New Hope, New Malaysia!

We are still pinching ourselves to see if it was all merely a dream, the GE14 affair that rocked the whole nation and shocked the whole world! But it was indeed a dream come true for millions of Malaysians who had yearned for a FAIR and CLEAN government that we all deserve, although right up to Election Day, no one knew for sure how it would turn out – not the journalists, not the politicians, and not the millions of voters who had turned out in droves, from various parts of the country, and from various parts of the world, despite all the odds stacked against them, by the previous government that had feared the power of the voters!

Political analyst I am not. But I see a very close relationship between national politics and leadership, and the family. Here are my observations in that light:

Right partnerships

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Transactional analysis for better relationships

transactional analysis

noun

1 a system of popular psychology based on the idea that one’s behaviour and social relationships reflect an interchange between parental (critical and nurturing), adult (rational), and childlike (intuitive and dependent) aspects of personality established early in life.

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The Secrets to Attaining Harmony

I am a person who dislikes conflict of any sort. Not surprising for one who grew up in a rather big family (considered small during the era of multi-generational dwellings: parents with 3 kids, plus grandparents and an aunt). It was a normal family with normal conflicts. Or so I thought. Until I spent time with people outside the country and saw how actual families actually relate to one another – no shouting or yelling at each other; no cold, silent treatment after a flare-up, no tension or stress from every family outing, no broken furniture from flying hammers! Instead, there was lots of joy and laughter, holding of hands and other public display of affection 🙂

To someone like me who had never seen my parents holding hands or even kissing, seeing that was a complete shock to my system. I suddenly had a realisation that I was growing up in a rather dysfunctional family! 😳 With so many people living under one roof of a single-storey link house with 1 bathroom and 1 toilet for all, things (or rather, emotions) can sometimes get out of hand, not to mention that we had also developed extreme control of our bladders and bowels, failing which, there were potties just outside the toilet for emergencies!

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The Genius Who Changed Our World

Steve Jobs as a person, was not known for his niceness, but his work that has transformed the world by changing the relationship between humans and technology is undeniably well-known. (And we do love the iPhones and the iPads, don’t we?)

TIME magazine is probably the only magazine that has the most intimate relationship with this rebel genius, and it has published a book the size of the magazine, chronicling the products of his life, through selected articles published in the Time magazine (there were 8 issues in total!). This compilation issue is simply titled: “Steve Jobs – The Genius Who Changed Our World.”

Which other individual has been on the Time magazine cover that many times over the years? Only Presidents and world leaders have that privilege. But Steve Jobs is amongst them. That says a lot about this unique character, doesn’t it?

So what was his real genius?

According to the contributing writers in this book, Jobs’ genius lies in his vision and the execution of his vision. Nothing can get in his way of achieving his dreams.

“He wasn’t a computer scientist, after all. He had no training as a hardware engineer or an industrial designer. His education consisted of a semester at Reed College and a stint at an ashram in India.”

He taught himself about computers. He also studied human behaviour to the tee! By understanding how both work, he succeeded in marketing and selling a product that enticed the senses and enhanced creativity and productivity.

But being nice is not part of Job’s package. Would he have been great if he were nicer to people?

“Jobs will be remembered as a great man, but not necessarily as a nice man.”

He was a control freak, micromanaged to ridiculous levels, and barked at those who could not measure up to his high standards. But it is his obsession with perfection and detail, and a keen eye for clean designs, that made his products what they are today.

“Most companies specialise in one or two things: hardware, software, operating systems, Web services, consumer devices, retail. Apple does them all at once. It’s insane.”

He didn’t even make the machine that revolutionised the computer industry. It was his friend Stephen Wozniak who was the genius behind the computer. “Steve didn’t do one circuit, design or piece of code,” says Wozniak. “He’s not really been into computers, and to this day he has never gone through a computer manual. But it never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, ‘Let’s hold them up in the air and sell a few.'”

And he went on to sell millions. The rest is history. What we can perhaps learn from Steve Jobs is to have a vision and never doubt ourselves.

“When it came to his views, Steve may have been right, he may have been wrong, but he was never in doubt.”

When asked about his imminent ending of his career with Apple, a few years into his battle with cancer, this was his reply: “I don’t think of my life as a career. I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career – it’s a life!”

And so, the biggest takeaway for me when I read about Steve Jobs’ life and passion, is that if we have yet to discover our true passion, perhaps we just need more time to explore our interests further. Perhaps we need to explore things we have not explored before. Like calligraphy. Or meditation. Or coding. Or perhaps what we need is not a career, but a life well-lived!

What do you think?

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The Purity of Childhood

How much does our childhood affect our adulthood? I have often wondered about that. For those who were born in the era before the advent of digital technology, childhood was like something you read out of a science fiction book! Everything seemed so strange and alien to the current generation of YouTubers, digital gamers and keyboard warriors. When parents share their growing up years with their children, they can only imagine what it was like, much like how we had tried to imagine what life was like during the terrifying period of the Japanese occupation in Malaya during our grandparents’ time.

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Creative Schools by Ken Robinson

I got this book some time ago (probably bought by my dear husband who knows I’m a big fan of Ken Robinson!) but hadn’t gotten down to writing about it. Until today – this cool, beautiful wet morning – after a healthy and satisfying breakfast.

After his 3 earlier books, The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Our Minds, Creative Schools is a logical and much-needed book following all that vision and high ideals set by its predecessors. And I devoured it like a very hungry 🐛 gnawing at its every word and idea!

First of all, one can gather that it’s not an easy book to write. Even for someone like Sir Ken Robinson. For he is up against the entire world of schooled and highly schooled professionals (many of whom are professors and doctorate scholars I’m sure) who are highly likely to be slighted by his views – especially the ones that involve the much-touted Schooling system that was the work and pride of the early Industrialists who had created the system to fulfil one important task: to keep the industrial wheels going smoothly and efficiently, which it did marvellously. During the Industrial Age. But we’re fast leaving that age behind, and are embracing the Digital Age with a speed never before seen.

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How to build a community of self-directed learners?

I have in the past emphasised a great deal on the importance of community in our chosen learning path. And I have received questions from those keen on starting a group similar to ours but have no idea how to begin. Or there are those who formed interest-based co-ops to do science, math, history or geography, but have encountered various problems and inevitably had to disband the groups.

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