We celebrate 50 years of independence in Malaysia this year. Being born just a year after, I can be said to have grown up with the new nation as I have always lived here. Other than my 3 years abroad for my university education and later many other trips for business or holidays, I have had close contact with everything that was happening in the country. I now share with you a pictorial account of some of the things I have learnt in the country as we grew up together :
You have to first learn how to walk before you can learn how to run. It takes time and practice. You may even fall down a few times. With persistence and lots of patience, you can soon be running, even very fast!
But where are you running to? You must have a vision of the destination. No matter how young you are, you can always visualize, even dream of dreams. Anyone can do this and be amazed of the results :
I had my share of the results and so did the country who eventually produced Malaysia's first own car pictured below. It was with some help from the Japanese but through time more parts were made locally as our capabilities and experience increased.
I remember how hard it was to learn to ride the bicycle for the first time. I had all the while previously been comfortable in a tri-cycle but I was to grow up and had to learn how to balance on two wheels. I fell and fell many times, bruising my knees very badly after removing the 'trainer-wheels' of my new bicycle that my father had bought me! But sheer determination kept me on. I remember I had a brother who gave me some assistance. He supported the bicycle behind me and ran along with me as I stepped on the pedals. This gave me more confidence to pedal steadily for a longer distance. One day as I began to ride a longer distance than I felt I've ever done before, I looked back and suddenly realized my brother had let go of the bicycle a distance away. I was so surprised I was riding on my own that upon my realization, I just lost confidence and crashed again! hahaha
Yes, we can always do with some help in the beginning but nothing beats becoming really free on your own. To ride wherever you want to on your own with your own effort and not forgetting, without fear! I realized that the effort put in to achieve one thing successfully is often a stepping stone for the next challenge and so it was for me and the country as a whole.
Soon it was time for me to go to school. The government knew the importance of education for a brighter future and the British had left behind a good model for us to follow. My good mother would take me to school everyday (until I would later rebel to take the bus on my own) to make sure I would have what it takes to have a brighter future. Isn't it interesting how the past can influence our future?
Like learning to walk before you learn to run, I paced my education step by step. It was first a year of kindergarten where there was dancing and singing. Then it was to an elementary or primary school where we would learn the three Rs, ie. to Read, wRite and aRithmetic!
My first primary school had part of its building still with wooden walls and soon conditions improved as the country improved. I remember I was a slow learner and missed all the double promotion opportunities given to those who could top the exams with flying colors. Well, I learnt to accept failure and be patient with myself. A blessing from that is that I would one day become a good teacher though that was not to be my career path. I became one who would learn things step by step to comprehend it fully and then could translate it to teach others in a more optimal and quicker way adapting to their personality and learning styles. Indeed, I believed I could learn anything once I put my mind to it and I could see the country believing in the same.
The following are some of the things I have learnt growing up in Malaysia :
Of the importance of peace. Fighting should be confined to disciplined sports or just in Hollywood! With the foundation of peace in the country for a steady period of 50 years, the country was able to achieve a high level of economic growth and its people could grow with the nation. Being a multi-racial country, it was important that all races could benefit from the success of the new nation. Through government intervention of shrewd economic policies to ensure a balance of economic opportunity, everyone who was willing to take up the challenge of learning and applying what you learnt could prosper. With this assurance in place, the nation grew with the mentality in place that it would be a cooperative success as opposed to the success of individuals alone. The spirit of a learning, caring and sharing was entrenched into the hearts of the people of Malaysia!
I always remember a saying I heard at Church one day that if the women were not organized, the Church would be disorganized! Isn't this so true? I've learnt well in this country that to get women organized, you must make peace with them first and that indeed is a great challenge for all men I believe but the blessings of success can be eternal!
The importance of effective leadership to lead and guide the people. This is true for whichever country in the world including Malaysia. We have been fortunate to have a succession of effective leaders, each contributing to the nation's needs during his time of leadership.
These would be leaders who knew how to work in a team and I was fortunate to learn the importance of this from my school which became useful in much of my adult life as in my school life. Like the country, first I was a dependent. Later I became independent and eventually I learnt how to be inter-dependent.
Unity is strength and with a basic respect of race, sex or religion, we have grown to become a model country of peace to others. Yes, I had learnt much in my school years and soon I would graduate but this did not stop me from continuing to learn what life had to offer.
The world became such that you had to be kept in a continuous learning mode. These were signs of the times of a fast changing world and like the country, I had to adapt or be left out. I caught on to the Vision and was not just a passive learner but soon found myself in pioneering activities to contribute to the building of a nation.
These were some of my core activities and past achievements :
I was a pioneer in introducing computers to the country. I wasn't satisfied to graduate just as an accountant and sit in a desk full of paper work. The potential of Information Technology was something new that excited me early at the University in Australia where I did a business degree with a dual major in accounting and computers. I took up the challenge to be a pioneer in the field and sold the first PCs to some major companies in Malaysia eventually migrating to software technology. I was an active lobbyist with the government to implement Copyright laws, working with the then Minister of Trade and Industry, Dato Kok Wee Kiat and achieved a remarkable first for my own company. We were the first to be granted 'Pioneer Status' incentives for the software development industry in Malaysia, a tax-free holiday for 5 years! The IT industry, with the help of the government International Trade division, took me around the world to market our products and became another learning opportunity for me to participate in the up and coming globalized economy.
Another thing that excited me in Australia was the LDS or Mormon Church. I came home to serve as a pioneer missionary and later was called to serve in leadership positions. Busy as I was in my life raising a family and running my business, I would still spend time to help the pioneering Church grow as I felt its values and system of developing the 'child of God' in us could benefit many who are would choose to accept it in their own free will. While governments play their part in a macro administration of the country, I felt NGO's (non-government organizations) was necessary to meet the micro needs of the people ie. to feel they are loved , understood and cared for and the LDS Church does a very good job at it!
I am glad I could do my part to help.
My introduction to the business or free enterprise world was first as an accountant and then as an Information Technologist. Both moulded me to become an effective systems thinker. Accountants and IT professionals also have the benefit of continuous learning from their clients' businesses as you serve them. In this process, the Direct Sales industry, another pioneering business caught my attention. It started when a fledgling MLM company sought my management services and from the one year experience in turning it around, I realized I had the suitable skill sets to provide leadership for that industry. When the next client came to me, I put my best effort to see what I could do as their Managing Director and from a ground zero operations in Malaysia, we achieved RM100 million dollar sales in the first year alone! No wonder Malaysia is ranked 12th in the world for direct selling according to the US Direct Selling News (Volume2, Issue 7, July 2006), printed by the Direct Selling Association (DSA)
My active participation in building the nation described above has received some exposure in the press and published books which I have faithfully recorded as a web journalist
Growing up in Malaysia and having the opportunity to raise my own family here has been a great blessing. The children are mentally and emotionally well prepared to live in any other country in the world to be happy and successful while always doing their part to contribute back to society.
Talk to any Malaysian and you will soon find out how great the food is and how economical it can be. You could walk anywhere and find food stalls easily like the 'Mamak' stall or what I call the 'Malaysian Starbucks' cafe in front of my office as pictured above.
Besides eating, shopping here is a favorite past time and visitors often make the comments that they seem to get more value for their money. Perhaps so as I have been able to provide for my family of six children in the country as I went about my continuous learning activities and earning enough to feed them as well.
From a child to now an adult almost as old as the nation, I have learnt to appreciate the blessings of Independence and the marvels of the Free Enterprise world. Freedom is never without challenges. Many of us would rather seek for security and sacrifice our freedom but a wise man once shared with me, "In life there are two choices, Freedom and Security. If you choose Security, you will eventually lose them both!" Now that's something to think about.
Well these are my thoughts on this Merdeka Day in Malaysia. It's interesting to note that as the country turns 50, I and many of my old school mates will soon turn 50 too. You can read all about that on the special web page I have created here (https://goo.gl/Kolt60)
I like growing up and living in a developing country where we have to work for our own secure future and that the pathway isn't exactly clear at times. I like the adventure and the freedom to participate in its development as it keeps me constantly fit and trim. My children are now spread out in the world, pursuing their education and life's further experiences. With the grounding they received while in Malaysia, I can see that they are doing very well to adapt to any country they are currently in and today they are spread out as wide as in Singapore, USA and China! You can read details about them in our family page found at http://familylane.info/ (http://goo.gl/CNX9ug)
Oh..there is one thing more we can learn from my riding the bicycle experience that I must mention....
If you have read this far, please give me your comments below. Love to hear from you, my dear friends and family members, on my thoughts of Malaysia's 50th Anniversary but let's leave out the politics ok?? They are always controversial any where in the world right? Always remember that a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the 'Bush' so be grateful always but never stop to communicate, communicate and communicate peacefully in order to improve ourselves so as not to remain complacent as a young nation! hahaha and keep smiling!