Sunday, 18 March 2012

James Bond Gadgets, Today's Accessories and Toys

Who doesn't know Mr. Bond? I grew up admiring him. In fact once upon a time many many years ago, my ambition was to be a spy like James Bond. Can't really remember exactly why, but I'm very sure it has something to do with saving the world, he's the good side, charm, cool, ladies' man perhaps :-) and most of all GADGETS...

The James Bond gadgets strikes me when I watched "Die Another Day" last night which brings me back to good old days of The Man With the Golden Gun, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only as well even the earlier James Bond in Diamonds are Forever, Goldfinger and Thunderball.

At the same time somehow it reminds me my last visit to China and my last week visit to Low Yatt Plaza in Bukit Bintang. Some of these gadgets in James Bond are no longer gadgets. They are our day to day tools and accessories or even toys to some. In fact many of those spies gadgets are now sold at Low Yatt. Just to name a few:-

In 1963 James Bond movie From Russia with Love, a pager was used by James Bond to provide him a way to make life-saving contact with MI6. In early ninety's, pagers are widely used by many till almost the end of the 1990's itself before the handphone tookover as the main tool or device to communicate when one is mobile. Now I can't imagine life without handphones. The paging technology on the other hand still being used, but not so much as a man to man form of communication but as a tool to communicate with devices instead.

Fingerprint Recognition Device
In Diamonds are Forever this device was used by diamond smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) to open up the case filled with diamond. Today, this is used everywhere and we call it some BIOMETRIC device. It is used in offices to access doors, in the banks as personal identification tools with our My Card, at the airport used together with our Malaysian Passport to access the gate, and many others.

Spy Pen
My wife bought this device in China. It is not just an ordinary pen but a pen with mini camera and MP3 voice recording device that can later be uploaded to your laptops via USB...Cool!!! Can't recall a camera pen in James Bond movie but definitely mini camera (still and motion) and mini voice recording devices are being used in some of these James Bond movies and other spies movies.

Come to think of it, most of these devices that we took for granted were in most spies or sci-fi movies in the past - the cellphone, GPS devices, Maping devices, laptops, mini cameras, tablet computers etc. I guess it all started with dreams of how man imagined and wanted life to be in the future and portrait them in the movies..

My point is, what's in the movies in the past are today's reality. With that I believe it would also be safe for me to conclude that what's in the movies today that are not currently available will be our future's reality. No matter what, I'm still waiting the day when I can travel around the world by just saying.."BEAM ME TO...."...Sorait.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Underemployment - Capabilities vs Certifications?

We've heard this word before and I've personally used this in some of my presentations, seminar papers and press interviews. I experienced something interesting today which somehow triggers me to rethink if what I've been saying all these while were accurate and comprehensive or not.

Check out the Wiki and found this  UnderEmployment by Wiki and this UnderEmployed Investopedia at Investopedia. Seems quite consistent with my previous thoughts which centres around those keywords.....overqualified, overeducate, skill underutilization, economic capacity underuse etc. Long and short, the individual is working but isn't working at their full capability.But again, the common denominator for all these is, capability is equaled to "certificate qualification". Whether one is a member of a professional body, degree holder, diploma or even college drop outs...CAPABILITIES ARE MEASURED BASED ON ONE'S EDUCATION LEVEL.

Is this how we suppose to measure capabilities hence tag one as underemployed or not?? Check this out..
Sheila the Caddy
Got this from a friend's facebook Eddie Putra - Sheila the Caddy. I find it interesting when he put the following remark - "The next time you wanna complain about your job, think about Sheila who has to lug a heavy golf bag around, get scolded, get sworn at, rake the bunker, repair divots and entertain tantrums from her boss". Now..WHAT IF Sheila went to university and had an accounting degree and later work for 2 years in an accounting firm before she found out her true talent and passion was actually in golf... and thought it would "never be too late" for her to take golf seriously instead? 

She plays golf since she was 6 years old and at 25 she carries handicap 6 in golf. Since she doesn't think she would go any further in professional golf, she decided to take up serious caddying and make a profession out of it. She joins the Professional Caddies Association and became a professional caddy. Caddying actually goes beyond carrying bags and bunker raking. A professional caddy is just like an advisor and consultant to the golfer..course management, club management, reading the lines, providing second opinions to the golfer etc..

Today, she earns perhaps US$150,000, partly tax free with almost fully sponsored daily expenses, as she'll be on tour following her boss most of the time...with lots of time playing golf in between tour. That's more than what a typical accountant at her age would make and time of her own could spend. In the United States a non tour caddies working at top clubs earning around US$1000 a week or US$4000 a month...check this out Top Earning Caddies

Shilla the Tol Attendant
Now, what about this Tol attendant. I saw her name tag. Her name is Shilla (same pronunciation but different spelling)...Interesting...many Sheela's in a day...and I arrived late evening in the office and my Personal Assistant, Sheila too, forgot to bring me my coffee...ouch!!! But she's not our subject of discussion here..:-)

Going back to Shilla the tol attendant...I don't know her but in that 8 1/2 seconds giving tickets and paying my tol, I manage to get the following info from her - she's 19 years old, from Sentul and finishes her SPM and worked for slightly more than a year at the tol...Amazing and don't ask me how I did it...:-)

And my last "bonus" question or "soalan cepumas" to her.."Kenape kerja kat tol aje? ( Why do you work at the tol?) ". She smiled and answered, "Kerja ni senang aje Pakcik. Duduk pakai tangan aje. ( It is an easy job Uncle. I just need to seat and only use my hand)".

Two parts of her answer I didn't expect. First she called me Pakcik or Uncle, then the using her hand thingy. I got at least another 3 seconds to ask her another question while she's getting my change but I was just too shock to do so..

I kept on thinking after that....8 hours seating, WHOLE right hand in, HALF right hand out, some twiggling here and there, perhaps some simple maths at the end of the day to count the money and that's it!!! For someone who is young, healthy, strong, all limbs working I presume and smart though she's study until SPM, merely doing what she's doing seems "UNDEREMPLOYED" to me. What's she doing could be done by a midget except a midget need to get his/her WHOLE hand out instead. Or someone on wheel chairs or deaf perhaps. These group of people are classified as "In Need of Special Assistance" group and in most occasions they won't be able to get a job even as tol attendance.

I believe if the entire system recognized capabilities as what a person REALLY capable of doing as a person in his/her entirety, we probably be able to maximize human capital in what I call "true sense" in building up our nation.

Based on Wiki and some other definitions, Sheila would be Underemployed and Shilla is Employed. My take is otherwise. Sheila is Employed and Shilla is Underemployed....Sorait.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

It is Never Too Late

Starting a blog...something I've always wanted to do, perhaps 10 years ago. In fact, I remember those days when i spoke at various seminars of how internet would change our life and how contents over the internet will be flooded by self or user generated contents, it was merely a myth then. It was plainly beyond imagination then.

Now, after 10 years, user generated contents became not just merely past time reading, but have became "referred trusted contents" by many. People tend to believe what they read what others says on the internet than people they know for ages. It became reference point for many:-

(i)   to decided on holiday destinations and itinerary
(ii)  to form and opinion and views on all matters including, life, business, politics and religion
(ii)  to learn new things - recipes, how to... etc.
(iv) and the list goes on......

Is it too late then for me to start one myself?? To pen down the first time is always the hardest part. But then again, after just looking around things that happened over the past 10 years, everything seems to be moving very fast right in front of our own very eyes....what was not there then, is here now..what was a myth, a reality..what we thought can never be replaced being replaced..what were merely academics now being practical.
Just to give some idea how fast things move over the cyberspace

Who would have thought  the used to be number 1 search engine Yahoo being replaced by Google?? My kids don't even know the existence of Yahoo. And as I'm writing this blog, I received an email from my colleague, Tengku Farith about this new kids on the block that could change the world.... Check this out!! Startup Changing the World

See how what I mean by how fast??? What else have changed over the past 10 years?

This camera was found by my 11 year old son somewhere in my study room. He asked me whether he can have it or not. I told him that he won't be able to use it because the camera needs FILM and no photo shops near our place sell FILM anymore. FILM???? This is alien to my son...
Dialing Phone??? How do you dial?? We Press...
We were at this antique shop in Malacca Jonker Street and my 11 year old son saw this weird looking stuff and asked me this.."What is this Daddy??". And I looked at him and asked him "Don't you know what that is? What does it look like??" And he looked at me with clueless face and said " I don't know. Never seen it before..??". It took me a while to make sense out of what I just heard and calmly told him "It's a phone". And he asked me again."Do you know to use it?"...and there we go..I got to do some explanations.

The camera and phone are just few of many others. 10 years too is just too short.

What about community? Near where i stay there is this area which many today call the "Korean Town" and the "Arab Town". The Koreans have their own provision shops, supermarket, private schools and more than 3 churches within the same area. And the Arabs are not much less either. Ten years from now? I won't be surprise if they have political rep too..:-)

Anyway, my point is, it can never be too late. So here I go, my first blog.....and it will not be the last I hope. It would be my personal point of view on everything and anything. Do keep on visiting.....Sorait!!!.