Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

After a hard day's work at the office, most of us would be mentally exhausted and drained. Many would not want to "move" as the body is also feeling lethargic and lazy. To think of it, this is obvious as the mind ie the brain controls the body. The mind tells the body "we are tired, let's not move!" .. so we felt lazy to move ...

In fact, we should act the opposite. We should control our mind. We should pick up ourselves and go for a "physical work-out" either to a gym, jogging or a round of games. This often times "refreshes" the mind and body.

When the mind is tired, I believe, blood flow to the brain slows, brain metabolism gets impaired, carbon dioxide builds up, toxic waste accumulates and the brain cries out and gets "drained" ...

According to a neuro scientific research, the brain functions at its best when the body moves! Exercise is critical to the brain as  it affects positively how the brain feels and thinks. Some of the benefits are 1) the body feels refresh and energetic 2) the brain absorbs and learns better 3) it helps "lower" stress and anxiety 4) slows the brain ageing process 5) helps with new brain cells growth.

It is also commonly believed that exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants and lower the probability of dementia by 50%.

Thus, after a hard day's work, I would recommend that we feed our brain with oxygen through engaging in active exercises. The increase in blood flow would not only increase the oxygen supply but also nutrients and take away built-up toxic waste away from the brain. We will definitely feel fresher, alert and energetic.

Therefore, do not neglect to exercise. Build up this good old habit! Be healthy and stay healthy. A healthy mind gives a healthy body.

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Malaysia: National Bank revises downwards overall GDP growth target.

Malaysia’s economy in the second quarter of the year grew at a slightly faster pace, but below market expectations, as prolonged weakness in the external environment remains a drag to domestic economic activity.

Gross domestic product (GDP) for the three months to June grew 4.3% year-on-year (y-o-y), sustained by domestic demand, as compared with market expectations of a 4.7% y-o-y growth for the period in review, and a GDP growth of 4.1% y-o-y in the first quarter of the year.

“While domestic demand in the Malaysian economy has remained strong, the overall growth performance has been affected by the weak external sector,” Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said at a press conference. She noted that the phenomenon was not unique to Malaysia, as growth in several economies in Asia, particularly those that were export-oriented, had also moderated in the second quarter, as the prolonged weakness in the external environment had started to affect the countries’ domestic economic activities.

“For the Malaysian economy, the prolonged weakness in the external environment has affected the overall growth performance of the economy, going forward,” Zeti said. “While domestic demand is expected to remain firm, supported by sustained private consumption, capital spending in the domestic-oriented industries and the on-going implementation of infrastructure projects, the weak external in the first half of this year would affect our overall growth performance for the year,” she added.

Consequently, Bank Negara has revised downwards the overall GDP growth target for Malaysia in 2013 to 4.5%-5.0% from its earlier target of 5%-6%. “We are expecting a challenging environment, with little improvement in the second half of this year,” Zeti said, adding that domestic demand was expected to remain on its steady growth trajectory and would continue to be supported by an accommodative monetary policy.

Inset: Zeti at the briefing on Wednesday

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s current account surplus for the second quarter of the year narrowed to RM2.6bil from RM8.7bil in the preceding quarter. This was due to lower goods surplus as well as sustained services deficit and outflows in the income accounts. Zeti said Malaysia would likely remain in a surplus position through the year, as the expected recovery in external demand, albeit at a moderate pace, would help improve the country’s current account balance.

In addition, Zeti said the Government was considering various options to improve Malaysia’s current account balance. These include scaling back some large projects that had high import content, increasing the country’s economic competitiveness and diversifying its export markets.

She said that Malaysia continued to enjoy a steady flow of foreign direct investment, which could contribute positively to the country’s current account balance.                                                                                                                                                                           Source: theSTAR 22-08-2013

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Good leadership

Throughout my career I have been a subordinate to many superiors as well as a superior to many others. I had learnt to climb the corporate ladder of success. Sometimes, I climbed a few steps up speedily and sometimes slowly. I had even experienced staying on the same step without moving for a while. Well, it is part and parcel of upward mobility in my corporate career.

I had also seen weak and great leaders. I learnt from both this category of leaders. I avoided the leadership behaviour of the weak but build-on the good behaviour and attitude of the great leaders.

There are 2 distinct behaviours of weak leadership, that stood up very prominently in my mind, that I observe to this day that must be strongly avoided:

1) Not wanting to take risks or accepting challenges: This is a complacent leader who believes that he "knows all" and "he has arrived". There is no necessity to take on extra risk in the work place as he is in a comfortable position. "Do not rock the boat" is his mentality and mantra. Unfortunately, without him realising he will be stagnating and he will not be able to grow neither do the Company. This is bad for him as well as the Company and his subordinates.

As a leader, we are ever learning, as the market, competitors and technology are ever in a dynamic state. It is the role of the leader to take risks and find challenges and lead the team through them and win! By staying still, nobody wins except the competitors!

2) "Political" or popularity rather than being respected: Another common trait is the leader who likes to be popular. He will not make decisions that will negatively affect his peers and subordinates though he has to make such decisions. A great leader, in fact, is both liked and respected. If the leader worries too much of being popular, most likely he is not making enough of tough decisions to lead others effectively.

There are other weak behaviours, which I believe, are still out there among the leaders. Do take cognizant and avoid them. Great leadership builds great team and successful business!

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Ringgit drops to three-year low

Ringgit drops to three-year low        
Reports this week may show retail sales, manufacturing and housing starts increased last month in the world’s largest economy, according to Bloomberg surveys. Four Federal Reserve officials indicated greater willingness last week to begin tapering the central bank’s bond-buying programme.
Fitch Ratings cut Malaysia’s credit outlook in July, citing concerns over the country’s public finances.

“The general expectation is that these US numbers are going to be quite strong,” said Saktiandi Supaat, head of foreign exchange research at Malayan Banking Bhd in Singapore. “The ringgit tends to move more significantly lately because of domestic factors such as the fiscal situation.”

The ringgit depreciated 0.3% to 3.2595 per dollar as of 4.27pm in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.2613, the weakest level since July 1, 2010. The one-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, climbed six basis points to 7.89%, halting an eight-day losing streak.

Malaysia’s five-year government bonds were little-changed. The yield on the 3.26% notes due March 2018 held at 3.50%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate on 10-year securities fell by two basis points to 3.86%, the lowest level this month.                                   Source: theSTAR 14-08-2013

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Green Office

Todays' generation of workers are more conscious then ever on the need to reduce carbon emissions in order to save the environment. Companies are also leading the way as Governments the world over are providing incentives, over and above, financial savings, when Company "goes green".

Many people are familiar with the concerns of carbon footprint. According to a survey by Gartner Inc, the CO2 emissions from the ICT sector are about the same as the aviation industry! Huh? What is ICT? It  is all the equipment that offices have in operating their businesses activities.

By reducing the carbon footprint through structured energy conservation program, Company can make a tangible positive contribution to the environment and will also benefit by lowering the total cost of ownership through reducing paper, power and CO2 emissions.

For more on how to reduce carbon footprint, please seek professional advice. However, here are a few basic quick "do-able" suggestions for Company:

1) Paper Recycle: Do reuse the "used paper" when the "flip side" of the paper is still "blank or usable". This is to reduce wastage as well and "saves more trees". Trees help to keep the environment fresh and healthy. Obviously papers that are marked confidential in nature should not be reused.

2) Energy Efficient Equipment: Use energy saving LED lights and equipment that are designed for power saving eg Photostat machine, refrigerator, air-conditioners. When there is a lunch break, for example, switch off the lights and machine that are "idle". This will also help in reducing global warming as well.

Air-conditioners should be set at a comfortable temperature and not "freezingly" cold that staff have to wear extra layer of clothes in order to keep warm. Computers and other relevant electronic gadgets should be unplugged from the power sources as energy will still be generated when connected to the gadgets.

3) Building design: Should be environmental friendly with natural lights and "air flow".

4) Green product: Products should be designed with raw materials that are biodegradable. It should also be designed with recyclable parts to reduce waste and landfill.

4) Company Policy: An environmental policy and strategy must be in place. Management must have tools and measurements and be able to analyse their environmental impact and providing solutions. Staff and customers must be educated. Products and services are as sustainable as possible through implementation of "green policy".

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Skills - relevancy

"I have not touched a bicycle for many years, I don't know whether I still know how to ride or not" said a friend when she was "given" a bicycle to ride some days ago. After much coaxing, she decided to give a try - with much worrisome look on her face.

She put her hands on the handles, sat on the seat and her feet firmly on the paddles. Then, with a heave and exerting her feet on the paddles, she "cycled" herself forward. The wheels began to roll, initially with awkward wobbly motions - swaying from side to side. However, she persevered and a short distance later, the wheels were aligned, a smile flashed across her face. She was cycling!

What she lacked initially was confidence. Once she focused herself into "cycling" her subconscious took over and her fear vanished as the "learnt cycling skill which she had acquired in the past" took over. She began cycling!

How do we define "skill"? Simply, "proficiency or special ability to do something well arising from talent, training or practise".

Skills that we learnt or acquired over the years will always be with us eg swimming, cooking, playing badminton etc. What we need is to surface these from our subconscious mind, if we have not been using these skills, and with a little practise, we will be like "pro". However, the proviso is whether our physical bodies can "still support the activity or not" is a challenge.

The other "soft professional skills" like "administrative, management, leadership" skills, that we have acquired earlier in life may also be lying low in our subconscious mind if we have not been using these for a while. If  in later years, when we are required to use these skills, we could also "summon" these from within. However, the only caveat that we need to understand and to discern is whether these skills are still relevant for use today or not.

Always remember that "the same skills that made us successful yesterday may not be relevant today as the challenges and working environment are different from yesterday" or simply "what made us successful yesterday may not make us successful today". Therefore acquiring new skill sets are never ending and we have to keep on learning. Do NOT STOP learning! Do not rest on your laurels ... thinking that you have learnt it all ...

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NKEA healthcare progress update

The Minister of Health, Malaysia announced five new projects, on 2nd August 2013, under the Healthcare National Key Economic Area (NKEA) with a total investment value of RM388.1mil and a projected gross national income of RM445.2mil.

These initiatives could potentially reduce reliance on imports of these healthcare products by manufacturing them locally instead through locally incorporated companies and multinational ones. “Currently Malaysia relies on imported infusion products which are costly. It is timely to have a manufacturing capability on our home ground,” he said in his speech.

Five locally incorporated companies will expand their investments through this initiative.

They are: (1) ABio Orthopaedics will invest RM224.5mil for the expansion of orthopaedic devices contract manufacturing in Penang, (2) Karl Mueller Scientific Sdn Bhd will invest RM1.4mil to produce single and disposable medical devices and accessories, (3) Kotra Pharma will invest RM60mil to produce sterile injectables or infusion products, (4) RB Lifescience Sdn Bhd investing RM94.5mil for the construction of a new pharmaceutical plant and (5) S-ima Medical to invest RM7.7mil for the development of orthopaedic clinical devices.

the STAR 02-08-2013

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Malaysia: Rising Healthcare Expenses

The country’s healthcare expenditure is projected to rise about three percentage points to 7% of gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2020, said the Health Minister.

“The healthcare sector is expected to generate RM35.5bil in gross national incomes and create 181,000 jobs by the year 2020,” he said at the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) healthcare progress update yesterday.

The healthcare sector is fast becoming a crucial segment in the overall economy and the Minister wants the private sector players to be involved in this vital industry to drive growth including to improve citizens’ accessibility to quality healthcare.

“It is mandatory that we set in place industry-friendly policies to sustain high growth momentum in the coming years. We will support collaborative efforts between public and public healthcare providers”.

He noted that to date, 15 out of 17 sub-sectors had been completely liberalised including dental specialists, private hospitals, medical specialists sub-sectors where 100% foreign equity participation is allowed.
the STAR 02-08-2013

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Management Lessons with Smiles: Part 3

Lesson 5

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!
Source: Thanks and Appreciation to Internet Public domain

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Malaysia: 10th most visited country in 2012

Malaysia is 10th on United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) list of most-visited countries.

The country recorded 25 million tourist arrivals in 2012. Out of the figure, 74% or 18.5 million tourists were from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.

This was due to the strong economic growth in the region, as well as the good working relationship among the Asean countries. “Market and political stability are also contributing factors, while Malaysia’s service industry is one of the best and friendliest in the world”. Besides, Malaysia has a good mix of heritage sites, beautiful beaches, diverse cultural attractions and good infrastructure.

Malaysia slipped one rung to 10th place on this year’s UNWTO list, with the Russian Federation overtaking it by recording 25.7 million tourist arrivals in 2012. France still remains at the top with a whopping 83 million visitors, followed by the United States (67 million) and China (57.7 million).

However, Malaysia was not in the top 10 spots for international tourism receipts. It was led by the United States (US$126.2bil/RM407.8bil), Spain (US$55.9bil/RM180.6bil) and France (US$53.7bil/RM173.5). Malaysia recorded US$20.25mil (RM65.44mil) in comparison as Malaysia’s predominant market mix are from Asean tourism arrivals.

Asean tourists, as compared to tourists from other Countries, have shorter stays as there was no need to sit through long-haul flights. “Also, because many of these are still developing countries, tourists’ purchasing power will be lower than those from developed countries.”

the STAR/06-08-2013

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Management Lessons with Smiles: Part 2

Lesson 3 
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. 

A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?'
The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.'

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 4

A turkey was chatting with a bull.

'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.'
'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients.'

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there..
Source: Thanks and Appreciation to Internet Public domain

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Management Lessons with Smiles: Part 1

I am reproducing herewith from the public domain which I believe is worth circulating. Some of you may have read this, some may have not. Nevertheless, here goes! This will be a series of 3 Parts: "Management Lessons with Smiles".

Using simple yet amusing anecdotes to relate to Management Lessons are indeed a creative and innovative ways to teach basic management lessons. I call it "Fun and Joy in learning". Do enjoy!

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbour.

Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.'
After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.
The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?' 'It was Bob the next door neighbour,' she replies.

'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'      

Moral of the story: 

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.
Lesson 2:  

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.'

'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk. 'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.' Puff! She's gone.

'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.'
Puff! He's gone.

'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'


Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say.   
  Source: Thanks and Appreciation to Internet Public domain



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