Daily Observations

Experts are Dangerous

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Experts connotes superiority and credibility. When the source of information comes from expert, we are very inclined to believe them, even more so when the expert’s last name is followed by a long list of credentials

And we would be foolish to question the experts. They’ve gone through so much trouble to produce the facts that you are reading now- extensive research, long period of observation and funded heavily by well-established corporations

Only problem is we don’t often get to evaluate or read about these experiments, or at least it’s not explained in a way that it’s easy for the average Joe to understand.

When in doubt, we always take the expert’s word for it. Even Mum could sometimes be wrong.

2016-11-24T02:53:54+00:00November 24th, 2016|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Reboot

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything on this space.

There’s always an excuse for not doing something, but let’s just say writing on Meshio.com has become a low priority. And why am I getting back here now? Maybe I find Facebook too much of a distraction. And Twitter is too restrictive. But I find that I do need to get back to writing, as part of a mental exercise.

Let’s see how this goes.

2016-11-22T14:38:07+00:00November 22nd, 2016|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Training vs Education

It’s easy and actually quite common to interpret that both training and education means the same thing. But as we shall read it from Thomas E. Ricks, the author of The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today, training and education is 2 very different things:

Training tends to prepare one for known problems, while education better prepares one for the unknown, the unpredictable, and the unexpected.

Training is very much like a step-by-step exercise repeated continuously to achieve an expected result. Think of it like a simulation with predefined objectives, with the set of challenges known and familiar to the participant. Usually, it’s also expected for the participant to engage training exercises within confined rules and regulations. The desired outcome is when the participant becomes very competent tactically in the given challenges.

Consider another scenario where a Susan, a six year old child, is enrolled in a coloring exercise. In an effort to train her to become very good at coloring, she was told not to color outside the lines. Next, she was told that she must color based on the example given (the objective). The grass must be light green in color. The sky must be blue. The trunk of the tree must be brown. Any variations from the example, the exercise is considered a failure.

Everyday as part of her training regime, Susan is given new coloring exercises and taught many different coloring techniques to achieve the desired outcome. And these exercises are often repeated until she masters the technique, which is evaluated by how close her results are to the examples given. Eventually, she becomes very skillful in most of the coloring techniques and she can reliably reproduce the outcomes that is expected of her. Susan is now a very well-trained colorist.

Next, we look into the realms of education, which may sound very similar to training but is essentially a very different form of cognitive exercise. In education, you are given a lot of contextual information. In our coloring example, the child is taught about primary, secondary and tertiary colors. She also learn about warm and cool colors complementary colors. She is also taught that black and white are not really colors (this is a highly debatable topic, depending on which color theory you are coming from). She also learns how colors affect our moods and give meanings to our every lives.

In short, education seems like learning a whole bunch of theories, so much so that the student sometimes would start to doubt if it’s really necessary to be so educated in the practical world we live in. However, it is only with a good understanding of theories, an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and a habit of constantly questioning the status quo that we can hope to confront the unpredictable and randomness of real-world challenges.

Training puts you in a box and asks you to give your very best within the boundaries. Education informs you that though the problem is about the box, the solution is likely outside the box.

If your sixteen year-old daughter told you that she was going to take a sex education course at high school, you might be pleased. What if she announced she was going to take part in some sex training at school?

Jay Cross, credited with inventing the term e-learning

So, are you well-trained or well-educated? Maybe you have the best of both worlds :-)

2015-10-08T02:09:05+00:00October 8th, 2015|Daily Observations, Productivity|0 Comments

Stop Blaming the World

Came across a great quote from one my random reading adventures:

“A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.”

James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Makes me want to read more from this author now. It sounds a little too philosophical from my average selection, but I have had enough of serious biographies for the past few months.

Often times, I have observed how people are quick to point at others the moment shit hits the fan. I am guilty of this too. But shit don’t get wiped off from the fan no matter how hard you point at others. In the workplace, it’s very easy to witness such episodes.

I somehow believe that condemning failures is the main reason why finger-pointing becomes the most practiced exercise in the cubicles. We have been trained since young that failures is something to be shunned at all cost. We must not allow failures and all that training we get about the 101 ways to avoid making mistakes. And deep down in our subconscious, we fear failures almost as much as death itself. Worse yet, some even start to make up stories (read: lie) to cover up for their mistakes, which is a lot more effort than owning up to it. These make-believes don’t exactly help us to become a better person. hey just make us better liar.

That’s also not to say that we should blame ourselves for everything that went wrong. People get depressions because of this. It’s important to know accept the fact that we cannot resolve all the challenges around us. The idea here is to at least stop passing the buck around, take control of the situation and act on it. Even if we fail, it will be very likely we will put ourselves in a better position than before we started. So while we cannot get a perfect ten in every life’s challenges (which is impossible in my opinion), at least we are above the average because we keep working at it.

Like one of my school teacher used to say (I can’t give him credit because I couldn’t remember which teacher actually said it), “While you have one finger pointing at others, you have another four pointing back at yourself”.

2015-07-11T13:12:20+00:00July 11th, 2015|Daily Observations|0 Comments

Am End Cees

First, we read that JVC is quiting Malaysia and relocating to Thailand.

About 500 workers from consumer and professional electronics devices corporation — JVCKENWOOD Malaysia Sdn Bhd — were laid off as part of the Japanese company’s plans to relocate its operations, shutting down its plant here.

News of the factory’s official closure today had been making its rounds over social media, attracting netizens to lament on the workers’ plight and the state of economy.

While some described the sudden closure as being unfair to the workers, checks by The Rakyat Post revealed that this was not the case.

“The workers were not laid off suddenly as they were already notified of the closure earlier this year,” a factory worker said.

While some of the staff were retrenched, appropriate compensation was paid and JVC had also assisted others to secure employment elsewhere.

“They told us that the factory operations were moving to Thailand,” said the worker.

Source: The Rakyat Post

And then we read about the possibility of Shell’s winding up their IT operation here in Malaysia.

Around 850 jobs could be at stake at Shell offices in Cyberjaya as the Anglo-Dutch oil major consolidates its IT functions at a new base in Bangalore, India.

While no decision has yet been made, a senior officer dropped this bombshell during a town hall meeting with staff in Cyberjaya late last month, said sources.

The Bangalore move could also affect some 1,000 third party contractors if they are unable to relocate to India, the sources said.

Source: RoyalDutchShellPLC.com

And we always read about how our government provides tax rebates, free trade zones and many other perks to get these multi-national corporations (MNCs) to setup their operations here. These MNCs provides job opportunities and brings money to invest, so goes the logic.

Anyway, I’m rather amused by the way these MNCs just close shops like that, citing higher cost of operation as their main reason. In a way, as a business strategy, I totally agree that when the environment becomes hostile, a business should always relocate to a more business-friendly environment, e.g. cheaper labor, lower tax rates etc.

But bear in mind, these corporations do not have any loyalty to the Malaysia, or it’s likely they pledge no allegiance to any countries. They will stick around as long as the countries are conducive to their operation. Instead of spending resources to attract these MNCs, I suggest that we put more effort to build up the local businesses in Malaysia, specifically the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These local businesses are the ones that faithfully contribute taxes and keeps the economy going even during the worst recessions. They are also likely the business segment that is responsible for the majority of the employment in Malaysia.

They are a lot of reasons why we should boost local businesses. Perhaps you can name a few.

While there’s nothing wrong with making Malaysia a lucrative place for foreign corporations to setup shop, but I really think that there’s nothing much being done to make life easier for local businesses.

2015-07-06T01:54:31+00:00July 6th, 2015|Daily Observations, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments