Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stop Whining Baby

After being a victim of corporate poison letter, a case on focus on puny matter as if the sky is falling and the typical lady boss syndrome, I realize one thing, again. No matter where I am, what I do, shit will keep happening (so does others thing). That’s life I guess, things keep happening around us, no matter good or bad.

I don’t quite have a solution for it, except to keep my cool and deal with it. I guess the most comforting moment would be to think of how cool would it be to be able to walk out of shit in style, haha.

What’s worst that could happen? We ended up in an argument or blaming war (which I totally try to avoid since I know that would be one of the worst for me), or try to take full responsibility for the matter (which I know there wouldn’t not be mercy under this lady), so I have to opt for something in between, something elegant and smart. I guess I have to learn to deal with politic anyway. 人就是江湖,你又如何退出江湖呢? This could get worst and pressure could really build up if I am poor, so I am thankful for that.

I guess another comforting moment would be to know how to deal with people and matter, in a classy manner. I feel that I am too blunt and undiplomatic in the past (serious case of techie being naive), as I still wish things to be simple and people being nice to each other. I guess we all vote for different reason :)

At the end, just figure out a way to live a life :)

The Corporate Unwanted Way

Most of the White Collar Worker or Knowledge Worker earns their living through the corporate way, either climbing the corporate ladder through employment, or involved in business leading with corporation. The corporation way is lucrative (compared to small business or individual), but it does comes with its own share of politics (people and power issue).

Once upon a time, I thought doing a good job through hard work and effectiveness is all that matter. Is like a cleaner cleaning the room until it is spotless; or a programmer developed a good piece of software according to the specification in a timely manner. As I get older by (or as I start climbing up the hierarchy), I found that “completing the task” in a technical manner is just secondary. The primary task lies in handling people: negotiate with customers, know when to give in and when not, handling expectation, manage the workers, etc. Perhaps it’s about how to get people to like you and not to appear to be a threat to them.

All this people matter is still okay, until politics or power struggle comes in. I have to do something totally useless just to please the management; I have unreasonable deadlines just to make someone look good; People tend to put words in my mouth; Never offend the clients and don’t challenge of their pride and authority. Thinking back, I was once naïve and made quite a few of these corporate mistakes. Most who manage to climb up the corporate hierarchy is not someone who knows the technicality of the work he or she need to perform, but people who can attack, defend, avoid, shift and manipulate.

Thus knowing how to do the work is not enough, you must know how to survive in the corporate and business environment, dealing with people of different camps and agendas. I realize that it’s a skill to survive which need to be learned and mastered, just like the technical skill to do the actual work. Somehow I just don’t quite like it, because I found it to be “pointless” (and rejected the idea). A close friend told me it’s unavoidable and he accepted the fact that politics exist and need to be handled. The higher you climb (the more money you get), the more politic skill (or perhaps diplomatic skill) you required. He accepted the fact and go with the flow.

My sister told me a few days back, “If you know that you have to do it, just do it and don’t grumble about it”. She is right. So, do I have to do it? It’s important for me to find a way so that I don’t have to have to do it, or reduce it now or in the near future. I rejected work politic, and I just want to earn a living the honest and simple way, the good old way. If I have a choice, I want to avoid lying, cheating, scheming, plotting, go under table or even through the back door. Thus, I need to create that choice - to make a decent living through a politic-less means.

I always wonder if I am being too naïve, or complaint too much of life and work. Is this the fact of life I am trying to avoid, or is there another way out. It’s like the data entry job I offer to people: you work from home, no need to travel, no need to handle people, just do the work and you get paid on time. The downside is it’s not an extremely well paying job, but it’s simple. I guess you don’t get paid to handle the politics of work in my offer (thus the lower pay). Does it means only low level job are without politics? I guess there is always exception, but every job does come with its own shit (whether it is a shit we choose to live with or not).

At the end of the day, it is all about choosing the right kind of shit to live with; Or to actually something which I like to do, yet financially feasible. Money sure can play some role here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The kind of Malaysia Government I would vote for

Basically, I dislike talking about politics, as I found it to be pretty pointless (no matter how bad or corrupted you think one politician is, there is nothing much you can do about it, except talking about it). Since the election is around the corner, it would be nice to find out what I want from Malaysia Government. And since I had registered as a voter this year, I need to decide on which side to vote for.

What do I want?


Economic Growth. I want equal incentives and opportunities to all races, less bureaucracy red tapes, business friendly policy, more transparency, free market (ala laissez-faire) and less tax.

Fight Corruption. Once upon a time, Hong Kong was notorious for bribery and corrupted police until the setup of famous ICAC by Sir Jack Carter. I think Hong Kong’s current economic success had a lot to do with its corruption fighting effort and free market, and Singapore is another good example. Economic Growth is not sustainable with growing corruption (the blood sucker). Once our ACA/BPR captured a few big fishes and bring down some really famous politician or high ranking government officers, then I might have some faith in it. There are some really well known bad boys for a reason; and we all know who should be brought down.

Healthy Politics. I am tired on politicians being drag down by sodomy charges or infamous sex tapes, or being shot dead. I want to see justice to be done, bring down some politician for abuse of power or corruption for god sake. What if Bill Clinton had an affair, so does a few more millions people in this world. I am not saying that it’s okay to have an affair, but I don’t mind a cheating husband (but great leader) to run the country (rather than war manic Bush). Hilary Clinton should get a divorce if it really matters. What If Chua Soi Lek hump a younger lady? He could say, “It looks like me, it sounds like me, it humps like me, but it’s not me”. Only a real man will admit his fault; and we need a real man. If Chua Soi Lek joins the election an independent candidate, I will definitely vote for him. As long a he is doing a good job, we should keep him working for the public. We aren’t Saint, and everyone had our moment of weakness and does some stupid stuff. It’s up to his wife and family to forgive him or not, not the public for this matter.

Education. Basically, I had no confident in Malaysia education system (as I am worrying where to sent my sons and daughters to in the future). I am no confident with local universities, and even I am doubtful of the quality of primary and secondary schools. I feel the children and education is the foundation for the country, and we better address this as a national priority. We need better teacher (with better pay and qualification), and a better educational system. It doesn’t matter if we had the tallest building, and it does matter if we have the top 10 university or world class education system.

Stronger Opposition Party. Absolute power corrupts, thus we need the opposition to serve as the watchdog and balance. Thus I like the fact that Lim Kit Siang being vocal (he does voice the people mind most of the time, but the Dewan Rakyat just shut him down), too bad he doesn’t have much power. UMNO is way too strong, thus PAS and Keadilan really need to beef up. DAP is fighting the small piece of cake with MCA/Gerakan, I feel it’s a loose-loose situation for the Chinese community. Maybe more independent candidate from local communities should start showing up, and form a coalition once there are voted to strengthen their present. If the existing political party cannot compete nor do the job, perhaps individual like you and me should step up. Is a bit weird for me to vote for someone who I don’t know at all, or never see him or her my entire life (I might not even know their names). Are we voting for the person we believed in? Or are we voting for the Party? Who deserved my vote? Pak Lah, Lim Kit Siang, Chua Soi Lek.


Too bad I am not a people person, thus I wouldn’t make a popular politician (hard to get the people to love me, as they don’t know me). But if you are an independent candidate who is a good person (convince me) and had a small chance of winning, I am willing to offer my IT expertise to aid you in your campaign and in serving the public :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Checkpoint: It’s easier said than done

The first lesson you’ll learn about planning is things never work out as planned, or is it about we never quite plan it for success? I set an acceptable goal and timeline, but I still miss the target. Am I being too optimistic? Perhaps, that’s why in real life commercial project we always put in buffer, as things will always go wrong, and something unexpected shall always happened.

So lets say I have a job which I optimistically predict will take me 3 days to complete (programmer is always optimistic), where by my actual target should be 5 days instead, or a week. If I set my target to be 3 days, I probably would miss the target. If I set my target to be 5 days, I probably would miss that too. I think the same would happen for seven. I remember I once assigned a job to one of my staff, where I give him the deadline as 2 days before the actual deadline, because I foresee he would definitely miss the deadline (and we still have 2 days to make things work). At the end, we still miss the actual deadline.

Now I wonder it is human nature to miss a deadline, unless it’s a matter of life and death. I once work without a deadline, just setting a list tasks which need to be completed. That works pretty well, except that I couldn’t really judge if I had performed up to par, maximizing my time. I do feel good, just hoping I am not giving myself a false perception.

Should I continue to miss a deadline, or prolong the deadline and still miss it, or never set a deadline? I think a list of tasks to be accomplished is important, at least I know what should be done. But time is running against us as mortal, where we cannot take forever to accomplish something (especially in a competitive business world). So we need to know what need to be done, and do it within a reasonable time frame. I guess I would need to make the extra effort to ensure the deadlines are not missed again :) if I want to stay competitive. Prolonging the deadline is definitely not a wise option.

Again, it’s easier said than done. Maybe the next topic should be stop making excuses for yourself (or myself).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


One of the reasons why business matter is so complicated is because of people.

More People = More Complication

Basically we are not paid to come out with a technical solution (true in the business application development world anyway), but to solve people problem. Why corporate deal is lucrative? Because you are paid to wear nice cloth and tie, attend meeting, make EVERYONE happy except yourself, bullshit intelligently, do tons of useless documentation for the sake of conformance and procedure, and conform to their unreasonable demands with a smile on your face. That’s the reason why you are paid RM 100K to do a 10K job.

You are paid largely not based on your expertise in developing software, but because you are an expert in handling people. Most of the time, our primary focus is
  1. How to tell simple and happy story to the bosses, while drilling to technical details with technical person (见人说人话,见鬼说鬼话)
  2. How to cover all the managers’ asses so no one would look bad because of you
  3. How not to increase the workload of the customer
  4. How to understand what need to be done, while everyone tell you different things, or no one knows exactly what is required, or no one wanted to make a decision which they shall be hold responsible for
  5. How to motivate the programmer to work with unreasonable deadlines set by the customer
  6. How to cover yourself from poison arrow
  7. Must add at least 50% extra cost based on whatever you have estimated or whatever the customer told you
  8. No matter what, your customer could not be wrong. If they are wrong, then it must be your wrong, haha. (如果顾客有错,那一定是你的错)

Being a technical person like me, I always feel like leaving the business arena (退出江湖) and make a living without the need to deal with all these shits. But I live in a world with people, thus I have to deal with the people. 人就是江湖,你又如何退出江湖呢?Perhaps moving to mountain and leaving the city does help a bit; but there can never be a real escape.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday Checkpoint: To do until there is nothing left to do

Sometimes we have so many things in mind that we thought of doing, that we think of doing it one day, and somehow we don’t seems to be able to start doing it or never quite finish it. We have a dream and might think of the plan, but the execution is week. We keep on living the dream with hope, and it becomes an unfulfilled dream.

We only have so much time in a day (or in our lifetime), thus it’s important to do what we think of doing (empty the thoughts and put them into action). I am tired of thinking and dreaming, I want to try and to see whether it works or not. If it works, is there a better way to do it. If it doesn’t, is there alternative? The only reason which motivate me to do until there is nothing left to do, it to make sure that I have no excuses or regrets, or to make sure that I doesn’t have a false hope. Some wise man once said, “I am not worried about action, but I am worried about inaction”.

If there is something to be done, do it. There isn’t a next movie that must be watched, or the next game must be played; but there is the next dream which must be tried out :)

Monday Checkpoints on Life

Sometime with too many things happening in life, life tends to be a bit confusing (or we are troubled by it), because we can’t get a good perspective of life out of the chaotic world. Or perhaps we think too much, or wanted too much.

In my effort to get my life into perspective (to understand what I want to do, and what am I actually doing), I think I to have to checkpoints in my life to ponder and to evaluate my actions and attitudes. I remember one of the blog used to offer weekly tips on how to be happier at work every Monday. Though those articles didn’t really capture my attention, but I like the idea of doing something weekly.

Thus, I shall write something about my thoughts which driven my life on every Monday. After that, I need to think what I need to be do on the week itself (I probably won’t bored you by blogging about the detail of my personal plan). With absolute power comes corruption; with absolute freedom comes abuse. Sometimes with so much freedom in hand, I need a sanity check to make sure I am doing what I am supposed to do, as long as I know what am I supposed to do :)

It’s time to cure Monday Blues and make it more lively.