Sunday, 29 August 2010

Some discoveries after 3 months in Singapore

Hello world… ! This is arguably the longest break I have taken from blogging. Work being the main reason, with laziness being the combination when time permits.

As for work, many have asked whether I am struggling with my Mandarin. Well, in the team that I work in… there is a Japanese, a Korean, an Indian, an American, an Australian, a Pakistani, a Mexican coming on board soon, 3 Malaysians including myself; and 3 Singaporeans… do you think I will be struggling with my Mandarin?

Anyway –

My working life in Singapore has almost reached 3 months. And indeed, it has been a revolutionary experience for me.

When I was in Malaysia, I was already quite senior in the function that I was in. Back then, I was already able to see issues and happenings in the corporation and the industry that I was in from a nationwide perspective. And since it is a prominent industry, I was also able to see things happening within the government agencies and get to know things that will never appear in the news.

And because I could see all these and was involved in a lot of the major in-country transactions, it did gave me a sense of achievement and as time goes by, the feeling of I-can-conquer-the-world began to creep in.

Metaphorically speaking, I was swimming very well in the Malaysian rivers and possibly, straits of Malacca. These were my territories. I knew I would be thrown into something deeper when I come to Singapore. I thought it would be the South China Sea.

I was wrong, I was thrown right smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

It’s like how you once felt strong and mighty after graduation, ready to take on the world only to find out that you knew nothing about the modern slavery world. Multiply that by about 50, and that’s more or less about my current feeling.

From a country function, I now have to look after the business stream that I am assigned to… globally. I realised that what I used to look after in Malaysia was just so tiny.

And when I was in Malaysia, I used to make some noises to head office about the issues that I had and how attention must be paid or else, something might just blow up. Back then, I was often left perplexed as issues escalated by me seemed to have landed on deaf ears.

Don’t they care? If something blows up, it’s going to cost the corporation a lot of money. Why no one seemed to care?… I wondered…

Now I know why…

Again… metaphorically speaking…

If Malaysian operation is on fire, and help is sought from head office, the first thing people in the head office (i.e. where I am now) are supposed to do, it to ask whether countries like China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Middle East whether there’s any fire there. If there’s fire in these jurisdictions, we’ll put it out. If not, we will check whether there’s any potential fire hazard in these countries first, to protect the operations here. If there’s no such hazard, we will put mitigating steps to ensure such fire does not happen.

And all these will take place while Malaysia operation is on fire.

Priority is to protect major operations first before coming to Malaysia’s rescue. China, India, Hong Kong, UK, etc. are where all the big bucks are. And by the time those major operations are well reviewed, Malaysian operation already put out the fire themselves (i.e. what I used to do).

And during meetings or discussions, I have tried to bring Malaysia into the picture, things that need to be looked at. But I have since learned that I should look at the “bigger picture”.

And this is not just in the corporation that I am in. Some friends of mine who are in high positions in their respective multi-national corporations also experienced the same thing. And lately, I can tell you that Indonesia is coming into prominence. There have been instructions that Indonesia is to be “guarded”.

In effect, it does give a broad idea of where Malaysia stood in the eyes of multi-nationals, and I am experiencing it… first hand.

You might say that I keep bashing Malaysia because I am out of the country, etc, etc… Well, you can say anything, but this is reality.



1 year ago…
Who rang the doorbell?I was spotted

2 years ago…
10 vs 1The game

3 years ago…
Keyword splendourOne night on the wrong stand

22 comments:

3POINT8 said...

Often, there are more pressing matters to attend.

doc said...

maybe, contrary to popular belief, malaysia is the REAL little red dot.

Terra Shield said...

Too small a fish, perhaps? :(

sinlady said...

it is such an eye opener to hear a malaysian talk about how things don't work over there...

i always thought it was just us singaporeans making noise because we complain a lot :)

Sunshine said...

hmm now i begin to see it from the global point of view, why no one reacts when we highlight to those big guys *up there* that we are going to be or already on fire...

bless us all...

yileen said...

From a personal growth point of view, I thought it was awesome that you got the opportunity to experience both sides of the coin - where you were set out to "out out the fire (so to speak)" as well as to "look at the bigger picture".

That's pretty much International Business management in a nutshell I'd say! ;)

dy said...

ello ello!!! will be visiting sg soon.. make yourself available for a drink or two?

goingkookies said...

Malaysia has a lot of potential and can be more than it is. Just that the people with power are running it to the grounds with their simplistic mind and countless trips abroad to Disneyland with first class ticks or probably private jets.

After coming back from a short trip in Singapore and experiencing Malaysia's dodgy custom officers...

I concur with your last statement.

Ummie said...

people seeing things from out of the box.
you've been in the box really far too long to feel & understand what they see & how you feel.
...your last statement that is...

MKL said...

Singapore placed itself internationally very well already 30 years ago, but Malaysia is trying to matter in the last 10 years. Too short. And Jakarta is just around the corner and Yudhoyono's government is seriously trying to tackle the country's issues like corruption and inequality. And the international community will always know who is serious and who's only talking...

fufu said...

yeah if you read my merdeka project, you will know how small malaysia is :) anyway anyway i will be back soon so look forward how our motherland expand ya :) lol j/k not me to change but we malaysian together improve the country

InjusticeSistem said...

seldom ppl comment abt ur choice of pics....but i like dis two pics...

i can see msian on a small sampan trying to outpaddle da big economic doomsday tidal wave hittin msia soon,sorry la our submarine cant dive yet....

da fire pic is also pretty good too...wat is it? burning churches?kl downtown riot burning? or is it burning petronas oilfield wen opposition tk over aka sadam husin burnin oilfield wen ahmedikan came?

jokes aside, i aint betting against dis burnin wont happen?

Sam said...

Hence our "middle income trap" tag that was featured in the Times.

Oh Malaysia.

zewt said...

3POINT8 - and indeed, malaysia never press anything.

doc - black maybe, definitely not red.

Terra Shield - tadpoles maybe.

sinlady - generally, ppl like to complain, but i do think our complaints are more pressing in malaysia.

Sunshine - come to singapore lah.

yileen - not quite yet, i am still quite a "junior" guy here... hope i can continue to climb.

zewt said...

dy - when?

goingkookies - only last statement?

Ummie - yeah, and i am glad to have the opportunity to think out of it.

MKL - i dont think malaysia is trying to. if she is, she will most definitely fail.

fufu - fantastic, hope you will do what i failed to achieve... improve our motherland.

InjusticeSistem - burning already happened... and ppl gettin bashed up because he is chinese is also beginning to happen.

Sam - you read the Times? you're on your way to great things, girl!

goingkookies said...

haha.. correction: especially your last sentence =p

Lest not forget... said...

...going kookies in a kookie world! :P

zewt said...

goingkookies - ah... got it...

Lest not forget... - all of us are...

dy said...

will be there on the 9-13 Sept (Tmr!!!!). i'll be free 9, 10 and 11. gtalk me ur number k? i'll get a prepaid when i'm there. =D

zewt said...

dy - opps... not in singapore then...

CK said...

i shared the exact sentiment!
i have the same feeling like you did!
guess we have wider perspective now.....looking at the bigger picture huh?

zewt said...

CK - where about in singapore are you now? :)