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Self-Esteem

In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. As a young trainer running the workshop ‘Creating Your Own Rainbow ‘, I often asked participants: are you happy with yourself? The answers usually puzzled me. Self-esteem can involve a variety of beliefs about the self, such as the appraisal of one’s own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. It is often seen as a personality trait which means it tends to be stable and enduring. It is also sometimes known as self-respect, self-worth, self-value. I was looking back on my presence at the Saree Queen contest yesterday. While I was nostalgic about my presence at a venue that made me feel good, I used to play badminton there when I was young (many years ago J); I could not help feeling the good work done by the Association. I could at least think of two things. In a world that is dominated by modernity and western tastes, it was good to revisit tradition. The saree is an elegant piece of dress just as every other traditional dress. More importantly, to me I thought it was an exercise in boosting the self-esteem of […]

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Learning from Mothers & Teachers: a great movie

The Power of Vision Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the famous Spanish painter is said to have once remarked: If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness.   Recently, I watched this nice Indian Tamil movie about a mother and her child. Amma Kaannakku (Mother’s calculations) ably acted by Amala Paul, it is a film about the mother visualising the future for her child. Narrated in a gripping and dramatic way, the film outlines the role of a mother and a teacher in shaping lives. It was a tear jerker. While my children and wife were making fun of me crying, I was unashamedly crying throughout the movie. I could relate to the travails of my mother trying to bring us up after my father had gone away all of a sudden. It helped me reflect and review so many of the things that we do every day in life. While the main plot of the movie itself is about the challenges of a single mother bringing up a daughter and the bondage between the two, there are enough lessons for those of us in shaping and developing talent or running […]

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Interview: Inspiring Lives

Dato’ Dr. R Palan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SMRT Holdings Berhad, listed on the ACE Market of the Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd, is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School. He is a passionate trainer, author, speaker, consultant and a successful entrepreneur who is dynamic, versatile and has been highly committed to developing best practises in the field of human resources for over three decades. An author of over 15 books, Dr. Palan has a strong business and technology orientation and has pioneered several innovations in the field of learning. While he has worked in different countries with both for-profit and non-profit organisations from a variety of industries, Dr. Palan has had a long track record as an entrepreneur. In an in-depth and insightful conversation with Corporate Citizen,Dr. Palan talks about his career, people and talent management, entrepreneurship, youngsters today, and his future plans while also touching upon his personal space. Take us through your education and career Well, like most Malaysian Indians, I went to India to do my medicine, about 40 years ago. But in India, you guys are so brilliant that it was really tough to compete with you. To get a score of 99 […]

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The Magic of Thinking BIG!

Steve Jobs remarked ‘Small thinkers never do big things”. The book The Magic of Thinking Big sold over 4 million copies – the key was to set lofty goals and achieve them. The saying goes: If you want to be the person you want to be, you must think, behave and act like the person you want to be. Steve Jobs personified that view with his Think Different campaign. Nevertheless the goal is not just to set lofty goals but also work towards achieving them. In my own life I have found the true essence of it. I have met many people too who could never think big and also people who could think big. Their orientation to life was different. There is this fallacy that this can be only applied in the business world. Let us not forget that Mother Theresa showed what she could do to change the world, Mohd Yunus of Grameen Bank showed us what he could do to change the world and so did Steve Jobs. So can each one of us do big things to make a big impact and a lasting legacy on this world.

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Cutting edge trends in teaching English

Educators young and old came were enlightened, refreshed and bubbling with new ideas and techniques at a recent international language teaching conference. IT was way past five in the evening and the conference was officially over. All the speeches had been made and every award there was to give, had been given. The last poem had been read, the last performance done, the last story told. And yet the audience was not satisfied. “One more,” they clamoured in a single voice and refused to leave. “‘Tell us one more story, just one,” they pleaded with acclaimed story teller Jan Blake who was one of the featured speakers in the conference. Triumphant team: The teachers from SMK Seksyen 3, Bandar Kinrara jubilant after winning the ‘Yayasan Palan Top Initiative for English Language Teaching In School’ award. With them are Education deputy director-general (MARA) Abdul Halim Abbas, SMRT Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Dr R Palan, Rural and Regional Development Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Rahim Abu Bakar and representative of the Malacca chief minister Datuk Md Rawi Mahmud (third, fourth, fifth and sixth from left). And although the stage was no longer available and presentation venues were officially closed, the crowd settled comfortably […]

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Making English fun to learn

To enhance and improve the command of the English language among teachers and students, the Government introduced several initiatives. The SMR Group, one of the organisations involved in the mentoring of teachers programme, shares its experience. THE Native Speaker Programme (Penutur Jati) was born out of the need to improve the standard of teaching English in schools. This initiative was a bold one as it went against the traditional approach to teacher training which involved teachers being taken out of schools to attend large training sessions, SMR Group CEO (Corporate Office) Syed Muzakir Al-Jofre shares. “Under this project, mentor/trainers would organise similar workshops but on a much smaller scale, after which the mentors and teachers would put into practice the lessons learned directly in the classrooms,” he says. SMR, an education provider listed on Bursa Malaysia, is primarily in the learning business and operates in the areas of tertiary education and training, learning technologies, and professional human resource development services. The organisation has been involved in the programme and the Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT). Detailing the mechanics of the Native Speaker Programme, SMR Group ELT project manager Michael Hughes says mentors, or trainers, are assigned to organise […]

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HCK Capital Group signs deal with CUCMS

HCK Capital Group recently signed a lease agreement with Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS). Under this agreement, HCK Capital Group, which owns a plot of land in Cyberjaya, has been tasked to build a campus for CUCMS. The agreement states that the Group will lease the campus to the institution for a 10-year period with the option of renewal for another 10 years. The campus is expected to be ready in 2017 and CUCMS will be moving to its new location then. The signing ceremony was officiated by Mr Yee Tuck Sing, Executive Director of HCK Capital Group and Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Abd. Razak, President/CEO of CUCMS. The ceremony was witnessed by HCK Capital Group’s Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Clement Hii Chii Kok and SMRT Holdings Berhad’s Chairman, Dato’ Dr. R. Palan. CUCMS is a subsidiary of SMRT Holdings. CUCMS is a fast-growing institution offering courses mostly related to health and medical sciences. Its decision to collaborate with HCK Capital Group in its expansion plans is recognition of the latter’s credentials in the property sector.

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Why Palan made a bid for Master skill

WHEN education provider SMRT Holdings Bhd CEO Datuk R. Palan was asked why he bought into Masterskill Education Group Bhd (MEGB), he laughed and said everybody was asking him the same question. “Well I saw an opportunity. If this was a profitable and roaring business, I doubt we would be able to acquire it at 60 sen per share. “This deal is possible because the business is a stressed asset and the major shareholder wants to exit. We also happen to ‘live and breathe’ the (education) business and trust we can make it a success,” he says. In what perhaps caught the market by surprise, private equity firm Creador and SMRT on Monday expressed an intent to make a buyout offer for MEGB at 60 sen per share. Their offer is subject to a due diligence on the latter, which should end within a 30-day period. In a joint statement, Creador and SMRT said they had received an undertaking from MEGB’s single largest shareholder, Siva Kumar Jeyapalan, who owns a 32.9% stake, that he would accept any offer for his block of shares. Upon the announcement, shares of SMRT however reacted negatively. For the week, the stock is down 18.6% […]

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Finance Agency wins HRD award

9 June 2015, Dubai, United Arab Emirates– Bringing Malaysia’s expertise to the world, The Finance Accreditation Agency is awarded for the “Contribution to Organisation” category at the 11th Asia HRD Awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai. The Finance Accreditation Agency is an organisation supported by Bank Negara and the Securities Commission Malaysia, entrusted to grow quality human capital within the financial services industry. Supporting the government’s goal of growing quality professionals, FAA is recognised for the development of innovative systems, processes, and practices which have impacted overall employee development and productivity, with accompanying effect to bottom line. Past winners of this award from Malaysia include Maybank, Maxis, Khazanah Nasional, and Telekom Malaysia. Receiving the award at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of FAA Dr. Amat Taap Manshor said, “We are keen on sharing our expertise in developing innovative learning programmes to the rest of the world. We are proud to be supporting the Malaysian government’s initiative to grow quality financial services professionals in Malaysia and beyond.” The Asia HRD Awards cuts across four categories, including the “Lifetime Achievement”, “Contribution to Society”, “Contribution to Organisation”, and “Contribution of HR Community”. Recognised for its initiative, FAA provides comprehensive learning and development […]

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SMRT Confident Of 20% Growth

KUALA LUMPUR: The rather sharp fall in first-quarter profits, which came after lower annual earnings achieved for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2014 (FY14), has exerted more selling pressure on SMRT Holdings Bhd’s share price, which has tumbled 45% since the start of the year. Prior to that, the education group’s share price took a beating last year, as its acquisition of a 23% equity stake inMasterskill Education Group Bhd (MEGB) did not go down well with many shareholders. Its chief executive officer Datuk Dr R Palan, however, is confident that SMRT will be able to chalk up a double-digit growth of 20% for this year. “Without further expenditure incurred for corporate exercises, we expect our bottom line to grow in tandem with the top-line for this year,” Palan told The Edge Financial Daily in an interview. Contributions from Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS), which the group acquired last year, is a key growth driver, he explained, adding that there is no acquisition plan this year. “It is a year of consolidation when we stabilise our businesses first.” On top of that, the group has secured a contract to train English teachers for government schools. SMRT’s (fundamental: […]

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Happiness Summit and Asia HRD Congress & Awards, 2018 Vietnam

The 2018 Asia HRD Congress and Awards organised in conjunction with Anphabe’s Happiness At Work, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam was an interesting event. Over 400 participants, 22 awardees and a host of great speakers from many different countries. Thanks to Thanh of Anphabe, Kannan and Deen of CEO and our colleagues Ann Nei, Yanie, Dr Amat and Dato Asariah, we had a great event. We have all the time heard about the Happiness Index and the happiest country yet we see so many unhappy people. Happiness is an elusive concept to many and linking it to the engaged workplace and organisational productivity has been the hallmark of the work of researchers in the Human Capital economics area. Happiness defined from the context of mental and emotional states refers to contentment, joy and satisfaction. The book The Happiness Advantage authored by Shawn Achor focuses on how happiness impacts people in the workplace. His research focusses on the direct connection with employee engagement. It was also intriguing to read a newspaper report this morning that highlighted teaching is no longer a passion but a burden today. The teachers, role models in society for a long time – are they longer happy. […]

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Reforming Technical and Vocational Education (TVET)

In the past few weeks, Malaysians have been both excited and rocked by certain announcements on education and foreign labour. The interlinked issues of education and foreign workers are contentious in almost every part of the world and Malaysia is no exception. In a bold move, Malaysian Education Minister Dr. Maszlee Malik appointed parliamentarian Ms. Nurul Izzah Anwar to head a committee to strengthen technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country despite criticisms. The HR Minister Mr. Kula ran into a minefield when he forgot the gastronomic desires of Malaysians and suggested a ban on foreign cooks in Malaysia. With the new Malaysian government giving people the courage to comment, there was no shortage of advice from the public. It is important to see these trends in training and immigration control in the context of nation-building. Building the skills and capabilities of our students and making them economically successful are not isolated efforts. In the long run, no nation can afford to allow unfettered entry of foreign workers even though it may need some level of foreign skilled worker employment. It is also not advisable for a country to allow its citizens to remain unskilled or leave […]

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The business case for minimum wages

Minimum wage is often described as minimum living wage or what employees need to earn to cover their basic expenses in a community. Yet, you often see conservative economists and some business leaders, often with extreme right views, arguing against a minimum wage. Their thoughts against minimum wages are based on the notion that minimum wages will increase unemployment as businesses that cannot afford the increased wages will look for cheaper alternatives. Therefore, they claim that lower skilled workers who occupy low wage jobs will become unemployed as these types of jobs will evaporate. The attempt to help those at the bottom of the pyramid, they argue, will become a lost cause. Conservatives argue for a free market approach and for wages to be determined by market forces. In a way, they are against any form of government intervention. They contend that imposing minimum wages will result in higher unemployment, increased cost of living and ultimately, a less competitive nation. Concerns that robots or automation will replace low wage jobs are commonly raised to support their view that a low wage policy should not be introduced. They couch their arguments on the point that lower level jobs must be saved […]

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Study at Asia Metropolitan University, Malaysia

Opportunities to pursue your MBA, DBA, PhD. Visit www.amu.edu.my Email lily@smrhub.com

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Three graduations Three continents Three experiences

It was a true learning journey. A busy and tiring May. Attending three graduations in three different continents. Getting mesmerised in between by the Malaysian elections. Each was a different experience. Unique in its own way. My younger son bespectacled Andy graduated from the University of California Berkeley, USA with a undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and will be moving on to do his PhD in Computer Sciences at Stanford University, USA. My eldest son Maha graduated from Imperial College, UK with a MSC in Risk and Financial Engineering and will be moving on to work in UK with a multinational. And, I graduated with another PhD, in Education from Federation University, Ballarat, Australia. My focus was on studying TVET systems of three countries. And I will move on to do what I am doing now – pursue my cherished goal of social entrepreneurship in Malaysia. Learning is exciting but one can only do that with the support of friends and family which we were blessed to have.

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Chindogu (Excesses) and Post elections in Malaysia

Charles Handy, one of the world’s most respected business and social philosopher popularised the term chindōgu to denote excesses and clutter. On Wikipedia, the term said to be coined by Kenji Kawakami defined the word as when literally translated, to mean unusual (珍 chin) tool (道具 dōgu). He even went so far to suggest that ‘weird tool” is a more appropriate translation. I loved the Japanese concept of “Chindogu”, one that denoted clutter and overabundance. The post-election scene in Malaysia has highlighted the raids by the police on the residences of a former leader and media has displayed pictures of hundreds of luxury bags and money being carted out. There have been similar situations post President Marcos era in the Philippines and in India, post Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Ms Jayalalithaa era. There have been numerous such situations in political history. It will be unfair to comment on the Malaysian situation as yet, as the authentic and completeness of the haul of luxury goods is yet to be verified by the authorities.  Suffice to say, for now, I can understand the influence of chindōgu on our personal lives. In a world where enough is never enough, people want more and […]

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Malaysian Elections – Historic night

I have been wanting to write about the Malaysian elections on May 9th. While I ponder to write a detailed one, I must say it was a historic night for Malaysia. No last minute attempts to change the outcomes at the ballot box prevailed. The will of the people reigned supreme. It was not about race or religion. It was about the choice of people. As I had said in my social media postings it was about the mood for change – recognising and anticipating it. It is something most politicians miss reading as one can see in electoral history. The ‘Yes You Can’ campaign of Obama proved how a campaign can build momentum and resonate with people. It was truly a people’s revolution that overcame the narrow political agenda, in the recent Malaysian elections.  Thank God it was a peaceful revolution through the ballot box and we must salute everyone for a peaceful transition of power. It also clearly showed there was no age barrier to love your country or hope for the best. The country has now put tremendous faith going beyond race and religion to choose a 92 year old leader Tun Dr Mahathir to turnaround the country. […]

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CUCMS at the Commonwealth Games Gold Coast 2018

We are  simply thrilled that our Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS) student Nur Dabithah Sabri has won a Bronze Medal at the Diving competition at the Commonwealth Games 2018. We salute her for making the nation proud.

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Tesla Motors, The Visionary Dream of Elon Musk [Futures & Risks]

I have to be honest with you: when I think of a Tesla car my mind expands and my senses get heightened. Actually, it’s enough to read something about the company and I feel my interest growing! If you feel the same and you want to know more about the most interesting company of the hour, stick with us. In the rows below we’ll have a heart-to-heart about Tesla Motors and the cars it produces. First, I think it’s important to know that Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by Elon Musk and a few other car enthusiasts who wanted to show the world a whole new view on the matter. These are the visionaries that were laughed by an entire industry (at first) but got to prove everyone wrong. These are the heroes of our times and the people who may get us closer to the flying car in the not-so-far future. Tesla Motors is the company that took Nikola Telsa’s dream of a powerful electric engine and made it into a wonderful, smooth, and bad-ass-looking reality. After all, the modern models send chills down your spine and make us dream of aerospace shuttles and comfort. Of course, they […]

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Distinguished Lecture Series

His Excellency Tun Musa Hitam, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia sharing his views on lifelong learning and student experiences  to a packed audience, from his book Frankly Speaking, at Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences. Articulate, Humorous and charming presenter.

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