Thursday, December 17, 2009


Shortly, my wife & I will depart from our home in Jurong West for Changi International Airport to take our Singapore Airlines' morning flight to Jakarta.

We are scheduled to spend three days with our Indonesian friends, Alex K Taslim & his wife, Santi, at Taman Safari Indonesia, a wild-life conservation centre/zoological gardens/amusement park, which is located in Cibeureum village, Cisarua, South of Jakarta in the Bogor-Puncak area.

The park is considered as one of the most productive breeding centre of some species from all over the world, including rare species like Anoas, Rhinos, Giraffes, White Tigers, European, American and Asian Bears.

Covering an area of over 168 hectares, 75 km south of Jakarta, Taman Safari Indonesia allows visitors to gawk at wild animals roaming around in their natural habitats within the park.

Another three days of our visit to Indonesia will be spent in the capital, Jakarta.

In order that I can have a completely relaxing time-out - on the highlands in the Puncak area, 1500m above sea level, with fresh air & cold mountain breeze - to attain the objective of recharging my batteries, so to speak, my weblog will be shut down from 17th to 22nd December 2009. It will resume upon my return to Singapore.

[During the early nineties, & for two years, I was alternately stationed in Singapore & Jakarta, as General Manager in charge of project development, involving the setting up of manufacturing facilities for zinc industrial chemical derivatives in Jakarta, Medan & Surabaya. I was then working under the Premium Metals subsidiary of the Indonesian Citramas Group, led by Pak Kris Wiluan.]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Life imitates art, more than art imitates life." (Oscar Wilde)

While waiting for my wife just outside a lady fashion boutique in the Jurong Point shopping mall, I have captured the foregoing digital snapshot at the window display of 'The Wallet Shop'.

The curious notion of life imitating art as expressed by Oscar Wilde struck my mind at that very moment.

But what happens when art is life?


If the sky was the limit, how might I address my vision?


"There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push everyone up a ladder unless they are willing to climb themselves."

~ Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919); Scottish industrialist, businessman, entrepreneur, & philanthropist; one of the most famous captains of industry of the late 19th & early 20th centuries; the primary driving force behind Napoleon Hill's best sellers, 'Laws of Success' & 'Think & Grow Rich';


I often get mailshots via email from Gary Ryan Blair, popularly recognised as 'The GoalsGuy' on the Internet.

His lastest posting on the 'Seven Steps That Can Change Your Life' is worth exploring.

Here they are:

Step 1 Identify Your Three Greatest Accomplishments In 2009?

Step 2 Analyze What You Learned from Each Accomplishment?

Step 3 Identify Your Biggest Disappointments Of 2009?

Step 4 Analyze What You Learned from Each Failure or Disappointment?

Step 5 Identify How You Limited Yourself and How Can You Stop It?

Step 6 Pragmatically Review the Information You Have Gathered?

Step 7: Use This Information to Astonish Yourself in 2010?

OK, now that you've uncovered a lot of useful information, the final step is to incorporate it into your personal strategic plan for 2010.

More information is available at his corporate website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


If I have the choice, a chance to make a difference, what would it be?


"In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash & experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later."

~ Harold Green (1892-1951); founder & Chairman of the H L Green Company store chain (with 200 branches in USA & Canada);

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have stumbled upon a vacancy ad for an international account manager in the telecommunications industry.

In my mind, I reckon most industry professionals can easily meet the specified academic & professional qualifications, which I like to call "hard skills"

However, what intrigues me most is the broad description of "soft skills" required to fulfill such a position, as follows:

Customer Focus:
Is dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and external customers; gets first-hand customer information and uses it for improvements in products and services; acts with customers in mind; establishes and maintains effective relationships with customers and gains their trust and respect.

Drive for Results:
Can be counted on to exceed goals successfully; is constantly and consistently one of the top performers; very bottom-line oriented; steadfastly pushes self and others for results.

Strategic Agility:
Sees ahead clearly; can anticipate future consequences and trends accurately; has broad knowledge and perspective; is future oriented; can articulately paint credible pictures and visions of possibilities and likelihoods; can create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans.

Can marshal resources (people, funding, material, and support) to get things done; can orchestrate multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal; uses resources effectively and efficiently; arranges information and files in a useful manner.

Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the opinions of other even when he/she disagrees.

Pursues everything with energy, drive, and a need to finish; seldom gives up before finishing, especially in the face of resistance or setbacks.

Political Savvy:
Can maneuver through complex political situations effectively and quietly; is sensitive to how people and organizations function; anticipates where the land mines are and plans his/her approach accordingly; views corporate politics as a necessary part of organizational life and works to adjust to that reality; is a maze-bright person.

This is the first time I have seen such lucid elaboration of "soft skills" required in a vacancy ad.

Just in case you are job hunting, here's the original weblink to the vacancy ad.


"From time to time, everyone benefits from being "re-potted," from applying their talents to new challenges. Re-potting & self-renewal go hand in hand, whether the pot is a new position, a new firm or an entirely new career..."

~ Jay Lorsch & Thomas Tierney, authors of 'Aligning the Stars: How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results';

[To paraphrase the authors, "Personal life goals naturally evolve as circumstances change.

A promotion, a new child, a divorce or a death in the family can be an opportunity to seriously rethink your point of arrival.

Fundamental changes - some anticipated & some unanticipated - shape every one's destiny. The challenge is to turn them to your advantage, to use them as opportunities for self-renewal.

Re-potting always feels risky at first, since you're trading the comfort of familiar experience for uncertainty. But the greater risk is to remain imprisoned i an old pot you have long since outgrown.

In a new environment, you can grow to meet new challenges with new energy; in the old pot, you run the risk of atrophy..."


Here's the link to a great article on leadership from McArdle Ramerman Inc., a leadership coaching consultancy.

I like their penetrating prognosis:

Their answer to the question begins with one word: Clarity.

However, they add further: For the leader who wants clarity, there are five foundational skills that help along the way:

1) learning agility;

2) coachability;

3) a willingness to be change-able;

4) ability to manage anxiety;

5) capability to develop direct reports with talented people;

[McArdle Ramerman Inc., is owned by co-authors & leadership development experts Sherri McArdle & Jim Ramerman, who wrote 'Why Dogs Wag Their Tails: Lessons Leaders Can learn about Work, Joy & Life'.

I have yet to acquire & read their book, but I am already attracted to the tagline “Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion,” attributed to Robertson Davies.

I must say that their corporate website is a gold-mine!]

[I recommend reading C K Prahalad's article in the BusinessWeek online, entitled 'In Volatile Times, Agility Rules: Flexible Capacity & Worker Skills are essential, but in a context of Strategic Clarity'. Here's the link.]

Sunday, December 13, 2009


"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in-between that we fear... it's like being between trapezes. There's nothing to hold on to."

~ Marilyn Fergusson, author of the best-sellers, 'Aquarius Now: Radical Common Sense And Reclaiming Our Personal Sovereignty' (2005) & 'The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time' (1987); her works actually sparked my early interests in exploring the human potential movement;


My most profound take-aways from Peter Drucker's 'The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done', among the first few management books which I had read during the late seventies. I was then promoted from Engineering Excutive to Deputy Divisional Manager of an engineering division in a German trading firm (Behn, Meyer & Co.,):

1. The effective executive knows his priorities in terms of time & tasks;

2. The effective executive focuses on productive contributions;

3. The effective executive builds, amplifies & leverages on strengths — of everybody around him, including himself;

4. The effective executive concentrates on key results areas;

5. The effective executive makes decisions, boldly, effectively, timely & strategically;


"Happiness is a matter of attention. If we get into the habit of focusing attention on negative aspects, we are likely to be unhappy. If we learn to focus on more positive aspects, we can be happier."

~ creativity guru Edward de bono, writing in his 'H+ (plus): A New Religion? How to Live Your Life Positively through Happiness, Humour, Help, Hope & Health';


Have you visited the new kid in town?