesome. Not many understands the true meaning of the word until they really experience it themselves. Over the past weekend, for the first time PORTMANians, ATCEN & outLOUD Group experienced it for the first time first hand the true meaning of AWESOMEness all around. The motive and objectives is to instill the sense of confidence to face and courage to take on any challenges head on. To be a follower is easy. But to be a leader and sustain that leadership influence, we as leaders will need to sacrifice a whole lot. Welcome to my world, the world of making a difference because we can.

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Non Performance = TERMINATION!

People tend to forget that Mr. Nice Ernie Chen is also Mr. No Nonsense especially when it comes to productivity and performance.

If you have forgotten, please let me remind you that I expect High productivity and Exceptional Performance from each of our team members. I do not care if you are working with us as a full time employee, part time staff, contract staff or as an intern. The company and myself do not owe anyone a living. We pay you to deliver desired results. If you do not, you will be terminated. That's what happens. I just terminated 3 contract staff and 1 intern last Friday. This happened after numerous reminders and them being reprimanded so many times on the same mistakes. Please do remember that it is always an honor for us to work together. So please do respect that. The moment we disrespect that partnership, be sure that I will take action and the action will be loud and clear.

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I’M TIRED!

I’M TIRED of people telling me that it is not possible. I’M TIRED of people telling me that it cannot be done. I’M TIRED of all the negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis.

Just imagine how bad you want to breath. How bad you want to live. Just how bad you want something that you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. This is what keeps me thinking all night. The ideas, the solutions, they way to achieve the student numbers for PORTMAN. The Mega BOX Office for Suatu Malam Kubur Berasap 2 and the consistent group sales and execution to provide exceptional and exciting careers for our people. I am excited and I look forward to many great things to happen to our projects, companies and people in the next 10 years. This is what keeps me alive and living an extraordinary life that is absolutely NOT tiring at all.

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My 41st Greatest Wish!

I have always wanted a BIG 41st birthday celebration as it signifies the beginning of my career. Most of you will be wondering didn’t you start your career many years ago? Not really. I was just learning how to do businesses and make sense of everything that was really happening. So now that I do have the platforms ready, all I really want to do now is to work on things that are truly close to my heart and not waste time on things that are just another great idea. You see, I learn that there are lots of great ideas out there and I am sure they are suitable for others but I know what I want to be involved in and that is all I will be working on for the rest of my time alive.

So I welcome you to be part of my edutainment businesses as I begin to make a difference through my business brands of ATCEN, outLOUD and PORTMAN. Just watch as I have just begun.

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Celebrations of Festivities Really Needed Yearly?

We all find our own happiness the way it best suites us. Sometimes its during the yearly celebrations of festivities where we get to gather together with families that we seldom see. I sometimes think that its best we do not meet that often as that is when we are able to keep the problems from a distance from finding fault with one another. So we must be grateful for our colleagues that we work together, make things happen and help one another grow. Even though we sometimes annoy each other, that's normal as we spend so much time together working together to achieve an objective. So for this new year, I encourage everyone to say a word of thank you to each other for being there to support you through the good and bad times. It can possibly be a very tough time for you right now. But I know what goes up must come down and what is down will not be down for a very long time. We just must have the heart to sustain whatever the challenges that are ahead of us. Stay with it and things will reveal itself in a very prosperous manner.

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2014 New Year’s Resolution!

PORTMAN COLLEGE is my New Year’s Resolution for 2014! Everything I am about for the next 20 years of my life will be ABOUT GROWING PORTMAN COLLEGE to become the No. 1 Education Group in Malaysia & Asia. I have been working very hard for a very long time to achieve this possibility of running an education institution that is true to what I believe real education is all about. If you have just joined us or have been around for some time now, you are about to witness with your own eyes day by day the transformation of the ATCEN Education & outLOUD Entertainment Group to become truly an AWESOME Educational & Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that will create and build many budding entrepreneurs and businesses in the years to come. Do you believe what is about to happen?

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Tough People vs Tough Times

We have all experienced good and bad times. But for the most part, good and bad times are decided by how we deal with each and every situation.

This has definitely been a very challenging year due to various reasons that has made it a very tough year. However tough the times may be, I always remember that nothing beats a tough mind, heart and attitude.

Thus, “Tough times NEVER last. Tough people always do.” So the next time you think you are having a shitty day, week, month or even year – keep your self motivated by knowing that all tough times will pass. So keep moving forward and take the necessary actions to overcome all tough times.

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The Law of Attraction!

Suatu Malam Kubur Berasap 2! I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. Since the first movie, I knew it was going to be a huge BOX OFFICE hit. Now that we have completed the 2nd one, I can tell you that it will be a much bigger hit than the first one as we have created something awesome and we will work extremely hard to promote the film.

Law of Attraction only works for those that see it, want it and do something about it. Do you see what you want? Do you know what you want? Are you willing to do what it takes to get what you want? I always do.

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My Mum & Cancer

I have learnt so much this past few months about patience & impatience dealing with humans. As we fight against this terrible disease, I learnt that we are surrounded by various types of “cancers" around us daily. We either choose to succumb to it or we choose to fight and get rid of it. My belief is to fight and to go all out to remove such cancers to make a difference in our lives. So the next time when you are surrounded by “cancers.” Learn everything you need about that “cancer" and use the right and appropriate tools to remove it for good.

Take care and my mom is in good spirits as she fights against the cancer.

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The ONLY LUCK I know!

When I first said that I wanted to produce a Malay movie, everyone thought I was crazy. More so when I said I wanted to direct and act in it. The reality is that I pursued my intentions and in 2012, I became Malaysia’s first time producer, director and actor of the same film that achieved Blockbuster Box Office status. Many called me lucky. You see, the ONLY “LUCK" I believe in is right decision making & hard work. The better my decision making and the harder I work, the “Luckier” I get. I finally managed to attract GSC Movies, a subsidiary of Golden Screen Cinemas (largest chain of cinema operator) to appreciate my talents and today we have a collaborative effort to produce movies together.

And we will kickstart with the next BOX OFFICE movie title – SUATU MALAM KUBUR BERASAP 2.

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Exceptional World Class Work Ethics and Quality of Work

I have been working in many different industries namely education, entertainment and media communications for more than 20 years. In all my years of working and performing, I have always focused on delivering the desired results that make my customers happy. This is so critical to the successes that I have come to enjoy as my brand and my businesses' brands keep growing with the same positive comments by colleagues, friends, students, business partners and most importantly paying customers. If we expect others to respect us, we first need to respect ourselves and our professions.

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My Success Secret Formula

For the first time I would like to share with you my secret success formula.

If you want to achieve anything successfully in life – Just keep on doing it and never stop until you get what you want.

And always know that the bad times never stays too long and the good times always follow next.

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Competent People That Care

As I grow older and wiser in my journey to create more opportunities, I am becoming extremely particular with the people that I work with and the kind of work that I do. I no longer can tolerate working with incompetent people that do not care about what they do. I do not want to waste my time helping those that do not want to help themselves. I also do not want to waste my energy on things that I do not believe in. So if you realized that you are incompetent in any areas, its time to slap yourself silly and wake up before you are left out from moving forward with me and the team. And for those that are competent and cares about why we do what we do, you will have a long and rewarding journey ahead of us.

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UBAH for a BETTER MALAYSIA WITH THE 5 STOPs!

I am NOT a PAKATAN RAKYAT fan and I am MOST DEFINITELY NOT a BARISAN NASIONAL friend. I am a friend of my fellow Malaysians who deserve much better governance for my beloved country. The formula is simple for us to move forward and prosper as a united nation.

  • STOP the Corruption!
  • STOP the Mismanagement of our country’s resources!
  • STOP the Abuse of Power!
  • STOP Entitlement & Subsidy Mentality!
  • STOP taking the people for a ride with empty promises!

Do the above and who ever is in Government will be a great government for the people of Malaysia for a better Malaysia!

We decide this historical Sunday.

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If we are living with everything working on us, we need to be thankful. - Ernie Chen

I am personally an advocate for PAWS MISSION and I do support their cause with some monetary funding. Recently I got to know a little fella by the name of Lil' Elvin. I have come a cross many stray and homeless puppies and dogs at shelters but this fella is something else. He is only 5 weeks old, but he is teaching me so much about the desire to live strong and not let circumstances hold him back. You see, Lil Elvin has problems with his hind legs where his muscles are wasted and he is not able to walk or urinate properly. I feel sad but at the same time feel that sometimes, we humans just complain so much that we forget that we are given so much.

So the next time, you see a stray puppy or any other living animal, remember that if you do not love them, the least you can do is NOT hurt them. Live life like we have everything that we need and be thankful for everything that is working well on us. Always remember to make a difference every single day.

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My 40th Birthday – The Beginning of My Career!

My 40th Birthday – The Beginning of My Career!

Life is a journey that teaches us a lot of wonderful things. Be it good or bad, we will always learn something from it. I have now reached what most people call the mid point of one’s life and most have been telling me take it easier since I am already so successful. On the contrary, I am convinced that I am now ONLY beginning my career and it is really beginning to become extremely exciting for me as each day passes, and I am adding tremendous value to myself and others by making a difference through what I believe in. The energy has risen to a whole new level. The belief system has exploded. And the actions that I am taking are beyond what most would think is possible. For any one of us to succeed and achieve tremendous success, we need conviction and commitment in everything that we do. Nothing comes easy.

PS - Thank you God for a wonderful 40 years and I look forward to another 40 years ahead of me.

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My 40th Birthday – The Beginning of My Career!

Results Pays The Bill!

There is NO such thing as a free lunch. You either work hard, produce results or you are out. That’s life and that’s the way the world works. We must consistently be creating value for both the organization and ourselves in order for us to to add value to the people we work with. When you are given another opportunity, make sure you take it and make it work. Never wait till the opportunity is taken away from you. Until then, it will be too late. And for most of us, we tend to fall into the trap of being a little too late most of the time. WAKE UP!!! If you are still sleeping in “La La” Land and do something about it. Be alert and never take things for granted.

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2013 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?

Results Pays The Bill!

Many have asked me what is my New Year’s resolution? My response is simple. I do not have one as every year, my goal and objective in life every year is the same, that is to make a difference living a meaningful life for myself while creating lots of opportunities for others around me. Do not just live. Live with purpose and with a clear mission in life. Always ask yourself, why do you exist and what can you do to make your life better with more reason to do more, achieve more and give more. Take care and have a great 2013 with lots of health and wealth. I look forward to you being happy because you decide so. Look forward to your success because you will take massive actions towards them.

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10th Year in Business...

What an amazing 10 years in business. Many do not make it through the first year, and 95% of businesses in the world do not survive the first 5 years in business. We have not just survived and sustained, but we have grown continuously and consistently through the years with challenges and obstacles. I was once told that it is not how many times you fall but how many times you come back up stronger and more determined to stay focused in achieving the dreams and vision ahead of us. Believe after 10 years, the drive and determination is growing stronger by the day and I look forward to moving even faster to be able to do more, achieve more and give back more during this journey of exciting times ahead. We are here to stay.

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PRESTIGE AWARD – MALAYSIA’S TOP 40 UNDER 40 - Meaningful Award!

Hard Work, Persistency and Determination is what made the award I received last night meaningful to me personally. It took 9 years of consistent hard work and continuous determination to add value and to make a difference in the community and world that we live in. Living our short life without meaning is sad and we need to appreciate the time given to us to make the best out of everything that we have that includes time, ability and talent. We must live a life with purpose. Remember that and you will live a life worth living.

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PORTMAN COLLEGE – Training my own breed of competent workforce and entrepreneurs

Many have asked me why buy a college? Why go through so much trouble and headache to build what already exist in the market? Why compete with the big boys?

My response is very simple. If the colleges and universities out there are doing what they are supposed to be doing – that means providing market relevant learning, the corporate world will not be shortage of skilled and talented workforce. The reality is that we can no longer grow our businesses without competent talent and workforce. And when they graduate it is too late as they are absolutely not ready and prepared for the real working world. So the best way to produce competent human capital to ensure the growth of my organizations are possible is with the development of the human capital training my own breed of competent workforce while they are still young. Another main reason is that by doing so, it will allow us the opportunity to also give back to the community by providing free education to those that need and to those that are most deserving an opportunity that will change their lives forever.

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English Language Competency!

I just interviewed a girl for a TV producer position. I had to ask her to leave the room within 2 minutes as she could not carry a proper conversation with me in English. I asked her. "Do you know how serious this is to not be able to communicate in English?" I would like to tell you all out there that your English skills are important. But more importantly, you must all have fundamental communication skills that includes interpersonal and a good command of the English language. If you cannot even carry a normal conversation in English with me, how can I hire you? So before you are completely outdated, its time you do something about it.

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WHAT DID YOU ACHIEVE IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS?

6 months has come and gone! I always remind myself that we ONLY live once. I do not want to exist just to be another being with no real life objectives and and mission for my existence. I do not want to just live for the sake of living. I want to live BIG. I want to dream BIG and achieve BIG BIG dreams. And I am ready for the commitment and sacrifices that comes with it as I know that the only way we can be better is to want to do more and by focusing on things that are bigger than ourselves. Did you waste your last 6 months away? Or did you achieve something that you can be proud of. You have yourself to be responsible for and remember that you only live once!!!

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I Give Up!

The ONLY way I know to achieve my dreams is to give up on GIVING UP! I learn this secret long ago and I am sharing with you. The ONLY way I know that I will NOT achieve my goals and objectives is that I give up and I stop moving towards my dreams. For this reason, I know I will always achieve all my dreams as I will NEVER stop moving towards living and achieving all my dreams!

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To Gain or To Avoid Pain

In life be it our personal or career, we are in it to gain something or to avoid pain. If you work hard, is because you are wanting to gain something in return. It can be in the form of money, love, bonuses and even things. If we are to avoid pain, it will then has got to do with punishment and fear that will hold us back.

Just remember that pain is always temporary and positive gain is always forever. To be successful, there is ONLY 1 secret to it – Intense Productivity. I look forward to your success and keep the Dream, Believe and Take Massive Actions.

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It's Not How Hard You Fall But How Fast You Get Back Up!

Failure is just the beginning to many great successes. If we do not know how to fail, we definitely do not know how to appreciate real success. Its not how hard you fall but how fast we get back up. To those of you that have failed, it is only temporary. Keep pushing hard and let it get in your way to achieving whatever that you have set yourself to achieve. We only live ONCE. GO all out!

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Being Smart about LEVERAGING!

In order for us to achieve desired results, we need to work hard and take massive actions. In order for us to go beyond desired results, we need to work smart by leveraging on resources around us. That's it. It is of no value for us to keep creating for the sake of creating. Look around and be more inquisitive as to what we already have going for us. Make full use of our existing resources. Be smart. Make it work!

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New Year. New Game. New Strategies. One Simple Objective

Moving towards our vision and mission. A lot seem to find it difficult to achieve desired results and they wonder why. It is really simple when you do not plan and do as plan, you will never get there.

Nothing comes easy. If you want to achieve any success in your life and career. Remember to have the conviction that it MUST happen. Be committed and do not allow yourself to give any excuses at all as to why it cannot be achieved. Stay focus and keep pushing until it happens.

If you think you work hard, work harder. If you think you work hard. Work Smarter!!

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2012 - The End or A New Beginning?

According to the Mayans, this is the year that the world will come to an end. We have 2 choices here. To live out the year and our lives to the fullest while waiting for the world to end or just wait for the world to end. If the world really is to end this year, I rather maximize my existence with achievements and results.

On another note, I do not believe in the world coming to an end.

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Taking things for Granted !

Sometimes we see lots of opportunities. Sometimes we do not see opportunities. Sometimes opportunities are given. Sometimes opportunities are removed. Most of the time we do not appreciate the opportunities given until they have been removed. NEVER TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED!

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GOING ALL OUT!

In life there are 3 types of people:

  • The people that do not know what the hell happened.
  • The people that see things happen.
  • The people that make things happen.

I have always decided to make things happen. And I always go all out to make things happened. Once I am in, there is no turning back as I shut all backdoors to ONLY move forward. Whatever it takes to get to the desired results, I will do. Are you with me?

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You NEVER EVER MESS with an ENTREPRENEUR'S PASSION

Recently one of my staff collaborated with a Radio station to play a prank call on me. They were successful – in a way. However, the radio station's deejay wished he never did make that call. From the onset of telling me that my film Suatu Malam Kubur Berasap was to be pushed back from the original date of screening of 22nd December 2011 to a later date next year – I BLEW MY TOP IMMEDIATELY AND GAVE HIM A PIECE OF MY MIND. He did not have a chance to really even pranked me as I was giving him a mouthful from what I was going to do to the people that made such a bad and stupid decision on flip flopping their decision. We are already dealt with lots of challenges daily and we sure do not need incompetent people changing decisions at their whims and fancy. I was not happy and will NEVER be taken hostage. I want you all to learn from this episode – NEVER EVER MESS WITH AN ENTREPRENEUR'S PASSION. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS THEIR BABY!

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Working with Competent People!

As I write this, I am doing the Final Mix for our 2nd Movie, "Jidin Sengal" in Bangkok with Siam Film Development. I always look forward to come here to work with the team here as they are competent in what they do just like us. It is amazing how fast, effective and efficient we all can be when competency meets competency.

However our experience back home with some incompetent team from you should know who was horrendous. We pay people to help solve problems and not point out more problems for us to fix. If Malaysia is to compete on a Global platform we Malaysians will need to push the bar and take it to the next level.

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Nothing Comes Easy!

Always remember to work hard for any achievement. Anything that comes easy will also be lost easily.

Work hard so that we are trained with the right skills to do much better for anything in our life.

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"THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE. IT CAN'T BE DONE!"

"That's impossible. It can't be done."

That's what my friends & family members told me when I wanted to start an Education, Entertainment & Communication Businesses!

I was called an Idiot by my family members, I was teased by my friends for being too idealistic and I was made to believe that it can't be done! 7 years later today, we have proven that it is all achievable and we have the results to show.

You and I are very much alike - with one Exception, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ME!

What Made The Difference?

After SELLING FOR FOR SO MANY YEARS from products to services to an idea, I have learnt that if we are to achieve desired results, we MUST always:

  1. WORK HARD – IF YOU THINK YOU WORK HARD, WORK HARDER!
  2. BE TOUGH & CONSISTENT IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL! (Being on MC because of a throat infection, stomach upset and a slight flu is NOT going to cut it).
  3. NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT OUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS! (Manage it and cut the drama)
  4. MAKE A DECISION TODAY AND GET RESULTS FOR YOUR LIFE AND CAREER!
  5. ENJOY EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO!
  6. LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE NOT YOUR PARENTS OR FRIENDS!
  7. DON'T EVER GIVE EXCUSES! BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS AND INACTIONS!
  8. DON'T EVER BLAME! BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS AND INACTIONS!
  9. DON'T EVER COMPLAIN! BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS AND INACTIONS!
  10. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SAY THANK YOU!

THE ABOVE PRINCIPLES CHANGED MY LIFE! I AM WHO I AM TODAY BECAUSE MY ACHIEVEMENTS AND RESULTS MADE ME BELIEVE THAT

"IT IS POSSIBLE! IT CAN BE DONE!

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No Complains, No Blame, No Excuses & ...

As I reflect back on how we have continuously & consistently grow our companies, it has definitely been without a doubt more than a great ride so far. In life as in business, obstacles and challenges are there to keep us stimulated. However many have failed to take it on from a more positive light. They tend to just complain, blame and give all sorts of excuses on why they did not make it and why they did not get what they want. You see, these losers can never admit to themselves that they are incompetent and if they were to do so, it would have been their fault. Losers just cannot accept the fact that they are losers. On the contrary, if we continuously and consistently take massive actions, we will be creating abundance and opportunities right in front of our eyes. They next time, you think about complaining, blaming and giving excuses, think again. Just say thank you and move forward from there.

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Success follows Failure

If we have never failed, then we have never succeeded. We can ONLY learn success through failing. The more we fail, the faster we get to achieve desired success. But always remember to never make the same mistake 2 times. Learn from our mistakes and be certain to move ahead with our decisions in life.

Stay focus on getting there.

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Life Challenges!

I am so excited to be living a life full of challenges. It has been an amazing journey thus far and I have enjoyed every single one of those challenges. The challenges keeps me alive and I can only say that I am thankful for them. So if you are dealing with a life full of challenges, be thankful and appreciate that we have a life with challenges in order for us to keep moving forward.

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The Time of My Life!

I3 reasons Why I am having the GREATEST time of my life!

  • LivIng & Making My Dreams Come True.
  • Doing and Achieving the Impossibles.
  • Accumulating Great People Around Me.

If you are not having the GREATEST time of your life.

  • Decide to have it.
  • Plan for it.
  • Take Action.
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LU LANSI LU MATI!

I recently came across the above tagline and it reminded me that this is how I have always been leading my life all these years. This is by no means a representation that I am arrogant but a strong statement that I would like to share with people that crosses my path be it personal or business. This is who I am and this is what I am about. When I keep my silence does not mean that I do not know what you have done. When I keep my silence, does not mean I have forgotten. When I keep my silence, does not mean that I will not come after you in time to come.

LU LANSI LU MATI!

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BIGGER, BETTER and BOLDER than ever BEFORE!

2011 is going to be a GREAT year for ATCEN, outLOUD and my team. We will be moving forward with clear focus to achieve desired results. I am extremely happy, excited and proud of what we have achieved thus far but the best year is still ahead of us. I am happy as we continue to move forward, excited as it will be a BIGGER year for us. BETTER as we have improved tremendously, BOLDER as we will stand up and fight to WIN. I look forward to our continue achievements and success and I have not even began my career. Look out ASIA as ATCEN ROARS outLOUD!

LU LANSI LU MATI!

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NEVER GIVE UP...

People always ask me what keeps me going even though there are so many challenges day in day out in wanting to achieve my dreams. Isn’t it just so much easier to just give up and let go. Just live a normal and routine life that will keep the peace for everyone. You see, I decided long time ago that I do not want to just exist and that if I were to live, I was going to be living a productive and meaningful life. I have learnt that no matter how tough a situation can be, it will always pass. It is just another bad situation and I am always bigger and stronger to overcome them. Just as long as I Never Give Up! Go over, go under, go around or go through it. But NEVER EVER GIVE UP! Success is closer than you think it really is.

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My Vision for ATCEN ...

A lot of friends and family never fails to asked me why do I still work so hard day in day out after having created so many successful businesses. My response is very simple. I have visions that are bigger than myself to achieve. Here I would like to share with you a sneak preview on my vision for ATCEN by 2020. This will be our ATCEN Learning Campus. A place where people will come to learn skills that will help them secure high income professions be it working for someone or starting out on their own. This will be achieved together with many other dreams that I still am working towards and I look forward to sharing with you in the near future. Till then .....keep on dreaming.

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I do not expect you to understand ...

I do not expect you to understand why I do what I do. I do not expect you to understand why I say what I say. I do not expect you to believe me. I just do not anymore. I just expect you to deliver results that has been agreed upon. Nothing less and you definitely do not need to explain as I will also not understand as we come from two different worlds. Results is what build trust.

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1Malaysia in ATCEN or Just ATCEN Malaysians?

There is this huge debate among the Politicians with regards to us being called 1Malaysia to unite us to be known as proud 1Malaysia. There is the other school of thought that says that we do not need such slogans that is just making things more confusing. So who is right here? At our recent ATCEN Merdeka BBQ family day celebrations, all we know was that we were ATCENians that are Malaysians with a multiracial workforce accepting each other’s difference coming together under 1 team to eat, play & work together as 1 family. So what do I think? Just as long as we are taking practical actions to help us improve our relations and equality as Malaysians in our country – We will become better Malaysians for a better Malaysia.

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Training Others to Give Us Money!

I often hear people say that they are broke. In fact I have had experiences of friends, employees and family members that are constantly broke that they are always borrowing money from others. You see the secret to learning how to make money is really no secret at all. It is all in the fundamentals of how we save to invest. It is never just about making more. It is good to make more but if we do not manage it and know how to do it, it will all just disappear very quickly. I remember not too long ago, a young employee of ours who got into a HUGE credit card debt without her even realising that it is the compounding factor that is killing her. Before she knew it, it was so BIG of an amount that she just did not know how to get out of it. Stay wise, live within your means and do reward yourself once in a while when you have achieved something.

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What I learnt from Patrick Teoh ...

I have had the privilege to work with Patrick on 2 separate occasions on the theatre stage a decade ago. It was an amazing experience as he has always been the man I have always wanted to become like someday when I grew up. He was a celebrity radio deejay and entertainment business owner in various industries. What was so great about him was that even with all the achievements in his bag, he has always been the likeable nice man that is very different from the persona he had on radio. I have always admired his ability to stay focus with all that he does especially keeping his head on the ground no matter how popular he became. I just did a recent interview with him on my TV Program, The Entrepreneur Media Expose and this is what I learnt from him – We just want to be remembered by the people that we care about and who cares for us. The rest are really not that important. Thank you Patrick.

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Letting Go ...

In life just as in business – people will come into our lives and businesses with lots of promises, hope and commitment when everything is fine and before you know it, it is all broken with empty promises. We can easily get angry, frustrated or even wanting to get even. Over my many years of getting frustrated and disappointed with human beings if I can call them that, I found a better solution to it all. Just let it go ..... it will be OK. No two persons/ parties will ever agree on everything. There MUST be a protagonist and antagonist in everything that we say and do. We will always have new blood and new energy in our lives. Only those that persevere and have learnt to let go of the bad will enjoy their life journey. And I can honestly say I am enjoying my life so much by just letting go of the bad and welcoming the good always.

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What I learnt from Winnie Loo ...

I had the privilege to interview Winnie Loo today and it was a great learning experience for me from her determined and persistent drive to make A Cut Above literally above the rest. During my interview with her for my Online TV program The Entrepreneur Media Expose, I asked her the question of what was the most challenging obstacle she encountered throughout her journey and she mentioned to me that it was when each time she wanted to grow her business. She mentioned 3 specific things that became a real pain: backstabbing by people she trusted, people resigning and people wanted to start their own business. It really made a lot of sense to me and I had a little smile. Being an entrepreneur myself, I understood. 31 years later after she started her first salon, she is as elegant as when she first started out. I congratulate her for all her successes and I look forward to her continuous success as she is a lady that knows what she wants. Here’s to Winnie Loo, a 1st class entrepreneur. Hoo Ah!

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LOHAS – The New Way Forward

It has been almost 7 years that I, my partners and core team ventured into this world of Entrepreneurship. We have gone through a lot of hard work, tough times and we continue to do so moving towards our vision to develop entrepreneurs of the future. Change is an everyday thing and a lot has happened in the last 7 years. We proudly say that we are doing very well in our businesses as we continue to profit and grow. We are here to stay and we are here to make this place a better place for all to learn, play, work and live in. Therefore leading to the critical importance of the introduction to The New Way Forward – LOHAS in our organization moving forward. I personally look forward to this as I get healthier with lots of sports activities, healthy eating habits and I find myself even more energetic while being more sustainable in my quest to achieve my dreams. I encourage you to do the same if you want to also get there.

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You’re Fired!

The Top 3 things I learnt from the Donald and what I have done:

1. As long as you are going to be thinking anyway, THINK BIG. - Donald
But for those that do not think, stay stupid - Ernie

2. I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line. Perhaps it's time America was run like a business. – Donald
If Malaysia and Malaysians do not get better today, we will be finished soon. - Ernie

3. When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough. Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. - Donald
This is why I NEVER ever give up. I always get BETTER. I ALWAYS deliver results. - Ernie

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Mr. Empowerment or Mr. Ichickenout ...

This reminds me of a story of easier said than done. It s really easy to provide ideas and suggestions and think that we know the answers to problems. But when it comes to the real deal of having to come face to face with our real challenges, it is always easier to take the easy way out – We Run. Life is full of challenges and that is what keeps us alive. The next time when we ask for empowerment, please make sure we really want to be empowered before we frightened ourselves from what we are happy doing before being empowered as it can really cause a lot of unnecessary work for others. Again, easier said than done.

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Building Commitment

The following quotations have always kept me focused on achieving everything that I desired in life. This is what I live my life by and it has given me a whole lot in my life. Stay focused and committed to a cause to achieve desired results.

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Failure is then just around the corner.''

"Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future."

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek."

"Something in human nature causes us to start slacking off at our moment of greatest accomplishment. As you become successful, you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility, and commitment."

Nothing comes easy. Stop dreaming about any success if you are not going to be committed to taking massive action. If you function like any normal employee, you will forever be a normal employee. Choose to be different.

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The MAS Ladies

I recently made a trip to Bangkok and to my surprise, my team and I had a pretty good flight experience because of 2 Malaysian Airlines Stewardess. They were not just willing to serve but went above and beyond to ensure that we are had a fantastic time on board even though they were dealing with some really unreasonable passengers online. With that, I just want to congratulate both Sandeep and Latiffah for a job well done and I look forward to many more flights with MAS and of course today my perception of MAS - I can say Mana Ada System (MAS) to Malaysia Ada Service (MAS). We just need to be proud Malaysians to make Malaysia a much better place for all to live in.

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Get Ready or Get the Hell Out!

The reality of the real business world is that it does not recognize your paper qualifications without real results. It does not even recognize effort without real results. The reason is because the real world requires us to pay bills. Nobody cares about your passion and will not be interested to teach you with you having nothing to offer in return. A business is not interested to pay you to get ready. Do that on your own time. The real world expects us to perform, produce and deliver on the word go. Not when you are ready.

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The Entrepreneur - Coming soon...

It is a really great to have found what one’s calling is to do. I am truly passionate about starting businesses and what’s even greater than that is that I can combine all my passion and businesses together into 1 mega project that will not just entertain but educate the masses at the same time. Visions are great. But if we do not move towards them, it is nothing but a dream. This is the next BIG thing that I am now working on with my team and we look forward to the outcome of the project. Coming to a computer near you ...

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Do I Trust You?

It is interesting how people abuse the trust that we have in them. In life, what goes around will come around. If we lie too often, it will definitely catch up with us sooner or later. So my advice to those that think that you can get away with it, think again as the last thing you need is to be caught red handed. That would not be a pretty sight!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

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Dreams Do Come True, only if...

Only if you stop dreaming about things that you want and start taking action towards those dreams. If you dream about making your first million, ask yourself right now, what are you doing right now that will help you make your first million? I have been dreaming about owning my very own entertainment studios. In fact since I first visited Universal Studios in California. I can proudly now say that I have made that happened. I am a proud owner of my very own outLOUD Studios – a one stop entertainment service provider that houses recording & post production facilities. I am now dreaming of my next dream, Malaysia’s first entertainment theme park based on the world’s blockbuster movies.

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CHOICES IN LIFE!

We all have choices in life and we all decide on the choices that we make. Whatever the choice maybe, we have to deal with the consequences that comes with it. I have learnt to create lots of choices for myself through the years. We will all struggle at one point or another. It is up to us to find ways out by creating opportunities and choices for ourselves. Today I choose to work hard because I truly enjoy everything that I do. I choose to live out my dreams by taking action and making it happen. I will soon have another dream of mine achieved really soon. Look out for it December 5th 2009.

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MJ Boleh!

That is Malaysian Jordan (MJ) Boleh! I was recently at Genting Highlands and I witness a talented man by the name of Jordan Sam, an impersonator of Michael Jackson or better known as the MJ of Asia. Not only did he look the part but he really did dance, move and even tried to sing exactly like the real MJ. I felt really proud of him not because he was able to sound, look or even dance like MJ but the fact that he was a Malaysian that was able to do what he did on stage. We do have lots of talents in Malaysia and we need to find ways to keep them interested in Malaysia before we lose all out talents and make Singapore a much better place.

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Do Your Time and Pay Your Dues!

My salute goes out to Misbun and Chong Wei for these are the individuals that deserves our respect. Let’s appreciate their ability and consistent hard work to achieve glory not just for themselves but for our country. The above article talks about a young gunner named Kwong Beng not being able to take the harsh treatment by Misbun. Nothing comes easy. A lot of professional dreamers dreams of being successful owning their own businesses, driving their dream cars, living a life of freedom or even becoming the next world champion. But what they forgot was the time, pain and effort that is required for any success to be achieved. So the next time when we get a shelling from our bosses or some harsh treatment by a senior– suck it up and accept it with humility and say thank you for the lesson. You will not be told that you suck unless that you really have a little in you that really does suck a big one.

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Cow-Head Protest...or Cow Dung Racist?

After reading the article above, I am really proud to be associated with Malaysians that truly appreciate each other’s races. NO. Not the stupid idiotic group of racist that brought a cow head to protest at the Selangor Menteri Besar’s office. Absoulutely ridiculous to have find such extremist given their religion a bad name. I am very proud to be associated with the writer and other Malaysians who are educated about the power of becoming true Malaysians. 1 for all and all for 1 Malaysia.

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Blame The Individuals. Never the Religion

When I was growing up, I was told that the Muslims were bad people. I never knew why and was curious to find out for myself. I took Sejarah Islam in Form 6 and I even studied Islamic Studies in my Uni days in America and was enlightened on the teachings of the Islam faith. I dare not say that I am an expert but I learnt that Islam teaches patience, integrity, honesty and all the good that encourages humanity to be better as human beings. If we are Muslims, live like one and if we are Christians, live like one. Just like the article attached, I find it important for us to always understand and remember that it is us the humans that give all the religions a bad name and if we are to make this world a better place to live in, we better start with the man in the mirror just like Michael J. said.

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Life Goes On!

Recently, there have been numerous deaths and bad things happening around the people that I know. It is good to acknowledge and be sad as it is part of grieving for the loss of something. But do remember that once you have done that (not too long - please), that the world does not stop and wait for you to get better. Life Goes On! Pick yourself up and start to move forward with whatever that you have been handed with. I came across this article in the STAR paper about a man that lost both his legs at the age of 9 - his name is Tony Christiansen, a motivational speaker that did not let this affect him to become a successful businessman, an Olympic gold medallist and also the ability to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. All because he knew that life goes on and that he did not have time for regrets. This is what we need to be. Never giving ourselves excuses to move forward and to do a whole lot better.

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You Better Die at 75!

This is what I have been teaching and sharing in my Millionaire Business School to people to understand that NO ONE can survive with just having an employee mindset and lifestyle once they grow older. I refer to the (Article 1) that I have attached an article that states based on a survey carried out by EPF in 2004 showed that 99% of contributors withdraw all their savings in one lump sum after they retire at 55 and 75% of them deplete their EPF savings within 3 years of withdrawing the money. This is exactly why we MUST be more than just an employee today. We MUST start to own businesses, be an investor and most importantly start today to learn how to become one. Based on (Article 2), the basic assumptions and calculation shows that we are NOT able to survive beyond the age of 75 if we do not have enough saved up or have prepared ways for sustainable income after we lose our monthly income. Please do something today for yourself and not be a burden to your family and society in time to come.

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I Want to SLAP Some Faces!

Reading the above article in the STAR makes me want to slap some faces! 6,700 jobs up for grabs in the Government alone and yet jobless people are being so picky. What the hell is wrong with some people? Don’t they just know how to appreciate? I do not want to do sales as my pride is too high. I do not want to do service oriented jobs as I will have to deal with difficult customers. I am very stress as I am new to the workforce. I am a Master Degree and Degree Holder. I cannot be doing such jobs. HELLOOOOOOOO!! If it is still hollow and empty inside! What do you mean you are too good for jobs created to help you right now! In order for us to get to where we want to, we sometimes have to do the things that we do not like. Get over yourself and learn to tame the ego shouting inside you. This is the real world and there is absolutely no free lunch. We are who we are because of our actions or inactions.

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Our Englund Not Terlalu Terrer.

I was reading the article above stated in the STAR paper dated 23 June that the standard of English in the Country has deteriorated since the switch to Bahasa Malaysia as a teaching medium in the 1970s. This was not shocking to me and definitely no surprise as I speak to lots of FRESH Graduates and believe me when I say they cannot even carry out a proper conversation in the English Language. This is not a gentle reminder as I am telling you as it is in your face... yes you and in your face right now. Work on your English communications skills today or face the consequences of being ridiculed by the world.

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Our Fresh Graduates Today

I am very concern for the future of Malaysia. Our Fresh Graduates do not present themselves very well with regards to their attitude and competency. I can accept the fact that our Malaysian education system sucks and that they are not train properly to face the challenges of the corporate world today but the individuals learning attitude just pisses me off. Appreciation and gratitude is lacking and I wonder what they learn from home. All 3 parties – The Government, Parents and Individuals MUST take responsibility for their behaviours. If we do not get out of the comfort zone that we are in today, we will be far behind and will be the ones losing out. Fresh Graduates – use your head and think. Not your obvious nonsensical stupidity to make idiotic decisions. You are given an opportunity. Appreciate it and say thank you. Otherwise, it will be removed.

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INCOMPETENCY AND CORRUPTION!

I only see the above 2 things when I looked at the pictures. Malaysia MUST develop her people to be more competent and we MUST STOP all corruption. If not more people will be killed.

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PKFZ – Need I say More!

People always say Malaysia is well known around the world for 1st World Infrastructure, 3rd World Mentality. I beg to differ.

Malaysia has 1st Class Policies, 3rd Class Implementation. We really need to get better at executing as 1 nation and stop all the corrupt practices.

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The Motivated Entrepreneur

I have been asked this many times. “Why are you so motivated to do so many things? What do you really do in a day?. And I have been sharing my story over and over again. Now for the first time, you are welcome to have a look in to a day in my life as “The Motivated Entrepreneur”. I recently completed a short film documentary that was produced by DreamTalents Media. The film will soon be submitted for film festivals all over the world. You can now check it out right here on www.erniechen.com . Enjoy!

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Creating Millionaires is My Game!

I made my first million at the age of 33. But make no mistake, it did not come easy. As a matter of fact, I was being hunted by my landlord for 4 months because I had no money to pay for my rental. Nothing comes easy especially money. However, once you have succeeded in making the first million, it is a matter of repeating the success formula. It becomes faster and easier every single time we set out to make those millions. I have succeeded in achieving this objective many times over and I am now wanting to help create other millionaires because I can. If you have the desire, make the right choice, belief in yourself and take action today, you will be on your way to becoming a millionaire.

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Wake Up Malaysian Politicians!

I really wonder why the hell do we even bother to vote them in to destroy the UNITY that we have worked so hard to enjoy the peace, harmony and above all else the tolerance that we have in the country that I love so much. It is time for these politicians to wake up and stop using us the rakyat as excuses to further enhance their power and wealth and start working for us. If you can’t even get it right in the Dewan Rakyat, then maybe you should all visit the ATCEN International Group to learn about how everyone get along without concern of race, religion, gender and even if you are a homosexual. And belief me, when I do say we have them all, we are damn proud to say that we are truly a Bangsa Malaysia company. We are ATCEN. We are ATCEN. We are ATCEN.

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The Most Productive Mother Award

I read today that we are now encouraging Mothers to deliver lots of baby. That is why an award was given with the above title. Reading the story, it was speaking about the struggle and challenges that some parents have to go through to raise children. I totally appreciate and understand and would not deny the gratitude that we must all show to the parents that cared for us. However, I think it is absolutely ridiculous for us to sympathize with the parents that had 21 children and said how tough it was. This is insane. Of course it would be tough to raise 21 children. What were they thinking? Have they not heard of something called condoms?.

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Internet Marketing Craze!

It is biggest joke to me when I still see advertisements like this in the papers. I am surprised that there are still people buying the idea that you can still make money from the internet starting from scratch without any experience or some even claim that without any effort making money in your pajamas. What are they thinking? How can anyone in the right frame of mind be wanting to get rich the fast and easy way? Have they never heard of the saying easy come easy go? I have been to way many Internet marketing previews to see how and why it cannot work as a business. It cannot work because it does not have a sustainable business model. Let me bring to your attention all you internet marketing groupies that the internet is a great and powerful marketing tool. And that is all it is. You will still need to have a business model that works. If you want to know how? Visit www.millionairebusinessschool.com.my and you will learn how to build a sustainable business model.

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Another Reason to Love Malaysia

We have such an amazing country. A country with so many races that is able to learn, live and have fun together. Everyday, we hear of Tornadoes sweeping across America, Tsunamis about to hit Japan and today the Swine flu hitting Mexico and the rest of the world. We may have reformasi here and there but believe me, it is nothing like what they had in Bangkok recently. We talk about our economic crisis but it is nowhere close those the problems they have in America and Europe. I think about it daily and I love my country with different races and diversity. I love my company with people of different races and diversity. This is what we call Malaysian’s Malaysia. This another reason why I love Malaysia.

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The Millionaire Business School

We have been bombarded by one bad news after another by the media. It is really shocking to see that we are so preoccupied with what’s the next bad thing that will happen and we forget the importance of looking out for the next big opportunity. I would like to share with you first and to have a sneak preview of what you can expect from the Millionaire Business School by visiting the website at www.millionairebusinessschool.com.my . This is something that I have been wanting to do, to share the secrets of Millionaires in doing business. I look forward to seeing you at the workshop and to begin your millionaire journey.

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The 13 Must-Do's for Entrepreneurial Success: Just Get It Done

Just getting things done with becomes complicated when there's people involved:

The importance of "speaking up" in order to get the right things done:

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Riots in Bangkok & Archuleta the Idol

Two major events, one in Thailand and the other in Malaysia. It is just amazing to see the craziness of the people when it comes to creating havoc for their own country. They are just giving their home country a bad name. Don’t this people see that they are the “patung boneka” of the multi rich politicians? The people that really suffers in Thailand are the poor people especially when tourism is such a big deal to the Thai people. Who would want to visit them now if the country is in a state of emergency?

On the contrary, the craziness of the people can also be seen by the screaming fans that would do just about anything to see their former supposed to be American Idol in person. It was something else as I heard on the radio that people even wanted to fight to have a piece of the napkin that David wipe his mouth with.

We the people are the reason that we have riots. We the people are the reason that we have idols. We the people are the power of the universe.

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The 13 Must-Do's for Entrepreneurial Success: Having The Willingness to Learn

Some valuable lessons - learning about being cheated, and being lied to

Helping the community through The Millionaire Business School

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The 13 Must-Do's for Entrepreneurial Success: The Importance of Setting Stretched Goals and Targets

Its important to set goals contradictory to the way we function. For example Task-Oriented people should focus on communicating with people.

Being patient for the long-term vision; but impatient with short-term goals.

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Our New Prime Minister

Like him or hate him, Dato Seri Najib has officially been appointed as the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia. I really do not care who is leading the country as long as the leadership benefits the rakyat and we see the new administration delivering on its promise. I just would like to remind the both Barisan and Pakatan leadership that the rakyat is a whole lot smarter and better informed these days that they better not be pulling a fast one or they are going out in the next General Election. As for now, Congratulations to us Malaysian for being the voice that is finally heard.

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The 13 Must-Do's for Entrepreneurial Success: Leveraging on Necessary Partners

The two different types of partners: the partners you work with and partners you have business relationships with

Strategies for successful partnerships

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ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!

I am beginning to wonder if the politicians, especially those in the cabinet actually do any work for the rakyat? One by election after another, one supreme council after another. When the hell are all these going to end with our taxpayers money being wasted? I strongly urge all parties to focus on the most important thing at this moment in time – The Economy, if you dumb asses have still not come to realize yet. Stop the ego and power mania chase that is really making us Malaysians look so shallow and stupid in the eyes of the world.

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The 3rd Must-Do for Entrepreneurial Success

Money can bully you; keep your focus on your values

The secret is understanding the business process.

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The Beach Club or The Whore House!

I was recently doing the tour guide thing with my Vietnam Business partner and I showed him the usual hot spots in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, it was a Monday and most of the places that my team had asked me to take him to was pretty much dead. You see, being a Group CEO of numerous companies does not allow me the luxury to party that much these days. And it has definitely been a while since I stopped over at the ever famous Jalan P. Ramlee and more outstandingly The Beach Club, ie The Whore House. It was to my amazement and amusement that this place has become a pretty aggressive meat market to pacify the taste buds of men of all nature. Believe me, it is really easy to be popular at such spots and if you are not blind, you will probably see all kinds of breast sizes and shapes. It was really funny as they paraded around us while adjusting their fake yet awkward looking balloons. And for those of you that are interested, it is the Vietnamese season.

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The 2nd Must-Do for Entrepreneurial Success

The truth may be brutal but it drives you.

How to tell people the truth.

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When in Doubt, F%#K!

I think we question ourselves too much sometimes so much so that we end up more confused after. Many of us go through second guessing ourselves and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t – we have so much of self doubt and if you don’t sort it out, you will become a miserable excuse for a human being. But I have the solution thanks to Scent of a Woman starring Al Pacino. I remember a scene where as he walked out of his house, he made a comment to his cat about having sex when in doubt. I thought it was pretty cool because sometimes in life, we just need to do it. Imagine how much you can save on therapy bills…

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The 1st Must-Do for Entrepreneurial Success

A true entrepreneur is always looking for new opportunities

It's okay to fail

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Chillies – The place with lukewarm service

I took my team out to Chilis Grill & Bar for dinner last Saturday; we went to the outlet in 1 Utama Shopping Centre. First up, the “hostess” named Yenni looked and sounded like she’s rather be anywhere else in the world at that moment. She sounded (and looked) fed up and was rude to say the least. Take into account that she’s the first contact a customer has with the restaurant. She told us to wait, gave us menu but told us we can’t order anything until we’re seated and then went on to roll her eyes so much so I thought they might lodge themselves behind her skull.

For the record this is the chronology:
9.30pm : Arrived at restaurant

9.50pm : Were shown to our table
The table had no plates, no cutlery and we had to get our own napkins. There were also old filled out comment cards that were not collected. We’ve scanned one for your enjoyment.

10.15pm : Drinks arrived. Although they were confirmed and the orders written down, there were still 7 drinks missed out.

10.30pm : Chips arrived

10.35pm : Then the plates arrived…AFTER the food started arriving

There was a point when some assistance was needed and the server who was right behind out table (and not serving anyone) had to be called 5 times before answering.

OK. There was one good thing, the server told us we’d get fresh glasses with every refill. From the word go, we stayed pleasant to everyone, even when it was time to give the restaurant manager some constructive feedback. I also found out from my team that many of them either have had, or know of people who’ve has less than pleasant encounters with the staff at Chilis.

Have you experienced this too? Let them know. You might just be doing them a favor – that is if they’re ready enough to listen.

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The Importance of keeping a promise...

In business, one must never over promise and under deliver. It will ruin you, eventually. This principle is true of everything else as well; whenever you make a promise, ensure you deliver it otherwise, don’t open your mouth.

On a recent trip to Krabi, a few of my team members promised to treat me to a meal. It didn’t happen. When we returned to Malaysia, I made it a point for them to remember by telling them. It’s not about the hard-up or cheapskate approach. It’s about keeping your word.

You can ask anyone on my team and they’ll tell you that I always keep my promise. It’s not about the big things, but the little gestures that go along way to developing character and leadership skills. A promise is a promise. They got the point and message clearly and decided to make me a sumptuous meal. I was happy and appreciated it. It is never about the food but the promise made must be kept. That builds trust and credibility.

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What Happens in Krabi Stays in Krabi...

ention you’re going to Thailand for a holiday and there’s a huge chance that eyebrows will be raised suggestively – more so if you are a man. The ATCEN International Group just returned from its annual company trip – to Krabi, Thailand.

Prior to arriving, there was a lot of talk regarding the sex trade and the easy access of it in abundance. This perception was quickly laid to rest upon arriving in Krabi, especially as night time. There’s of course no denying that there will be some corner, back end place somewhere that will offer the human trade, but what struck me the most about Krabi is the extremely picturesque scenery and the beautiful island and of course, the ocean. It’s just amazing as a place for family fun and relaxation.

Krabi personifies the old adage to never judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, there’s much more to it than just what we think and what meets the eye. We just have to experience and dig deep down.

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Malaysia, Democratic???

The last time I checked, I was living in Malaysia where coups do not happen. Or do they? It sure seems like it with the fall of the previous Perak state government. And also the last time I checked, we were supposed to be people; since when did some Malaysians turn amphibious – of the hopping kind?

To the best of my knowledge, when the people vote for a certain party, it means they WANT that party to helm the state. It’s the people’s choice. Three members going solo and jumping ship may get a the state a new government, but it’s not necessarily what the rakyat wants. Or maybe that doesn’t matter; actually it never did.

What we have is an absolutely ridiculous undemocratic process hostile takeover of the Perak Governtment. What in the world is this country becoming? Are we creating Kingmakers in the corrupted assemblyman that was voted in by the rakyat. This is so clear and absolute not acceptable. This is insanity and pisses me off. I do not care who governs the state or the country. But whosoever does, must respect the Rakyat’s wishes. Have a by election and let the people decide. Not by such underhanded dirty tactics.

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Ernie Chen on BFM 89.9: Money Wise

People & Brand Development Consultant, Ernie Chen shares his thoughts on being financially prepared during these tough times.

Ernie tells how he got started in business and the basics of getting through an economic downturn.

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The Predictions of WW3

Michel de Nostredame or more popularly known as Nostradamus is considered the main point of reference when it comes to prophecies for the future. He has predicted many disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles.

Nostradamus enthusiasts have credited him with predicting numerous events in world history, from the Great Fire of London, by way of the rise of Napoleon I of France and Adolf Hitler, to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. There is no evidence in the academic literature to suggest that any Nostradamus quatrain has ever been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred, other than in vague, general terms that could equally apply to any number of other events.

But what you can be sure of now is that the Third World War is looming on the horizon and it’s our entire fault. Don’t blame the weather, that’s also our fault in case you hadn’t noticed.

I mean companies going bankrupt sure, shit happens, unfortunate shit happens – but when countries go bust, you can’t help but feel that everything is going to hell, or maybe we’re already in it. Take a look at this: global economic crisis, global warming, wars, natural disasters and all other kind of bad crap happening. This is definitely WW3 that I know about. We are the only ones that can stop this war.

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KT was not a wake-up call!

When the racial minority rejoices that a Muslim political party has won the by-election over a party that supposedly represents all the rakyat, you know something is not right somewhere – or that something very wrong is being set right. And that’s what happened recently in Kuala Trengganu when PAS won the KT by-election. How much more obvious can the collective scream for a new government be? Right now, it seems that any government will do, just as long as the old one is vanquished. For some, it may not necessarily be the opposition but they just want a new government. I know this will happen because; the Barisan Nasional does not seem to get the message and understand simple fundamentals. As each day passes, our PM is one day closer to moving out. But it’s not all disastrous though. At least he will not be like Bush and be remembered as one of the worst presidents ever. He will just be seen as the seat-warmer for the rakyat’s next best candidate.

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At least they focus on competency...

When things go wrong in the world, there is a good chance that a large number of people will be very quick to point and accusing finger at the US. While I do agree that United States may suck big time at many things especially with regard to policies and economy, I will give them props for electing someone competent this time round. Or at least that’s what I see and think, and I’m sure I’m not alone. The Americans seemed to have wizened up and chosen the rightfully appropriate candidate – and it doesn’t matter that he is African American and bits of various other nationalities. Now, let’s take a look at Malaysia. Look at the number of incompetent “leaders”. How can they be elected representatives of the rakyat with such competency levels. It is absolutely absurd. We are not toddlers who like puppet shows. So kindly stop putting up a “boneka” to confuse and frustrate us.

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Stop Worrying & Start Taking Action

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere”. ~ Glenn Turner.

There is so much bad news these days; it’s enough to make anyone want to jump off the nearest building. Wait a minute, that’s happening already.

Finding a bit of good news is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. And what boggles the mind is that we do send positive news to the media but they seem insistent on highlighting the bad news.

Do they seriously believe that bad news sells? Maybe it’s time for a reality check. People buy the papers not to read about the bad stuff, but they buy it for a glimmer of hope – that perhaps things are getting better in certain parts of the world or that things will get better.

The bad news has to stop. And we have to stop believing everything we read. If you read about something you are unhappy about – do something about it. Of course you can. Get a group of like minded people and band together. If you think about it it’s not whether you can do it or not, it’s whether you want to.

It’s sad but this at a time when so many people are having it hard; it could be your time to rise above the rest and make the best and most out of the situation. It’s only when we begin to create opportunities for ourselves that opportunity will show itself. You’ve got to fight for your right to survive and be a part of the good news that will sweep the nation soon.

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Goodbye 2008 & Hello 2009: Putting and end to Bullshit and Grabbing the Bull by its Horns

It’s the year of the Ox, Bull etc in 2009. And while the world is screaming bloody murder at the economic woes, there are some who are finally realizing a perfectly horrible storm is coming.

In case you were hibernating, here’s a gist of the meltdown mess that was 2008: declining wildlife, more global warming, a pretty momentous US Presidential race, a wake up call for the forces that used to be in Penang, and of course many bullshit promises that were broken a hundred times over.

Now we have arrived in 2009 – where things are going to get worst and this is the truth. But the bright side of things is that when you hit rock bottom, the only way is up, unless you choose to give up and down deeper still – like six feet under.

We have all been given free will – to choose our actions and be accountable for them. So what’s it going to be for you this year? Are you going to do a belly flop and kick the bucket or you going to grab the charging bull by its horns and wrestle the crap out of it?

You can make 2009 your best year yet. Only you can decide your future and make the impossible possible. It takes hard work, that’s the truth. But it isn’t going to kill you. It’s the giving up that will do you in eventually. And there’s no deadlier poison than the regret of not doing your best.

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Manusia Mudah Lupa!

As I flip through the newspapers, sometimes I feel I’ve entered a time machine and it’s taken me back, waaaayy back. It’s so damn ridiculous that some idiots are still not learning from mistakes like the Highland Towers episode for one.

It’s really mind boggling how things work here sometime – they seem to forget so easily the lives that have been lost due to bad planning. Everytime a landslide happens, God is blamed, the weather is blamed, everyone is blamed, except for the real morons who should be help 100% responsible. You know who you are.

Then there are the floods. Perhaps Proton should look into making boats not cars at the rate the banjir kilat is happening all over the place. At least then, they might start making a profit.

There is little wonder why the politicians, and supposed powers that be forget. It’s because of a four letter word called D-U-I-T (money). Pay offs are so frequent that it is discussed so openly. How you sleep at night knowing that that grand house you’ve bought has been paid for by blood money. Wouldn’t be poetic justice if it all goes under a landslide.

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Stupid Decisions that Will Mess up your Credit

At a time like this, when jobs and finances are going to hell, the last thing you want is to create a bigger fire to slowly roast yourself alive. These are some things you should definitely think about – and it might just save your skin.

Cosign for relatives/friends

When you're asked to cosign for someone, the creditor has determined that it does not trust that person to repay the loan. The creditor insists on you putting up your money, your property, your future income and your good name to guarantee that the loan will be repaid.

If your relative does not pay, the creditor will come after you. The creditor does not have to try to collect from the relative. If you do not pay it, and it will looks just as bad on your credit as if it were a loan to you.

Take out a second mortgage to pay off credit card debt.

If you borrow on you home, you will increase the monthly cost to stay in your home which could result in its loss if your financial circumstances worsen.

In addition, you will be converting short term debt--debt which should be paid off in a matter of months--into long term debt which will take years, or even decades to pay off. Even worse, you may be tempted to again run up the charge cards which you have been paid off so that you have lost your equity in your home for nothing.

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A Dream called outLOUD Academy

It has been three years in the making and at I knew what the outLOUD Academy will come to fruition – and it has been well worth the wait. For the record, this has long been a dream of mine – to create and set up Malaysia’s very first Hollywood style talent discovery and development agency.

I can never say enough about discovering and developing people to meet their best and fullest potential – I am passionate about it. With the outLOUD Academy, I get to take this one step further.

One other push factor that led to the outLOUD Academy is what I’ve witnessed personally with regard to how some Malaysian celebrities are managed so badly. A lot of them are dealt with like they are fresh meat, and those that are not are usually cut a deal far less than what they deserve. They say, if you want to get a job done, them do it yourself. Instead of bitching about it, I decided to set up the outLOUD Academy.

I am confident that with this truly exceptional academy, Malaysian talents will be nurtured, developed and enjoy sustainable careers. We will not just do it but do it exceptionally well with an end to end service provided to them from casting, training and management of their career. Watch us make it happen.

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The Government That Never Learns

A standard dictionary will define a servant as: A person employed to assist in domestic matters; sometimes living in the employer’s house. The second definition clearly states: “A government worker.” To the best of my recollection, to serve is to prove a service to someone, but of course you do not see this in many of the government offices in Malaysia.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as if we are the ones who have to behave dutifully whenever we have business at any government agency. We have to smile, nod and be so nice to them because we are afraid that they might just “lose” our application if we so much as frown.

Don’t you also get the feeling that some of them go out of their way to make things difficult for you? We are the midst of applying for a company signage. Each time we propose a name, they contest it and give stupid suggestions that don’t work. And so, what would perhaps take a month to approve, takes half a year.

Can someone enlighten me on the great level of “difficulty” involved in signage approval? Does it take back breaking work and scientific formulas? I don’t think so. If it did, we wouldn’t have the kind of people we do right now working in these departments. What’s really irksome is that they are so non customer-oriented and are oblivious to the fact that we are paying their salaries.

Just wait until the next election comes along. We will rid their lazy behinds and when out of a job, they might then truly understand the meaning of what it is to be a servant. Idiots!

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60,000 Unemployed Malaysian Graduates…and Counting

If you Google “unemployed graduates” you’ll find a string of blogs, news archives relating to Malaysian unemployed graduates. According to Wong Chun Wai in his article “For our kids’ sake check the slide” (Sunday Star, Nov 16), there are 60,000 unemployed Malaysian graduates.

There are some quarters who sympathize with these graduates and even blame corporate companies for not making available more opportunities. The numbers are crazy, ridiculous and ludicrous – as is all the sympathy being showered on these graduates. As the number increases, the attitude and ability of the graduates go downhill.

Let me share some figures with you. Since the beginning of the year, ATCEN has had 16 interns/fresh graduates. Out of this, only FIVE completed their internship and received jobs – two at ATCEN itself. We do give them opportunities – but most of them can’t take the heat. Ask them to work until 9pm and they don’t turn up the next day. Couple this with zero initiative plus no common sense and it equals a recipe for unemployment.

Due to this affliction, most companies would rather pay a lot more in salaries and get better qualified people on board than to literally squander their time with these graduates. Time is wasted because these young people are trained, nurtured and in some cases mentored only for them to leave without even so much as a thank you.

Fresh graduates should realize that a majority of them have bad attitudes towards life and work. They are too picky and choose jobs like they are selecting fruits at the pasar malam. Most are also stupidly unaware of the position they are in, which is NOT a position to be fussy.

These graduates also want instant gratification, make lots money but not willing to put in the effort. What they need to learn is delayed gratification. I will keep telling them to wake up by slapping them on their face and make them suffer to learn the reality of the world.

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The Setapak Kopi Experience

I used to wonder why so many people have such a connection with Starbucks Coffee. The answer came to me one day while I was having a cup of coffee at a kopitiam in Setapak. Although it obviously was nothing like Starbucks, the experience was just as nice if not even more special because it’s the only one of its kind.

There are virtually countless Starbucks outlets around the globe to serve the multitudes who love the concoctions sold there. However if you have been reading, you’ll also know that Starbucks has frappéd itself by multiplying and duplicating at warp speed.

To date, Starbucks has closed down 600 stores, laid off 13,000 people and has reported that it will put on hold 40,000 new stores. Would you like whipped cream with that?

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The Hope Called Obama

It’s finally happened and I am so pleased. America has her first Black President and what was once thought of as impossible is now a reality. I still remember my Principal Consultant telling me that the Whites in America will never let this happen.

Well, this man has gone against unbelievable odds to silence millions who thought he would never lead a predominantly white nation. I am a believer that anything can happen if we just Desire it, make a firm Choice, have unwavering Belief in this thing that we want so badly and take the right Action to make it happen.

Barack Obama’s deserved victory has dispelled the notion across the world that nothing is set in stone and anything is possible.

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My AirAsia Experience

I’m sorry to say that cheap flights or not, Air Asia is big flying ad for: “you get what you pay for”. During a trip to Kota Kinabalu, I experienced what would go down as one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

For starters, the flight was delayed. Surprise, surprise. Next up, the seats were cramped and this made for an incredibly uncomfortable flight. If the client had not purchased the tickets in bulk, I would not have chosen to fly Air Asia.

There is no denying that the fare is cheap, and yes, everyone can fly now. But this is a case of a great concept but poor execution. And while it’s quite inspiring to watch an airline everyone thought couldn’t trying to make it happen, perhaps it would be wise to really look into these problems before lowering fares any further.

You need to maintain your brand’s image in everything. And even if prices are kept to an all time low, but if the airline is nothing more than a bus in flight, no amount of ad wars can resurrect a tarnished image.

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Our Country’s Brain Drain Problem

In addition to the various shortages scaring the pants off the world’s billions, do you also realize that there is also a shortage in clever people? This scares me most of all. Imagine years and years ahead living in a world populated by mindless dimwits? Great plot a horror flick if you ask me.

Many of the good ones don’t come back after getting the degrees abroad – they get jobs and stay on. There are very few (like myself and some others I know) who have decided to resist the lure of overseas abundance by toughing it out here, trying to bring about a positive change.

We experience brain drain for two reasons:

1. Inequality

2. The Package – or lack thereof: this includes compatible pay, good perks and the possibility of advancement and growth based on merit.

Those who can, take note: you can do something to change this by evolving in the way you run your businesses and companies. You have a responsibility to create opportunities and ensure that you are fair when writing paychecks and giving promotions.

Here’s a new era of Brain Gain. Let’s hope we are smarter from past mistakes and are wise enough to see that we can make this nation a melting pot not only of races but of minds teeming with innovation and brilliance.

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Money Politics and Corruption!

At this point in time, I feel the ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) should go into the business of hot air balloon tours. Why? Because the amount of hot air they spew about doing this and that about corruption is enough to fill many hot balloons for tourists thus increasing the country’s revenue in leaps and bounds.

Everyone is playing the holier than thou card – the finger pointing is dizzying to say the least and no one wants to be accountable. It is no my intention to sound preachy, but what I am is disgusted and annoyed because of the countless times corruption has been addressed, but nothing done.

This is a great example of all talk and no action. What’s more it’s certainly a testimony to how some quarters really do not fear what awaits once they step off the earth. It really doesn’t matter what faith or religion who practice – you will be held accountable in the big ledger in the sky. Seeing this is so, you’d better change your ways, or make sure that there are plenty people to pray for you.

You’ll probably choose the second option for two reasons: one is that it’s easier, secondly it’s because you’re most likely to bribe them into doing it. You’ll just die like how you lived – unjustly and corrupted.

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The CEO that Tuned Out

Sometimes, we meet people who place themselves on high horses. They seem to like the view from up there – but remember, the higher you are the harder your fall will be – especially if you’re too full of yourself.

Now, about a year ago I met Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who was at the time CEO of Tune Money Sdn Bhd – for the uninitiated, he has since resigned. When I read about this resignation, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and hard. This was particularly humorous to me because in 2007 when I met him during a recording of The Firm, Tengku Zafrul decided to tell me about the top, middle and bottom lines about generating revenues.

The impression he gave me was that he came from wealthy stock, but uncertain of his standing in the business/entrepreneur circle. The papers stated he declined “…to elaborate further” about his resignation. Convenient isn’t it? Take what you want when you want it and then wash your hands of it when things get overwhelming. It’s probably better off this way.

Tune Money, like any other company needs a CEO worth its salt – a brave and bold captain to steer the ship away out of treacherous shark-infested waters. Not someone who, instead of bailing water out of a sinking ship, chooses instead to bail himself out. The last time I checked, captains went down with their ships – those with integrity anyway.

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Honesty is still the Best Policy!

Say what you like – but the most important qualities you can ever develop that will enhance every part of your life, are the values of honesty and integrity. When you have integrity, it means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life.

Integrity is a value, very much like persistence, courage, and intelligence. It is your choice of values and resolution to live by those values that form your character and personality. And it is integrity that enhances all your other values. The quality of the kind of person you are is determined by how well you live up to the values that are most important to you. Integrity is the quality that locks in your values and causes you to live consistently with them.

Want to spot those with integrity? Look around you and see the ones that give the highest quality of work in everything they do. They are the people who are always totally honest with themselves in everything they commit themselves to, and strive to excellent work on every occasion. People with high integrity realize that everything they do is a statement about who they are as a person.

Your integrity is manifested in your willingness to adhere to the values that are most important to your. It's easy to make promises but often very hard to keep them. But every time you keep a promise that you've made, it is an act of integrity, which in turn strengthens your character.

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The Power of Being Competent

Robert Anson Heinlein was one of the most influential authors in the science fiction genre. In his book novel titled Time Enough For Love, “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” states his idea of what a competent person should be able to do.

He writes: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, *conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

In the increasingly demanding world of business, leaders need to have a range of skills knowledge and experience. While all of these are vital foundations, what is clear is that success is no longer just about skills and expertise.

Our personal competence is all about how effective we are at managing ourselves. It includes how much self awareness we have, our ability to self regulate our behavior and our personal motivation.

In truth many people have never really spent much time building awareness of themselves and what makes them tick. Imagine the insights that you could gain if you just spent a small amount of time on this area.

Social competence considers how well we handle relationships. These days, it is hard to imagine many roles that are not highly dependent on relationships. The success of any organization is dependent on building relationships to secure business, manage challenges, overcome obstacles to name just a few. Social competence is also about being aware of the feelings and concerns of others.

Sadly many people struggle when they move into management and leadership roles, not because they lack skill or knowledge but because they lack the softer skills essential for success. So what's you next step in developing your emotional competence? Come to think of it, we can’t just focus on being competent but instead on the power of strategic competence and the need to focus on form.

*Conn: to direct or conduct the steering of a vessel; to give orders to the helmsman on steering the ship

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The Insignificant, Insecure & Egoistical Professor

I met someone last Saturday who was very pleasant at first, but then turned out to be one of the more insecure people I’ve met the moment he opened his mouth. This man, Prof. Dr Something Or Rather, introduced himself saying, “I’m Malaysian, but I’m from US?”!! What on earth is that supposed to mean? If this were an oxymoron, it’s pretty clear where the moron part is.

Anyhow, he was just supposed to accompany some MBA students to meet with me for a session on entrepreneurship. From the get go, he constantly interrupted me, his students, just about everyone he could vehemently stating his point – not like he had one to make.

I was very cordial and pretty good natured about everything until he started bombarding Malaysian entrepreneurs. He reiterated that he isn’t just an average professor and knows a lot more than many of the entrepreneurs around. I mean, come off it – what’s the point of raising your voice above everyone else’s – is it just to prove what you know? There’s no need to do that.

Part of me wanted to say to him, if you claim to know so much about being an entrepreneur, then why is that you aren’t in business? Why are you not an entrepreneur? Surely, if you are as good as you say you are, you’ll be minting money in no time and running the world’s most successful company.

But then I decided not to. One because it would have been of no use, secondly because an old adage came to mind, “Those who can’t do, teach.”

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TAKE ACTION!

It time for some questions. Can you tell me where you will be ten years from today? More than likely, with a certitude of 99.99%, the answer is no. I'll leave a .01% for anything that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. I'm sure you can assert an interesting and convincing argument of where you would like to be in ten years but since you’re all you do is talk and do nothing much about it, I suggest you shut up and listen and you will see a big difference between "will be" and "like to be".

Can you tell me where you were in your life ten years ago? More than likely, with a certitude of 99.99%, the answer is yes. I am sure there will be little arguing where you were in your life all those years ago. You can probably recount the events and include all the relevant characteristics, and qualities identifying each highlight. All this with clarity, color and total confidence. Imagine that, with total clarity and confidence. Don't you wish you can describe your future with that much accuracy and ease? I'm not at this point in time going to say whether it is or isn't.

In the blink of an eye, years can pass by. And it isn't until you have that abrupt moment realizing how much time has passed. Do you see the same person when you look back? Hopefully you don't see the same person today as you did ten years ago. If you feel that you do, how does that make you feel? Who cares, the real question is what are you going to do about it! Do you want to be the same person five years from now! Or do you want to be someone who succeeds and inspires.

1. Today, right here, right now, how do you envision yourself? What do you imagine are your future possibilities? What is the perception of yourself at point zero, today? Do you see yourself in a position or a time in your life where you want to be?

2. Has life become so easy for you that you don't need to move forward?

3. Have you become so comfortable with the way things have been all you do is just fantasize or hallucinate about moving forward?

4. Or have you created anchors in your life which prevent you from moving forward. Living an easy and comfortable life prevents you from creating an end goal for yourself and allows your surrounding environment to create and end goal for you. And anchors are distractions in life which prevent you from seeing an end goal and moving forward.

5. You can't live life on your own terms if you refuse to grow, if you refuse to move. It is also very easy to get caught up in our lives and often with the anchors, difficulties, dilemmas and confusions.

6. This only makes it seem more impossible to know what to do or how to advance with your life. Have you asked yourself what holds you back? Have you asked yourself what you are afraid of?

7. Sometimes you'll look at your past and you will think you are seeing your future. That needs to stop. If you look at your past, for any reason, it should be to measure how far you have come. To learn from any successes or mistakes you have made and to build upon them.

8. I'm not going to tell you "to" take charge of your life. Because you are already in charge of your life. You are always in charge of your life. Whether or not you just chose to either do nothing with it or consent to someone else to take charge of your life.

You chose to stay the same because you may think there is some external force which prevents you from doing what you want to truly be. You chose to stay the same because of your fear. You chose to stay the same because it is easy. You cannot fail if you do not try, nor can you succeed in obtaining success.

It is your time to wake up.

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I Love My Job!

Some say that a job is what you do keep a roof over your head and bread in the cupboard. To me it’s much more than that because I just love what I do. Don’t shake your head and say, “Of course he loves what he does. He’s the CEO and he gets to literally boss people around all day and there’s no pressure for him to deliver.” FYI, I don’t push people around and being Group CEO to 6 growing companies is pretty challenging now more so than ever.

I love what I do, my job so to speak because it’s a great game. In the years I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve discovered the excitement of being able to pinpoint and eliminate the roadblocks, detours and obstacles that had previously prevented me from building any kind of successful momentum.

Through this desire and tenacity I have to succeed I have found ingenious ways to increase my profitability by employing my very own business growth tactics and strategies. My love for the game of winning in business has allowed me to experience a massive increase in my productivity, resulting in a measurable lift in my overall satisfaction with who I am and what I do.

And what I’m all about is that I always play to win.

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Huge Opportunities Amidst Economic Crisis

Sometimes we don’t know that we are capable of doing something until and unless we are thrust into an unbearable situation. That’s when most of us will do what it takes to make it through – some do it through illegal means while others rise to the challenge and take the hard way out.

For some of us difficult times mean an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and one person who knows all about reinventing herself is Madonna. It’s been over 20 years and she’s still commanding audiences the world over and minting millions through record sales all because she knows how to keep both her style and her music one step ahead of the rest.

When bad situations arise, most people decide to grumble and make a lot of noise instead of looking at the opportunities that lay hidden. Look, if it’s so easy to be successful do you really think the world will be in the situation it’s in right now? You have to be smart and sharp. Look out for others might miss and don’t see at all.

There are many opportunities that are available – you just need to stick your nose in the right place and sniff it out. If you’re angry with me for saying this because it’s so easy to say it and not tell you where to look, then you should give yourself a knock on the head for wanted to be spoon fed and you don’t deserve to be successful for being lazy.

Half the fun of being successful is the journey to take to get there. Sure it’s not always fun and games – but you need to persevere and the lessons you learn from it will make you truly an entrepreneur from the school of hard knocks – no business degree could be better.

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Why You’re Still Dumb, Sick and Broke!

You’ve attended every single get-rick-quick seminar and internet success talk you can but there are still no results. All you do is hear what it is being said but you do nothing about it. In case you’re wondering why the earth hasn’t moved for you yet, these are reasons why:

1. You don’t know how to manage money. Fancy offices and high salaries are great ways to blow money. You need to learn when to spend your money and when you should not. For example, if your employees want fancy desks or cubicles, when it will not help them do their job better, tell them no. But if someone wants two monitors so he or she can be more productive, then buy the second monitor.

2. You don’t have multiple game plans. You can’t rely on one person, one business model, or even one solution. Things you can’t predict happen, so the best thing you can do is have multiple game plans.

3. You don’t learn from your mistakes. It is natural to make mistakes, but good entrepreneurs make few mistakes. The easiest way you can reduce the amount of mistakes you will make is by learning from others.

4. You aren’t agile enough. You have to be able to adapt quickly. If you aren’t able to adapt to market changes, someone else will.

5. You think you know everything. The reality is, you know very little. So instead of thinking you know everything, find others who are smarter than you.

6. You think you can do everything. There is only 24 hours in a day, and sleeping takes up a lot of it. I know you may be a jack of all trades, but find people who can help you out. By specializing on tasks you will become more efficient and get more done.

7. You don’t network with others. If you meet new people on a regular basis, sooner or later you will run into people that can help you out. Surprisingly, there are tons of people out there who are willing to lend a helping hand for FREE. Make sure you go to industry events, local mixers, and join any entrepreneur groups.

8. You don’t love what you do. Money is great, but everything shouldn’t revolve around it. You are more likely to succeed if you are doing what you love. Usually when you are doing things you love, you will spend more time and put more effort into it.

9. You don’t have a good work ethic. Laziness is something many of us pick up from working 9 to 5 jobs. But when you are running your own business you have to be willing to put in time. And more importantly when you working, you have to learn to be productive.

10. You aren’t aggressive enough. Don’t expect things to be handed to you or for doors to open up when you want them to. You have to be a go-getter and if you aren’t one, you better learn how to become one.

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Think It’s Easy Being a Successful Entrepreneur?

There are quite a number of people who like to daydream about this. Being a successful entrepreneur is a task that many people wish that they could accomplish. Achieving the feat of being a successful entrepreneur means that you are in charge of your own destiny and independent in your own wealth creation.

If you look at the people in the past that have achieved this dream, a common thread seems to emerge. Actually, many common threads emerge as characteristics typical of an entrepreneur. Some common characteristics that entrepreneurs exude are: common sense, being a problem solver, determination, using money as a measure, hard work, complexity on thinking, being a good net-worker, and their confidence. This list seems to be all inclusive, but it isn't.

Some of these characteristics can inter-relate back to one-another. Having “common sense” means that you can rationalize a situation and deal with it in a manner that is feasible and practical. This can relate to ways to solve problems in the same mannerisms. An entrepreneur has common sense and is able to make a practical judgment on a problem or question that arises.

Being an entrepreneur is a lot more than taking out a bank loan and starting your own business. For the record this is what it means: Entrepreneur, translated from its French roots, means "one who undertakes." The term is used to refer to anyone who undertakes the organization and management of an enterprise involving independence and risk as well as the opportunity for profit. An entrepreneur, typically, is inspired to start a business because the entrepreneur perceives a consumer need that is not being adequately filled.

The most important thing that an entrepreneur must have is common sense. If you don’t have that, or worse – don’t know what it is, I suggest your find out first before deciding to fire your boss. Otherwise you’ll be out on your behind in no time – and that would be a shame.

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Leaders With Scandals

You don’t need to watch re-runs of soap operas here when you can get all the drama you want just by observing our political leaders. From being accused of murder to being arrested for bribery charges enough to rival the Watergate scandal, here we have stories that can curl the hair – especially those told over teh tarik sessions.

The worse part about all of this is that a lot of them don’t learn from their mistakes. I mean, I’m sure they read the papers right? And even worse, they probably would have come in contact with the accused at one time or another. Even with observing something like this so up close and personal, they still go and do stupid things. If you’re stupid enough to get caught doing it, then you deserve what’s coming.

What’s clearly missing is integrity in leadership. "Leadership by example" is still one of the best approaches in leading the human capital. The story below often used to coach can best illustrate this point.

There is a story about a lady who brought her sweet-loving son to Mahatma Ghandi. She hopes that some wise counselling will convince the boy to stop eating the sweets that were obviously bad for him. The great leader told the lady to bring her son back to him in a week.

The week went by and the lady brought her son back to Gandhi who very simply told the boy to stop eating too many sweets as they can be harmful. The lady was astonished and a little upset stating that this could have been told to the boy the previous week. This is the reply she received from Gandhi," I myself used to take sweets till last week. I needed a weeks' time to quit eating sweets so that I could counsel your son with conviction".

Scandals happen in the absence of integrity. People get greedy not just in terms of money, but also power and status. When we try to get that extra bit through illegal and unnatural means, we upset the scales. And just like in nature, you know very well what happens when there is am imbalance – get ready for some chaos.

It’s time for the serving leader to emerge.

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Shocking Stats: 85% of all Businesses Fail within First 5 Years

It’s a well known fact that the failure rate for small businesses is extremely high. We have heard the statistics, but what are the reasons? These are the apparent business failure rate as the years roll by:

First : 85%
Second: 70%

Third: 62%
Fourth: 55%
Fifth: 50%

Sixth: 47%
Seventh: 44%
Eighth: 41%
Ninth: 38%
Tenth: 35%

These statistics are, of course, reflective of small businesses in general. Nonetheless, it can be deduced that no matter what industry you are in, there is a high failure rate, and generally speaking, the top three issues or reasons for small business failure are relatively consistent.

Almost every study or report indicates the main reason for small business failure is improper planning and expectations. When we dig deeper into these reports, there are three critical areas of planning that are often overlooked or underestimated:

1. Financial requirements to get the business started.
2. Generating/developing business and revenue.
3. Managing and controlling growth.

It is the small business owners who are able to figure out how to accomplish and overcome the challenges that accompany those three critical areas who will typically enjoy a long, fruitful business life. The variable is figuring out how to do it. Most small business owners are very proficient at the product they supply or service they deliver.

It is rare that a small business fails because the owner does not understand what they are doing.

So before you get excited as the prospect of being your own boss, please have an expert understanding of what it is you want to do. Don’t just talk to people who have succeeded, speak to those who haven’t as well because it’ll help you to really understand what goes into sustaining a business – learn from their mistakes and don’t have a repeat performance.

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Amazing Race Asia – Our Malaysian Participants Make Us Proud!

Malaysians can be quite a hardy bunch. And of late, we’ve been witnessing a lot of tenacity from Ida Nerina, Tania Khan, Bernie & Henry Chan – the Malaysian contestants for The Amazing Race Asia – Season 3.

These participants are testimony to what we can do once we set out minds to it – and the journey we choose to take in order to get there.

While it’s great to win, it’s also important that you get there with some amount of dignity. You want people to be rooting for you, not wishing that you’ll fall off the mountain or get horribly lost.

Our Malaysian contestants are great in that they may be impatient with each other – but you don’t see them at each other’s throats. This has been the same with all the other Malaysian contestants in Season 1 and 2.

These are the people who put the “Amazing” in The Amazing Race Asia. Good job to all.

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It Takes Two to Tango!

We conducted a teambuilding session last week for GAB – and what an experience it was. As with all other workshops and teambuilding sessions we’ve conducted, there are always lessons learnt – this one was no different.

Whenever a teambuilding session is conducted, it isn’t just for the client – but also a test of teamwork for us as well. From the time is session in confirmed, everyone bands together to make sure that all items needed are bought, sorted, packed and loaded.

There are times when our fuses go off and our patience wears thin. We’ll also be very tired, exhausted – but we can’t complain about being tired, because this is a job and we’re pulling off a very big production. No matter how tired or hungry we are, it’s always show business as usual and the show must always go on.

TWhen a teambuilding session is conducted, there must always be accountability on both sides – the client and the provider. If a problem or an argument involves two people then both people are responsible for the problem – hence it takes two to tango.

Coordinating a teambuilding session is very much like conducting an orchestra. Everyone must know their place and watch the conductor so they can come in at the right time and not mess up the entire performance.

An event of any kind can only be truly successful if both client and service provider work together and we experienced this with GAB. Of course there was the initial grumbling, complaining and dragging of the feet – but with some pushing and motivation, we saw how a group of entirely different people can come together and make it work.

There were exemplary instances of leadership, dedication, empowerment, accountability and action from both sides. It was a session that will be remembered.

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Multi-Racial Lion Dance – Truly Malaysia

What do you think keeps us united in a country that is a melting pot of races, cultures and religions? Let’s bring it a little closer to home, what do you think makes this work in Malaysia?

Personally, I don’t think it’s the campaigns of loving Malaysia carried out by the government. I truly believe that we, each and everyone of us are doing what we can to keep scales from tipping over.

We are united because we choose to be, we make the effort because we are wiser for the mistakes of our forefathers. Take the Muhibbah Lion Dance Group for example. Lion dance troupes have long been a mainstay of the Chinese community but here you have 40 members of various races taking a multi-cultural route. And what’s more, the troupe also has two women - a Malay and an Indian.

We should make a stand which does not tolerate stereotypical references to which race is lazy, which race is backstabbing and which race would sell their own mother for a bit of profit.

The next time someone of a similar race as you makes a racial slur, remind them about your mutual racial flaws and highlight that you’re not as perfect as you think you are. It’s these distinctions that make us so alike and yet so unique. It’s not enough that we are proud to be Malaysians – we should be proud of each other and celebrate our differences that bind us together as a nation.

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Life’s a BITCH!... if we let it be

Have you ever asked someone what they had for lunch and they, roll their eyes and say something like, “I had Chicken Rice AGAIN.” And when you say to them if they don’t like it, why not have something else, they reply, “I don’t have a choice.” This is a load of rubbish – and believe me I’ve heard plenty of idiots speak in my lifetime.

Of course you have a choice! You can decide to wake up a little earlier and make yourself a sandwich for one – or look for other places to try out. You can decide to make life simple, or choose to bitch about every single thing that comes your way. If things are not going well for you, grow a backbone and stop slithering about in self-pity. Pick yourself up and move forward.

Bad break in love? Stop all the crying and wallowing. Tell yourself you’re going to get really successful and win this person back – provided they’re worth the work you’ll be putting in. Otherwise, get successful for yourself. After all, success is the best revenge.

If your job is bringing you down, look for something else that you really want to do. Yes, it’s really that simple. Get out of your comfort zone. Change for the better is never easy – you need to challenge yourself and go through some rough patches in order for you to really appreciate all the good that is in your life. Once that happens, you’ll bitch less and be a nicer person to yourself and those around you.

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Turning 35!

I know someone who turned 35 today. When I got to know her some time back, she came across very strong, defensive, guarded to people and unsure of what she was truly capable of. Her forte happens to be writing, but she did it without much enthusiasm or realization of how good she was at it. Over the months, that has changed in leaps and bounds.

It really is a joy watching her work now – and her enthusiasm is very real and infectious. How did she do it? I think it’s because she discovered it’s ok to let her guard down and let go of things that are not in her control. She did this by accepting that there are certain things that can change overnight, while others require time and patience.

A loner at the earlier stages, I can see that she has found friends within the workplace – and the genuine camaraderie is great. She laughs more now and finds joy in being surrounded by people who sometimes, I think drive her half crazy with their requests for help. I think she secretly likes it though as she seems most at home when doing something for someone else be it a friend, colleague or the organization as a whole.

They say life begins at 40, but she has proven that it can start much earlier – only if you will it and want it bad enough. Happy Birthday my friend.

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Turning 35!

I know someone who turned 35 today. When I got to know her some time back, she came across very strong, defensive, guarded to people and unsure of what she was truly capable of. Her forte happens to be writing, but she did it without much enthusiasm or realization of how good she was at it. Over the months, that has changed in leaps and bounds.

It really is a joy watching her work now – and her enthusiasm is very real and infectious. How did she do it? I think it’s because she discovered it’s ok to let her guard down and let go of things that are not in her control. She did this by accepting that there are certain things that can change overnight, while others require time and patience.

A loner at the earlier stages, I can see that she has found friends within the workplace – and the genuine camaraderie is great. She laughs more now and finds joy in being surrounded by people who sometimes, I think drive her half crazy with their requests for help. I think she secretly likes it though as she seems most at home when doing something for someone else be it a friend, colleague or the organization as a whole.

They say life begins at 40, but she has proven that it can start much earlier – only if you will it and want it bad enough. Happy Birthday my friend.

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Selamat Hari Raya to All My Muslim Colleagues, Friends, Clients all over the World!

Today is the day where collective cheers revel in being able to eat at any time of the day. But above and beyond this it is also a day where many old wounds will heal and the opportunity to start over avails itself. I love Hari Raya and all the delicious trappings that come with it – the food is phenomenal and the hospitality extended to me by my Muslim friends are stuff legends are made of.

I’ll be visiting some of them a little later, and I am looking forward to it – yes, because of the food, but more so because I have come to love having them as my friends, colleagues - my family in short. It is also a great reminder that in spite of the pretty crappy things happening, we are still bound to each other as Malaysians through time-honored celebrations such as this.

Cut the ketupat, lay out the lemang and dish out the rendang. I’m on my way over. Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.

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The Truth About the Malaysian Economy?

Malaysians seem particularly blind to the problem of income inequality in our society. It is not a commonly known fact, but according to the *Gini coefficient, which is a measure of income inequality, Malaysians have a wider disparity of income than other basket cases in the region like the Philippines.

In case you’ve just returned from planet Zartok and haven’t yet noticed the state of the Malaysian and Global economy, you’d better get over the jetlag and literally come back down to earth. The Global economic meltdown plus income inequality are surefire ways to set things off, if it hasn’t yet happened.

The true problem with income inequality is that it generally indicates a lack of economic opportunity. Poverty is a problem which cuts across all races, across all communities. There is a reliable economic case to be made for fighting poverty. There are also people who readily buy into this worsening economic hell saying, “What to do?” It’s not my fault that I am financially incapable. I come from a poor family, and I didn’t get the chance to study abroad or get a university education like so many others.” Then there are those who do come from rich backgrounds and who have attended university but chose instead to be useless slackers – but yet have jobs and seem to go on to drive flashy cars and penthouses that overlook the little people.

This is what is it. Bow our heads in shame because as Malaysians, we should be ashamed not just that we have worse income inequality than the Philippines, but that in our society, which family you are born into is such a strong determinant of what you will grow up to be. That doesn't have to be the case, and it should not be the case.

Note: (from Wikipedia): The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion most prominently used as a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth distribution. The Gini coefficient is also commonly used for the measurement of the discriminatory power of rating systems in credit risk management.

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Fire those Idiots!

The last time Asia was in an economic crisis, some American quarters cautioned against bailing them out. Because of this, many companies went under and many giants had to merge in order to weather the economic storm. However, a different tune is being whistled now. There are various large companies in the US that were in danger of going bust have been rescued by financial institutions – and we’re talking billions of dollars here.

If you think that the banks are funding everything, please wake up. It’s the tax payers money that is keeping these companies afloat. They should fire the idiots who were put the run the show in the first place – and get in some new blood who know what it REALLY takes to run a company.

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Is the World Coming to An End?

It really seems like we’re on the verge of an Armageddon. Things were already starting to unravel many years ago, but it’s more obvious now because of the short space in between each disaster. And the disasters I’m referring to does not just apply to droughts, floods, tsunamis etc – I’m referring to the political upheavals that have left many countries stranded and its people lost.

Disasters also mean the current state of the world economy that has caused a domino effect of bad situations across the globe. How many large conglomerates are crumbling or are on the verge of going bankrupt – or already have? Imagine the losses in dollars and also the hundreds of thousands of people who are jobless overnight. Looks like one doesn’t need to die in order to go to hell. It’s already hell on earth.

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What an Uncomfortable Meal?

Take look at the picture above. How does it make you feel? When I saw it for the first time, I thought to myself, “What an uncomfortable meal this must be.” What could they possibly be thinking at that moment. Would be interesting to know...

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The Rakyat Deserves A Free Country

This is something we already knew we deserved and thought we had, but you are wrong. If you think that freedom only exists in the concept of being freed from communists and what not, let me just tell you that there’s more to life that that.

What I mean by a free country is that we as a people will not have to pay such high taxes and on top of that pay for increased electricity tariffs, and of course – the toll. It’s all fair enough that in order to build a country you must tax the people etc…but I think we’ve done our fair share of payback.

It’s no secret that tax payer’s money is not being utilized wisely. Look at all the ugly colored lights in shape of flowers that look like they’re on steroids and you’ll know where a percentage of your taxes are going to.

If only this country could be run like a well-managed business it can become a global force to be reckoned with. We have the earth’s most expensive resource – oil, but it sure doesn’t seem like it though because we are still paying through our noses and just about every other orifice that we can be squeezed for more from.

Maybe I’m not alone in thinking that taxes here are paid to fund the corrupt and to pay for numerous supreme council meetings so they can sit on comfortable chairs and have 5 meals a day while debating over inane and asinine matters – such as deciding to suspend certain people for 3 years, when the answer is really quite obvious already.

If the new government coalition hears this – please make a change. Renew our faith in a lost system and show us you meant everything you said about a positive change and equality for all.

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Congratulations! We Made It

The much talked about day has been achieved – some may like it and might hate it. Be that the case, one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be a livelier Malaysia and I daresay an even more united one. With all the crappy things that have been happening over the years, it has become very difficult indeed to see the country for who She really is.

We are a fortunate nation in many ways – for one we don’t have to run for cover from earthquakes and civil war. Having said this, there are also many things that need to be straightened out as well – the education system is a big problem right now, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Unstable education or not, there’s no denying that Malaysia is still the most secure Asian country in the world (we do have our own water supply). We just haven’t been seeing it because of the wool that has been pulled over our eyes for many years.

“The people are learning that you cannot leave decisions only to leaders. Local groups have to create the political will for change, rather than waiting for others to do things for them. That is where positive, and sustainable, change begins.” – Wangari Maathai: environmental and political activist and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Day Before A New Malaysia

There is a belief that some of us see a light at the end of a tunnel just before we kick the bucket. It seems that we are all about to see a huge light pretty soon because it’s finally the end of old Malaysia - and this is one time we can look forward to death with some enthusiasm. It’s time for Bangsa Malaysia to rise from the ashes and be a magnificently great people. The light you’ll see is not the one at the end of the tunnel, but the beginning of a new era - an era of equality, respect, transparency and accountability.

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Why We Must Make Decisions

Taking up from where I left off at yesterday’s entry, let me add this – there are also many people who do not make decisions because they are afraid to hurt feelings, get into trouble or simply just do not want to do more by making decisions. Because when you make a decision, it’s a choice and a choice means accountability. And so since they don’t want to get shot, they usually send messengers to do their dirty work for them. I’m quite annoyed as I write this because decisions are not made to get people to like you. Whatever decision you make must benefit the entire cause – and not your selfish self. Think about that the next time you decide to pass the buck.

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The Truth About Brutal Honesty!

There are some people who don’t like being honest because by being honest, it means they have to get out of their comfort zone. And these people like to feel good about themselves all the time and want other people to think they’re self-sacrificing and would do anything to keep the peace. Please stop being a doormat, start growing a spine/backbone and practice finding your voice so you can start communicating with the others around you and thereby stop living in a cocoon of denial and self-inflicted suffering and stress. That’s the essence of brutal honesty – when you tell it like it is. And you must be able to take as good as you give.

In order to lead, you must first learn to take brutal feedback with a thick face a good attitude. Don’t listen to feedback and then act like you’ve been fatally wounded and must now retreat into a corner and lick your wounds – or get ready to die. You have to see that you are not as ready as you think you are and it’s going to take awhile to get where you need to be. When people are brutally honest, ESPECIALLY those who know you, they obviously know what they’re saying because they see you on a daily basis. So listen and learn.

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We Need to Do More!

Has it become fashionable to overpromise and under deliver? Over the past couple of months I’ve heard so many people affirm they’ll do something, only not to carry it out as they should. If I were to gather these people and make them speak collectively, they’ll inflate a hot air balloon in no time.

It’s time to stop talking so much and start acting by applying whatever skills, effort, time and readily available resources. Oil and gas companies for instance can help with some petrol vouchers for NGOs and other charitable organizations. Hypermarkets can easily do the same with food vouchers and education institutions can help out with scholarships – for the really deserving that is. NOT some Datuk or Tan Sri’s son/daughter who can easily do without the scholarship since they’re going be sent abroad on tax payers money anyway.

It is acknowledged that there are already various companies providing for the people – but so much more can be done. As for me, my company provides free training and motivational talks in schools, colleges and universities. We also conduct CSR activities throughout the year for children’s homes. And yet, I’m always telling my team that we need to do more. And we will. Doing more is never a bad thing – but make sure you carry it out. These are people you made a commitment to.

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The Rakyat is NOT stupid!

It’s really insulting how some politicians undermine the people – regardless of who they represent, it sad to say that when it comes to politics, childish tactics are the order of the day. Of the very many underhanded choices to act like winging children, two favorites would be pulling a fast one on the rakyat just before the polling date and a host of mind games played that can spawn its own show.

Here’s some news for all these politicians who think they’re smart. These childish tactics are an insult to every single Malaysian. And if you don’t know it already, with the millions of blogs already out there, we are very aware of what’s going on. We are a lot smarter than you give us credit for. And you’re stupid for not realizing this.

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outLOUD is Reborn!

Confidence is not as elusive as some seem to think it is. It becomes elusive because most people aren’t willing to put in the work and would rather spend their rest of their lives living in someone else’s shadow. outLOUD Studios is in the business of confidence – and this is something the company is very passionate about. So dedicated are they to instilling confidence in everyone that they’ve recently launched a brand new website packed with motivational articles, videos and even a community of people called outLOUDers. A lot of hours, sleepless nights, and even tempers have been lost in getting the website up and running. If there can be a group of people so dedicated to making a difference in the lives of so many others in wanting to bring about a positive change all the name of confidence – it then doesn’t seem very much to ask that you make the most of it at www.outloud.com.my

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Do I Trust You?

Trust is a very simple word and even simpler to do. If we just do what we say and say what we do everything will be so easy. Just deliver what you promise and don’t over promise and under deliver. This is a message for my family, my people and everyone else reading this post. The world is already such a complicated place – it’s time to simplify with honesty.

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Is The PM Getting Fired?

Do you realize that many of the world’s leaders are getting fired? Don’t be fooled into thinking that “stepping down” or “resigning” means just that. Wrong. It means they got fired. It’s happened with Pakistan, Taiwan, Japan, Zimbabwe and Thailand – it’s just a matter of waiting for the next one to bite the dust. Now, the opposition party in Malaysia is saying we’re going to have a new government come Sept 16th, and that the fasting month won’t put a wrench in the wheels of what seems inevitable happening. The government however is vehement about rubbishing these claims repeatedly saying it’ll never happen. Who do think you will get fired next? We’ve not got long to wait and it’s just a matter of two weeks until all claims are put to rest.

P. S. I am really looking forward to it.

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Rude “People” Who Need To Be Smacked!

Over the Merdeka break, I attended a wedding – and what a shocker it was. While I have encountered many rude people in the course of my life, I have never met so many rude people at one time and at one place. It was like the annual gathering for Rude People United and it was both amusing and annoying to watch them in action. It was as if they had just crawled out from under a rock or just discovered life outside their caves.

Come to think of it – some of them did look like leftovers from the caveman era. I mean – it’s not about being nasty – I strongly believe that you can be hottest looking person on the planet but if you have manners that belong in the toilet bowl then you’re downright ugly. But of all rude behaviors, the worst two would have to be the inability to express thanks to others and when you take someone from granted repeatedly. If someone has done something for you today – please thank them and show them how appreciative you are. Remember, they can very well choose not to help you.

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Friends & Friendship

Somewhere last week, I received a message from an ex-course mate from Western Kentucky University. I hadn’t heard from him in years. In that same week, I received lots of messages on my Facebook from people I’d known while studying and working in US – and to hear from them again was great. All their messages were very uplifting, supportive and sincere - they were genuinely happy that I am doing so well. I have friends whom I don’t have to call, email or sms on a regular basis but who will be up front and centre if I ever need a helping hand. My directors are the best type of friends anyone could possibly hope to have because they have stuck with me through the literally lean times and I know I can count on them to take the company to the great times ahead with me.

Don’t take the word friends and friendship lightly. You have to fully understand what it means, and be able to live the definition before expecting the same for yourself. And if you’ve found some pretty good ones – take care of them and never take them for granted. Unless you like the same being done to you.

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Independence Today

What did you do over the Merdeka celebrations? Most of us would have used the long weekend to catch up with friends, family and maybe even on some sleep. As for me, I waited for the fireworks to end before thinking hard about what independence is to me. Independence means different things to different people. It depends on your circumstances. If you were a physically challenged person, then independence might mean being able to look after yourself without having to rely on someone helping you get dressed and bathed.

If you were a teenaged person, independence might mean being able to get your driver license and buy your own car and live in your own apartment. If it were an elderly person, independence might mean being able to live in your own house without needing someone to do the housework and cook the meals. I know many people who feel that independence is not needing to rely on anyone else for financial security. I think apart from all the madness which is contributed largely by the supposed powers that be, I’m hugely grateful that our is such a geographically safe country – the good food doesn’t hurt either.

Then I got to thinking. Does independence means freedom? Personally, I think feel the number advantage of being independent is having control of your destiny. Merdeka Day shouldn’t just be a time of eye-popping fireworks and lots of food. I think it should also be a time of reflection as to the price that was paid for our independence. It should be the tradition of celebrating what past men and women have given for us. The true heroes are the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice -- their lives. We talk about being a multi-racial and multi-cultural tolerant people. Is that true? We talk about unify the people but there are many who don’t see each other as one nation and we're still profiling.

In retrospect, there’s a part of me that considers it “Dependence Day" – because I sometimes feel that the government wants us completely dependent on them such so that we’ll always be needy and never be able to fend for ourselves. To me independence means setting myself free from whatever that’s holding me back to achieve what I want to. It means never having to be a slave to anyone or anything and having the heart to fight for all that I believe in. Independence to me is: Freedom to Live. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Choice. Do you know what it means to you?

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Time To Get Scared

I think I'm going to be physically sick! As if the current crop of bad news about the current state of our country’s political (if you can call it that) state isn’t enough to make you reach for a bucket to vomit into, now we have to read about politicians being arrested for graft which among others include sexual favors.

But this isn’t the half of it of course. Politics aside, we now have to deal with people wanting politicians to resign and be elected just so they can sell more cempedak (like the jackfruit) fritters. What of little girls who are brutally murdered and yet, one year on – nothing has changed. What about those who want us fly the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian Flag) upside down? For goodness sakes – are you stupid or what? Aren’t there enough problems already? It makes me want clutch my chest in anticipation of a cardiac arrest.

If you not scared at the stupidity and lackadaisical attitude if certain people, you should be. More than ever now is the time to be aware of your surroundings and what’s happening – because if you’re not you’ll be sucked into it.

I don’t know about you, but I stopped taking news at face value a long time ago – a very, very long time ago. With everything I read, I make sure I do so with more than a pinch of salt and I make up my mind to make things better for those I love and care about so I’ll not be like those who claim they love and care for the country and Her rakyat (people) and then do the opposite.

Shame on all you power mongers. If you think for one minute that we are going to take it, you’ve got another thing coming. We are not as gullible as you think – some of us just want to think we are. It’s a high noon showdown on September 16. But there will be no country and western gun slinging show. But what might happen is a long-awaited revolution – and if things go as many would like it to, it looks like things might just change for the better.

It is clear that there are some politicians who do not trust us to think for ourselves. We’ll we’re smart and you politicians ain’t seen nothing yet. The tables have turned. It’s you who should be scared – would you like a bucket?

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Differentiate Or Get Lost

Heard of Jack Trout? He’s the marketing guru known for delivering practical guides for businesses on developing powerful differentiation strategies. He wrote a book co-authored with Steve Rivkin titled Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition which builds upon a very simple premise: To survive, or at least out-perform, one's competitors in this era of killer competition, a company must differentiate itself from the competition.

If you are happy where you are and want to stay that way while the rest of the world evolves, more power to you and you can begin the process of being kicked out. However, if you are smart you’ll realize that differentiation is the key to staying in the game, good for you. The first thing you should do is stop being afraid by living in someone else’s shadow and letting them take all the credit. If you know you’re good at what you do and there’s no one else like you – claim it. Take the first spot and say you are number one at something – if you keep your mouth shut and then see your ideas being stolen or used by someone else, then you deserve it.

If you are a business owner please start taking some pride in your products – why be common when you can be different. Talk to your team and listen to them. Just because you are team leader, it doesn’t mean you know everything. And do you really know everything about your company? You can differentiate yourself by looking back on your company’s history or legacy. There are also many other companies that have impressive histories you could learn from. Instead of trying to run your business like a headless chicken without focus (or maybe you think having focus means to stick to the same business plan forever), it’s time you considered differentiating yourself by focusing on a particular market specialty. Your failure to be different will lead to your company be eaten alive by the competition. If you want to be quiet – then get ready to fail as everyone else around you gets more successful. That’s as different as it’s possibly going to get for you.

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If You Think You Work Hard, Work Harder

I'll be working over the long holiday. In fact, if I'm conscious, I'm working. You could argue, "I work weekends and pull all-nighters. I’m the first to come in and the last to leave. My phone is always on, I’m always connected with a BlackBerry, iPhone…” or whatever other gadget. Sorry. Even if you're a workaholic, you're not working very hard at all. Sure, you're working long, but "long" and "hard" are now two different things. This is what hard work is:

It's hard work to make difficult emotional decisions, such as quitting a job and setting out on your own.
It's hard work create a new system, service, or process that's mind-blowing.
It's hard work to tell your boss he's being intellectually and emotionally lazy.
It's hard work to tell senior management to abandon something you know isn’t going anywhere
It's hard work to make good decisions with less than all of the information required

Today, working hard is about taking apparent risk. Not a crazy risk. An apparent risk is something the competition (and your coworkers) believe is unsafe but that you realize is far more conservative than sticking with the common opinion. Richard Branson doesn't work more hours than you do. Neither does Bill Gates or Jack Welch. None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating brilliant items are doing it just by working more hours than you are. And I hate to say it, but they're not smarter than you either. They're succeeding by doing hard work.

There are a precious intelligent few who are realizing that this temporary recession is the best opportunity they've ever had. They're working harder than ever -- mentally -- and taking all sorts of emotional and personal risks that are bound to pay off. Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you'd rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to jump over this hurdle, find your way out in the dark, bulldoze through obstacles. And, after you've done this, to do it again the next day. Look, the riskier you hard work appears to be, the safer it really is. It's the people having difficult conversations, inventing remarkable products, and pushing the envelope who are building a recession-proof future for themselves.

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Let Me Tell You Why You’re Stupid, Sick & Poor!

Many years ago, The New York Times ran a poll regarding income mobility. About 80% of respondents believed it’s possible to start out poor in America, work hard, and become rich, others agreed their children’s standard of living would be much better than their own while 46 % said hard work is essential for getting ahead in life. This is what I think.

The poor are in the situation they are because they are too scared to work hard enough. It’s perfectly simple, though ruthless to some but:-

You don't have savings? You don't have health coverage? - Should have worked harder.
You job pays you five ringgit an hour? - Your IQ is too low anyway.
No education? No food? One or more kids? - Who's fault is that?
Let’s be honest here about life: Shit happens.
You lose your job – and you didn't earn enough for savings: - It’s your fault
Unemployment runs out and savings is spent: - Your fault for not emergency planning
Employer refuses you unemployment: - Your fault
Fresh out of college and haven't found anything: - You should not be so fussy and greedy
One of your kids get sick: - Who told you to have kids?
Parental care: - Your parents should have worked harder
I have 2 jobs but don't make enough for insurance or to save anything: I bet you did something in your life to be in that place
If you don't have money, then just get a job. It doesn't cost money to get a job.

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D24 – The Meaning of Good Quality

The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of D24 is durians. I love durians. And I mean I love durians. Growing up, durian season was an event by itself in my family – we would purchase large amounts of durian only to spend a lot of time opening it up. We believed that the more durians bought meant that the chance of getting good fruit was higher. How wrong we were. Later as a young adult, I began to see that quantity does not mean quality.

I realized that it’s a whole lot better to pay a higher price for one good durian which will yield tasty flesh rather than get a whole lot at a cheaper price only to get pricked repeatedly by its thorns and have all that energy put into opening it go to waste. It’s not just about numbers but about quality. What’s the point of boasting that you have a company of a 100 employees when ¾ of them are useless? It’s better to stick with 24 whom you know are really good and won’t prick you repeatedly.

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That Lying Fat Girl

I like fat people and I am pretty meaty myself. And there is absolutely nothing wrong about us being fat or whatever people like to call fat people. However, there is a huge problem when you are fat and also a big liar – and now that I think about it, she’s quite a moron as well since she thinks we wouldn’t find out about her lies – or that we knew what was going on, but allowed her to come around in her own time. I’m writing about a disgusting and lying fat girl named...Geraldine Sarah

You see, here’s the thing. When she joined us the promises she made about giving her very best could literally move the earth – and that’s without her walking. Being the person I am, I enjoy giving young people (she’s 25 years old) an opportunity – which is what she said she wanted. Sarah, I’m sure you’ll read this so this is what I have to say: “You will be immortalized in my upcoming book, “You’re stupid. Let me tell you why”. You can laugh about what you did thinking you pulled a fast one on us - but did it ever occur to you that I always knew what was going on? Perhaps you can refer to this link and refresh your memory http://ernie-chen.blogspot.com/2008/07/i-know-everything-and-youd-better.html

For your information, Sam was not sad, as a matter of fact she was very happy with your dismissal or resignation as you’d prefer to call it since you were hopeless and didn’t add any value to the team or company but instead was an inconvenience that we had to put up with.And believe me, I was in tears of joy when I finally found out that you were gone I took the whole team out for dinner that night to celebrate about the fat (and I mean literally) being cut away. Continue living in denial and think you are good at your job when you suck at it. You are stupid because you couldn’t appreciate being a part of a team that was tough but who would have also dropped everything to help you if you ever needed it. You’re stupid because you think you’ll be happy because the job is easy and the people friendly – but what you’ve given up are people who will be honest to you about your best and your worst. So continue being stupid. We will be first to admit that we make mistakes in hiring people that promises us the sky but believe me, it will catch up with all those liars.

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Love Me, Or Hate Me – I’m The Brand You Will Never Forget

To be loved is a great thing – to be hated is also great thing because this means that you have a certain place in their hearts and minds of those either love or hate you. It’s like Cola – you either love it because of how fizzy it is or you hate it for the reason that when it goes flat, it tastes awful. And the worst kind of Cola is the kind that’s neither fizzy nor flat –the sort of drink that leaves you unsure as to whether it has gas or not – or even if it’s Cola to begin with.

This brings me to the inevitable point that the worse brand is the one that sits on the fence and does not have an opinion at all. I decided a very long time ago that my job is not to please everyone, but do my extreme best for a selected group of people whom I know is deserving of this. To those of you who don’t like me or even hate my guts – Thank You because you are helping to make my brand of “It’s either you love me or hate me” work supremely well. Those of you who love me, keep on doing it because in turn, I will continue to meet and exceed your expectations.

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The LOTUS Gangster and the Food They Serve

We kicked off the Great Orange Charity Drive – Paint For Change on Saturday August 9th at Rumah KIDS in Klang. After sweating it out scraping, painting and cleaning up – having great fun doing it as well, we decided to go to a nearby restaurant to have some lunch. The tables we set up in a long row and being ATCENians, we’re a nice lot who never make unnecessary demands of other people and are just happy to be in each other’s company. At the restaurant, we helped arrange for more tables and even passed the food around which incidentally was fried rice and fried chicken only in name because it sure didn’t taste like it should. Everything went great – we really were having a good time at lunch until it was time to pay the bill.

Look, we are not calculative when it comes to food, but when we are served a plain plate of bland fried rice at RM4 and some over-marinated chicken priced RM4.50; I think it’s quite justified to seek clarification. This is when we met the LOTUS gangster, excuse me, manager named Kanthan who went out of his way to be as rude, unpleasant and threatening as he possibly could be. This said, we have decided to boycott LOTUS and hope you will too. Unless you like being served by gangsters and getting cheated of your hard-earned money.

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Dr. Mahathir Inspires Me

About two weeks ago, I attended a dinner event hosted by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad where he spoke about Business Trends for Malaysia Moving Towards 2020. Watching him speak confirmed what I already knew – that this is a man I find truly inspiring. As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Mahathir does not inspire me because he was my PM for over 20 years. I do not find him inspiring just because of his brilliance or that he’s more often than not, right. Neither do I find him inspiring because he is a respected leader.

Dr. Mahathir inspires me because of his tenacity, courage and strength but more importantly because of his interest and desire in wanting to make Malaysia better for Malaysians. He may not always have the right answers and his views have ruffled more than a few feathers in the past. But what makes him such an inspiring icon is the fact that he has continuously and consistently striven to do better for the country. You may disagree, and you may not even like him – some of you may even think he’s a dictator.

Personally, I don’t think that’s too bad because just like every family or organization that needs someone to steer it to a better direction – it’s not uncommon to dislike the person who has to do this dirty job. But remember this – the next time you walk around KLCC and land in KLIA or have people tell you how wonderful this country is – come to terms that it’s because of him that we have the Malaysia that’s on the world map.

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Cutting Away The Fat

In an organization, doing well does not necessarily mean that it is hale and hearty. In order to make sure that your company stays healthy in every sense of the word, you must look into cutting out the fat that is clogging up its arteries. If your company isn’t doing well, then you’re simply asking for it by not cutting away the fat which will lead to a massive cardiac arrest and the eventual death of your company. What I mean by fat is everything that holds you or your company back from moving forward to bigger, better things. It can be the people or the wastage of resources. If you do not recognize the rubbish that needs to be thrown out, it can and will result in serious health issues for the entire team as well. Take a moment to evaluate the fat that is in your company and get rid of it. Make your company trim and muscular, lean and strong – like a well trained athlete – focused and well conditioned in every way. If you have fat and choose not to do anything about it – then go ahead and drown it in. It’s literally your funeral.

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Serving With Your Heart

When was the last time you did something with your entire heart? How many of you sit in your big spacious offices and think that you’re just too good for anyone else? Or what about those of you who think that the tea lady in your office is there to clean up after your mess that you are just to damn lazy to take care of on your own? How many times have you passed by the cleaner in your office, apartment block or even your helper and thought that they are below you? So what if you pay them – it doesn’t give you the right to think that you own them and treat them like they owe you a living.

These people – the newspaper vendor, the man who sells you chicken rice and the lady who makes sure that your block is clean everyday know what it is to serve with their hearts. They do what they do and never expect anything in return, only that you feel good about what they’ve done – for YOU. I am fed up of hearing people grumble about the amount of work they have to do when they should instead be grateful that they are alive to do it. This is especially true of the customer service industry and those in hospitality. Imagine the irony of being in a business which is all about service, but then they suck at it big time because the way some of them answer the phone is as if they are zombies.

Then you have those with such long faces that could rival that of a horse. They walk around with a huge chip on their shoulders moaning and groaning about everything and acting as if the world owes them something. I feel sorry for people like this who will forever live their lives (if you can call it living) being sad, unhappy people focusing on the bad when they can do so much more by serving those they should be serving with every bit of their heart. Those of you who think you are “great” and want to live in your dream world forever thinking that you should be served, get off your high horse before someone pushes you off it and you fall down in great embarrassment in front of everyone.

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Money vs. Effort for Charity

If you think giving money and lots of it equates to charity, you’re wrong – giving only money is not good enough as it does not go a long way. Yes, of course, you will be thanked for it – but what after that? Nothing. Your money will go into the buying or paying of something, and then that’s that – more often that not, it does not bring with it the experience of having made a difference. The act of giving money alone is easy. Think about it.

Which would you prefer to do:

1. Give RM100 to a charity home or a poor family?

2. Drive to a grocery store, select the items carefully that will fit into a RM100 budget and then send it to the home or family that needs it?

Most of you will pick the first choice because it’s easy – and this shouldn’t be the way. If you want to do something, do it with all your heart, or don’t bother at all. Don’t do it just because you think you can buy karma points with the money you give. It’s worse that way because your intentions are selfish. Today, charity is more than just almsgiving (distribution of money) – it has evolved into assisting the poor and needy in kind as well, by giving your time and effort to make a difference. For your information – especially all the stingy people reading this, you don’t have to split with your hard earned cash that you want to take to your grave with you.

Charity also means spending time with the old, the sick, the dying, the poor, the orphaned and just about anyone you think might need you. Charity has become experiential as it always should be. For instance, if you visit a children’s home – talk to them, play with them, laugh with them. And if you visit an old folks home, listen to them, ask them for advice and listen, don’t just hear what they’re saying. And don’t pretend. They may be old, but they’re not stupid and blur like you are for thinking you can get away with pretending. Don’t be a fake.

Just last Saturday on August 9th, we visited Rumah K.I.D.S in Klang for the Great Orange Charity Drive – Paint for Change. We spent half a day painting the exterior of this home and the children were really happy that the walls looked brighter (we painted it with a color named outLOUD Orange sponsored by Nippon Paint Malaysia). There was a certain individual on the home’s committee who wrinkled their nose at the effort we had put in – and didn’t hesitate to voice out that she wanted repaint one window pane – we were there at time. If you do something charitable and you get losers like this trying to make you feel small, forget it. Remember that you are doing it for the children and for those who really need your help. Keep on doing what you do and make it an experience for yourself and for those you visit. It’s not difficult to make someone happy and do something charitable. It’s a question of whether you want to or not.

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Not So Professional After All

I am a member of the Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers (MAPS). I cannot resist it and must quote from their website in the About Us segment: (as taken from “The aims of MAPS). To uphold and enforce actively high ethical standards and professionalism by all members in the speaking business. To provide members with the resources and guidance in order that they can contribute to the performance, productivity and profitability of organisations. This is why I couldn’t help myself and am compelled to share with you two of its aims. Two Saturdays ago, I attended a MAPS meeting – I was nominated as Vice-President for Education & Training and thought it would be interesting to see how they manage and run things – considering that everyone in it was professional and all.

What I experienced that Saturday was somewhat shocking – and that’s putting it mildly. This is what I encountered – there were literally two separate camps – very much like the political camps we have. Both these camps were doing their best to dominate the Executive Committee who didn’t look like they wanted to be there at all. There were others who were doing a bit of campaigning in trying to get as many people on their side as possible – shades of a mini general election were playing right in front of me – it was arresting to tell you the truth. It was almost like watching a B grade horror movie – it was bad, but you couldn’t take your eyes of it and was curious to find out who was going to get slashed next.

The President elect had his own team, but the Pièce de résistance * was when he abruptly got up and left when the people he wanted on the new committee were not elected. The way he did it was both disrespectful and unceremonious – like a child deprived of a candy bar, he sulked, picked up his belongings gave an excuse that he wasn’t feeling well and skulked away to the sound of many jaws dropping open. This is what I realized that day – that it was nothing more than a gathering of adults behaving like spoilt brats. They didn’t come across as wise individuals who wanted to “…uphold and enforce actively high ethical standards and professionalism…” neither were they able to “…provide members with the resources and guidance…”.

There were a few good people and you could see how uncomfortable they were at the fiasco taking place. What the Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers need to know is this: in order to gain respect, you must first respect yourselves. It cannot be demanded and it has to be earned – just like the titles you carry – earn it and you will do yourselves proud. In case you’re wondering, in light of how unprofessional everything was, I declined the nomination and left early.

* Pièce de résistance is a French term (circa 1839), translated into English literally as "piece of resistance", referring to the best part or feature of something (as in a meal), a showpiece, or highlight.

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You’re Fired As A Client

Every once in awhile I come across people and organizations who never fail to amuse me and prove to me how dimwitted they are. I mean, are they clueless about how stupid their actions and words make them appear, or is it that that they just don’t care? On July 23rd, my team and I conducted a teambuilding session for this company called EIG. We didn’t want to take on the job because it was an incredibly busy month and we would only have a week to prepare for it. However, after they pleaded and stressed how much a teambuilding activity was required, we agreed – and at a discounted price as well because the amount initially quoted was not within their budget. We also agreed to proceed without the usual 50% as we thought the time spent quibbling over 50% would be better spent organizing the event. I believe I forgot to mention how many people it was for – more than 500 employees of EIG for team building. This is the value we consistently work towards to create for our clients.

As usual, we do great work and the event wrapped up about 30 minutes earlier because they also had their annual dinner that night and the caterers were already moving in with their trucks making the area even more chaotic – what with over 500 people fresh from an adrenaline rush running all over the place. It was stated in the Sales Order given to EIG that 100% payment must be received upon completion of the event. We didn’t receive payment because according to someone named Kim (Group Functional Head of HR), the payment was ready but it was in her office and she couldn’t find the keys to it. We kept our promise of delivering a branded experience but she broke her promise.

This isn’t the end of course. When payment was requested a few days later, Kim informed us that EIG now wants a RM3, 000 discount further even though they had a great time (She even invited our whole team on stage after the event to get all the people to applaud us for a job well done) – so what does this say about EIG? I think I should also mention that EIG wanted a team building event for their staff, but didn’t want the activities to be strenuous because they didn’t want the staff to sweat since the annual dinner was on soon after! While Kim was withholding the payment, she had the audacity to ask for the edited video and cd with pictures. You have got to be pretty stupid to be asking such a stupid question.

I’m Chinese myself – so let me just say this: EIG’s business style is typically Chinaman – they squeeze you for every little bit of what they pay you and more and then expect to build a long tern relationship with their vendors. They are really stupid, because what they don’t realize is this – they may like to think of themselves as clients, but Kim and EIG, did it ever cross your mind that we too might be your clients? I guess not. So what did we do in the end? We wanted to cut our losses by not having to deal with such idiots ever again by giving RM3, 000 discount and finally received payment on August 8th – just in time for the Olympics – 17 Days after the scheduled payment date. So to Kim and EIG, this is what I have to say:

We never wanted to work with you – we did you a favor
We don’t want to work with you in the future – because you are highly unprofessional and unethical
We are not interested to deal with you any further - because you don’t deserve us as your honorable service provider
We will never work with you again because Kim & EIG – YOU ARE FIRED as a client.

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It’s A Jungle Out There

You’ve seen the ads I’m sure – the ones with celebrities cautioning the public that it’s illegal to buy, sell or trade wildlife? It goes: “When the buying stops, the killing can too” – and this is with reference to animals that live in the wild – the jungle , ocean etc – we are urged to protect and not kill these creatures. But as you already know, we are also living in a jungle and everyday is test of survival skills. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog, I feel that the government has been spoon feeding certain individuals and while doing so, also killing them. We assume that the poor should be helped – as they should. But are we helping them in the right way or is just easier to give out food and money so you won’t have to engage in ensuring that they are able to provide and fend for themselves and their families in the long run?

If we keep on doing this, they will never learn survival skills which are so necessary. Don’t for a moment misunderstand me. I want to help the less fortunate and I want to help them make something of themselves and not just see them live on hand outs and charity forever. Keep on doing this and the tables will be turned. Very soon certain quarters will become so dependent on receiving help that another campaign has to begin: “When the protection stops, the killing can too” – because that’s what happens when you go over board with trying to protect someone. Look at the oil hike and so many other items that were subsidized before and not now – it’s the poor that’s suffering because of all the coddling. What can, and are you going to do about it?

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Malaysia – A Failed Country & Nation?

The year 1973 is the most important year in the 20th Century. I have three things to point out and I’m going to leave it at that and by the time you get to end of this blog, you’ll find out why 1973 is a year to be reckoned with.

1. In 1973, a 1.3 L Japanese Car was priced at RM7,000. Today, it’s priced at RM60,000 – that’s a 8.5 times increase in case you’re wondering.

2. In 1973, a double storey house was priced at RM43,000. Today, it’s priced at RM300,000 – and that’s just for starters.

3. In 1973, a general worker with a professional degree holder earned RM1,000. Today they earn RM2,000 – just twice more than they did 35 years ago.

In my opinion, 1973 was a very important year because it’s the year I was born – from the time I learnt to crawl, later walk and run, 35 years have passed and the country has not shown the kind of economic progression it should be able to show for. You don’t need to be math genius to see that there’s something very wrong with these numbers. The price of everything has increased but salaries remain virtually the same. Still want to be an employee and leave your fate to the hands of your employer and the government? For once, I hope you answer in the negative.

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YOU BETTER DIE AT 66

A couple of years ago, I attended a talk by EPF. During the talk, we were reminded that the Malaysian retirement age is 56 and that whatever savings we would have dutifully set aside in EPF will NOT last us more than 10 years – and that’s with careful financial planning and living moderately. Now let’s just say you earn an average of RM1,200 a month after retirement, this would mean that after retirement you’ll be given a pension allowance of about RM600. Please take out a piece of paper and list the things you’ll be able to get for RM600 today. This value will decrease in the coming years. What do you think you’ll be able to afford then? Haven’t thought about it have you?

PLEASE WAKE UP!

You have to start leaning new skills and ways to generate more income for yourself because neither the government nor anyone else is going to ensure that you are well taken care of in your later years. Think having children will help? Dream on. Most of them will be happily doing what they want to do and in any case, do you really want to depend on someone else, family or not? You have to start learning new skills and ways to generate more income for yourself right now. You must leave your employee mindset behind and become an entrepreneur and forget completely about living one day to the next.

Look at what you’re spending your money on right now. Is there anything that you don’t really need but spending a lot of money on? Cut that away and learn to live simply but comfortably. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re fine as long as your house and car are paid for and that you have life insurance. You still need to survive. You can’t eat your house, car and insurance policy if you are hungry. Stop taking easy and start busting your behind so you can relax in the years to come. Hard work won’t kill you but an empty stomach will.

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Tabloid Trash Disguised

Tabloid: A newspaper of small format giving the news in condensed form, usually with illustrated, often sensational material. In summary form; condensed. Lurid or sensational. (From tabloid journalism, from Tabloid, trademark for a drug or chemical in condensed form.) Is it just me or do you also feel that virtually everything that appears in the local newspapers is tabloid journalism disguised as something newsworthy? Almost everyday there is some kind of scandal or another in the newspapers. Sure sex, scandals, lies etc sells but for it to be sensationalized in supposed leading national newspapers? It really leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Even if you are going to sensationalize something, please do so with some journalistic integrity. As far as I can remember, isn’t journalism supposed to be all about the truth – or at least the quest for it? The standard of reporting today, to put it bluntly, sucks.

Is this the fault of the journalist who can’t really string ideas and sentences together or perhaps it’s the fault of the editors who insist on a certain kind of “writing” style. Or maybe, just maybe it’s the people who own these newspapers or at least have shares in it that dictate what should and shouldn’t be printed. What’s the big deal behind all these scandal reports? Is it because they concern leaders? I don’t think so – because to be a leader, one has to be able to lead and I don’t see any leadership skills being showcased do you? Frankly speaking, the repeated stories are getting old and boring and to hear the same rubbish over and over again is doing nothing to salvage whatever that’s left the subject’s reputation. All supposed leaders of the nation open your eyes and ears to the fact you are just being used as fodder for news and gossip. Do you like it? Does it bring you some kind of enjoyment?

And it’s quite disgusting that those who are in the position to change the face of Malaysian journalism aren’t doing a thing because they are too lazy to resurrect honest to goodness investigative journalism and resort instead to scandalous stories to sell their papers. Instead of focusing on these people in so-called leadership positions, why not instead focus on those who need to be heard like the children, the poor, the weak, the raped, and the abused among others? You should ask yourself what more can you do to highlight this problem and bring about change. Of course it can be done. You’re just too damn lazy to do something about it because you’ve gotten comfortable and complacent. What you trying to prove by giving attention to those who don’t need it? You would rather cover another ministry press conference then pick up a press release about some good news and good work being done. Even when you do pick it up, you give it a measly two paragraphs hidden in some obscure corner of the newspaper. Give attention instead to the faceless – now this is something worthwhile. These people are real and there are no lies, no scandals. It’s time that you started focusing on what’s real and forget all the other rubbish that we really don’t need to hear about.

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Principally Family

Principle: To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet, or rule of conduct, good or ill. Mention principles to most people today and they’re most likely to think you’re speaking about a headmaster or headmistress. As far as I’m concerned, to have principles is to live to the fullest of our potential. This may be a big challenge, but once you are able to accomplish it, it means you are fit to enjoy all you’ve worked so hard to achieve. The “Meaning of Principle“, is not about defining the word by using the dictionary, but about finding out what it means to each of us personally in a way that would positively make us more conscious of the people around us and not be such selfish individuals.

More often than not, the formation of principles begins at home, with family. And it’s also during this time that some families decide that having principles means:

1. Spend as much time with the family because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
2. You must make time for family functions because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
3. You must come home in time for dinner because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
4. When a family member is in hospital, your life has to come to a standstill because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
5. If you have relatives from abroad down for a visit, you must entertain them because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
6. Never mind if you’ve been late for work or been taking a lot of leave to run errands for your father, mother, brother etc because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
7. If you are married you must follow your relatives back to their home town regularly and meet the other relatives you’ve only seen once in your entire life and who really don’t care if you’re dead or alive because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
8. You must run back to see your family when they say they miss you because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
9.You must quit your job if you work long hours and get a “normal” 9-5 job which will eventually turn you into a mindless zombie without goals or aspirations because FAMILY COMES FIRST.
10. If your father’s-brother’s-daughter’s-husband’s-uncle’s-wife is unwell, you must take leave because FAMILY COMES FIRST.

Ridiculous? Not really – I’ve heard it all before and I suppose if you think about it the situation is pretty nonsensical. Just because it’s family, it doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and run to them. Recently, I had some Malaysian turned American relatives visit me. They stopped by my office, I bought them lunch and came back to the office after that. I cannot stop my daily dealings just because a bunch of people flew a couple of thousand miles for a visit. Family is family and that’s all well and good, but once you let them run your life, you will begin to resent them if you haven’t started already. You have to decide what’s best for you right now. Family can love you – but that’s not going to pay the bills and get you to where you want to be. If you want to think of me as a cold-hearted, arrogant individual – I really don’t care. Because what I’m telling you is very real. And if you want to live in denial – go ahead, more power to you. Those of you who want to change, go find out what having principles means to you and stick to it – don’t do it to please anyone. Also, if you take a look a winners and leaders, you find that these people always follow and implement their principles to the final ground, and we clearly see that they never fell sorry along the path that they have decided to walk on.

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What A Tertiary Joke

I want to share something funny with you – it’s *slapstick humor and there’s nothing intelligent about it. Now, this joke took place last Saturday July 26th to be exact at a “leading” local university – University Malaya. I was told that there would be about 400 students who will be attending talks concerning specific areas of business and accounting. When we told them we could offer our services in the area of motivation, they accepted this readily enough. We put a lot of work into this talk which new material had been designed to suit the needs of these 400students. Titled Winner’s Mindset, this talk for your information I had agreed to do for FREE as part of our give back to society. FYI, I charge and get paid up to RM60,000 a day for my talks. Now that I’ve established this, let me continue.

My team arrived at the university a good hour before the scheduled talk and proceeded to set everything up. We are so good at what we do and take so much pride in it that we never do anything half heartedly. It was not just the talk we had planned on giving. As part of our value add to UM (for something that’s already free), we brought along our video cameras to record these students in order to put them up on our recruitment website to help them get a jobs. To top it all off, we were ready to give them a free subscription to our confidence website where they could network with a very motivated community and make something of themselves. The talk was scheduled to begin at 9am. When I arrived shortly before that, all ready to put on a great show for 400 students not a single one turned up. I left of course and decided that the morning would be better spent servicing my BMW.

Later I found out that the individual responsible wasn’t very apologetic either. And so on Monday, a call was made and an explanation was requested. If you want to know what’s the joke, read the letter attached. You know why I call it slapstick? Because from the letter you’ll see how kelam-kabut – chaotic they are colliding all over the place without any focus on what’s important at the time. University Malaya take note – there are many organizations who are complaining about your students and your university. You lack of care and concern and your tidak apa attitude is very worrying. Is this how you shape lives? Remember that you are in the business of education – if your own faculty and staff behave so badly, how on earth do you expect your students to be any different? Please be aware about the less than pleasant reputation that UM is garnering of late and for goodness sakes do something about it. *Slapstick: A **boisterous form of comedy marked by chases, collisions, and crude practical jokes. ** Boisterous: - Loud, noisy, and lacking in restraint or discipline

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Survival Of The Fittest

Whenever I conduct motivation sessions, I get the participants to discover what they really want and what they need to do in order to move closer to that desire. There is no deep, dark secret to this that has been guarded for centuries – if you want to get ahead you must first believe that anything is possible and take action. Many times, people die to their dreams and aspirations because they don’t know what they want. Survival Of The Fittest is all about identifying your goal or prize and just going for it. How you get to this thing that you want badly is about being fit physically, in your mind, heart and soul. You will die if you have no passion, desire and belief.

This is applicable to anyone - you can be a student, parent, business owner, and conglomerate among others; if you aren’t strong in all the areas mentioned plus a strong cash flow – where applicable, you will be the first one to go and I’ll be happy for you because since you didn’t put in the effort, you then deserve to die. Brutal? Perhaps. But these are my thoughts – how can these people who moan and grumble and just refuse to put in any effort expect to make it. Here’s another news flash. Stop mooching off people and using them as a security blanket. You are nothing but a parasite sucking the life out of those who are trying to make it. So it’s either to buck up and start preparing for the The Survival Of The Fittest with a clear goal in mind, or just shrivel up and die trying because it’s quite obvious that’s what you do well.

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Blogging To Communicate What’s Real

March 8th 2008 should be remembered as the date when blogs were finally recognized in Malaysia as a powerful medium of communication. Don’t remember? March 8th was also the date of the General Elections – and if you recall, the government got a little carried away with traditional media for publicity purposes. These included newspapers, billboards and buntings among others – spending millions of ringgit along the way of your money and my money. The opposition on the hand, while also using buntings etc, was very savvy in the sense that they turned to new media – the website and blogs. If you don’t realize how powerful both these tools are, please do so right now. Depending on what you are looking for, new media is cheap and sometimes it costs nothing. But the value it gives is amazing – new media provides very raw, very real feedback. And blogs are brilliant because you don’t have to state who you are – this in a strange and ironic sort of way makes people very real. It doesn’t matter if they’re using a fake name, what matters is that they’re speaking honestly about their opinions.

Blogs within organizations are also great because it helps to figure out the pulse of the company by providing a platform to resolve issues quickly, immediately and in real time. If you are one of those people who think that company blogs are bad publicity because people and your employees are going to shoot you, it just goes to show that you are insecure about your company. If you are confident about your services, products etc – let people say what they want. People are people – they’re going to talk anyway since they obviously don’t have much to do. Pay attention to those that comment constructively and those that are rubbish – well it’s just that – rubbish.

Blogging is on the way to becoming if it isn’t already, the perfect tool for communication. Why? Because it costs nothing to set it up. You don’t need advertisers. You get to speak your mind. And sometimes you can even get paid for it. If you’re thinking of blogging, please make sure you are responsible with your writing – don’t spread vicious lies and rumors. Remember that what goes around comes around and even though that are millions of bloggers in the endless web of the internet, if you say something false, Big Brother is watching and you will be found out.

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Short Cut To Success, Shorter Cut To Failure

Some of us are quite fond of shortcuts. We like getting to where we need to be faster because this means less petrol used and fewer idiots to deal with on the road. But sometimes, when we hear of shortcuts and take them, we end up using extra fuel and deal with many people who keep giving us the wrong directions to get out. Then there are those who like to fool themselves by saying the easier way to success to work smart not work hard. This is a load of crap. The next time someone tells you this, please tell them that there’s no such thing as working smart. Ask any successful person and they’ll tell you they got there by being smart and working very hard.

I’m sure you’ve heard about all these people who are able to show you how to make lots of money, even when you are asleep. Yes that’s right, because you’re probably dreaming that this can work. Look, even if you can make money fast or be successful really quickly, you will never be able to sustain it if you don’t go through the motions of what works and what doesn’t. When someone tells you to work smart, what they’re doing is pointing you in the direction of failure – the shorter route to failing. If you’re looking to succeed quickly, let me tell you point blank that there is absolutely no way that this is going to happen. The faster you achieve something, the faster it’ll fail. This doesn’t mean that you should work like a tortoise. Pace yourself and be smart (not work smart) about the choices in front of you.

Don’t get all excited at the prospect of an overnight success – it doesn’t always mean what you think is what it does. When you eventually do get successful, please don’t walk around with a swollen head – and think you are great. If your head is too big, it won’t fit your body and people will point at you and laugh at you because you look stupid. Appreciate the successes that come your way and treat it with respect. And always remember just like respect, success has to be earned otherwise it means nothing.

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A Shortage of Good Leaders

The more I work with various organizations, the clear missing link in their success is clearly a shortage of leaders at all levels. There is no earth-shattering reason for this – it’s simply because there are many people who do not understand the fundamental concept of leadership which is SACRIFICE. Forget for a moment about technical skills – you must learn to sacrifice if you are ever to be a leader. If you don’t know what it means, let me tell you. To sacrifice is the giving of oneself freely without expecting anything in return. Have you every sacrificed anything before or is the word so new to you that you’re hearing it for the first time? There are three kinds of people that fall into the categories of sacrifice and leaders. The first are those who flat out refuse. The second are those who just don’t know how while the third are those who want to but are not capable. So how do you move forward from here? What do you do?

The best way to develop leaders is to do it from Day 1 of their learning journey. But it’s not just about teaching – look at the moral lessons being “taught” in schools today. How can the message get across when these teachers who are supposed to be leaders, act like they’re about to die – so half dead? If you are in the teaching line and reading this, buck up and put some spark into your life. No one gives a damn if you’ve got a lot of work if you have family problems – you are responsible in molding young minds in kindergartens, primary schools, secondary and tertiary institutions and you’d better grow a back bone and lead these children right.

You also have to know what it means to sacrifice – don’t become a teacher because of the benefits and the long holidays. You should bury your head in the ground if you think like that. Young minds need guidance and leadership because they spend so much time in school that you have to set a good example and show them what sacrifice is all about. Make “sacrifice” your word of the day – learn what it means, learn from it, look out for it in the actions of others, develop it within yourself and then you might just be able to ease the shortage of good leaders.

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AIA - The Client That Appreciates

At ATCEN, we know we do good work which is why we enjoy the support of so many repeat clients. It’s really quite amazing how much of time and effort we put into organizing and event. Doesn’t matter if it’s a one hour talk or a one day workshop, we plan and execute every event very well indeed. This is why it’s so gratifying when our clients realize this and appreciate us tremendously even though we are brutally honest with them in areas they need changed and improved.

We congratulate such clients, AIA (M) Berhad being one of them. We are sincerely proud to have this organization as our client because they immediately put into practice what they’ve gained from a session. AIA (M) Berhad also demonstrated what service appreciation by acknowledging a job done well. There are also some others who find saying “Thank You” so difficult because this is the mindset and mentality, “I’m paying you to get this done so why on earth should I say thank you?” Sometimes people forget to say “Thank You” and this is really bad because it isn’t hard to say at all.

It’s such a simple thing to say, but when you say it sincerely it becomes a powerful acknowledgement. Don’t think that people owe you a living – always bear in mind that they can choose not to smile at you, or talk to you or help you. But they do it anyway. So maybe it’s time you acknowledge them back. To AIA (M) Berhad, thank you for being such excellent participants, but above and beyond that – kudos to each of you for wanting to make a positive change.

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Living In The Shadow of Doubt and Held Back by Fear

Do you know what you’re afraid of? Forget about the snakes, spiders, or small spaces – think about what you’re really afraid of. Knowing what scares you is a good thing because then you’ll be prepared – if you go around thinking you’re not afraid of anything then you must not be of this earth, and it’s time for you to return to your planet. I say be aware of your fears – but NEVER let it hold you back. If you do, and then whine about it, my suggestion would be to crawl into a cave, stay there and spare others from your pathetic excuses.

Did you know when you were born you were born fearless? The fear that holds you back from being all that you can be is a learned behavior. How many times have you said I can’t do that because…. change that statement to I am fearful of doing that because…. stop and listen to what you are saying. Dig deep and find out what it is you are fearful of. Imagine what it would be like to spend the rest of your life in someone else’s shadow just because you were afraid to try something? That’s not living at all. There are people who decide not to take a job because they’re afraid of the long hours, the pressure, and the amount of work. But if you know that the organization is good for you and will equip you with valuable skills and knowledge – are you still going to let fear hold you back? You’re stupid if you are and don’t deserve it in the first place.

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I Know Everything… and You’d Better Believe It.

There’s a story about a man who suspected that his wife was planning on murdering him – but he didn’t know how to prove it or get it out of her. One day, a wise man told him “When you wake up the next morning – say, `I know everything’. To whatever she says, you must reply, `I know everything.’” Next morning he did what he was told and after many rounds of denial, his wife finally admitted her plans. I don’t need to say it; I already know what’s going on. There are some people who think I’m oblivious to what’s going on around me and they think they’ve gotten away with this thing they’ve done. But to you I say, keep on doing what you’re doing and don’t be surprised if I decide to let you go one day – I don’t care how many thousands of ringgit you can bring in or how good you are at your job, but if you are dishonest with me as a person you’d better believe I’ll get rid of you.

Also know this – never for one second think you were able to “get away” because you’re smart. You’re not. In fact, you’re stupid because you keep doing what you’re doing and sooner or later you’ll pay the price for it. And from the look of things, it’ll probably be sooner. Those of you who are feeling the pinch – remember, you are doing me a favor and giving me material for my upcoming book “You’re Stupid. Let Me Tell You Why.” I may smile at you and include you in my conversations, take this as a sign that you are being given an opportunity to turn yourself around.

Have integrity for goodness sakes and be transparent in your dealings with me and others. At least you’ll be respected for it. If you are not able to be accountable for your actions, what kind of an example are you going to set for your children (if you have any), colleagues and family members? Make an example of yourself through good work and actions; otherwise I’ll make an example of you when I’m telling people who NOT to be like. Think I won’t do it? Just wait and see.

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Teaching and Telling and Leading by Example

There are days when I feel that there are some people who could lose 3lbs by just getting rid of their brain – and I don’t think they’ll miss it either since they haven’t been using it. There are some people who become like that because over the years, no one has bothered to tell them what they’re doing wrong. If you think I’m going say that this is an exception, you’ve got to be kidding me! There is no exception, because it’ll just be another excuse not to learn – you don’t have to be shown the right way all the time – you have to develop this thing called common sense – go and learn what it’s all about.

There are many things I was not thought – and I see this in some people I know as well. So how did we learn? By ourselves of course. Idiots don’t learn at all because they refuse to be taught. I decided a long time ago that I was going to a fantastic entrepreneur and CEO – and I kept working towards that goal. But I’ve taken it one step further now to the level of a Super CEO – those who teach and learn. There is no shame in making mistakes – provided you learn a lesson from it and improve yourself. Start looking at what areas you need to improve on – make a list if you must, don’t be lazy about it. If you begin thinking this way, you’ll be a better person for it. And you’d better start correcting yourself before someone else does it and that would be a painful lesson for sure.

And to those of you, who have people correcting your flaws constructively, don’t be a baby about it and cry in corner. Don’t be ungrateful. Be happy that you have someone who is making time and saving you from being a loser. Take the lesson like an adult and grow from it.

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Quack Prophets and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

“The difference between hearsay and prophecy is often one of sequence. Hearsay often turns out to have been prophecy.” - Hubert H. Humphrey (American 38th US Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson)

You’ve heard of Nostradamus – the reputed prophet who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous world-wide. He wrote many of these prophecies and I’m sure some of you would have gone online after the September 11 attacks to find out what he had predicted. These are my thoughts… I truly believe that we, whether consciously or not, have the power to make predictions come true – the world is empowering and making these things happen. Many organizations are failing right now and are preparing to die – and where do we get bad news about the economy from – the papers or the internet – maybe even some supposed economists who think that we are still doing ok. When we read what we are told might happen – we expect it and then it becomes real. And please don’t think I’m referring to The Secret or The Law of Attraction.

I have been asked what makes ATCEN do so well even in times like this – do I read the papers I’m asked. Sure I do – I read it as a source of information and that’s it. It does not predict my future because I anticipate it on my own and make it happen. A prophet is defined as a person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression – a predictor; a soothsayer. While prophets are supposed to be source of good, ironically, they’re always associated with bad news – so maybe is time for this to change. Instead of moaning and grumbling about what’s wrong, wouldn’t it be so much better to get off your behind, make a positive decision and make sure that it happens? Don’t just sit at the mamak with your teh tarik and make a lot of noise about the price of this and that going up. The time you spend talking rubbish, can be spent making your life better.

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Service Before Self and Giving Selflessly

Traditionally, the young has always served the old or the older at least. After I became CEO, I realized even more so than before that as leaders, we should be willing to serve before being served. At ATCEN, we have many get-togethers which means there are plenty meals to be served. We are so used to the culture of giving that everyone serves each other – there is an awareness of the simple common sense behind value and gratitude, which I’m sad to say many have forgotten.

Easy actions such as a smile, a thank you or even a sincere question: “How can I help you?” or “How are you today?” seems so difficult to do. Are you afraid that if you open your mouth, gold is going to fall into the hands of the person in front of you? Just in case you don’t know what it means to serve, here is a lesson: learning to serve is by asking someone what you can do to make their day a little better – it is about making sacrifices – it about giving. We have so-called leaders in this country who only know how to accuse – and to serve is something very strange to them. They talk about serving “the rakyat” – sure they are - serving up a big headache

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What Losing Doesn’t A Loser Make

When I was growing up, I was always told that losing was a bad thing – especially in a typically Asian culture which dictates that of if you fail at something you have lost face – or worse, the entire family’s dignity has been ripped to shreds. I begin to believe that losing means that a person becomes a big nothing, worthless to the core – not a good place to be. Then as I got older, I started seeing people lose – in sports, education, business and even love – but they lost trying their best and giving it their best shot. In everything that you choose to do, do it according to the best and highest standards you can possibly set for yourself. Losers are people give up on themselves when they still have the support of others. Losers are people who say no without even trying. Losers are people that keep saying that they don’t have a choice but then always decide to take the easy way out. Losers are people who ask for help and when given a solution, they don’t take action.

If you fit any of these descriptions, then go and buy one of those “L” stickers for the cars and stick it on your forehead. This is because you have no direction in life and no reason to exist because you decide to be a victim and give up without even trying your best. You will become part of the furniture and be used accordingly – as a utility, a non-entity and a person dead to the world.

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W – I – N

What’s Important Now. Do you have any idea what it is that you need right now and if you do, are you aware how to motivate yourself and get to where you need to be? Let me put it more directly. Imagine there’s this girl/boy you like and you want to marry them. You know what you want – so how are you going to get there? Of course you’ll be very nice, loving shower them with all the love an attention – you will put in the effort to get this person – at least some of you will anyway. And what about when you get into an accident on your way to a date– what would you do first? If you think you should call up this girl/boy and explain lovingly why you are going to be late or not turn up at all, there’s something wrong with you and you should get your priorities sorted.

What you should do is to call the tow truck and do whatever it is to get you car fixed. You cannot just live in the moment thinking that your short term decisions will benefit you in the long run. Please don’t be blur. You must prepare for what’s ahead and focus on key wins for long term benefits. This is especially true with sales. You have to be consistent and project revenue for the future. If you can’t win now and today and know what’s important, how on earth are you going to make it? You will suffer like hell for sure. With each daily win, your future tomorrows will be solid and secure. They key is to press on with perseverance and patience – this is extremely important. Set daily goals for yourself. Don’t just think your daily goal is to beat traffic and have a good dinner. Live your life wisely and effectively right now otherwise you had better just forget about your tomorrow.

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Age Does NOT Equal Experience

No matter what you say, age does not define how experienced a person is – I have met many people who are much older than I, but who suck at what they do. And the worst part is they think they’re pretty darn good. It really burns me to hear these people saying that they are smarter or better because they’ve tasted salt first, or they’ve eaten more salt meaning that they’ve lived longer. I beg to differ – looks like you’ll be dying faster as well because of the amount of salt you’ve consumed. Look, I’ve got nothing against old people – I know I’m going to get there myself, but I just can’t stand it when this happens. Experience does not come from how many years you’ve lived, but instead from how much you’ve accomplished in a short period of time.

Some parents are famous for using their age against their children. They think because they’re older, they’re automatically smarter and because of this stupid style of thinking, they give their children bad and wrong advice – resulting in the children making stupid decisions and being blamed for it. This is what happens when people live in their own little bubbles thinking they know it all. This is the truth – plain and simple. The more you use your experience, the more effective it will be and the more you will learn. Because you’ll realize like a smart person would, that the more you learn, the more you need to know and the knowledge process never ends.

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The Stupid Intern – When People Don’t Realize Their Mistake

I’m in the midst of writing a book right now – about stupid people and the stupid things they do. I think this person I’m going to tell you about here would fit perfectly in the book. This is a story about an intern who thought she was too smart and too good for anyone else. She came in not knowing a single thing about working in a corporate environment and to hear her speak was like listening to a confession. But after a few weeks, we managed to coax her out of her shell and helped instill in her the confidence she lacked. As the weeks progressed, this intern decided that she knew better than all of us and decided to make some others feel small. We have this monthly session called the K-Sharing – and it was here that she went on and on pointing out the flaws of others - and marking snarky, smart aleck type comments.

But this isn’t the half of it – the very next week, she decided to go on a tea break while having work to do without informing her line manager. When questioned about this, she said, “Why ah? Here cannot go for tea break is it? Must I ask for permission?” Now reading this may make it seem like a harmless comment, but when someone tells you this coupled with bad attitude, you just want to give her two tight slaps. Suffice to say she isn’t with us anymore – and that’s what we’ve been doing quite consistently and effectively I might add –getting rid of the bad fruit before the entire crate goes. So if you are a potential intern planning to come for an interview with us, please be sure that you are not stupid.

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When Money is a Motivator

Some people say that money shouldn’t motivate a person into getting a job done. There are two things to consider here. Firstly, it can be a good thing because money drives us towards a goal – a positive goal and that’s a good surface driving objective, a motivation of sorts. However, if you get too greedy and are constantly chasing after it then you should cool your heels and focus on why you want to make so much money in the first place. Remember: too much of a good thing is bad for you. I know what you are thinking – “how can having too much money be a bad thing” or “there’s no such thing as too much money”. Wait. I’ll explain. What happens when too much of something is produced – it becomes a surplus item and loses its value – and there’s no thrill to acquiring it anymore.

Whether you believe it or not, the same is true of money. Sure you need it, and it’s good to have more than you need – but half the fun in getting all this money is the hard work that goes into earning it. When you have too much of it – it become worthless. You think I’m crazy for saying this – but that’s because you probably don’t have too much of it – that’s why you want more. But once you have mountains of it, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s important that you strike a balance for both – this is crucial. If you are in sales, let money drive you to succeed, but don’t let it be your main focus point. Think also of the team and the company and how you can inspire the rest to follow your drive and ambition – now that’s something that’s good to have a lot of.

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I can't

There are people who seem to think that I can do everything – but whether you’d like to believe it or not, I’m human too you know and there are some things that I can’t do.

1. I can’t accept non-performance especially when all the processes are put in place to achieve results. Non performance is not acceptable.
2. I can’t accept mediocrity. “Oklah” is NOT ok with me.
3. I can’t accept people who say that they want to be a part of something special but do nothing to earn it. You are just a professional dreamer.
4. I can’t tolerate people who are given right directions but then choose to ignore it and later blame everyone around them for their failures. You will forever be a failure for your ignorance.
5. I can’t stand those who choose the easy way out. You are just pure lazy.
6. I can’t appreciate fence-sitters – people who don’t want to make decisions because they’re afraid it’ll make them look bad. You have no guts to live.
7. I can’t take it when people say “I don’t know” without even trying – to me, that’s just a cop out. You are just chicken.

There several ways you can look at this list – you can say, “Who the hell does he think he is – perfection is it?” or maybe you’re thinking “I pity the people who work in his company – they must be miserable and constantly living in fear.” Perhaps, there are a handful who would say, “I understand – he has to be this way in order to lead and make sure that the business grows and makes it through this challenging time because there are mouths to feed and bills to pay.” But better still if there are a few who say, “He is doing what he has to do and he’s not here to win a popularity contest.” And if you don’t like it, too bad.

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The 5 Point Checklist – Are you taking your boss/company for granted?

1. I believe that everyone gets a letter of appointment stating their responsibilities and duties. So it’s quite mind-boggling when people don’t do what is fundamentally expected of them. So when you don’t do what you’ve signed on the dotted line to do and let go of your responsibilities expecting the company or your boss to understand then you’ve done the unthinkable – which is to take them for granted. If it’s sales that you have to do – get it done and bring in the numbers – get on the phone and make those calls till the phone is hot to the touch. Be committed.

2. Not appreciating the opportunities you’re given is another warning sign. If you’ve got it good – by the current situation standards, I mean you still have a job that pays and you still grumble about having to go to work – then you’re an ungrateful fool and deserve to be left out in the cold.

3. When you have a team of mentors who are doing what they can to make sure you get better at your job and you just refuse to improve on your attitude and work style, then you are stupid. Because, why should other people care for you when you don’t give a damn – if you know you have to change and want to be a stubborn mule about it – then you have taken these people and their untiring efforts to help you for granted.

4. There is a fine line between being witty and being a smart aleck who likes to mouth off. You think you’re saying something about your colleague or boss in a joking manner – but remember a joke told once too often becomes dull and if you continue trying to be “smart” about it then the joke will eventually be on you. You are really dumb if you think that talking about your co-worker or boss will make you come across as being clever. It’s a stupid thing to do and you’ll just look stupid because in fact, you are.

5. When you make everything about you. Saying that you only want to focus on one specific area and don’t want to help out the team – when you have skills that you don’t want to share, when you spend the entire day bitching about it when somebody sets you right because you bloody well deserved it. When you have this attitude, “I have come into this company to serve myself and see what it can do for me” – then you have taken it for granted.

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Made in Malaysia

Some people seem to think that in order for a workshop to be great, it must have a white man on stage – the harder to understand the accent the better, because this must mean that the speaker is more “authentic”. This is not about race or gender, but about the misconception that many have about Malaysian trainers and what they’re worth. Recently, we ran a Public Speaking Workshop and there was a lady who called to inquire more. When she was given the price of the workshop, she literally did a back flip and became verbally abusive saying unnecessarily unpleasant things about Malaysian trainers.

Then there is the case of a rather well-known publisher specializing in Malay medium magazines who requested to meet our trainers – and we were hounded on a daily basis to send a trainer for a meeting. Our trainers are fully-booked on a monthly basis and so getting a slot in is no mean feat – but we accommodated them anyway – for a FREE consultation. A few weeks passed and there was no reply. We got to know that they had engaged another trainer through one of our other companies – he didn’t even have the guts or decency to deliver the message in person. He decided to go with another trainer “an international one” and get this…from Singapore.

Let me just say this to you – for your information, the ATCEN International Group does have international trainers who are internationally certified and who have trained internationally. If we are as second rate as you say we are, why the hell then are you calling us? Is it because you think we are cheap? If that’s the case then you must be a damn cheapskate. Know this – consider yourself fortunate that there are still a few successful Malaysians who’ve decided to stay behind to help bring you to where you or your company wants to get to.

You think we can’t make it abroad? We’ll excel in every way if we do leave – but we’ve stayed behind to bring about a positive change. And if you want to insist on international trainers from across the causeway or don’t see the investment that can buy you for life – then you can take your business elsewhere. We only want to serve well deserving clients.

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Get Out And Stay Out!

I have been thinking about this lately – more so than before; do I demand too much from the people around me? Some understand me very well, while there are others that just don’t get it and will never get it even if it fell on their heads like ton of bricks. I mean – I pay good salaries, I provide exceptional training for free when I get minimum RM30, 000 per day for my training outside, there are movie nights, BBQ nights, company trips and so much more and what I asked for in return is that I’m given what’s expected of them – and I’m very clear about this.

Just for your info, the last time I checked I was still running a business not a social service or welfare organization. Do you think I’m going to keep you around if you continue to take me and my company for granted? Hell no! I have more valuable people in my team to train and take care of – people who really want to do exceptionally well. Those who know me know this, that as long as you are under my roof, I will take care of you extremely well. But once you leave, I will cease to care for you the way I used to – it’s nothing personal – I have a team to think of and I have to put them first. So if you don’t want this and if you don’t care, get out. This is NOT the place for you. And if you are going through the same for your own organization, get out of it as well.

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Where Have All The Good People Gone?

One of my team members observed a phone conversation recently about a company that wanted some training for upper management. Apparently these people who are supposed to lead the way suck at what they do and are hopeless when it comes to their clients and customers. Now anyone worth their salt in business would know that a customer/client is king and to ignore that would mean that they need to purchase a shovel double quick and dig their own graves. So I was asked this question, “How did they get to upper management level if they’re so bad at what they do?”

From what I’ve seen with the current flock who make up upper management in organizations, they sure didn’t get there because they’re good. They got to where they are because there’s no one else – because all the good ones have left the country for other environments that appreciate them. The good ones that are left behind are either working their butts of trying to bring about a positive change or are half mad by now. The people who suck in management transmit a half-dead culture to those below them and their bosses are just don’t give a damn.

You know why they continue to suck? Because getting better is too much work and it’s tiring and saying you’ll do something requires commitment. It’s probably easier to draw blood with a straw than get them to commit to something. These people are just in it for the paycheck and they just want to get the job done and they welcome incompetence. You think training can sort this out at one go? No way. You have to ensure consistency by constant monitoring of value. Don’t just be focused on making a profit – look into making people better, now that’s something that money cannot buy.

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Your Father’s Company Is It?

All employees take note. You should all think that you own the company you work for because it encourages a sense of ownership. BUT in order for that to happen, you must behave like how a company owner should. Unfortunately, there are many stupid people who do just the opposite because they don’t understand that if you want to behave like it’s your company, you must know that people who own companies hardly ever sleep – at least the ones who take pride in what they do. For these company owners, there’s no such thing standard working hours and they are wiling to go the extra mile where their time and effort is concerned. But sadly, some of these owners are cursed with idiots who seem to think nothing of making the company or organization look bad.

Now Nikko Hotel is a fantastic place. A world-class establishment, it is evident that a whole lot of effort has gone into making it a five star hotel. Now there is an incident that happened to my team that makes me feel truly sorry for Nikko hotel that because of one bad fruit, its reputation might take a turn for the worse. I won’t go into details about what happened, but would just like to share what their assistant sales director said when he was called at 7pm for something he was supposed to deliver days ago. This is what he said, “Please don’t disturb me during my rest time and this is not my working hour.” Man, what fantastic service.

Then there is this character – an average executive who commits herself to getting payment out – there is written proof of this in her emails, and then goes on to call my team ridiculous when payment is demanded after repeated delays on her company’s end. These individuals are so insecure about their competency and personal selves that they feel it necessary to let the whole world know that they are sad and sorry people who derive joy in putting other people down.

Can somebody please offer them a drink of water so they can snap out of the hallucination plaguing them – or maybe it’ll be better to splash the water on their faces so they can be rid of the mirage in front of them depicting them as lords over the rest of the world. Just who the f*** do you think you are bossing and bullying people they way you do? Get over yourself! You are just an employee – useless and a big nothing because of the way you treat others. You are redundant and you will never amount to anything more than what you are until you see yourselves for who you really are and change your stinking bad attitudes. Have you ever stopped to think about why you’re moody, grumpy and unhappy all the time? Perhaps it’s time you did – use your rest time if you must.

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More Harm Than Good

There are some parents who think they’re helping their children along this road called Life by giving them everything they want – a bit like the Malaysian government that has pampered certain Malaysians for so long. I’m sure you know of parents who get their children the latest hand phones and cars, and make payment for these items and more. Or perhaps you’re one those parents? If you are, I hope you live long and continue to prosper because if you don’t change your attitudes you are going send your children to an early grave because they will not know how to survive without your support.

It all boils down to the fundamentals – give a person a fish and he eats for a day – teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Right now, as concerned parents, you think that you must always give your child money and pay for everything – how about getting your teenager to earn their keep. Chores around the house, for neighbors etc are a good start. Get them to wash a few toilets – then at least they’ll know to keep it clean for others. Don’t be too nice – a firm hand is much better than a taufu one. I know why some of you do this – you say, “Aiyah, I never got this when I was growing up, so I must give my child everything I never had.” The road to hell is paved with good intentions – so stop it.

In giving them all these things you didn’t get when younger, you are not preparing them for the harsh realities of life and will cause them more hurt in the long run. Don’t live in denial – and don’t make your children live there too. Because what you think will cause a positive effect on your child is going to be one horrible negative. Your generosity may come from love, but in actual fact it’s like a poison arrow aimed straight at your child’s heart. No self-respecting parent would want this and that is love.

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Is Your Soul Prepared?

I know that placing a reasonably sized ad in the newspaper is quite expensive – so this makes me wonder about the stories concerning this MP calling the other Datuk a liar – about ministers ganging up on each other – doesn’t all this constitute wasted space? It’s just so irritating to hear all this bitching – everyone’s just talking but nothing is being done. If something is done, it’s only for a while and then it’s back to square one. It’s disgusting as to how much finger pointing is happening. Why can’t the supposed powers that be just say, “This is what we’re going to be doing for the children” and then just do it. Yes! It’s that simple. Anything else is just another sad excuse.

But instead, certain people in the higher echelons of the government and organizations spend their time wind bagging about what they’ve done right and what others are doing wrong. But the sickest of all are those who pilfer and squander funds that should be going to the poor and the needy. To you the guilty I ask this, how can you sleep at night knowing that you’re a liar and thief? How can you sit at your RM40, 000 dining table and be served dishes you might not even touch when there are millions who wake up everyday thinking about how they’re going to feed their families?

I know this much – that every religion frowns upon such behavior and it doesn’t matter who you may be in this life – we become the same when we cross over. Are you ready to meet your maker? If you say you are, then you’ve got to be kidding me. Are you so oblivious to your wrongdoing when everyone else sees it? Enjoy this life as much as you possibly can, because you are going to have one hell of a time in the next.

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Open Sesame

Everyone is talking about this business folding and that business going bankrupt, but do you realize that there are organizations that thrive during times like these – going on to become bigger and better? It takes a certain amount of guts of course to make this happen – and it will, once you realize that in every bad situation opportunities will arise. It is also during bad times that the wise will see that necessity is the mother of invention because they know that one shouldn’t just wait for things to happen – right now, as it always should be, we have to be consciously aware of what’s needed – it’s all about anticipating the needs of the market.

By focusing on specific needs, we can provide a service that is of use. Stop thinking about dying, and focus on living and living really well. It can be done. It’s all about whether you want to or not. You see, the thing is this – people might not know that they need a particular product or service until it is made available. YOU have to make them realize this. The opportunities are limitless and as long as you’re living in a country with people in it, focus on the community, identify a target audience and serve them really well. As you go on this journey, be fully aware that doors will slam shut in your face. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens and you must not hesitate in entering it. You may not get another opened door if you miss this one.

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What the hell kind of advice is this…?

I may come under fire for saying this, but it’s nothing new to me so I shall say it anyway – certain Malaysians have been protected and sheltered by the government for far too long. For the past goodness knows how many years, these Malaysians have enjoyed perks and special attention that have made them lazy and complacent. And what is happening today is just too much for them and they are lashing out grumbling and wallowing in self-pity. We have sadly become a nation that always waits to receive and when things are bad, we have a government that tells us to tighten our belts and just take it. Malaysia has never been one to encourage foreign investors – for years we have always had one telephone company, one internet provider, one water works establishment – you get the idea. It was only a few years ago that other parties were allowed to set up similar businesses providing us with other vendors to choose from.

Malaysia does not like competition – and it has always been a country that encourages her people to be comfortable with what they have. In a time when the government should be suggesting ways Malaysians can get better by being more competitive, we are instead being told that we should be prudent. How in heaven’s name can you be prudent when every damn thing is so expensive? Can you go to the supermarket and tell the cashier to give you a 50% off your bill because the government wants you to be prudent? Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well that’s because the situation is ridiculous. By telling Malaysians to cut back, the government might just as well hand out some rope to go with the advice so we can hang ourselves.

By trying to protect us, the government has done more harm than good. Do you hear Singaporeans grumbling about the oil hike? No. Because it was already up there to begin with – so this is no big issue for them. The government should stop pulling wool over our eyes and condescend us like we are five-year-olds. Look at what happens when they do. We don’t want to be pampered – we want to be treated fairly with equal rights for all. We as Malaysians deserve to be prepared for what’s to come. Springing unpleasant surprises like the price hike may toughen a select few who will use it as a launch pad to success. Others are not so fortunate – something like this can break them or even worse, kill – and that’s as real as it can possibly get.

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Stupidity vs Ignorance – The Scourge of the Entitlement Generation

If you’re born between 1978 and 1994 – sit up straight and read this. Then after you have read it, make sure you understand it. If you don’t, read it again until it sinks in. The "Entitlement Generation" - have been described as impatient, self-serving, disloyal, unable to delay gratification - in short, feeling that they are entitled to everything without working for it. This is even worse if these individuals work in organizations that are constantly moving forward always with the best interests of its team at heart. What we hear is the whining and winging that drowns out the efforts of companies who want to help and are helping these individuals. But you know what they say about empty vessels making the most noise – little wonder why these ignorant people are so blind to the security they’re given and the pay rise extended in a time when cut backs and price hikes are happening. This is just plain stupid and idiotic.

In light of the recent fiasco with the oil hike, I increased some salaries, mileage claims and opened doors for employment opportunities. But then there will always be certain individuals who think that the grass is greener on the other side. But that’s ok. It’s fine. I will be the first one to encourage my people to look for better opportunities anywhere they feel can offer them a better life. There are some employees who believe and act as if they are more deserving than others at work without "paying their dues" - aren't willing to do the grunt work necessary to learn the job, but they sure want the perks I don't know where these people come off thinking they are entitled to things it took me 20 years to get. You got to be pretty stupid to think that. And forget the bull shit saying that you just need to work smart and not hard. That is rubbish! There is NO SUCH thing as not working hard! We MUST work hard before we can ever think about working smart.

I can understand it perfectly well if someone leaves a job for something better – but to leave a great job for a government position – earning a fraction of what they were earning before? It boggles the mind. There’s nothing secure about government jobs by the way – so don’t think that it’s going to save you. But then again, it’s probably a great place for the entitlement generation to be. Those infected by 'Entitlementitis' an illness, reported more tense relationships and even higher levels of workplace depression. Little wonder why you have long faces greeting you and dead voices answering phones at government organizations that is absolutely ridiculous.

I don’t feel sad for myself or my team when an employee leaves for greater things. As a matter of fact, I will be happy for them as I have prepared them well for bigger things in life. But I feel that people are sometimes pretty ignorant when they leaves a supportive and successful environment of my organization for something that can collapse at any time. Is this what living dangerously is all about? Nope. I think it’s living stupidly. What are a few years of long hours and 8 day work weeks going to do – kill you? So what if your spouse nags about you working so hard? Stick your guns and persevere – they will soon see the results. Never give up a true opportunity for a transient solution to regular work hours and mindless pencil pushing and six tea breaks in a day. These individuals will not put up with the ambiguity that saturates most work settings. If they don't know where they can get, how to get there, and what it will get them, they are not going to 'buy in' to the objectives of the company.

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Ungrateful, Spoilt Brats

There is a hiring dilemma faced by companies everywhere. Hiring recent graduates definitely has its business advantages, such as maintaining low salary overhead. But it also has its disadvantages, such as a higher need for supervision and hand-holding. From day one, I planned not to hire inexperienced, recent design school graduates. As we got busier I did hire fresh graduates only to discover that, as a whole they were spoiled individuals who think they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and expected everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.

Philosophically, I am a big proponent of youths – motivating and helping them learn their voice. You could call this tough love if you like. However, the reality is that you need experience to keep things moving. And yes, I can just feel the recent grads out there fuming with fury. I know… I know…it's the classic catch-22. People expect you to have experience for your first job, but how are you supposed to get experience without one? Why don't people give grads a chance, you say? Maybe this is why. We’re currently conducting a series of workshops for fresh graduates to prepare them for what’s ahead. Get this. They’re being given FREE extensive training by professional training consultants and paid an allowance to boot. Some of them who come from out of town are provided FREE accommodation, utilities included. Even with all this and much more, they’re still whiny and complain about every little thing.

Snap at them a little, and they run crying saying that it’s unfair to be treated this way. What do they think the real world is all about? A box of tissues, a shoulder to cry on and constant pat on the back? They are classic cases of being given an inch and demanding a mile – and there are only a handful who have their heads screwed on right. To the fresh graduates reading this - be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given and the ones that can come your away if you want it bad enough – never be complacent. Enjoy your good fortune, but not at the expense of the less fortunate. Seek out information so that you too can make a contribution through fair and intelligent decisions. And most importantly, join in advocating for those who can't make their voice heard. It is only by remaining well informed and voicing your opinions confidently that you can collectively affect the regulatory levers of government so that they too can be held accountable to make the appropriate and just decisions.

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The Domino Effect

Bad times are here. There’s no need to sugar-coat it and live in denial – inflation and a potential recession is looming on the horizon that is closing in on us faster than the last haze we experienced. Those of you who think this is just temporary – remember that temporary in this case does not mean short period of time – it’s going to last for quite a while and you’d better be able to out last it. Don’t for a moment think it’s a joke. This is how serious the situation is. Many hotels have admitted to losing up to 70% of business and why is this? Because most of the events had at hotels are from the government and if you remember correctly, the newspapers reported that the government will be cutting way back on their functions.

So when an organization/company loses at least 70% of business what options are there? They can either close shop or cut cost – either way, it’s going to affect the job market. Speaking about jobs, the Human Resource ministry was very careful to note that they will be watching carefully on organizations executing “tsunami” VSS. Are they aware that companies want this? They’ve just been waiting to VSS their staff as a cost-cutting measure – and mind you, this is VSS with little or no payment at all. I suppose they expect those who lose their jobs to survive on hope and love. Reality check. This isn’t the 60s, it’s 2008.

What’s happening here will become or if it isn’t already, a global issue. It will not only be the death of many businesses, but also result in many physical deaths. Debts will increase, depression will set in, suicides will occur. This is a very real and frightening domino effect and all because of poor governance not only by the government but also by those who run certain companies. Don’t be shallow and think it’s all good. Slap yourselves awake or I can do it for you.

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Cutting Loose

Someone asked me this question today, “Ernie, why do you fire people?” My answer has got nothing to do with anger or discontent, as a matter of fact, it may surprise you to hear me say, that when I fire someone I’m actually helping them. No. I’m not a sick, twisted individual who takes pleasure in cracking someone’s rice bowl – but I asked you this; if you run an organization and you really want your people to succeed – you give them six months to prove themselves but they don’t – don’t you think it’s better to let then go so they can find what their true calling is? Well, that’s how I look at it. I’ve never fired anyone based on personal reasons, but when mistakes are made repeatedly – should they be kept? I can’t focus my energies on one person alone when I have not one but several companies to run. If one individual is bringing the whole team down, I believe it is my duty to make sure that they go. Brutal? Some of you might think so – but try running a company and perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

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Longest Motivational Talk

In November 2008, I’ll be doing something pretty amazing which will go down in history. I’ll be speaking non-stop for at least eight hours – the longest motivational talk ever done in Malaysia, and maybe around the world. This is a part of The Great Orange Charity Drive which has already begun and will end in December 2008. Why am I doing this? Well, I believe the best way to get a message out quickly to the masses is do something in a big way and this is perhaps one of the best ways to get noticed with regards to such an event. There is such a dearth in confidence especially in young Malaysians, and I’m certain that this will infuse all those who attend it with a sense of “I can and I will.” This is no mean feat – it will entail some amount of suffering on my end – but it just goes to show you can accomplish something once you set your mind to it and it’s all about rising to challenge and taking on with a positive attitude. Will I succeed? I have no doubt that I will – and this is just a small step to the bigger things that are coming. The winds of change are here and the wheels have been set in motion. It’s the age of confidence and renewal.

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Say What You Mean And Do What You Say

It’s been a trend lately where promises are taken very lightly. What is a promise? Most dictionaries define it as an oral or written agreement to do or not to do something; it is a vow – an indication, as of a successful prospect or future; basis for expectation. When you make a promise, you had better keep it because if you don’t very soon anything you say will not be believed. And this is especially true when it comes to what you say you’ll deliver in terms of business as well. It’s very easy to make up visions and missions – but to carry it out, it’s another thing altogether. To make it work is not just the responsibility of the company owners, but also the employees. Never think that you are indispensable. What you have to know is that your services are being rented by the company you are working for. It’s just like renting a house for example. If the house starts leaking and there are non-stop problems with it, chances are you will not be renewing the contract once it expires. Some of us might not even wait till it expires and choose to forfeit the down payment and leave altogether. Therefore, when you are employed by a company, your services are being rented – and you will be kept and upgraded if you are well equipped to overcome obstacles. Don’t be a commodity – you must be an asset to your company and its brand image. You are a reflection of your company’s goals – never forget that. Because once you do, you’ll just be another regular employee trudging to work from nine to five and waiting for a paycheck at the end of every month. Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary – you loose nothing, but gain a whole new perspective and a respect for what you do.

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Scholarships? Yeah Right…

This is the sort of thing that is in danger of being swept under the carpet – yet another piece of news that will soon, if not already, lost its momentum - I am referring to the JPA scholarship (or lack thereof) fiasco. Let’s not just use this as fodder to accompany teh tarik talk – we need to seriously do something about this and it can start with something as simple as letters and emails to the apparent powers that be. A scholarship is an award of access to an institution, or a financial aid award for an individual student scholar, for the purpose of furthering their education. Scholarships are awarded based on a range of criteria which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. But nowadays the line which separates the deserving and the not quite is terribly blurred.

It is therefore perfectly understandable why so many are incensed over the issue – that the manner in which scholarships are awarded is inconsistent and in many ways unfair. In an age where there is so much talk of equality and doing what’s right under the pretext of championing students’ rights, the Lee Jia Hui episode couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lee Jia Hui - He’s the one who obtained an offer from Harvard University but whose scholarship application was rejected by local organizations. In addition to Harvard, Lee has also received offers from Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell, as well as a Wesleyan Asian Freeman Scholarship. How does one make sense of something like that?

The image of most scholarships given out in Malaysia is one that is very academic driven. What’s the use of getting A’s all the time, when you don’t have other skills to compliment it? Getting great grades does not always translate to confidence in presenting oneself or even the ability to communicate well. At first it was 5As, then 9As, on to 10As, and I’ve lost count as to how many A’s does a student require in order to get a scholarship?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not in any way saying that education isn’t important but would like to stress that it should also take into serious consideration other areas such as co-curriculum and community service. If the students are guided properly by their educators in the areas of sports and social responsibility, they will be truly holistic individuals not just “machines” churning As.

I studied in the United States of America and it was here I discovered that learning was a breeze and credits much of this to the nurturing nature of the American approach to education. Most of it is founded on a prospectus revolving around the liberal arts and sciences, in which the scope and intensity of study areas are considered equally important. In response to what’s happened, the ATCEN International Group will be launching the ATCEN Education Fund in 2009 focusing on students who have a great attitude towards learning, self-development and the drive to succeed.

If certain quarters involved in the process of selecting candidates for scholarships say they are fully aware of what a scholarship means and who it should deservedly go to, then they had better do a more convincing job at making us believe they do. The Malaysian education system can be sound and fertile if only its processes were a little more thought out. Undoubtedly, there are individuals within it who are striving for what’s best for these students – but perhaps they should be speaking to those directly involved in it – the students themselves. This episode is an opportunity to set some things right – the most important of which is to make the candidate selection process fair and transparent.

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Instill Entrepreneurship in Youngsters to Survive Recession

In reference to the recent reports on the local entrepreneurship development, I applaud the government’s effort in making the all-important first move.

The reports demonstrate the initiative of the Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Ministry in responding to the nation’s need for young entrepreneurs; a development that we, as members of the society, need to be part of. Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed has stated that enterprising individuals are necessary for a country to be developed. This statement could not be further from the truth because the government alone cannot influence mindsets; everyone else needs to play their roles in guiding the younger generation.

They way of which the world operates today with the younger generation is dissimilar to what we experienced in the past. Youngsters today are well-equipped with an abundance of opportunities due to the rapid progression of modernity. Most of them are well sheltered by their parents and family members; which I believe is the focal contributor to the youngsters’ lack of experience in the working world.

As we all know, the reality of a recession is bound to hit our shores within a blink of an eye. Just like a decade before, the majority of employees will be left out in the dark as corporations undergo excessive retrenchment programs in order to cut their losses. Do you know which batch of them will be first to go? It is not going to be the ones who have been serving the corporations with performance. It is not going to be anyone at all who has delivered results. It will be none other than the young, new and inexperienced batch - the fresh graduates. The ones with no experience and performance to show.

Therefore, it is commendable that the government has taken the initiative to provide a starting ground for youngsters to get into the groove of entrepreneurship. The recent National Karniawan 2007 Carnival was a good example. Their allocation of subsidies for budding entrepreneurs is also a much needed step to get them started. Only then are we able to combat the rising rate of unemployment in the country; especially in times of recession.

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Recession: An Analysis

Driving to work this morning, I did what I always do; which is to tune in to the Light & Easy radio station. Everything was exactly how I like it; from the songs, the events bulletin to the minimal advertising. However, a certain news piece instantly jolted me out of my sense of familiarity.

The news announcer stated that the situation on recession in the United States has escalated by 50 percent, meaning that the alarm has gone off and the American citizens are now in a state of panicked emergency. The announcer also added that the rate of unemployment at that end has lately been experiencing an enormous climb.

But what exactly qualifies as a full-blown recession? InvestorWords.com has classified the term as “a period of general economic decline, specifically a decline that lasts for two or more quarters”. Personally, I believe that a one-word, direct, concise and uncomplicated definition of recession is none other than depression.

There is minimal differentiation between both the above terms. The only distinction I could gather upon comparison is that recession takes on a rather impersonal approach; as demonstrated by the definition above by InvestorWords.com. Depression, however, penetrates miles deeper than the economy; it affects the people.

As we are well aware of, the dawn of recession means the retrenchment of countless employees across the globe. Organizations are left with no choice but to cut their losses by cutting the heads of numerous employees; usually those with the least experience. The young ones would be most affected in times like these.

Economic analysts have conducted various studies over the years and have concluded that the phenomenon rotates approximately every decade. The last one to hit our local shores was in year 1997. This only means that it is bound to rear its ugly head towards us again anytime in the near future. Are today’s youth prepared to face this unwelcomed turmoil? Some have said that they are. I, on the other hand, beg to differ.

Youngsters who wish to raise objections are welcome to provide feedback. Just remember, the older generation has been through this period of darkness before; you have not. Be well prepared.

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The Right Mindsets and Skill Sets to Enhance Potential

In reference to my previous post, I have placed the spotlight on the looming recession in this brand-spanking New Year, and how the youth would not be able to cope with its disastrous outcomes. To all the youngsters out there; I have some advice for you.

First and foremost, an important reminder for the youth; the recession is a time that would not guarantee you security in your respective careers. In fact, it will strip you of any form of stability you may have been experiencing in your entry-level positions because you lack the professional expertise and experience when compared to the more matured employees.

That is why it is crucial to keep in mind the importance of mindsets and skills sets. Mindsets refer to the way we structure our thoughts, behaviours, actions and reactions. It drives the way we go about our duties in both our personal and professional lives. Mindsets determine our successes.

The crucial most important mindset is but of course passion. When you are driven by your passion to achieve your goals, everything else becomes a breeze. Staying up all night to meet deadlines simply becomes part of your love for what you do. Hard work, diligence and determination ultimately become synonymous with your passionate successes. Unfortunately, mindsets are incomplete without the proper skill sets. Philosophers throughout the centuries have projected that possessing the passion and talent is not enough; you need to put it to use. I strongly agree with that.

Therefore, what I am putting across here is that the younger generation must constantly strive to better themselves in order to enhance their potentials. When the right combination of mindsets and skill sets is found, imagine the wonders you could do in your respective careers. Prove your worth. Gain your right to withstand the trials of the upcoming recession.

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