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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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Ageing and Feeling Young

Third long weekend in four weeks in Malaysia. For someone used to long hours at work, it looked like this was a real slow down in pace. To the staff and kids, it was a real relaxation, a time out. To me, with all the stress and pace of the last few weeks and after trips to India, Indonesia,Cambodia and Vietnam, I was relieved not to be travelling this long weekend. All the kids of my nephews’ and nieces are under strict instructions to call me only Uncle not grandpa. The rationale is that I am still young and I will await the arrival of my kids’ children. Ishaaniey, the youngest one and nephew Arasu’s daughter, is the one who had the privilege to call me Grandpa today. It was nice to spend time with her. Ishaaniey is a darling who kind of mocked and teased me every time she called me grandpa and had me running around her in stitches despite my hypertension. Was I nervous about being called grandpa? Was I vain or thinking too much about getting old? After all, I have accepted getting old is getting wiser and I have consciously never done anything to look […]

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Tun Siti Hasmah receives Lifetime Achievement Award

CYBERJAYA: Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali has been conferred the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Asia Human Resource Development Awards 2019. The wife of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has joined the likes of Fidel Ramos, the former Philippines president and former Permodalan Nasional Bhd chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, who have won the prestigious award. Asia HRD Awards 2019, in a statement, said Dr Siti Hasmah was recognised for her “outstanding contribution towards the development of Malaysia’s public health sector”. “Tun Siti Hasmah was a trailblazer in many ways, achieving many ‘firsts’ at the Ministry of Health. “She served in various leadership positions, including President of the Malaysian Girl Guides Association, President of the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation and President of the Association for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children. “She has received numerous honours and awards as appreciation for her unceasing effort and initiatives in the fields of public health, literacy and drug abuse control. “She is a pioneer and an inspiring role model for women in Malaysia and around the world. “She stands out as one person who has made a huge impact to the nation with her courage, tenacity and strength in character,” the […]

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AsiaHRD Congress 2019: Are our HRD Practices Geared for the Digital Age and Does it Attract Millennials?

Are your organisation’s HRD practices geared for the Digital Age and does it attract talented and driven millennials? REGISTER for the 17th ASIA HRD Congress this 16 – 17 July 2019 and find out how leading organizations such as Maybank, Telekom Malaysia, SP Setia, PayNet and Microsoft are creating waves by unlocking value through the digitalisation of their Human Capital Development strategies. Register today at http://hrdcongress.com/.   The workforce of tomorrow will be dramatically different from the workforce of today and yesterday. New trends are influencing the future of work. Ironically, we are moving into an environment where it is no longer about employees needing the organisation, it is becoming more of the organisation needing the talent. By 2025 millennials who cherish mobility and globalisation will constitute 75% of the workforce and with their new ways of working and technological fluency, they will usher in a new perspective to work: they want an environment that they love and want to work in. Employees are now starting to drive the decisions and beginning to have conversations on how work gets done, when it gets done, who it gets done with, what technologies are being used to get it done, etc. New behaviours on sharing, communicating and […]

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Building a great city

United States Senator Pat Moynihan and long-time faculty member of Harvard said: “If you want to build a great city, first build a great university and then wait a few hundred years.”

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Hit Refresh – Culture

It is past midnight and I am busy finishing reading the key chapters from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh autobiography. Unsure if it is my inability to sleep or the long workday that is keeping me awake. With a decision to get off social media effective Jan 1st of this year, my writing is restricted to my website. Without doubt, the reading on Cultural Renaissance from Know it Alls to Learn it Alls from his book is impressive, prompting me to write again tonight. The Microsoft CEO talks about a new cultural mindset of growth within the company which is one of starting to listen more, learn more and talk less. The growth mindset he talks about starts with the CEO where the C stands for culture – listening, learning and harnessing individual passions and talents to the company’s mission. It is one of dynamic learning. It is a journey, Interestingly, this was the subject I talked with key members of our Senior team, this afternoon. Satya takes great pains to explain that culture is a vague term and one has to work carefully to define what one wants from culture and hence the need to measure everything and […]

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January 2019 Thoughts on two great leaders

Who Will Measure up to These Two Remarkable Leaders? James L. Heskett is UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University asks a simple question in a Harvard Business article; in a month when the world lost two great American company leaders: John Bogle of Vanguard Group and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. Most of us in Asia may know Southwest Airlines while a lesser number would know John Bogle. What other CEOs are in the same league? asks James Heskett. To me, who in Asia would match up to these standards. He says the decade of the 1980s saw widespread subscription to the notion that there were two “generic competitive strategies” aimed at achieving industrywide success: those that provided either a differentiated or a low-cost product/service. (A third was to focus on a particular market segment.) He adds that Roger Hallowell, in a doctoral dissertation submitted some years later, took issue with that notion based on his observation of a small number of incredibly successful service organizations. He concluded that these firms were seizing large market shares by offering both differentiation and low cost, that in fact the two strategies might […]

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Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Greetings for a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

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DEEP WORK in a distracted world

A few years ago, former CEO of Citibank Malaysia, Sanjeev Nanavathy told me about the importance of DEEP WORK. As an accomplished coach, he emphasised for the need to develop the ability to focus without distraction on a task that is cognitively demanding. He probably mentioned it as he noticed me flipping on to my I phone every now and then to check my WhatsApp messages. On a trip to my alma mater, Federation University, Ballarat, Australia, I noticed several posters around the campus on the help available if one was addicted to the mobile phone or social media. Never understood the significance of those posters until a few days ago when I had a chance to read DEEP WORK.   Deep Work is defined as a skill that allows you to master complicated information and do a great job in less time. It provides a sense of fulfilment very much similar to craftmanship. This skill seems to have been lost in a world of emails, social media and WhatsApp messages. Professor Cal Newport, the author of DEEP WORK presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming one’s mind and habits to support this […]

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Last issue of Learn & Perform E News

This issue will be the last Learn & Perform E-News. I have enjoyed writing the e-news all these years, but it is time to say adieu or good bye to all of you. I have decided to quit E-News and social media, effective 1 January 2019. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments and support all these years for my endeavours to be a writer. The early days It was 1994 and the internet was a new buzzword. We had a Jaring internet account. Dr Nat, my classmate, colleague and friend, persuaded me to write the e-zine or e-news using Microsoft Biz Central. He was trying to get me into writing as he wanted me to codify our professional practice. The writings by illustrious practitioners, trainers and speakers such as Don Kirkpatrick, Bob Pike, Thiagi, Mel Silbermann and Zig Ziglar motivated me, but I was never sure I would be able to replicate their success. Eventually, I started writing the Learn & Perform E-News in 1995. One of my colleagues M. C. Jitha did a great job promoting the e-news. Ably supported by the technological tools employed by our young CTO Murali, the list grew from a mere 11 subscribers […]

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Cyberjaya Uni confers Honorary Doctorate on TS Rafidah Aziz

Cyberjaya Uni was honoured to confer the Honorary Doctorate in Business to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. Tan Sri Rafidah, a former Minister and the longest serving International Trade Minister is a role model and an icon,  As the Pro Chancellor it was indeed an honour for me to confer the award at the Uni’s 9th Convocation on Dec 13th, 2018.

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