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These are some of the pictures that I took in Sungai Semungkis. Pristine and original, yet easily accessible due to its proximity to the main road. The place was opened a week before the government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO). It was recently reopened when the government decided to impose a more relax Recovery MCO. I am so fortunate to be among those that can enjoy its beauty. Talk about having the perks of living in a small town called Hulu Langat, where pristine picnic spot is just a 10km away from the house.

While the subject of potential touristic adventure in Hulu Langat is certainly an interesting subject to broach, it is not a subject that I want to discuss. What I want to discuss is about the question posed by a friend, asking what did I use to take those pictures. Was it with the smartphone or the usual suspect of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR)?

Coming to think of it, while the question was innocent enough, it begs us to explore how far technology has evolved in the past years. The past few years have been very interesting where we have seen smartphone evolve into a force that DSLR has to reckon with. The space that was dominated by the like of Canon and Nikon, is slowly being displaced the moment Apple introduced its first version of iPhone. Google, as the steward of the Android OS, has been making inline in the smartphone space, with its OS being adopted by companies such as Huawei, Samsung and a few more. Similarly to Apple which has created a healthy ecosystem for people to innovate their apps idea, a whole slew of applications on both Google and Apple App Store that targeted at photography buffs were released. Realizing how powerful their devices can be, many of these smartphone manufacturers are pivoting their product that appeals to the people that have a high affinity for photography. Thus, it is now a war of how many cameras can our smartphone crammed, as well as what is the maximum resolution it can go to satisfy our hunger for better photos.

As a result of these advances, photography has become so accessible that there is a whole industry flourishing out of it. Together with videography, it has lent to the rising of application such as Instagram, YouTube and the most recent TikTok towards a greater height that we have never seen before. Our hunger for instant stardom has been fueled by easy access to highly powerful camera equipment, as well as the applications that are so user-friendly, even our kindergarten kids can make a career out of the Internet these days.

So what is left of the traditional camera players such as Canon or Nikon? Are we seeing the beginning of an end for traditional camera players, such as that befall on Kodak? With the recent decision by Olympus to close down their camera business, the possibility is not that far off. As an owner that owned a few of these cameras, I am now relying more and more on my smartphone for picture taking. The sight of people slinging the camera strap is becoming a rarity, as it is much more convenient to dish out our smartphone from the pocket. Weight is becoming an issue that it is a hindrance for these manufacturers to continue to attract people to opt for their equipment. With the introduction of a mirrorless or a four third camera by Fuji and Panasonic, the weight issue is being addressed considerably, but will it be enough to get people to stick to the devices that are meant solely for the picture/video-taking?

Already companies such as Huawei or Apple are working to ensure their smartphone are the cutting edge as far as the camera is a concern. A lot of these manufacturers are banking on their camera as part of their promotional campaign. The trend will continue at least until our insatiable appetite for attention diminish. Until then, the smartphone will continue to become our device of choice, to record those cooking videos that we posted on our Youtube channel.

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So coming back to the earlier question by a friend of mine. What is the answer to his question? Obviously, my answer was that the pictures were taken using a smartphone, and the picture, as well as the video, were slightly edited to make the colours more striking and deliver a more believable storyline.

The relationship between the Linux’s open-source software and Microsoft has always been compared to that of the biblical story of David vs Goliath. That love-hate relationship has been ongoing since Linus Torvald released the prototype of Linux in 1991. Since Linux is a backbone that makes computer works, Microsoft’s edginess is justifiable, as it is a directly competing with Microsoft Operating System, such as those running on personal desktop and server.

The then CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer infamously described Linux as a ‘cancer’, thus it should be viewed suspiciously. As there is no face to represent Linux at that time, those that tried to adopt Linux were vigilant, as the risk can run very high if they choose to take the unfamiliar route. Why would they want to risk deploying something that might end up costing them a lot more, as no one will come to the rescue should Linux cannot deliver to their expectation.

Despite the so-called unfounded threat, Microsoft deployed various tactics to slow down the growth of Linux software. Having pushed down Netscape to the corner previously, it is not hard for Microsoft to do a similar tactic on Linux. With a commanded lead on the desktop arena, Linux’s fate was hanging by the thread. Hardware vendors such as Dell, HP and IBM remain committed to the Windows Operating System, making Linux inroad toward the desktop impossible. There is also an issue of adoption, as people have been very accustomed to the Windows suite of software, and a similar product is hard to come by on Linux.

Only when we think that Linux’s fate is sealed, we were presented with a different headline that proves otherwise today. Microsoft today seems to have embraced the open-source culture and becoming one of the vocal champions in that arena. It is very surprising to imagine how within the short period, Microsoft has made the u-turn and make open source to be the priority within the company. However, such a move is no longer a surprise, considering how far Linux has gone into the mainstream. It is no longer a hobbyist game. Linux is now a full proof software that has been adopted by many walk of life, as it is able to deliver the result needed by these users.

But how does Microsoft is actually fitting into these new evolutions? The answer lies with the change to Microsoft’s business model. As the world is moving toward IR4.0 revolution, Microsoft is banking on its cloud technology to compensate the losses made by its desktop business. A lot of organizations are moving to embrace cloud services offered by companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft. The subscription-based model is a very interesting proposition that has helped many organizations to cut their operating cost. Therefore, it is not surprising that Microsoft-owned Azure service, become a hit in the recent year. As far as Linux adoption is a concern, more than 50% of those decided to be on Azure, run Linux as the base system.

Source – https://rcpmag.com/articles/2018/09/17/microsoft-open-source-shift.aspx?m=1

The adoption rate is an endorsement by itself to how far Linux has evolved from its original version. It is also putting Microsoft in the spotlight, to be the champion of open-source software, something that they dare not touching with a ten-foot pole years ago. Nevertheless, this certainly a win-win situation to both parties and the consumers are now having access to the best of both worlds.

Yesterday, I had a chance to talk to a former Utusan’s colleague of the news on the impending relaunch of Utusan Malaysia to the market. She was among that unfortunate soul that was promised the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) package but was mysteriously denied the right until now. Why it happened is still beyond me, and the culprit seems to walk free doing their daily lives without feeling any guilt to those poor souls.

We spoke at a great length on why Utusan’s can succumb to a level that it has to be wounded up. Along the way, some of the decisions being made by the management were taken without any regards whatsoever to the social wellbeing of the staff. It is saddened to see some are having a tough time to continue supporting the family, as the promised severance package was never seen. The COVID-19 pandemic has even made it difficult for them as most of the economic activities have halted.

This is very unsettling especially in light of the announcement that the newspaper will be published again. I am for one, being an alumnus of the company is happy that the brand will live on again to see the light, I am a bit cautioned to give my moral support to the relaunch. And I find it amusing that some of the people that were roped into the new company have the cheek to us for some support, thus making it easy for the new company to revive itself.

After all, what is it in for the staff to be treated as such, and yet were ask to support the revival of the newspaper? The decision to transfer the ownership of the newspaper license to Medan Mulia was purely a business decision to ensure the brand can stay afloat after some hiatus. Nonetheless, the way it was handled is a debacle that put many into a punishing predicament. Many were left in the lurch to defend themselves. It is seriously unfair and bordering betrayal in my opinion. Whoever that is reviving the brand, has the moral obligation to ensure the affected staff be rightfully compensated with the agreed severance packages owed to them. Otherwise, they are just as good as those that defraud those unfortunate souls that have poured their blood and sweat to the company that they once called the voice of the Malays.

Some might say those affected were just collateral damage in this whole scheme of political manoeuvre. Regardless of what we want to call it, it still does not make it right and absolves those involved from the wrongdoing. If we truly want to start fresh, do the right thing. Do not simply forget the fate of the people that struggled to make Utusan a household brand, otherwise, one wrong initial step might put back Utusan in a deeper position than before. Remember, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

People management has always been my pet-peeves. Being an introvert, the very idea of engagement with people, at any level, can be a real nightmare. As much as possible, I will try to find excuses to reduce that interaction, be it face to face interaction, or standing in front of a large crowd.

Obviously, it is not possible to avoid that sort of engagement. It is part and parcel that comes with the job as the head of the department. The engagement must happen, otherwise, nothing will get moving. Thus, people management skill is imperative to be learned, for us to function and lead effectively within the organization.

The past 4 years have therefore proven challenging, yet very exciting. It is on the job training like no other, a journey where the progress is much more important than the destination. It is an opportunity that I believe is not something we can learn in any classroom.

There was doubt when I started to undertake this role way back in 2016. It was a toughie, as I might have grossly underestimated the situations. Slowly and surely, I learn and relearn, understand and reunderstand, assess and reassess the best possible way how we should function as a team and carry ourselves within this vast enterprise of Prasarana.

Today, we celebrated that occasion, albeit a simple one, to remind ourselves, the journey is not over, but at the same time, worth taking. We started initially as an acquaintance but now have grown fondly as a family. People do come and go, but I feel blessed for the chance to get to know these great people.

Life is not as simple as black and white. It is more complex than we imagined. It can be as colourful as the colour of the rainbow and turn gloomy in the very next minute. It is so fluid, that we sometimes finding it hard to anticipate what life can have in store for us.

Despite that complex nature, it is the simple thing in life that mean the most. More often than not, these are the things that we always overlook.

That is why I will try to pay particular attention to these simplest things, however minuscule it can be. Having to overlook these matter would create a wrong impression about ourselves, something we definitely want to avoid.

Take for example of how we craft our email communication. The simplest act of having the right ethic of greeting is very important as the content of the email itself. I have seen a countless time where people decided to skip the greeting part altogether, effectively nullify that first impression we try to create. There were also cases of simply writing the name without a proper deserving title and even those that simply think the lower case for the whole name is fine. We have grossly overlooked these simple gestures and does mind being perceived differently by the intended audience.

In the business world, the first impression really matters. Physically, the first 5 minutes will always make or break our chance of having a good encounter. Similar rules apply when we communicate via email. A simple gesture such as proper greeting will definitely increase our chance to get a good response to our email content.

There was a say ‘A man reveals his character even in the simplest things he does’. It is imperative to go back and forth before we hit that ‘SEND’ button. Is the greeting ok? Does the name is properly addressed and written? What about spelling and grammar? These are some of the checklists that we need to adhere to, otherwise, we risk of having a wrong first impression.

Someone once told me, we can measure the level of maturity based on how we own up to our problem. However, more often than not, we conveniently blamed others for our misfortunes. We rarely want to look inward and reflect it is our doing that screwed us up. That holier-than-thou attitude certainly will not bring us anywhere.

And it is a sad reality that is happening every day around us. Unintentionally, we flouted those blame game openly among our friends and colleagues, or even on our own social media channel. For those not in the know, the truth may be far from reality, as we tend to filter it. We demand sympathy in return, despite knowing full well we contributed to the problem. 

Life is always about making a choice. It can go both ways, be it good or bad. It is an on-going struggle to calculate the risk of which choice do we need to take. Bad in calculating, and we have to face the consequence. If it turns out to be a good one, we will gloat that we are a good decision-maker. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, the decision and the consequence is always our own.

It goes back to the question of maturity. Obviously, as everything weighted down upon us to make a decision, it can be very immature to pin down to other people if things move a wrong way. Own it up, and be a man! People will appreciate you more for being an adult that understands most of the time, we can be the problem.

One thing that I really missed during this Movement Control Order (MCO) is my trail running. Yes, you heard me correct. I really missed my trail running.

As ironic as it may sound, those running become my so-called motivation to keep myself fit all these years. While others like to have their fun run or half/full marathon (H/FM), I opted for my trail run. The outdoor setting, with its soft terrain, kept my feet sane, while at the same time allow me to reconnect with my nature.

Some argue, why I did not try the H/FM since the distance covered by trail running is more or less the same. Somehow, it does not thrill me to try it. This is despite much persuasion by some of those hard-core marathoners. I will keep that option in mind, but the prospect seems dimmed.

Hopefully, when the MCO is lifted, I can slowly put myself up to speed again.

At least a news that we can look forward to. IMF has forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP is expected to grow by 9% in 2021. It will be the highest among ASEAN’s five countries. Having this coming from the IMF, it is surely a sight for the sore eyes.

Having braced for the impact of COVID-19, this sort of report could not come at a better time. The tumultuous political scene before the pandemic has put enough pressure on the country’s economy. Investors are holding their positions, as the political instability is sending mixed signals to them. There was a period of uncertainty when Tun M announced his resignation as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. With the COVID-19 threat looming in the horizon, and the void at the highest level of country administration, things certainly looked bleak for Malaysia.

The week towards the appointment of TSMY was marred with both sides were trying to strengthen their positions. Nonetheless, the wisdom of YDP prevailed and TSMY was picked as the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

And surely, I am happy how things have turned out so far. He has been swift to react to the threat of COVID-19. A lot of initiatives were announced, and it was decided that we need to move into partial lockdown, a step that was criticized by many quarters, local and abroad. The partial lockdown has been effective so far in containing the infection of the virus. Malaysia has recorded one of the highest numbers of recovered cases in the world. And Singapore, having been critical our the decision, had to bow down and eat their earlier criticism. They have to push for statewide lockdown, as within a week, they have recorded high cases of infection.

No doubt, the rest of 2020 will be a challenging year. The negative rate of GDP is not something we can take lightly. Recent unemployment rate increases, shows we are just starting to feel the brunt of COVID-19. However, if the prediction of IMF is to be taken seriously, Malaysian can look forward to a faster recovery in the near future.

#malaysiaboleh

Technology companies are laughing all the way to the bank during this COVID-19 pandemic time. The recent interview conducted by CNN, companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon and Oracle are enjoying brisk business due to demand for tools that allow people to continue work remotely at home.

Even, a smaller company such as Zoom is enjoying its moment, by surpassing behemoth like Microsoft and Google. Zoom provides a video conferencing solution that can be used by simply accessing its website. They have managed to simplify the whole process, that even school kids can master the process in a matter of minutes. Their shares have gained so much during this trying time, as more people signing up for their services.

Business analysts have predicted these stellar performances by technology companies will continue even as more countries announcing the lifting of its lockdown. Companies all over the world will reassess how they can conduct their businesses post-COVID19 time. The recent announcement by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) that Work From Home (WFH) will be a permanent option for its employees is just a tip of an iceberg of the new norm that many companies will consider in the future. The drive to adopt digital will put these technology companies at the forefront in years to come.

Nevertheless, while they are capitalizing the demand for technology, it is with utmost importance that they need to ensure their software is deemed secure for use. There has been a lot of concern raised by the security experts on the risk associated with the use of this software. Zoom, for example, scrambled to issue fixes to their software and issued multiple press releases to assure that its software is safe from prying eyes.

As much as we would like to believe, technology will always come with associated risks. But again, we still need to be reminded and assured that those risks are kept to a minimal, thus, our information will not fall into a wrong hand.

Future is certainly looking interesting. And these technology companies have the obligation to ensure the use of their software are safe, thus both the providers and the users can reap its benefits.

It is not easy being a boss. To be one, you have to accept the reality that it is going to be an alone endeavour. There will not be many people would want to be near you. You would take your lunch alone. You will face the wrath alone. Basically, it is going to be a lonely journey. If there is anyone that is close enough to you, you better be sure of their motives, as the truth might hurt you even more.

Being a boss also meant that you need to be a good salesperson. As a salesperson, you better be able to sell. Unless that is done, only then the thing will get moving. You need to sell your vision, your target, your objectives, your ideas and to name but a few. That practically translates into changing other person’s mind to accept whatever that you want them to believe.

And believe me, that is not an easy task. It is a lot harder than I would like it to be. To some people that have this natural talent, it might be a breeze. However, being an introvert category, it is an uphill journey when it comes to selling things.

But, you can’t really run away from those responsibilities. You have to face it, as those have been entrusted upon you. You have to take it bit by bit, and learn along the way. That is why failure will always be an option, as failure is the foundation of success. Slowly, I dare to face up any challenges that were thrown at me. I will take it with stride and pride.

Have I got the hang of it? Perhaps. But I dare not say I have mustered enough confidence to say that I am a seasoned manager. There is still a lot that I need to learn in order to really be able to change someone’s mind.