Thursday, June 28, 2007

On The Train (Sharing common objective), June 27, 2007

Another long day for me and I foresee it will continue to the rest of next week. Just like the old MSC IAP days where nights and days are the same, only difference is either dark of nights and clear daylights. I know it cannot be like this all time as this kind of things that I ran away from. So far my family are fine with this arrangement, I guess because I still come home smiling and full of jokes, funny or otherwise.

I took the 2210 train home and as I described before I went home with the other office or construction workers that decided to call it a day. One thing about this bunch is that we are a bit discipline as we fully aware there is no use creating unnecessary stress for everyone. Also, I can see and feel the trust level among us is quite high. This is really important as it creates a compromising and relax environment of trying to achieve common objective – to get home without much trouble. This got me thinking somehow, if we create, maybe force, an environment where several people have to be in one place at certain fix time trying to achieve almost the same objective they will develop enough understand and trust to be a successful community. I would not say collaborative community but it is a start. Let say in an office environment we create a space or situation where people with more or less sharing common goals, without giving them any structure, overtime they will develop into a good community. I do not know how long but it would be a good research to find out. You see all of us in the train are going home and all of us are doing our own things. I am typing, someone else would be reading, talking or even sleeping but all of us would share willingly about what we are doing or even talking about our private family life. All of us do not know each other by name but all of us recognize one another and even know each other stations. So we know each other enough for natural bonding to accour. I met my fellow commuters outside of the train carriage once and we click straight away. I guess in an office environment we just bring possible groups together and let them loose to discover each other. Our KMC is one good example.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On The Train (How did I survive all these), June 26, 2007

How do I handle all these? Work pressure piles in on me for weeks now and I know I have to keep cool. What have kept me sane all these while are;


  • The train ride that I takes everyday, although today KTMB aggravated my situation by turning up late for my ride home, which I enjoy somehow. It keeps me relax especially when I am sleeping LOL.
  • My writing is another main contributor as I managed to channel my energy, sometimes worries, away form work.
  • The ability to shut out work after office hours. The family activities as well as my sport endeavor pay dividend.
Today a Tan Sri dropped by at our office for a short discussion on the possibility of collaborative digital collection building. I have no issue on that and really encouraged to have more of this collaboration with more parties. The discussion obviously became a short visit and tour around our facility and presented me an opportunity to share our KMC story. I am sure one look at the place people would want to know why we did the place the way we did. I flew with it trying to explain the best I can and I could see the Tan Sri was convinced. He said this, ‘..not like our place, so…stiff.’ The way I see it is this if anyone could see the place, or anything for that matter, is really working then it is easy to convince them. Another thing is that Management would be willing to do new things and you need to persevere in selling your ideas.

On The Train, June 25, 2007

Because of the football game on Sunday I was a bit tired going to work. I slept through most of the journey only to be ‘disturbed’ by a Chinese girl falling over me. The train ride in the morning was a bit shaky, I am not sure why, probably because it was trying to make some times for being late. Not meeting their scheduled time on Monday morning is sure disaster. To this day it still baffles me as to why there are extra commuters on Monday morning. Because of that by the time we were in Kajang it was packed and the lady standing in front of me, made worse by what she had to carry, had nothing to hang on to. So along the way in the middle of my beautiful dream the train jolted and I was shook to life my a lady falling over me. Without even a wink I continued to sleep LOL, I was that tired.

Walking up to the office from the station was a chore but once I was in the office I was ok and ready to tackle the day full steam. However, my day was not as what I wanted.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

On The Train (Tired, Train, Rain, K Sharing), June 22, 2007

I was really late then the usual going home as I had to settle something important. I came out of the office with the rain pouring down on the tarmac as I walked out of the compound and stopped at the guard house to ask if they knew when the last train out of the station was. The rain and the mood at the station was damp as echoing my somber mood. I just sat there waiting with no interest what so ever to do anything. The works, issues and potential problems kept scrolling up and down in my mind.

It was the 2315 train to Seremban that I managed to board and I think was the last one. One thing interesting about the last train was that most of the commuters were workers, white or blue collars, calling it a day and going home tired. The faces were just like mind with the eyes constantly staring out beyond the train. It was really pouring hard outside when the train running between Serdang and Kajang. Lightning flashed behind me and sitting with my back to the window I could feel the rain on my neck. Imagining it I could see the head of the train with its headlight only managing less than 50 meters breaking through the pouring rain. If I could just stand outside looking at it I would have loved it. I guess rain and train are my things.

While busy trying to finish something important we realized we made two mistakes. They were small mistakes but the potential impact is major. I do not wish to talk about the mistake per se here but more as the human behaviour of how the mistake can happen. When someone in a familiar territory or has been doing something so many times that it became second nature to them they tend to look it at a glance and their mind would straight away say yes, correct or things like that to declare the things they see as the truth. In our case the document that we had been working on took shape overtime and after each draft we put more confidence on the content to be right and blinded by the fine print. One of the best ways to mitigate this is to get somebody not familiar with the document to read it. This got me to thinking when someone argue that they do not have anything to share they are basically saying that they assume what they know has no value because they are too deep into it so much so decided it to be so simple and common sense and not worth sharing. They need to share it anyway as the third party listening to him would understand it differently and certainly triggers different perspective. This means the different meaning would leads to creating new set of knowledge.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On The Train (We assume too much, really), June 19, 2007

The realisation that we assume a lot of things in this world was made so powerful when I was reading a chapter from The Bankers To the Poor, an autobiography of Grameen Bank and it’s founder, today. Even as a so called expert one could be stuck in one’s paradigm that forms a base to a lot of our thinking. We think we know the obvious but in actual fact we assume the obvious. In the book Aid Organizations assumed that people in all situation and culture are poor because they are not educated and do not have any skill. Thus their intervention was providing skill trainings that really the poor do not need. A red flag flashed across my mind today during my discussion about certain system development. Despite our good intention and the understanding to put our stakeholders requirement first and foremost we still think and react from our perspective first. In this case we look at the system requirement from our own internal stakeholders perspective rather then external. I knew instantly we are going to have a problem. I am not sure how to get out of this ‘assuming’ box but one thing for sure I have to start to try to do it now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Old Boys Network, SDARA78 TT Klang Valley, June 12, 2007

It has been awhile since we had our last TT and up until then several had already sounded me that we need to have one immediately. We planned to have the TT with Tam as he was back from Jeddah for his holidays but Allah decided otherwise. In the end only Arzman Aziz, Amy, Hatta, Shahrin, Mede Ribut, Balong, Cintu and myself turned up at Siraj Restaurant near Cintu’s place. Everything was organized within 24 hours. Abd Rahman Song was in Stockholm when he received my text message, Bodger texted back stating his absence, Mahali reported at last minute ‘bini tak bagi’ (actually mentua dia datang rumah), Nuri’s son not feeling well and the rest no notification of existence :)). In any case we understand fully why some could not make it. Even Tam himself had to go back home to Jelebu at the last minute and in the end could not come. Of course as usual the TT did not go to waste and as usual the stories flow like Nigeria Falls. What did we talk about you ask me? Well for these midlife approaching ‘youngsters’ the same stories that been told before but we enjoyed and laughed all the same, even louder. Mede Ribut as usual very Ribut with his entertaining stories about his time in the army and Timor Leste. Actually this was how the flow of the stories went, firstly catching up on each other especially Arzman that some of us have had not met for years, stories about others that were not there (ngumpat la ni lol), Timor Leste, gathering, Timor Leste, old stories, Mede Ribut’s sad story of his wife passing away due to cancer, old stories, Timor Leste and the cycle continued until the mamak chased us out at around 1230 hours.

Hey! You still do not get my point huh? Let me tell you.

The five or six years that we had growing up together tie us up in a special bond. The bond is so strong that I am very sure would remain forever. We understand and trust each other and at some points in our life would even willing to die for each other. Our network is so strong and it would take a lot of energy to break the bond or change us within our community and it is also would be easy to penetrate us if one managed to get in the good book of any of us. Apart from real life family relationship what we have is the most powerful relationship known to mankind. In this kind of relationship any form of Knowledge Sharing would be natural.

Some photos below. Sorry to Amy and Balong as I failed to remember to get both of you in among the shots.

Mede Ribut. Shahrin, Hatta

Mede Ribut, Cintu, Shahrin, Hatta

Arzman Aziz

This is a bonus photo. There is a free gift ff you can guess the third person

Friday, June 15, 2007

On The Train, (Too much to write) June 15, 2007

Suddenly I am in a position that I have so much to write about. Normally if I am in that state I ended up not writing anything at all but this time I started on every one of them at the same time. So, on the train I jump from one writing to another as I remember or have something pertinent to write about on the subject. Another thing I realized today is that I somewhat loosing the observer in me while on the train. In the morning I would be either concentrating on my reading or sleeping and on the way home doing office work or writing my memoir.

A lady boarded at KL station and sat in front of me and immediately she was on her handphone busy sending and receiving messages. Her face is so tense and worried now that I suspect something is worrying her. A Chinese guy boarded at KL Sentral and sat next to her and amazingly started to do the same thing as she was. The only difference he is just casual.

The usual Friday evening commuters picked up at Bandar Tasek Selatan and the number was constant even when we were arrived at Kajang. The only thing now is that both the lady and the Chinese guy sitting in front of me are sleeping. The lady with her hand on her face and the guy head up facing the roof. The Chinese lady next to him completes the picture as she is sleeping with her left hand propping her head. Looking around I can see several heads are down as well. I guess most are tired after a long week and really looking forward for the weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

On The Train, (Oblivious and Not Environmental Aware) June 12, 2007

I got one Chinese gentleman on one end and a Chinese lady sitting quite close to me talking into their handphone as if they were the only one on the train. I know most of us could not understand what they were talking about but that is not a good reason to talk loudly as well. The episode reminded me of my recent brief trip to Hong Kong and Shenzen. The differences between the mainland Chinese and people from Hong Kong conduct themselves were really obvious. The most obvious one was the former talk very loudly among each other. This was really apparent when I was on the train back from Shenzen. Of course this is not a good or bad thing as it is just cultural. To them it is natural to do that and not to us. No matter how best we try to avoid it the question of culture would always persist especially when we want to create change. Our mistake could be assuming we could break the culture easily and, worse if we do not understand it enough, would put in place something that is totally opposite of the acceptable norm. Cultural awareness and awareness of our surrounding are important if we were to be successful in dealing with complex human system. I more or less argued the same thing in our BCP workshop today. No matter how best we do in coming out with a proper process and procedure to manage our crisis. The mix of these with understanding of human system will increase the odd for us. In their natural environment human will react instinctively and no process and procedure would be successful enough to help them.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

On The Train, June 6, 2007

One of the disadvantages of taking the train is being unlucky to sit close to a person or group of person that has a strong body odor. A group of young men came on board at KL Sentral and they smelled faulty so much it pierced my nostril. From my perspective it was bad and I was tempted to chage seat. But somehow it got me thinking. No, I am not condemning or making fun of them as what ever the reason is it is probably not their fault to smell like that. My point here is that nobody can be sure that the person close to you would like the smell that you emitted. The same thing with the smell of your perfume. You assumed that it smells nice but it definitely could be a turn off or down right nauseating to somebody. A lot of problems we faced in this world are because we assume too much. We assumed that people would like what we presented, offered or developed for them. We assumed what best for someone would also good for another. We also assumed what is successful for a group of people would receive the same success rate with another. The list could go on and on. To make matters worse when our assumption became too strong we always believe that we are right all the time. With that came a whole set of human problems. I learnt a valuable lesson today.