The Sad State Of The Nation: Part 1

I wanted to write about where we are as a nation and as a society for quite sometime now, but life - and laziness - always get in the way. But since I'm still on a holiday mood, I thought of taking this opportunity to pen my personal thoughts before life and laziness gets the better of me again.

So here I am, lamenting the state of affairs of where we are and what we've become, as a nation, as people, and as a society.

Let me start by saying that Malaysians, it seems to me, are allergic to the truth. To most, the truth is like our personal feelings for either Barisan Nasional and/or Pakatan. Depending on which side of the divide you are, you just hate the other side. That's how Malaysians look at the truth - with contempt. Malaysians hate the truth.

Malaysians seem to be allergic to the truth

When people look at the truth with some form of contempt, that's when you know the society is polarized and polarization only leads to decay and destruction. Malaysians have always been polarized but it's always been manageable and in some cases, it's even funny and kinda endearing - take our support for English soccer teams as an example; the rivalry of the different clubs extend to us but they're all in good fun, a source of friendly banter that ultimately allows Malaysians to be closer to one another.

But the days of endearing polarization is gone, or about to be. I know and a lot will agree that it is politics that moved us from endearing polarization to total polarization, from tolerance to utter disgust, from a society that was proud to be known as Malaysians to what it is now, a society that is divided along racial and religious lines.

Unlike the overwhelming majority, I don't and I am not going to blame the politicians for this divide. Why should we put the blame on those who chose a profession that is meant to divide in the first place? Politics is all about power and politicians are there to gain power for their respective sides in order to purportedly lay down policies that are good for the nation and the people.

The problem starts with how we determine which policies are good and which aren't. We don't look at the actual policies but who is behind the implementation of those policies. In Penang, no matter what the ruling government does, even when they implement policies that are detrimental to the State and her population, the people there - and the pro-Opposition folks nationwide - don't say anything about these policies because they're made by the side they support.

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say; this is today's Malaysia.

Similarly, the people who support the ruling Federal Government act in the same manner when the same type of destructive and not-good-for-the-nation policies are being implemented and made into laws, such as the National Security Council Bill.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for any mechanisms and laws that protect the nation's security interests but my main gripe with the recently passed bill is the underlying reason(s) by which it was ideated in the first place. And don't get me started on the blatant exclusion of the State and its leaders where our national security concerns come from the most.

My bad, I am digressing. I didn't want to get into any details and only wanted to show the kind of polarization we are in. It's given that we are a polarized nation but the point I'm trying to put across here is that we should not allow ourselves to be polarized by political partisanship.

I know it's almost impossible to ask of Malaysians to think and look at politics objectively, but if we don't, we will not, as a society, progress; we will not, as a nation, be a good place for our children to grow up in.

I am a Barisan Nasional supporter for one simple reason: In national politics, I truly believe that right now they're better equip to handle the country's affairs than the Opposition. Locally, i.e. in my State of Sabah, the State Opposition doesn't do anything that positively contributes to the development of my State and my people.

Having said that, I am, however, not a fool to even think they're perfect or even good at most things. There are times when they come up with the most ludicrous of statements that make me cringe in disbelief and in such instances, I always voice out, laugh even, at such stupidities.

But how many of us are like that? How many of us support a good policy and/or law regardless of who is implementing them? I know I am not the only one but we are too few. And worst, depending on what we say, people like us are ridiculed by both sides of the political divide.

Oh well. 

To paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson, I am of the opinion that it's better to stand by something my conscious mind knows to be true and lose than never have to use my mind to think at all.


I initially wanted to post one entry but as always, I somewhat digressed. I will continue with the next part about the state of our youths and their social media usage in the next installment. I just hope laziness wouldn't rule me in the next few days.

I/O, out...

Goodbye, 2015.

To say 2015 was a testing year for me is an understatement.

Admitedly, it was a bitter-sweet year and whilst it wasn't a great one, it was not all bad either. It started promisingly and before it reached the halfway mark, it became clear to me that it wouldn't have the kind of ending I wanted and hoped for.

As the days and months progressed, I knew I was up against the same old problem that is affecting and decaying the Malaysian workforce, especially the Malays. They are still not accustomed to competing, they still expect some form of privilege and handouts, they still have the "us against them" paradigm, and worst, they still have the unfathomable attitude that it's alright to be mediocre, and so long as it's within the confines of the "us against them" sycophantic world they live in, mediocrity even pays.

But there is always a silver lining to every test that come our way. In my case, it was the opportunity to inspire - and be inspired in the process - by those who stood out amongst the small minded and mediocre people; these very few allowed me to continue to stay hungry, to stay foolish, to dream, to believe that all is not lost despite the mediocrity that I was forced to lived with during the first half of the year. They made me realize that whilst one man couldn't change a decades-old mediocrity, he could do something bigger, something better.

And that's what I resolved to do.

I knew I didn't want to be just a number in the GLC-clog; that I wanted to, as my dear friend @saladinMY always espouses with conviction, do something that would make a difference.

Unlike before, I began to choose what to accept. Some of my choices had been unconventional, e.g. I accepted a gig that didn't pay at all because I believed in what they were trying to achieve. Similarly, I also took on a lucrative gig, so lucrative that it is going to pay me the equivalent of a 2-year pay with my old organization, and I took it on because it presented the opportunity to build a Brand from scratch.

I guess unlike most people, the older I get the less I care about choosing financial stability as the fundamental basis of which works to commit to, taking instead those that offered me the best intellectual challenge and satisfaction.

As I said, unconventional choices.

A n y w a y s . . . 

Just when I thought I was ready to be part of an organization once more, fate had a funny way of telling me that I'm not. I could have fulfilled a lifetime dream (I could still though should I choose to) of joining the one organization that I've always wanted to be part of, but in doing, so I would be relegated to just being the poster boy and rubber stamp of what I know are going to be some lousy campaigns, and I didn't want to be only that.

And too, fulfilling my dream meant disappointing some of those who inspired me. The position didn't come with a carte blanche on whom I can bring with me and that put me in a difficult position as there were a few individuals I wanted to bring with me. Some have argued that I should be selfish and prioritize myself but I couldn't bring myself to leave the people who steadfastly stood by me behind, I just coudn't.

Sometime in the 3rd quarter, I was presented with an opportunity to work for the biggest financial organization in the country. And they were willing to allow me to bring the people I wanted to bring. But that didn't pan out because someone close to me screwed it up. Albeit slightly disappointed, as the days passed, I realized that it was what was good for me. Had I committed to spending years of my life with that organization, I wouldn't truly be happy professionally. I mean, sure it was a good gig, it paid good, and I could do wonders but in hindsight, when I stood back and looked at what I was giving up, it dawned on me that I was so much more and that I could do so much more.

And I promised myself that come 2016 that is just what I will do.

I also promised myself that I will take better care of my health in the new year. I've always known that I am not the most healthy person in the world but my approach when I'm working makes me forget that.

As 2016 stares at us, all I want to do is welcome and embrace it with the warmest embrace I can muster, to continue to hope for things and people who are worth it, to continue to make a difference in whatever I choose to do and be with, to continue to dream, to learn from my mistakes and finally realize that most people are not worth saving, and most of all, to continue to stay foolish and hungry in order to make things happen.

Happy New Year, y'all.

I/O, Out...

They say life is a cycle.

Sometimes you're up, and other times, you're down. There is some truth in that saying, but it's not always the case. And no, I'm not going to get into details why I am of such opinion.

A n y w a y s . . .

A couple of months back, I was practically in a limbo. I was facing an unsure future, frustratingly waiting for the verdict, the final outcome which would then be the basis of my next move.

You see, I became the target of some flimsy and amateurish plot; a rather sophomoric way to move me out by concocting some baseless and unintelligent accusations. It pissed me off big time, of course it did.

But I was faced with two roads - stick and prove my innocence and value, or say 'fuck this shit," pack my bags and go to where I am valued.

I did the former. Don't ask why, I myself don't know.

Seriously, I don't.

So, I soldiered on, but at the back of my subconscious mind, I knew it was a just matter of time before I was going to leave; one could only stomach so much idiocy and narrow-mindedness, y'know?

And I was cleared.

As I said, the plot was amateurish at best.

But the paranoia didn't stop. Some folks were scared that I would tell on them, that I would expose the shady dealings they have been undertaking, that despite the multiple levels by which they hid them, I still uncovered what they were.

I didn't intend to.

So off they go again, trying to find ways to force me to quit. They know they don't have anything on me to force me out. This time, they concocted things that are so ludicrous to the point of absolute hilarity.

I was laughing, still laughing, and for time to come, will be laughing.

But I'm done.

I've been done for sometime now.

This time, having learned from the previous episode, I know what to do.

But just just like how I went in and shook their world, I going to leave them something to remember me by.

I'm preparing to go to my occupational 'home.' On the way there, something from left field came knocking, but that is a story for another time.

While finalizing the journey, I was engaged by a few parties to do something for them, things I thoroughly enjoy doing, and am generously compensated at that.

I've been blessed, and I thank God everyday day for that.

And as I, together with the peeps who helped me make things happen, move on to continue to make things happen, I have nothing but pity for the small minded folks we leave behind.

Oh well.

Restlessly Restful

When I was abroad, I knew I wanted to come home.

But I didn't want to come home to just about any company that wanted my service. I was clear and steadfast with my decision, I would only come back to work in Malaysia for two companies - Malaysia Airlines or PETRONAS.

I was prepared for the delay, or the possibility that I would get neither.

But the adage "man proposes, god disposes" came and knock me off senseless.

A tragedy that shook the nation and the world brought me home, temporarily, at least that's why I kept telling myself then. Truth be told, I didn't want to stay beyond the help that was required of me by the powers that be.

In my mind, then, I was going to do my bit for my country and go back to where I enjoyed a sexy and lucrative job. I knew it will take a few months, for the very reason why I agreed to help - My Small Baby - needed me around.

So I stayed, or more likely, flew in and out.

When everything was stabilizing, I was ready to pack my bags and go. This time, to what most people would call a dream job. I was offered to be the Global Brand Director of one of the biggest flag-carriers in the world.

But yet again, I was humbled by the same adage.

Another tragedy shook the nation. And yet again, I was asked to serve.

And so I did. Again.

But I knew this time around it would be shorter. And I was still en route to go to that dream job.

In between serving the nation and preparing myself to reacclimatize to the Mediterranean culture and weather, an email from a stranger came. It basically said someone (his wife) from a previous interview remembered me and felt that I was the right person to do what her organization is looking for.

Emails and calls were exchanged, and on one rainy afternoon during Ramadhan, I found myself walking into the iconic building for a 'chit-chat'. It was followed by months of more interviews, negotiations, medical, the whole nine yards.

And despite the formal offer, I was undecided.

But in November last year, I found myself in a new job, with a new portfolio, and a new team.

Fast forward to today, and here I am, still on the journey to find my last hurrah, to be where I envisioned my occupational home is.

At least, I am at one of the two I wanted to be in, the two organizations I only wanted to come home to.

The question is, is this home?

Happy Birthday, Cmol!

To the Queen of My Heart, 

Thank you, and Happy Birthday.

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