Wednesday, 17 January 2018


It's a pity I don't read Chinese but based upon this translation of a Sin Chew article on Malaysian Chinese News, it looks like it is on the same page with me as far as social media and the future of journalism (or the lack thereof) is concerned.

There are many who know social media on their smartphones backward but don't even know how to use a manual typewriter.

Also, social media sites have now tweaked their algorithms to determine which free speech gets more exposure and which gets less.

Without further ado - the Sin Chew article on Malaysian Chinese News.

Yours trully


We are all hijacked by the social media

5-6 minutes

Nowadays those working in sales are actually working for google or Facebook.

This statement is not exaggerated but is true only with minor adjustments for printed or social media. In fact all these media are working or serving the two global technology giants.

This is especially true for those working under the news media. They are trapped in the dilemma of to use or not to use the social media to promote and spread their news.

If they use the social media to disseminate their news, it is like providing free news content which has already been edited carefully by their team of news worker like reporters, editors and others. If they do not use the social media, their scope of news readers is definitely reduced and eventually readers may abandon or forget about them. In another perspective whether the printed media use or not to use the social media, in a matter of time they will become obsolete too.

This is a big challenge faced by the media.

Many people assume by giving ‘likes’ on the posts in Facebook, we are praising the media or the writer. Actually they are doing a good deed by helping Facebook to collect better returns on their advertisements as well as getting feedbacks to gauge the mode of reading of their account holders. It does not help those media or writers who have worked very hard to collect and verify the truth of their news.

Social media giants like Facebook uses the technology of computing the communication and calculating the posting frequencies of their account holders to understand and manipulate the users’ behaviour in order to make their advertisements to be more effective and consumer orientated. That is the reason for the many surprising and striking commercial advertisements seen on the social media. Have you noticed whenever you switch on the hand phone, some advertisements on various products will appear on the pages you click on?

The information and contents on the social media are not “free”. In fact it is manipulated, designed and planned meticulously by individuals or organizations. When one enjoys the freedom of speech by reading all kinds of gutter information on the social network, the parties behind the scene which reap the most benefits are Facebook or Google.

Can you recall a few years ago, some political parties and their supporters mounted a cyberwar on the social media? Yes, we could never imagine now that the Facebook page was so opened several years ago. At that time they only used various contents related to ‘animal farms’ and violent bloodshed topics to attract readers. They could also post you various political information that they wanted you to receive, remembered and influenced by it.

At that time the political supporters were very emotional. After a   few more political instigating talks, they started attacking the newspaper, television and radio stations. They instigated the public to believe the information and data provided by them on the social media in order to acquire political mileage and strength.

What is the outcome now?

The so called freedom of speech of  has been changed in the algorithm. Even if users ‘like’ the Facebook page of the political cyber troopers, the postings might not appear every time in the users’ Facebook as of previously. Facebook also changes the rule of the game as there are no more free messages even though the posts were liked by others before. In order to allow others to access to the content on that particular post, one must pay for the advertising cost too. Is this called the freedom of speech initiated by the political party?

It is best to ignore these loud-mouthed politicians. What worries me most is that many people are pessimistic about the future of the media industry. Even the mass media or communication graduates regarded Facebook as a media tool anyone can use without any professionalism needed.

Now we know and are aware of the consequences why posting on the website may be fake, irresponsible and unaccountable. A lot of unwanted and unreliable contents are flooding the social media. Recently the founder of Facebook remarked on the seriousness of this problem and announced Facebook will take measures related to gutter media.

It is too late as the high quality of reading materials on the market has already deteriorated and soon professional news workers will be very scarce.

It is time for us to ponder how to free our minds in future.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

'Why Would Norwegians Go to #Shithole US?!':

My answer: Only those Norwegians who want to be a part of the Silly Con Valley would migrate to the shithole that is the U.S.

BTW. My Iraqi friend welcomed Trump's election as U.S. president, not that he thinks that Trump is great but because he believes that he would do a great job of screwing up the U.S. during his term or two terms of office.

Keep up the good work, Herr Drumph! And, for the record, Hillary Clinton wouldn't have been any better, if not worse.

We first met at a symposium on computers in education on 28 January 1997 - almost 20 years ago - and we found that we were very much on the same page with regards the scheiss peddled by IT promoters and we still are on the same page today. He has a masters degree in Computers in Education, a post-graduate diploma in Pedagogy and a bachelors degree in Educational Psychology, so he obviously knows what he is talking about.

One of the symposium speakers, a Malaysian or former Malaysian academic from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand described a scenario of "Learner 2000" as a child in Alor Star, Malaysia who would mount a bicycle-like contraption mounted to the floor, then don a pair of virtual reality goggles, turn on the learning computer and fly down upon the Amazon jungle and be able to move back and forth in time, virtually observing the changes due to de-forestation.

I told her that even in 1997, the prices of a PC was beyond the reach of most Malaysian families and they were unlikely to fall fast enough to be affordable in most Malaysian homes by the year 2000.

Besides that, there were no broadband Internet connections required to support such a scenario in Malaysia at the time. Back in 1997, those of us lucky enough to have Internet access did so via 56Kbps dial up modems and TM Net only launched its Streamyx ADSL broadband Internet service in April 2001, with speeds of up to 384Kbps and there were a tiny 0.02 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in Malaysia that year, peaking at 10.14 fixed broadband subscriptions (including fibre) per 100 inhabitants in 2014 and then dropping to 8.74 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2016.

According to Malaysia's communications and content regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's, first quarter 2017 Communications and Multimedia Facts and Figures report, Malaysia' s broadband penetration per 100 households stood at an impressive 81.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and of these, 2.5 million were fixed broadband subscriptions and 30.6 million were mobile broadband subscriptions.

So obviously, most of the 33 million Malaysians access the Internet via smartphones and tablets, most of whom go around with their faces buried in social media or some dumb video on their devices' screens but I wonder how many are learning anything actually worthwhile on their devices and as for those 2.5 million homes with fixed broadband Internet, I wonder how many of them are using them for virtual learning.

Heck! I know a household where every inhabitant knows how to use WhatsApp on their devices but none know how to write a letter using a word processing application on their PC or even on a  typewriter.

So is Malaysia on its way towards becoming a knowledge-based, high income, information and services society by the Year 2020 or are we headed towards becoming a dumbed down society with faces buried in our smartphones and tablets, engaged in frivolous, unproductive activity, whilst imagining that we are super tech-savvy?     

Well, it's 2018 now, almost 18 years later and how many students are there in Alor Star or  even in the Klang Valley who are learning at home using virtual reality on the contraption she described and I don't expect many students in New Zealand are riding such virtual reality learning contraptions at home either.

When they couldn't make a success of virtual learning via 1BestariNet by October 2015, what more the "gee whiz" scenario that academic painted.

However, that academic from the University of Canterbury revealed that those in her virtual learning group were shunned by their other colleagues at her university. Perhaps they could distinguish IT reality from IT scheiss.

These IT conferences and seminars held in luxurious conference halls (ivory towers) in five or six star hotels, or convention centres, far removed from the realities on the ground, are usually one big load of IT scheiss anyway.

After all, scheiss sells.

Yours trully


'Why Would Norwegians Go to #Shithole US?!': Twitter Asks Trump | News

After President Donald Trump said instead of taking in people from “shithole” countries, the U.S. "should have more people from Norway" social media users mocked his comment pointing out that for people living in the happiest country in the world the United States is the shithole.

Trump's controversial remarks calling countries in Africa and others like Haiti and El Salvador "shitholes", which were widely condemned at home and abroad for being racist, were followed by: "We should have more people from Norway." Some took to social media to highlight Norway's whiteness but others mockingly informed the president that Norwegians have no reason to go to the U.S.

Norwegians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, and live in a country with a consistently high human development index thanks to a cradle-to-grave welfare state that would be unimaginable in Trump's U.S.. A professor of journalism in Stockholm, who moved them from the states posted sarcastically:

Another twitter user listed Norway's accomplishments, among them free public universities, and guessed Norwegians reading U.S. news would ask themselves: "Why in the world would we want to go to that #shithole country?"  

A British man also pointed his country's National Health Service, public education and labor rights as reasons he "would never move to the U.S."

To many, Trumps comments revealed not only racism against Black and brown countries but also a profound ignorance of highly developed countries like Norway.

Sunday, 7 January 2018



This is a very good article by Siti Nadzirah Samsudin is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore, carried by The Malay Mail Online of 1 January 2018

Siti Nadzirah has touched on many points I have made over the past five years about the decline in news media (whether print, website or digital replica - i.e. e-paper) being due to the decline in print advertising revenue which commands high advertising fees as readership shifts to websites and digital replica, but where website and digital advertising revenues command very much lower fees.

"The drop in advertising revenue is not surprising, given the shift in readership from print to digital and the fact that advertising fees on digital platforms are far lower than that for print. A full-page newspaper ad here can cost over S$30,000, but the equivalent on a news website would cost only a fraction of that."

Instead, Siti Nadzirah recommends a currently rather controversial but otherwise viable alternative which could save news media - i.e. that news media charge subscriptions for its readers to be able to access articles on media publishers' website or digital replica, much like we pay the news stand price for print newspapers and print magazines. I'll come back to this in greater detail further down. 

Whilst it may seem that a website or digital replica only publication is cheaper than print media, since it saves the media publisher on newsprint, materials, production and distribution costs but according to an infographic on Page 64 of Singapore Press Holdings 2016 annual report - herewith included below; newsprint costs accounted for only 7% of Singapore Press Holdings' operational expenditure in 2016, whilst materials, production and distribution costs accounted for 13% - or 20% of operational expenditure in total. On the other hand, staff costs accounted for the lion's share of 44% of operational expenditure, followed by other operational expenses at 18%.

(If you cannot see the infographic below, please enable viewing in your e-mail client)


Source - Singapore Press Holdings 2016 Annual report

Or click directly on the link below.

The bottom line here is that media operational costs are still very high, even if there are no printing and distribution costs.

For example, the now defunct Malaysian Insider - a wholly website-based publication, was reportedly costing its owner, The Edge Media Group, RM500,000 per month or RM10 million over 20 months to keep afloat, until its owner decided to call it a day and close down the publication.

Charging subscriptions (or what is called a 'paywall') to read news on media websites or digital replica on one's PC, tablet or smartphone has been rather controversial, especially when readers have been able to access the articles for free online, all this while and  yes, there have been cases where publications which introduced a paywall have found it to have backfired, especially when readers just shift to publications which let them read more or less the same news for free on their website or digital replica.

Media publishers, including many major newspapers worldwide have put their print articles on their website as well since way back in the 1990s, and whilst readers had to buy the newspaper or magazine to be able to read it, however they could read the same for free on their website and since readers have become accustomed to being able to read articles for free online or in digital form, they have come to regard free access to the works of the labour of others as their entitlement in the cyber world.

Back then however, Internet penetration in most countries was low, even in the advanced countries such as the United States where Internet penetration was estimated to be around 30% in 1996. Moreover, Internet access back then was slow via those screechy 57.6 Kbps dial-up modems - yes 57.6 kilobits per second compared to 77.32 Mbps (megabits per second) average fixed Internet broadband speed in the United States as of December 2017, according to Singapore tops the list at 161.21 Mbps and the world average was 40.71 Mbps.

As for mobile Internet speeds, Norway tops the list at 61.20 Mbps, the United States at 27.22 Mbps, lightly below the world average of 21.25 Mbps.

Fixed Internet speeds in Malaysia were 22.15 Mbps as of December 2017, whilst mobile Internet speeds were 15.96 Mbps.

Also when one could only access the Internet on a PC or an personal digital assistant (PDA) back in the 1990s, today one can also access the Internet of smartphones and tablets and as prices of notebook PCs have dropped to very affordable levels, such as under RM1,000 for an entry level notebook today, compared to several thousands of ringgit for a notebook back in mid 1990s and equally so, very affordable smartphones and tablets costing below RM500 for entry level models, compared to thousands of ringgit in the early smartphone days, Internet penetration has exploded not only worldwide but also in Malaysia, where according to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's Internet Users Survey 2017, 76.9% of people surveyed in 2016 said that they are Internet users.

So as the majority of people can now access media articles on their PCs, tablets and smartphones and mostly still for free, this however has put media publishers under increasing financial pressure to survive and these pressures may increasingly force them to resort to charging readers subscription to read their articles, or otherwise close shop, unless they have a rich sugar daddy or sugar daddies who are prepared to keep them in business despite losses, especially to serve political objectives. 

Despite the general antipathy towards have to pay to read media articles on website or digital media,  Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017 found that 20% of Malaysians are pay for online access to news media, including subscriptions, donationss, or one-off purchases, compared to 16% of Singaporeans, 21% of Hong Kongers, 12% of South Koreans and a mere 6% in the U.K.

Malaysiakini is one Malaysia-based alternative media publication which has been charging subscription to read its articles for close to 20 year now and unlike the now defunct Malaysian Insider, Nut Graph and others which have closed shop, Malaysiakini has managed to more than break even and remain afloat from subscription, syndication and other revenue streams.

At first sight, it may seem that the subscription model works for Malaysiankini since there are enough Malaysians willing to pay to read the alternative news, mostly political, which they publish online, especially when any print publication in Malaysia risks losing its publishing license for publishing such news, since until now, online publications in Malaysia do not need a publishing license.

However, this argument does not seem very credible, considering that there are many other competing online publications such as Free Malaysia Today, The Malaysian Insight and several others which publish alternative political viewpoints online for free, though many of them are kept in business by mostly un-named sugar daddies.

As for the newspapers and magazines, they may eventually find themselves forced by circumstances to charge subscriptions to read their content online or in digital form, and whether enough readers will be willing to subscribe is left to be seen.

The entitlement mentality of expecting to be able to access articles and content for free online is still very strong and such a move may prove to be very controversial amongst the vast majority of Netizens, who are either unaware or don't care that most journalists, musicians, video and other content creators and production staff need to be paid for their work in order to survive financially.

After all, we are willing to pay a reasonable price for goods and services in the physical world, yet most of us would balk at having to pay to access content in the virtual or digital world.

For example, peer-to-peer file sharing services such as the long defunct Napster had allowed people to obtain music for free online and Netizens had justified this due to the "high price" of music CDs charged by the giant music publishing corporations, and some see this as the online equivalent of "Robin Hood" stealing from the rich to give to the poor but forget that by them doing so, deprive the musicians who created the music of the royalty income rightfully due to them.

Most of such Netizens would not themselves be willing to work for free, yet expect others to work for free to provide content free for them. Scroungers!

Siti Nadzirah's article published by The Malay Mail Online and referred to here follows below.

Yours truly


Getting Singaporeans to pay for news — Siti Nadzirah Samsudin | What You Think

JANUARY 1 — The recent upheavals in the news industry in Singapore have sparked a conversation on the future of news organisations. How do media companies like the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which announced that it would terminate 230 staff members by year-end, remain competitive on a rapidly changing media landscape? What can small online publications like The Middle Ground, which ceases operation in 2018, do to get a slice of the pie?

The truth is that their future remains bleak without financial support from readers, given the trend in declining advertising revenue. And digital advertising revenue is monopolised by Google and Facebook. According to Fortune, they are expected to earn “half of all revenue worldwide” this year. Importantly, financial support from readers can also help to limit the influence of advertisers on media organisations and their reporting.

Research by World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) found an increasing trend in audience revenue globally. In 2012, newspapers earned US$80 billion (S$107 billion) in audience revenue and US$87 billion in advertisement revenue. In 2016, these figures were US$86 billion and US$68 billion respectively.

The drop in advertising revenue is not surprising, given the shift in readership from print to digital and the fact that advertising fees on digital platforms are far lower than that for print. A full-page newspaper ad here can cost over S$30,000 (around RM90,000), but the equivalent on a news website would cost only a fraction of that.


It is the drop in advertising revenue, especially from print media, that is hurting newspaper companies.

For example, while SPH has seen some growth in its digital circulations for various newspaper titles such as The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao, its annual revenue from its media business has dropped in consecutive years.

No one can quite say whether we may one day see digital advertising rates rise to be as high as those in print. But clearly, few media executives will bet on that.

The crux of the issue lies in giving readers a reason to provide financial support. This is a challenging but essential task.

One way that publications could appeal for readers to pay for content is to be upfront about their mission and challenges.

The Guardian is forthcoming in its financial needs. It includes an appeal for readers to either become a supporter for US$6.99 a month or to make a one-off contribution at the end of every news article.

In 2016, it has more than doubled the number of readers who regularly provide financial support — more than 800,000 readers from 140 countries are either subscribers or members, or give monthly or one-off contributions.

Reasons for readers to support The Guardian include the quality of its publication, its perspective on the news and self-declared cause of making “the world a better, fairer place… [and keeping] the powerful honest”.

According to its CEO David Pemsel, its supporters may also do so because of its unique ownership model. The Guardian is an independent company protected by the Scott Trust — any financial gains would “directly support journalism and not shareholders’ pockets”.

Building a relationship with its readers is also a core tenet for Dennik N in Slovakia — an online paper that publishes a print edition every weekday. Its journalists are encouraged to respond to comments left on their articles. Subscribers have access to a private Facebook group managed by the publication where they can “complain, comment or pitch their own stories”.

News organisations could lean on big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Knowing how, when and where content is being shared and by whom could provide organisations with key insights on readership patterns and trends. AI could provide readers with new experiences to consume content.

Singapore’s news organisations are also embarking on their own strategies. TODAY ceased its print publication to focus on its digital and mobile platforms, recognising that “readers increasingly want their news on the go”. The Straits Times is going for a greater pool of overseas readers, as currently 30 per cent of its online readers come from countries such as Australia and the US.

Why pay for news?

While there is no denying the attractiveness of free content, paid media and free content can exist alongside one another, as they serve different functions.

Why would readers pay for their news? According to a 2017 survey in the US by Media Insight Project, readers subscribe to a publication (print and/or digital) because it excels at covering topics that they care about. Others do so because their friends and family are already subscribers. Non-payers, on the other hand, are just not interested enough in the news and “think that there is plenty of free content available”.

Figures from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017 on digital news consumption show that 16 per cent of Singaporeans pay for online access (this includes ongoing subscription, donations, or one-off purchases).

While this is higher than in the UK (6 per cent) and South Korea (12 per cent), it is lower than countries like Malaysia (20 per cent) and Hong Kong (21 per cent). This has implication for the sustainability of media in Singapore.

If journalism in Singapore fails because of a lack of financial support from readers, it is Singaporeans who ultimately end up the poorer for it.

Access to news and information is crucial to the development of an informed citizenry. News provides us with facts and different perspectives, critical for an increasingly diverse polity and complex world. Studies by researchers have shown that informed citizens are “better citizens”. They are more likely to participate in politics and more knowledgeable on political issues.

News organisations have the mammoth task of providing credible and up-to-date information, run a profitable business, and nurture and grow its base of loyal readers.

The rest is up to the readers.  — TODAY

*Siti Nadzirah Samsudin is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Chart: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

The current fever pitch exuberance and euphoria over cryptocurrencies, including the currently leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, reminds me of the run up to the dotcom bust in 2000.

As of right now, 1.00am on 21 December 2017, there are 1,368 crypto currencies listed on

Is there enough money in the world to raise the value of these digital alternative fiat currencies vis-a-vis fiat establishment currencies such as the "almighty" fiat toilet paper U.S. dollar to the astronomical "value" of Bitcoin?

I think not and my gut feeling is that with more and more people jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon is a prelude to "dotcon crash 2.0".

It is more likely that speculators in Bitcoin, especially those who had bought earlier when its "value" in fiat U.S. dollars was much lower, will take their profit from Bitcoin and use it to speculate on currently cheaper fiat cryptocurrencies, whose "values" are rising and over time, the "values" of these growing number of fiat cryptocurrencies will level out across each respective fiat cryptocurrency.

Below professional statistics firm Statista compares the charts of the speculative "value" of tulips and the speculative "value" of Bitcoin.

All this exuberance over Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is just another example of IT scheiss.

• Chart: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

Dyfed Loesche, 4-5 minutes

Out of Bounds

Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

During the so-called Tulip Mania contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and very fashionable tulip reached extremely high levels and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. It was the first reasonably well document asset bubble in history and until now is referred to as the prime example of a market folly.

What this chart indicates is that while technology has advanced greatly over the course of the past 400 years, human psychology has remained the same. Some observers think the rally around the crypto currency Bitcoin might replace Tulip Mania as a reference for a badly overinflated asset bubble prone to burst at any moment.

Then again, there already has been deflation from the peak of a little more than 19,900 to 17,600 dollars per Bitcoin. But nobody knows if the puncture will let the balloon slowly deflate or it will rip it apart, crash landing the Bitcoin.

Infographic: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins | Statista


This chart shows a comparison of price developments during the tulip mania in 1637 and the current bitcoin bonanza of 2017.

Also, check out Matthias Chang's video:-
"2018 Countdown To 2nd Global Financial Tsunami-Malaysia Will Be Devastated. UMNO/Najib Sleeping"

He thinks all this will eventually lead to a major world war between geo-strategic powers. 


Friday, 24 November 2017


Many of you may not have heard of The Malaysian Digest.

Well it is an online media publication which I check out fairly regularly and kudos to The Malaysian Digest for publishing this article below which provides the views of several people on the ground who have issues with having to deal with so called 'Millennials' in their workplace and in real-world social interaction.

I've heard similar complaints from employers about 'Millennials' a.k.a. 'Generation Y' employees, especially over their entitlement mentality, and I too have observed such traits, even in older adults; so the article below resonates with me.

Without further ado, The Malaysian Digest article.

Yours trully


Social Media Is Turning More Millennials Into Superficial Beings

24 Nov 2017 12:04

Published on Friday, 24 November 2017 09:03

Before I start, you may want take this with a pinch of salt as I am merely expressing my views.

Now, open up your social media accounts, and tell me what do you see?

If you answered endless selfies, ‘live updates’ of what I’m eating/drinking, what’s going on in my life and how my life and job is better than yours – and it annoys you, this article might pique your interest (as it has some answers to the thoughts that might’ve crossed your minds).

Nevertheless, if you are one of those guilty of doing all of the above, read it too, to understand yourselves better, I hope.

Moving on, have you come across the #FirstWorldProblem hashtag?

I personally feel it is an insult to actual problems like the Rohingya refugee crisis, kids in Africa suffering from starvation and malnutrition, Syrian families displaced in their worn-torn country.

Those are legitimate problems; not your dark circle or eye bags, not your chubby cheeks, not the fact that your iPhone 6s is out of trend, and certainly not the fact that your bank account doesn’t allow you to order your fourth Caramel Macchiato of the week from Starbucks.

We cannot deny that social media has deluded us – yes, you and I both – despite making our lives tremendously easier. It has tainted the way we look at life and made a huge percentage of society – mostly hailing from the Generation Y (Millennials) whom dominate the social media sphere – into becoming superficial beings.

Reality Check: How Our Superficial Lifestyle Is Affecting Our Jobs

“In my five years working as a manager, I noticed that the younger generation or fresh graduates who enter the workforce are difficult to manage as they think they know it all or know better,” Sylvia Poh revealed.

“While there are those who are humble and are sincerely willing to learn from their more experienced peers, most employees from the new generation are narcissistic, conceited, lazy, want everything to be laid out for them on a silver platter and prefer being spoon fed rather than sought knowledge or gain new skills for themselves.”

If the brutal truth bruised your ego, then be prepared to be burned because that’s not even the worst part as the media manager bewailed that these inexperienced employees, who are fresh out of universities, are bold about their spoilt neediness and transparently rude and upfront in making their dissatisfaction known.

“Once, I, being a concern manager had asked one of my staff if he understood my orders, and I was willing to explain myself again in any case. But the staff rudely replied, ‘I can just Google it!’,” Sylvia recalled.

“It caught me off guard as I was being nice enough to teach him. He was disinterested in what I was saying and made it as if my advice was useless as Google has all the answers to his questions.”

Sylvia’s next unfortunate encounter will strike a nerve amongst many of us because the woman with two decades of experience under her belt underlined that they are unreceptive to constructive criticism – a penalty that majority of us are guilty of.

“I get this almost on a daily basis from the young ones, when I tell them they didn’t do a good job, they tell me off ‘No, I did well’ or ‘I thought I did good already,’ when they in fact never achieved the high standards that I set.

“They would then submit to me sloppy work, which in the end demands me to clear up their mess and they proudly take credit for all my hard work at the end of the day,” she sighed.

Guess sometimes we forget that our superiors are merely doing their part in moulding us to be better employees, and the truth about ourselves is a bitter pill to swallow – I know because I hate criticisms too, but listening is not such a bad thing, instead of retaliating.

And Earth to Millennials, “life is not a bed of roses,” Sylvia precisely emphasises, and hit the nail on the head saying “humility” makes all the difference in the world.

“If you’re humble, always willing to learn and improve yourself, you can become a better version of yourself and one day the best, that even people will acknowledge that as a fact when you are.

“But you don’t become the best by self-declaring you’re the best or just believing you are the best because you look in the mirror and recite your daily mantra as there has to be a basis and proof – and social media likes and followers etc. will not suffice,” she advised.

“At the end of the day, people must remember this, only God is perfect, and if they acknowledge this fact (for those who have a religion), it can make all the difference to the way they view the world and live their lives.”

And Yet, We Continue To Whine And Demand

Admittedly slacking at work myself and thinking that it will go unnoticed, talking with a 63-year-old employer by the name, Mikhail Rayqal (pseudonym) later left me with a view that all employers have an “all-seeing eye”.

“Especially in smaller companies because the chain of communication is easier to monitor and control,” he shared.

“So if you think that no one is reporting to your boss about how often you’re on your phone, or how long you take your breaks, or how you behave towards your colleagues and superiors; then your year-end bonus may have seen a reduction,” Mikhail conveyed with a laugh.

While my superficial generation simply demand for a bonus because it is our right, here’s where we’re wrong because our rights and needs are two separate things, similar to how multitasking doesn’t equate to efficiency.

“A lot of these young employees proclaim that they’re masters of multitasking, when in actuality, they’re masters of none,” he bluntly opined.

“I see this during meetings, where my employees freely continue typing away, replying to text messages, answering calls, and worst of all, have private chit chats and laugh away while the meeting is in motion,” adding that it is a sign of disrespect for your superiors and colleagues.

“It still shocks me that most fresh graduates have the nerve to ask what we (the company) have to offer when it should be the other way around,” he slapped his forehead.

“Back during my time, we were eager to prove to our employers what we have to bring to the table and are actually able to stand proud by our work because we (humbly) know that it is of quality, yet at the same time we still ask how we can improve on it.

“Though today’s youth, they want to be the best out of the bunch, yet produce mediocre work, are more concerned with quantity rather than quality, and what baffles me so is the fact that they claim their work is indeed the best.”

I also released a laugh when the SME owner, who has been in the workforce for almost four decades, wittily asked if our existence will cease to exist if we’re absent from social media for a eight measly hours?

“I’ve come across employees taking photos of themselves whilst doing work, taking videos of bundles of papers and saying things like ‘hustling through the day’ and even snapshots of their morning cup of coffee at the pantry.

“Why do you do it? It’s bad enough that your employers are noticing these silly habits and to top it all off, it does NOT contribute to your career (and personal) growth,” he communicated and asked the youths to ask themselves what do their bosses and superiors think of them.

So, what should we (I) do?

“Wake up and realise that everything takes time. You are not the best version of yourself (yet), but you can be if you acknowledge your own shortcomings and work upon it.

“Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong. If you can acknowledge that life is a never-ending learning process, then why can’t you apply the same principle at work?.”

Are We Really Flawless Or Plain Oblivious?

This led me to ponder why some Millennials find it a challenging task to acknowledge our own incompetence – so much so it was dubbed as the generation of ‘Overconfident Airheads’.

Dr Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, Chair of the Board of Governance, Amnesty Malaysia, enlightened me about the Dunning-Kruger effect – which defines how incompetent people overestimate their ability and are unaware of their shortcomings as oppose to competent people who underestimate themselves.

Okay, let me break the scenario down for you with examples that have been provided by the international psychologist:

Scenario 1: Daily Life or Intrapersonal Relationship

An uber driver thinking they are good at reading maps, is engaging and excels at driving. Their rating by riders reflect a completely different story where they are clueless with GPRS, are an annoying talker and drive disruptively.

Scenario 2: Family

Mothers and daughters: a mother convinced of her superior mothering skills where she thinks she has always been there for her daughter and is her best friend when in fact the daughter has felt largely unheard and unseen and feels smothered.

Scenario 3: Friendships and Relationships

A single guy thinking they are quite charismatic with the opposite sex and that’s the number one thing they bring to the table when in fact, girls think he is off putting, slow and with zero charm.

Scenario 4: Workplace Environment

A boss thinking ‘I am good at investments and making sharp business decisions, my team loves me’ whereas reality is the boss was in the right place at the right time and got lucky, they actually overpay on acquiring deals, had to drop other deals because they chose bad and unethical investments and most of their team is seeking therapy because they are that abusive.

Scenario 5: Society

This is rife on social media. Assuming that one is the toast of town because of what they are wearing, who they are eating with and where they are travelling when truthfully, a majority of people find the clothes unbecoming/unfitting for the situation, feel they have a unhealthy and problematic diet and impulse control and that the travel photos are opportunistic without any real meaning, true connection, or authenticity. It is lacking what many people would call ‘the real deal’.

This, honestly explains why some people are just… well plain oblivious of their mistakes. It also got me reading up more about the effect, and this particularly piece I find interesting, might help you understand it better, or you can watch the video below.

But in a nutshell, if you’re wondering what’s the cause of the Dunning-Kruger effect and if this can be reversed or improved, here’s what Dr Anjhula has to say:

“Being developmentally stunted, the fear of missing out, narcissism, immaturity and the lack of opportunity and willingness to increase knowledge, exposure, training, and education,” are some of the reasons she shared.

“Once this is rectified, those with the Dunning-Kruger effect can make the leap and see the difference in their ineptitude before and their aptitude after.”

Note also that social media or the rapid advancement of technology has a positive relationship to the Dunning-Kruger effect due to the fact that social media is often based on a ‘mutual appreciation club.’

“This refers to, ‘If I like your post, then you like mine,’ yet the platitudes are empty and many people are weary of correcting others on social media, providing feedback or another point of view for fear of sitting on the ‘wrong’ side of the fence and mass cyber bullying,” Dr Anjhula explained.

Seeing that social media indeed has a hand in our own ignorance, maybe we should consider taking a hiatus? (Gasp!)

Hello, Is Social Media Detox Calling You?

Syazwani Dayana is off-the-grid, because let’s face it, social media is “A waste of time”, in her own words.

“It’s draining and rather exasperating because most of the posts or updates don’t add value and I’m particular about what and whom I invest my time and energy in,” the 24-year-old heaved a sigh of relief.

“I also discovered that the relationships I form with people through social media were neither deep nor meaningful and it irked me that some have the sense to call us ‘friends’ simply because we pressed the ‘Friend’ or ‘Follow’ button.”

Note to self: Friendship is not based on ‘likes’ or ‘observing’ the timely updates posted on social media but rather the connection shared between two souls and a group of like-minded friends.

This, dear readers, is a point I feel maybe some of you, can deeply relate to.

“It’s liberating – I’ve more time for more important things; I began to appreciate being present and the people who genuinely invest in me,” she quipped with a huge smile carved on her face.

“I’ve fewer friends now, but at least our friendships are much deeper and meaningful because we’re able to appreciate each other’s time and presence more,” – which I responded with an agreeing nod.

As an observer myself rather than a social media-holic, I do notice the superficiality rising on various platforms.

Yasmin Ridzuan notes that these people who eagerly share their life events, use the platform for emotional outpourings, and openly criticise and troll other people always has her feeling anxious.

The 22-year-old however shared, “I’m not saying that it’s wrong to share your two cents on social media, but please put a limit because the more we reveal, the more we allow people to scrutinise us.

“And that, my friends, is an ugly, ugly, feeling.”

The fresh graduate points out that these days, no one posts something on social media (especially Instagram) without having the slightest intention to project a certain image of themselves to the masses – something which she too admits being guilty of (I nod, here).

“I soon realised that I’ve become one of those who indulged herself in narcissism and I backed away as soon as it felt like a competition I never signed up for.

“Mild narcissism is good because it can help with our self-esteem; but the moment it starts to intoxicate us.

“Well, be prepared when it backfires, because it will damage your self-esteem and confidence, especially those who rely on your social media for validation.”

Why must we need validation from anyone on the way we look, dress, what we say, what we eat or where we travel to, first and foremost?

And in fact, I believe our obsession does go beyond some boundaries that it creates an imaginary character – one that people we love or close to us, might not even recognise in real life.

For example, the long captions we take time to craft or the quotes we take the trouble to Google search just to type it in conjunction with our beloved’s birthday celebration, during special occasions, or simply to tell them we love them.

“On Mother’s Day we strive to come up with the most heart-warming caption for the most aesthetically-pleasing photo of our mother that will be posted on Instagram, yet in reality, we fail greatly to attend to our mother’s need let alone be the daughter she had hoped for us to be once upon a time,” were Yasmin’s hard-hitting words.

This left me at one very good thought…

Are we really living the life or living a lie for the sake of earning heart emojis and thumb-up signals?

Now look into the mirror, tell yourself honestly, which resonates with you more?

*The writer of this piece is a recovered social media addict who hopes to knock some sense into the superficial generation.


Thursday, 23 November 2017


Hot on the heels of the revelation that detailed personal data of the 46.2 million mobile phone accounts in Malaysia were stolen and is being sold online to crooks who call you and impersonate your bank, the police of other institutions and talk you into revealing your critical banking or credit card details or deceive you into parting with your hard earned money; now ride sharing facilitator Uber reveals that 57 million of its customers' personal data had been compromised.

Do you still trust all these online and digital apps and services after all this?

The Internet and Cyberspace is a very promiscuous domain where crooks can carry out their nefarious activities behind the veil of anonymity and beyond the jurisdiction of the laws of the countries where their victims reside, so I keep my access to such sites and services to the minimum, so as to have the lowest exposure to being hacked.

BTW. I have never used Uber

Yours trully


Should Uber users be worried about data hack?


uberPARIS: The theft of the personal data of 57 million Uber riders and drivers highlights how vulnerable we make ourselves when we install apps on our mobile phones and tablet computers.

What happened?

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Tuesday that hackers had compromised personal data from some 57 million riders and drivers in a breach kept hidden for a year.

Monday, 20 November 2017


Following on from my earlier post, Move up the Value Chain and be Less Employable this The Malaysian Insight article provides deeper insights into a major aspect of the problems contributing to graduate unemployment.

At least in my earlier commentary on this issue referred to, there were some Malaysian graduates, including engineering graduates who to their credit were willing to take up cleaning jobs normally done by foreign workers (indentured wage slaves), which few Malaysians today are willing to do. Several years back I covered the online employment agency Jobstreet's media conference about the state of employment and  learned that some information technology (IT) graduates who were on Jobstreet were very choosy and refused to take jobs opportunities for which they were suited simply because it was not their "ideal" job.

So whilst these graduates waited for their 'ideal' job to come along, their indulgent parents were willing to support them and as a result, some of them had been unemployed for over a year.

I can relate to what Skim Latihan 1Malaysia organiser Norashikin Ismail who calls the current stock of young graduates the ‘strawberry generation’, who will up and quit when they are told off for doing their jobs badly.
Some will show up for three days, and then run off. If they get told off by their bosses, they will run off," she told The Malaysian Insight.

My friend and neighbour has a small company which packs and markets medical examination gloves under his own brand name and needed some additional workers to pack gloves.

Another neighbour, a taxi driver living nearby his workplace had asked him to employ his two boys, both unemployed school leavers, so he offered them jobs but they just did not turn up for work.

He managed to get a worker, a school leaver who had completed his SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education) from a welfare home for teenage boys and this person worked for about three or so days and did not turn up for work after that.

From what I was told, this young man was frequently taking and receiving calls on his phone during working hours and when he was told not to use his phone during working hours, except during breaks, he started to visit the toilet very frequently during working hours, presumably to use his phone.

So it appears that unable to use his phone during working hours, he stopped turning up for work.

If this is the attitude of a young man from a welfare home, then what more the attitude of those young people with rich parents who let him stay at home for free, indulge them with the latest and 'greatest' smartphone every six months, give them all the pocket money to spend on expensive lattes whilst hanging out with friends in hip, hype, happening and cool chain cafes, who throw in a car as well and have a bevy of maids to do everything for them, including wipe and  wash their bums for them after they defaecate.

I've also heard complaints by public relations companies about the entitlement mentality amongst Gen Y and Millennial staff who have such a high opinion of themselves and their capabilities, even before they have proven themselves in their work.

Well, this is Malaysia's pampered and spoiled generation - the much touted "Generation Y" and "Millennials" generation - the Internet Generation - most of whom go around with faces buried in their and tablet devices, who know social media backwards but do not know how to write a proper job application.

Welcome to that much touted "Knowledge-based, Information and Services Society" and to the "Internet Generation" who are Malaysia's "future".

Remember. The Roman Empire declined and fell after the Roman elite grew too dependent on their slaves to do everything for them, whilst they (the Roman elite) indulged in several days long feasts where they ate and drank till they were full, induced themselves to vomit out the food and drink they had consumed right where they sat and had their slave crawl under the table wiping up the mess on the floor below them.

"That's not to say the Romans were unfamiliar with throwing up, or that they never did so on purpose. On the contrary, in ancient times vomiting seems to have been a standard part of the fine-dining experience. In his Moral Epistles the Roman philosopher Seneca writes, Cum ad cenandum discubuimus, alius sputa deterget, alius reliquias temulentorum [toro] subditus colligit, "When we recline at a banquet, one [slave] wipes up the spittle; another, situated beneath [the table], collects the leavings of the drunks." OK, it doesn't literally say puke, but come on. The orator Cicero, in Pro Rege Deiotaro, says matter-of-factly that Julius Caesar "expressed a desire to vomit after dinner"(vomere post cenam te velle dixisses), and elsewhere suggests that the dictator took emetics for this purpose."

Whilst many Malaysians do gluttonously gorge, we aren't quite as decadent as the ancient Roman elite - well at least not yet.

The Malaysian Insight article follows below.

Yours Trully



Bad attitude, not lack of skill, is jobless graduates’ biggest hurdle

The Malaysian Insight

Yasmin Ramlan Updated 7 hours ago · Published on 20 Nov 2017 7:00AM ·

Bad attitude, not lack of skill, is jobless graduates’ biggest hurdle Skim Latihan 1Malaysia organiser Norashikin Ismail calls the current stock of young graduates the ‘strawberry generation’, who will up and quit when they are told off for doing their jobs badly. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, November 20, 2017. FOR many out-of-work graduates, a spoilt attitude and unrealistic expectations are the main impediments to them getting employed, a training and job placement programme organiser said.

A high dropout rate of graduates who signed up for Skim Latihan 1Malaysia (SL1M) showed the problem with most of the jobless youth was not a lack of skill, but bad work ethics and attitudes, said programme organiser Norashikin Ismail.

“Some will show up for three days, and then run off. If they get told off by their bosses, they will run off," she told The Malaysian Insight.

“They are all from the ‘strawberry generation’... when they don’t do their jobs well and their bosses tell them off, they take offence. 

"They are very proud to be graduates, but they don’t want to do the work,” she said.