The Sand Bunker

Just another Blog by anDru

Archive for the month “July, 2008”

Mission Statement

My last post I said that I will followup with another topic about mission statement and in fact today there are a lot of things in mind that I wanted to put them first, but I decided to hold it back first. Many of us do not have a mission statement of know what are mission statement at least a statement for our own mission. We can probably write few mission statement if it is about some project in the company and some can even proudly accomplished their project with flying colors. Why is it so hard to make a mission statement? Are we too embarrass if we happen to fail during the course of our mission or we are not taking serious enough of things that involve us personally.

What are mission statement? Every new year everybody will be busy trying to think of their new year resolution. A new year resolution is something similar to mission statement. A simple statement can look like this, I will lose 10 kg in 3 months time. You must have a target figure and a time frame. Of course it must be well realistic and within your capabilities. Unlike a new year resolution you can have a time frame of few years, like I will become a CEO in 5 years time or become the prime minister before I reach 40.

It is important to have a mission statement for us to keep track where are we in our mission. Sometimes we never get off that starting line yet but if we have a solid mission statement we will force ourselves to move ahead. That is why it needed to be written, submit to your boss or someone you want to witness if your mission is accomplished or not. You can hang it on the wall or you bathroom mirror so that when you wake up, you will be greeted with your mission and start the day with a great desire for your mission.

It is nothing to be ashamed off if we failed in our mission. Actually in any mission I don’t believe that there is a complete failure. The important thing is you have tried enough within your capabilities. But if you are a capable person and did not even try to achieve something in life, that is more of a failure even if you feel that you did not fail because simply you did not try or get off the starting line. And of course we can never measure success to how many percentage we achieve but I believe that one day after we finished that race and looking back we know that we have achieve so much during the journey we have gone through to get there, no matter if we failed or succeed. But I’m sure there will be a smiling face on our face telling ourselves that I have been there. And that is all success is all about.

So we have to act now and get our mission statement back in track. As for me my mission is be able to quit my 9-5 job in 2 years and become a freelance investment consultants. Maybe in the past my seriousness in my statement was not that strong, maybe it will change from now on.



Be Strong

There are every reason why we need to be strong. Is there something we need to be afraid of. If we really put this question to ourselves there is no reason for us to be afraid, for every test and trials are just part of of life that we need to get through with. I like the saying no locksmith ever make a lock without the key, so there must be an answer for every problems, probably many answers.

Last week I learned some powerful words saying that If God is for us who is against us. It made me so strong again and ready to face anything that comes my way. Sometimes we forgot that we are our biggest gift from God, we ourselves and the time we have on earth to make full use of God’s gift for us. We often thought that the gifts are in other forms like physical wealth and money. But the truth is those are never enough, it will never be enough because it can never match what God’s biggest gift for us. But sadly most of us never realized that. 

Once some asked me, how successful am I. Have i reached 80% of 90% of being success. Obviously the question is about how rich am I. I am not rich but I felt funny by such a question. How could a person measure how successful a person is by percentage, even the richest man in the world will not regard himself as 99% or 100%. There can never be an ending for it. That come to the question of living in abundance life. What is abundance life? In simple English it just mean that life of fullness, not 99% or 99.99% full, but life that has everything. Needless to say that this cannot be achieve by any human on earth, there will be times when there are some shortage on something in our life. 

But if we really look for our propose if life we maybe able to achieve something close to it. To know ourselves is the best step to start with and to seek God’s guidance and assistance is probably the best way. Maybe its time we look at something else rather than our bank account. Its time to do something better for the world and to start with do something that is around us. Since most of us are very familiar with bank account, let assume that life is just like a bank account, the more we put into it, the more return we get, likewise the more we take from it the more interest we need to pay. So it is all the same as in the rule of the universe that we must do good thing in life and bad thing we eventually hit us back twice or more.

So if we know that God is for us, there is no reason to be afraid, because who is against us. Let us look back and think for a minute. Be strong and have confidence. In my nest post I will write something about mission statement. Everybody need a mission statement in their life. Till then.

How to survive a recession

Are we in a recession? Maybe the answer is yes. Recession is part of the economic cycle which come once in every 10 years, well at least the previous one was when Asian Financial Market suffered heavy crash in 1997. It seems that we have not fully recovered from that episode yet and now we are in another financial turmoil caused by the high commodity price in the market in particularly the oil. This time around although it has been said since last year and people are taking some very careful precautions ahead of the predicted recession still for some the pain is too hard to handle.

We can see in the news, locally and oversea people are losing employment and inflation rates are as high as 7% as for the case of Malaysia. Along with that there are some food shortage in the world as supplies could not meet demand causing many third world countries in hunger. Of course there are helps from big nations but in the first place this food shortage problem should have not happen at all. 

How do we manage our daily lives in order to survive this hard times. Well we need to teach ourselves in a shoe string budget. Since most of my expenditure in on fuel, I tried to save as much as possible on fuel and it works. There are many ways o save fuel, among them are car pooling. As for myself, I drive less these days and previously my full tank of fuel only last me 5 days, now I can stretch it to 8 days. That mean I actually save more than the days before the hike as I learned to be more prudent. Besides that my car maintenance will also be less than before.

Nowadays we are so lucky that there are online facilities like internet banking where we can pay our bills, transfer our funds at the comfort of our home. Again there is no need to drive and you can save some amount of fuel and parking. Not to mention traffic jam and the heat under the sun while you are driving. Instead of driving your car, why not walk a few meters to your lunch if it is not far from your office. At least you have the chance to exercise and maintain a good healthy lifestyle. If that it impossible pack some food from home once or twice a week and you can save some on food and fuel.

I realized that during hard times we tend to become more prudent, we try to save in all areas whenever we can. We will squeeze our toothpaste tube to the last drop in order to save on money. I see this are some good signs that we practice during recession time.

But at one end we are also saving money and we should know what to do with the money we saved. During the high inflation period it is really not advisable to save money inside a fixed deposit or a bank account for we are actually not saving anything but losing out everything to the high inflation rate. So how do we make our money work for us during recession. There are many investment vehicles out there waiting for us to explore. Among the proven ones is the equity markets. But the equity market is not for an average Joe and many have suffered badly and lost everything to the market as many are not experience enough to manage their investment. Now we can let people to manage our investment by invest in mutual funds. Investing in mutuals funds are safer than investing individually at the stock market as our investment are handled by some experienced and full time fund manager. Most long term investors are actually getting a very high return from their investment at mutual funds.

Another one is the property market although the return can be a little bit slow and investment strategy will depend mostly on the location of the property. With interest rate expecting to rise in the near future we should study more closely on the property we intend to buy. But in any recession property price are actually coming down a bit so it is also a good time to look at this type of investment. 

I expect this bad time to continue until the middle of next year and many more bad times are expected to come. After the Beijing Olympics many uncertainties left for us to guess. We just hope that people are more careful and taking every possible precautions in order for the situation not to get any worse. 

The Biggest Scam

Scams are everywhere nowadays and not surprise that there are many people who fell victims to these scams. What are scam? Scam or fraud are new words to many and many actually learned these words during this internet era. Maybe there are lot of scams involving internet transactions as the internet is an easy media to get to the people. Nevertheless there are scams through telephones or sms. But there are also scam out there where we ourselves are facing everyday. In fact we let it happen to us, at least to some of us. And the more we run away from this scams we found ourselves ended up in a bigger one.

The scam I’m talking about is the idea of being employee. Why is it a scam? Simple enough an employee works very hard while the employer will get more richer. But that is how the world works. It has been this way for centuries and people are actually preparing themselves to be part the system. We went to school as early as 4-5 years old to learn the basic of education, to learn ABC and count 123. Then we were taught that education is very important in our life so that with good education we can go to universities and get a degree. With a good education and a degree certifies that we are a capable person and some employer are readily happy to take us working for them.

But we can see there are some big changes lately. Many of the younger generation are opting to do business or to do something of their dreams. They no longer see of being an engineer is a big kind of career and some even certified engineer has gave up their career background to venture into something that are more interesting and of course worth to take. 

The internet era has brought a lot of changes in the last few years, the same thing during the industrial revolution in the early of the last century. We can expect even more major changes to come. Whether we like it or not things going to change. 10 years ago it will be okay if we don’t have a cellphone in our pocket, now if will be impossible for someone even if they don’t carry a laptop with them. We can call that the internet era but one thing for sure it will be bring more changes in life that what we can expect.

So back to the question, are we in the scam, maybe yes, because our lives revolves around it everyday, whether if we are employed or in business, but we have one thing in common that we are always the victim to things around us. If we are happy, then it is a credit for us. But for some they are just still looking for the answer and the more they look the bigger scam they see for which many of us failed to notice.

The Current Political and Economic Scenario

We are facing one of the worst economic situation in modern times where oil prices reached to a record high of more than USD140 per barrel. Many countries suffered badly from the sharp increase of the commodity. In the last 100 years the world has been depending on oil for almost everything, the moment we wake up in the morning, driving to work, watch TV and go to sleep with our air-conditioner on. Almost everything that is around us uses oil to function indirectly or not. Even the food on our table need a truck or airplanes to transport them to your local grocery shop. We might not imagine how we depend so much on oil. 

We know that oil is going to be depleted very soon and now many countries started to come out with other kind of energy as an alternative to oil. However oil is still essential to some industries. Like any other countries in the world, we in Malaysia has been badly hit by the recent hike of oil price. The inflation rate for July alone was somewhere around 7% which is at a very alarming rate. This inflation is not caused by demand drive but purely by the high oil price. The central bank made a good move by not increasing the interest rate as business is still sluggish and more money in needed in the market in order to spur the economy back to the healthy track.

Some sources reported that the economic downturn in the US and about to be over and the situation should be back to normal in a few months time. While oil price started to come down to a level of USD125 per barrel which is a good news for manufacturer and businesses in the US. Hopefully this is a good news for Malaysians as we never stop hearing complaints from people of all aspects of lives due to the oil price. But during this short period of hardship we hope that Malaysians has learned to be more prudent and always be prepare for the worse to come in the future. What we can see from the recent hike is the usage of cars. Last time it will take me almost 1 hour from my house to get to the office, but since the recent hikes many opted to car pool thus reduce the number of traffic to almost 30%. Well we do have some positive impact from the hike. Traffic jams really can give you a lot of stress and not to say the release of carbon gas to the environment.

Talking about cars, the newspaper highlights was all about the Mercedes Cars bought for the top government officers in one of the state. One of the reason given was the maintenance for a cheaper national car, namely the Proton Perdana V6 is too costly compare to that of a Mercedes. One thing I know is that this subject should have not brought up at all. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of and wasting time talking about buying the right car is totally not acceptable. 

Hopefully things are solved about the car issues and people will start to get back to work and business again now. 

New Hydro Dams in Sarawak

Many were shocked today when they read the local newspaper that Sarawak is going to build 12 hydroelectric dams in the state. According to the report that Sarawak need the dams to meet the state industrialization need. I was indeed very surprised by the articles as now Sarawak has already 1 dam in operation at Batang Ai and another one which is currently under construction.

What really surprises me are the locations of the dams. They are scattered all over the states and it doesn’t need a genius to imagine that about 1/4 of the state will be flooded with water. It will have too much impact on environment. People’s life will be affected, their land, their tradition, their way of life will be very much affected. 

One question that popped up to my mind is that, do we really need that much of power. Can we figure other ways to produce energy without affecting the environment. Do we need to sacrifice our land, environment for the sake of industries. There are many industrialized nations in the world that do not need that many dams in order for the country to grow into an industrialized nation. We should learn from countries that have failed in their environmental preservation when they are too busy developing industries in their country.

Sarawak in a proud state to have many natural national parks which are known throughout the world. It will be a shame to lose these natural treasures to some other kind of industries that proven to cause more damages to the environment like air pollution and other kind of industrial waste. With so much issue on global warming at alarming rate, we do not need some more destructions to our limited environment. 

As a person hailed from Sarawak and spent much of my childhood in the state, I remember of many beautiful things in the state. The weather was much cooler, the river water was crystal clear and we used to see blue skies any time of the day. Since the logging industries came in the 80s, there was not much of clear water to be seen and many of the forest disappeared one by one. We were lucky that some national parks was left untouched and we still can see some of the original and see for ourselves what rainforest looks like. Like myself many have been to these national parks and I’m sure that have very good memories during their visit to the parks. I went to Mulu National Park 8 years ago and I still remember those journeys through the forest and will never hesitate to visit there again in future. I’m sure many visitors, local and overseas are having the same thought.

We have seen what happened in other countries like China where the industry development and environmental preservation is not balanced. Every year during rainy season there will be floods in many cities taking many lives. Even in some cities there are people who never saw the sun because the place they live are cover with haze throughout their lives. We do not want this things to happen to Sarawak and our future generation.

Not long ago my friend who stay overseas said to me that she felt very strange when in rain here in Malaysia. It rain so heavily and all of a sudden there will be flash flood. The rain is so much different compare to the rain 10-20 years ago. When I recall back I totally agreed and sometimes it rain so heavily and the heat from the sun seem to be getting hotter and hotter each day. Maybe now I can say to my younger friend ‘I want to know have you ever seen the rain’ a bit relevant I think.

I think Sarawak will be just doing fine by now developing into a huge industrialized state that need such high quantity of electric power. It is still not too late now to study other kind of ways to generate power or other kind of industries that are not power hungry. We still need to see the state as what the state we are proud of. 

When we were sleeping

Every morning when get out of bed, what is the first thing in our mind. Some of us may feel energetic, some may feel buy to feel energetic sending their kids to school while some just cry that it is just another day that we need to go through. But we tend to forget that another day is happen to be one of the precious day in our life. If we let is pass, then we are losing something that we can never get it back. No one can buy back yesterday but we have the chance to make the full good use of it.

Why do we feel that our day is not so important? The simple answer to this is we are not motivated or simply we already knew what we are going to do, people we meet, things that going to happen throughout the day. For some they already knew for the few coming years to come. If those events are something that we like, we will feel happy about them and look forward to every moment for those moment to come. If those are something that we do not enjoy having, then everything will look so boring and dull.

When we were children, things look very simple but each day we expect some kind of excitement to happen. We expect new friend, new things to learn, new toys and many more. But as we grow up, things are different and we are forced to do something that we do not like. That is why many people wake up in the morning feeling lousy and hoping that they do not have to face the day.

I read an article today about why people hate their current situation. Simply because they do not like what they are doing. They do not have passion for what they do. Loving what we do is important which will guarantee us to be successful in what we are doing. Some people got attracted to the pay or the position they have in a company but have less passion for the job. After a while they will be in the same situation wondering what they are doing with their life. They miss the part that is to go for their dream.

The wake up call

There are wake up calls in our life whether if it is to wake up us in the morning or to wake us up to be on our feet again. This year is proven to be a very challenging year for all of us and many of us are trying to find ways to improve our life. But many did not make the first steps not to mention ever make it to the first base until at one stage we realize that we have let time passed us so much but still in the same situation as we were years ago. Until one day we hear a wake up call, some kind of a bell or someone knocking at your door that you need to take some action. What should we do? Are we going to stay here at the same ground and doing the same old routine again and again only to know that tomorrow we will still wondering why we are still in the same situation.

This is the same situation happening to many people in this world, in fact it is happening to some 80% of the world population. The world itself is the system created by man so that they stay in their comfort zone. But what are actually comfort zones. Are they really comfort or just some zones that guarantee us some food for the day and at the end of the day we just say thank you. We sleep and prepare ourselves for the next day. It has been this way for years and generation and this has become a tradition that our parents have followed and their parents. No doubt that there are successful people who are following the same formula but made it to be successful and that is the case of the very small number of the people who decided to take the different kind of approach and route to success.

Yes, today was my wake up call. I was in Singapore last year attending to a seminar by Anthony Robbins the guru of motivation. The reason was very obvious that I needed a change in my life. I am tired of the 9 to 5 job that I am doing now and I needed some kind of motivation from someone like Anthony Robbins to push me to get started. We may think that for someone like Anthony Robbins to start something big is not a big deal because he is Anthony Robbins and has written best selling books and his ideas are accepted by millions and being practice by top successful people in the world. 

Maybe that was the greatest wall that we need to break, the feeling of afraid, the feeling that we cannot make it and tons of negative feelings. If make those feelings exist then those feelings is going to be there and become our worse enemies.

One of the greatest mentor I came across is Robert Kiyosaki the author of the best selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad. The day I landed my hand on the book, I just continue to read it until I finished the whole book in 2 days. It was a real eye opener for me. That was the time I realized that so much mistakes has been done throughout our life that  we continue to live in our life that we live today without knowing the fact that we have all the power and opportunity in the world to change things. We go to school and learned the wrong things, so that we we go to college and get a degree we are able to find a good job and have family. That in turn will make us slave to our job and started thinking that we have to work in order to make a living. That statement itself is all wrong. Imagine there are millions of people in the world that are thinking like this and yet many failed to take action or even to think of making an action. Simply because of the mindset that has been planted in our mind for years that to make a living we need to do it the way most people do. Get a degree and work for a company and earn some salary just enough for the mortgage and your daily expenses.

Until one day when you wake up in the morning you realized that things are not right and you are at the checking point of your life and need some big change. Maybe the wake up call just arrived.

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