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This blog has been designed most for the benefits of my students. I am interested in spiritual intelligence because I believe it leads to happiness and resilience. If you want copies of my published research (conference papers or articles in journals), feel free to contact me.

Ridhwan (

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photos from the camp on the 17th

Leadership camp on 17 April 2010

I am exhausted. I spent the whole day doing a leadership camp near Sungai Congkak for 25 participants. I changed the format somehwat from previous camps. First,we looked at the problem of "fire fighting" inside organisations. Second, we looked at why people keep silent in organisations, even when they can see major problems. We then looked at a number of concepts taken from Goldratt's book called "The Goal". To finish off, we did a 1 h 1/2 Aikido session. We linked the Aikido concepts of blending, off balancing and developing ki to the discussions in the morning. In one word, a busy day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The reality in "rich countries"

In a lecture for MGT2010 a few weeks ago, I described the reasons that made me leave Europe and come to Malaysia. As I tried to explain in a few words, Europe is dying and the future lies in Asia. Many of my students were surprised by this lecture, probably because many do not follow what has been happening in "rich countries" like the US, UK and so forth. Today (Tuesday 13th April), I found the following article on the BBC website. I found it very relevant....

"In the places worst affected by Europe's economic crisis, unemployment and cuts in pay and public services are hitting the headlines. But the crisis is also having another effect with profound long-term consequences - the return of emigration.

Filippos Katampouris says it was a "horrible mistake" to leave the UK
Places like Greece and Ireland thought the good times of the last decade or two had finally ended the cycle of emigration, with the brightest and best youngsters no longer feeling they had to move away. No-one believes that any more. In the fish market in Athens is Filippos Katampouris, one of the best-qualified assistant fishmongers you'll ever meet. He has a degree from a Greek university, and a masters degree in technology management from the UK.

When he gave up his British job to return to Greece a few years ago, he could have been a symbol of a newly prosperous country offering good prospects to young professionals. "I wanted to live in my country, didn't want to spend the rest of my life in a foreign country," he said. With hindsight, he thinks he made "a horrible mistake" coming back. As the economic crisis began to hit Greece he lost his job in a market research agency. All he can do now is join his father and "work in the fish market to make ends meet". "It's a very dark future for me," he adds gloomily. "I'm thinking of going back to the UK, but my wife won't come with me so I'm going to stay here and hope for the best."

Thousands of Greeks are facing this dilemma - do they stay and suffer austerity and unemployment, or become the next generation of large exiled Greek communities in Australia, Britain or the US?

Future emigrants are among those queuing for passports in Dublin. In Ireland, the resumption of emigration is already well underway. During the Celtic Tiger boom, there was Irish huge pride in the fact that jobs in new industries were keeping locals at home. Ireland was even attracting its own immigrants in large numbers from elsewhere in Europe to work in everything from building to financial services.

But that boom - which became a property bubble - has come to a catastrophic end. Unemployment has risen sharply, and the Irish government has had to introduce harsh austerity measures. Among the public sector workers taking industrial action against the measures are the staff at the main passport office in Dublin.

Angry queues form outside each morning as people hope to obtain their passports despite the action, some for holidays, but others for possible emigration. "I've an offer now to go to the States and I'm thinking of just getting out of here," one man in the queue told me.

Conan O'Broin is himself seriously considering leaving Ireland. "I definitely don't want to leave the country. But it's a case of being driven out of it at the minute. It's just pay cut after pay cut. And if I do go, I won't be back." A short walk away is the campus of Trinity College Dublin, where the president of the students' union, Conan O'Broin, is equally despondent. "I've said goodbye to five or six very close friends over the last few months, some of whom at least I don't think are going to come back," he said.

"The dreamland is over, we're back to reality with a bang," he adds. It is "the same cycle which hit Ireland in the 1950s and the 1980s, high levels of emigration, used as a safety valve because we can't get our act together to develop a sustainable economy". He is, he admits, seriously considering leaving himself.

There has always been international movement in search of work. And the European single currency was supposed to help create a continent in which people could either enjoy their own country's new prosperity, or move freely around if they felt like a spell abroad.

But now many young Greek and Irish emigrants, despairing at the state of their home economies, feel forced to head for the exit, just as their parents and grandparents might have done. Europe is no longer the newly happy and prosperous economic family they hoped their countries had joined.

Crossing Continents on how the Greeks and Irish are responding to the crisis will be broadcast on the BBC World Service from Thursday 15 April 2010 starting at 1132 GMT.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Aikido event at KDE

I attach a few photos of a Aikido seminar that was held at Kelab Darul Ehsan (KDE) about 2 weeks ago. The teacher was a British sensei who has been teaching Aikido in Japan for the last 30 years. I am strong believers that successful people need to think differently. Apart from the physical benefits of having regular exercise, Aikido forces you to think differently. Instead of seeing a big opponent wiht a knife, you just see somebody which you can off-balance easily... The bigger they are, the easier they fall.

Another soft skills session