Friday, September 29, 2006

My Mistake: Smoking

I started smoking at the age of 14. Nobody had any influence on my addiction to cigarettes when I started. It was that one night, I had a dream of smoking Benson & Hedges. It was a very nice feeling. The next day, I illegally jumped out of the school fence and bought myself a small pack of Benson and a box of matches. I smoked a stick and it was the same feeling as in my dream. I then became addicted.

The night on the same day, I was about to have my cigarette in the school toilet. To my surprise, I found some of my closest friends smoked too. They were very shocked in the beginning and then were very happy that I too smoke. It was a very memorial night.
For 28 years, I had nothing against smoking. In fact, I thought it was a moral obligation. It was the physical embodiment for my individual spirit. Smoking was the main reason why I had been very productive. Never had I questioned anything regarding deteriorating health or anything on the economical factors. To make it even worse, I used to point out that smokers are important to the nation’s economy as we pay ‘tax’. Non-smokers should even thank us for this. For some reason, friends just cannot argue with me.

Three months ago, something did happen when I was presenting a seminar where a gallant participant embarrassed me of my smoking addiction. Since then I started to rethink on this addiction. Finally I quit.

The truth about smoking, in my own words now:

Think of the money I could save.

Very difficult to give up - not looking forward to withdrawal symptoms.

Bad for health, too expensive, very hard drug to give up.

I wish I had never started.

It doesn’t do me any harm but it doesn’t do me any good.

Horrible really when it boils down to it - just say you can’t taste things properly and it is right when you stop smoking things taste a lot better.

Filthy habit.

Years ago they were cheaper - it is getting too expensive now.

Will kill me in the end if I don’t stop.

Anybody who starts today knows of the down side. When I started nothing was said about health side.

It’s all pointless really.

My children keep telling me to give up.

My chest is probably black!! I would be healthier.

No plus points - stained teeth, blackened lungs, bad arteries, etc.

The harm a cigarette can do, I realise that I am throwing away my money to kill myself!!!

Effect on my wife and children.

It is an idiotic thing to start to do.

For the small amount of pleasure it gives me, it’s not worth the hassle I get.

I would be richer.

Offensive habit.

It’s a killer.

Because it comes to control your life - I have a physical craving which stops me doing other things.

Don’t like smell on clothes.

Feel I’m addicted to a drug.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Outta Surfin Stuffs

Find seven hearts from this picture.

Your sleuthing gear includes a micro listening device for those not-to-be-missed conversations between bosses. You also get two discreet mirrors which can be used singularly or can be built into a simple periscope—essential for snooping over cubicle walls. And don’t forget the two-in-one invisible ink pen and decoder that lets you record classified information without being discovered. In short order, you’ll be the CEO—that’s Chief Espionage Organizer-and hot on the trail of the latest office coup!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Mistake: Neglecting Solat

Back in Montreal, September 1983:

Brother: Are you a muslim?
Azer Mantessa: Yes, I am a muslim.
Brother: Do you pray five times a day?
Azer Mantessa: *scratch head* Errr aaaa errr aaaa errr

In 1977, I was accepted in a fully boarding school in Kedah. I was then 13 years old. It was the first time of my life being away from home, away from family and relatives and certainly away from my parents constant monitoring.

This sudden change had changed my life in many ways. I met many new friends who are intellectually competitive, stayed in an environment which demanded a lot of my independence and learned many new things. It took me only two weeks where I started to neglect solat. I was not so sure on how it happened but for sure, nobody ever reminded me to pray when it was the time to do so.

The school made it compulsory for us to perform maghrib at the mosque. In mid 1978, I started to even ‘ponteng’ solat maghrib when me and some of my friends thought it was so cool to play hideout from the prefects. Those days, that we get ourselves caught by the prefects was considered as a cool thing. We will consider it funny and something to be proud of when our names were announced as those who were caught. Having these kinds of attitudes, I took solat duty lightly.

In September 1982, I was sent to Welland, Ontario, Canada to further my studies. There were 20 of us Malaysian students who were in the same high school for our grade 13th. We had to obtain a high school diploma before we can apply to further our studies in the universities. I stayed with a dutch Canadian family who were very secular. They never really bother about any religious matter and things started to be getting worse; I did not perform solat for the whole 12 months there.

Luckily, when I came to Montreal (I got accepted as an undergraduate student in one of the university there), a Pakistani Muslim brother took responsibility in guidance us Malaysian students towards Islamic practices.

Neglecting solat is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. Something which I could not explain but below are the criteria of me in those years of taking this duty lightly:

* I was not a focus student – Education was not my priority.
* My intelligence was below those who do perform solat regularly.
* I was a very nervous person.
* No time management whatsoever.
* I started smoking (Luckily I never take drug and alcohol throughout my life).
* I used very inconvenient words like fuck, butuh, pukimak hang, kepala hotak hang etc in my daily conversation.
* An average and many times below average student.
* Neglected Quran totally.
* Only proud as a ‘muslim’.
* No objective in life.
* Lack of humility.
* Always in a rush.
* Quite impatience.
* Required to be the center of attention with my nonsense talking.
* Too much on TV and movies.
* Non-hygienic.
* Forgetful.
* Lack of leadership.
* Lack of thinking.
* Lack of creativity.
* Lack of intuition.
* Slow in computing.
* Selfish.
* Lazy.
* Loved pornography.
* Spent money unnecessarily.
* Narrow minded.
* Lack of good lucks.
* Blamed other people for being unlucky.
* Totally disorganized.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My Mistake - Misunderstanding

Like an old house that need a lot of improvements...

I’m a 42-year old guy who makes many mistakes, too many that only God knows the real counts. One of the greatest mistakes is being misunderstood or failing to understand. I consider misunderstanding as one of the greatest mistakes I’ve been making because of two main reasons: Lack of communication skills thus lead me to keep doing it.

Communicating is not just about talking or writing or sending messages or commenting or analyzing etc but it is about two parties sharing thoughts or ideas or data or anything which requires both sides to listen and to talk.

My computer and the internet are demonstrating a very good definition of communicating. This is where my modem sends a signal to a server somewhere in the world, the server then receives the signal, and the server does the processing and sends back another signal to my modem which is then processed by my computer.

Given the analogy, talking is then sending a signal and listening is then receiving and processing the signal. Talking is then an action while listening is then of two actions. When people say listening is very hard to do, I do agree. I do hear but do I listen?

There many reasons why listening is very difficult. Among are: different backgrounds (gender, race, religion, language, status, origin, culture, position etc), knowledge, experiences and histories. These different factors, lead the way how I view and interpret subjects and objects that may cause totally different from other people.

Many times in my life, when I misunderstood certain issues, it leads to clashes. There are times, out of these clashes; I say what I choose instead of choosing what I say. Clashes happened throughout all stages of my life: during earlier childhood, kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, university, marriage, and working. It occurred between me and my parents, siblings, relatives, wife, kids, my kampong people, friends, superiors, colleagues, subordinates, clients, suppliers, the government officers, even strangers and even chatters and probably bloggers too (I started blogging since July this year).

Fortunately, 14 years ago, the company I used to work with sent me to a seminar for effective communicating. I came to learn that the first step toward eliminating misunderstanding is to realize that the other party and I are all both different and the same. Because of the different backgrounds, there are different points of view. Yet, we are the same in that we have a need to be understood and appreciated. Knowledge of these simple facts is necessary to end misunderstanding.

I was taught that the next time I feel myself disagreeing with someone; I must stop and ask myself how their world view differs from mine. I must try to put myself in their place. I must try to understand their background. This is how I can learn not to rush to judgment and not to jump to conclusions.I also learned that should opinions still differ, both parties should be respected for the differences.

Unfortunately, though I have learned the ‘effective communication’ skills, still I keep doing this kind of mistakes. Perhaps I fail to empty my mind of biases, preconceptions, arrogance, narrow-mindedness, and stereotyping. Perhaps I fail to dispense some kindness. Perhaps the other parties are too sensitive. Because of these continuous mistakes, I name this blog as Subjected to Subjectivity for I am a 42-year old guy who are lacking knowledge and skills.

Until my next kind of mistake …

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sleep Now

Sleep now, another day in your young lives is done,
go to sleep now; tomorrow brave new worlds will surely come,
go to sleep; you're such a wonder,
such a mystery to me.

Somewhere your future friends are lying as you are
and your lovers right now are only crying babes in arms
the world turns under our feet, our lives are passing by in our sleep.

Sleep now, one day I'll tell you how my life has been.
So strange to think your eyes will fall on things that mine have never seen,
these eyes that gently flickerin some lost childhood dream.

Sleep now, safe and warm in the haven of your bed,
go to sleep now.... although you won't remember what I've said,
your father loves you.

Liverpool … we'll never sleep alone.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Cat

On Homo Sapien:

With torn-wars, street violence, chemical greed, adultery, corporate corruption, political disorders, pornography, child abuse, white collar crimes, intoxicants, air pollution, racism, interest rates, …

You dare calling yourself ‘The Intelligent Species’?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dumb Bosses

“I used to love watching him working so hard days and nights. But, since he hired these people, I’m so stressed out. Mostly everyday, all Mr. Azer does is play his computer games, surf the net and watch something on Astro. I hate his dumb smiling faces when he chats on Yahoo.”
- I tapped my secretary over the phone.

What my chatters say about their bosses (the dumb ones):

Sometimes we sit around and wonder: How did they get there.

My friends start not to recognize me. I think it has something to do with me working with a dumb boss.

She always seems trying to impress the management by cutting the costs.

Once, I was scolded for sending a memo regarding the attendance of a GM. It clearly showed that it was her signature on the dotted line. That’s our HR Manager.

One day, my boss passed by and said, “You’re playing a game!.” Obviously she doesn’t know the difference between auto-cad and a computer game.

I know my boss is dumb. The first day I worked here, he told me to make him look good.

Really, he was just lucky, in the right place at the right time. He was a lot luckier than he was smart.

You cannot run a world-class company with dumb bosses who don’t like employees.

It is still worth learning something even though my boss is dumb.

When my boss keep denying that he is dumb, he looks dumber.

Their careers are always in danger.

All corporate CEOs are dumb. Ask them to run their own companies, they will pee.

His grammar is problematical.

I love telling lies to my boss. He really doesn’t know linux programming.

She doesn’t understand bar charts.

No wonder that the company is not doing well. Big boss only ask their opinions.

He will say something like, “I’m result-oriented”. No wonder he never bothers on how jobs supposed to be executed because he is ‘result-oriented’.

Yes they are dumb. You can tell. They have dumb-faces.

My boss is so dumb that I must keep thinking, reading, writing and talking. Everyday, I am needed.

One thing for sure, our boss gets dumber when we get smarter.

If you keep waiting for his paperwork, you will keep waiting forever.

They are dumb. That’s why they keep hiring consultants.