Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review on “The 48 Laws of Power”

The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene was published by Penguin Group in 2000. The book with 452 pages is for those who seek for motivating achievement, instill confidence, and change attitude in his organization to become a great leader. The author tries to discover the behavior of great leaders who have skillfully used the game of power to manipulate and conquer the worlds and also the example of leaders who were neglected the laws. It seems that he have done an intense research of the previous historical leaders.

Forty eight seems too much to read, of course some of the laws are not to pertain directly to reader’s life, but in time they are actually interrelated. Just for me, I interested in 12 of the laws for the time beings. For those in higher level, they might find that they needs to read more, understand and apply the whole laws to become a powerful person. The laws that I interested are;

1. Law 1 (Never Outshine the Master)
2. Law 2 (Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies)
3. Law 4 (Always say less than necessary)
4. Law 7 (Get others to do the works for you, But always take the credit)
5. Law 15 (Crush your enemy totally)
6. Law 16 (Use absence to increase respect and honour)
7. Law 20 (Do not commit to anyone)
8. Law 26 (Keep your hand cleans)
9. Law 39 (Stir up waters to catch fish)
10. Law 41 (Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes)
11. Law 45 (Preach the need for change, But never reform too much at once)
12. Law 46 (Never appear to perfect)

By reading on this book, observers will feel that the readers are trying to be a powerful person. So, be careful. Otherwise, you will be toppling by them. Actually, the readers of this book are not only motivating themselves about power but also can be used for defending themselves from the power abuser.

I am wondering either anyone in this world has never thinking or dreaming to have power. If you find one, be careful of him. He must be a hypocrite! From the primitive reign to the modern civilizations, war is continuously happened. Worldwide, countries are fighting each other to become the most powerful nation. Nationwide, to the smallest organization in villages, peoples are fighting through whatever way to be on the top. However, for those who just in the beginning of dreaming, power is a labyrinth, with endless seductive and deceptive in its own way. Thinking too much on power is a critical matter. At the end, power will benefit to those who really study and reflect, but will punished those who is on the opposite directions.

Most of us might already know the laws as describe in this book, but we don’t really used them, or don’t used them in the right way. Description by Robert Green make it sound so easy to have master the laws of power, but the power itself has to describe in general, specific, understand in deep and apply in ethically. Hence, the best powerful person is a person is a person who really or used to be manipulate, torture and suffering pain over the years by the game of power. Just a reminder for those are in power, used them ethically because imbalance power and persecution will lead people to be more powerful. The history has taught us a lot, the Goth can fight against the stronger empire of Rome.

The strength on this book are the preface, where Robert Greene highlight all the 48 Laws in a simple and solid explanation, in further explanation he includes the transgression and observance of the laws with evidences and example of great and loser leaders. For better understanding for the readers, he than includes the interpretation of both transgression and observance. He than conclude his point by giving the keys of power and reversal. Another special of the book is that, Robert Greene also gives the story behind a story and images related to his explanations. For most of the above, the readers will most attracts on how Robert Greene used the history for strengthening his point of views.

For this book, I really loved it, easy to understand even though some of the laws are totally out of my life vocabulary. However, I do believed that one day I might have to used the paradox laws. It just matter of time and maturity. I always try not to give full marks to others, believing that I could be better than them. However, Robert Greene and his book deserved the five stars rating on my judgment. At least now I understand some of the behavior of the leaders.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It’s Hard to Think, Understanding is Even Harder

Gold Arawana Sharing of his thinking and understanding on The Various Issues on 18 December, 2008....

Image: Flame on Flowing Water

It is almost 2 am when I wake up this morning. It is not normal; I wonder if my health is in good shape? Otherwise I have to take leave for medical check up which I never made before. Than I remember that it should be OK, I just take my bath and dinner when I watch a discovery channel about “Ecopolis”, and it was about 7 pm! Ohhh…I am too tired, I have forced my body to work hard this few days, just to clear my outstanding works before I take my long leave. I have postponed my leave for three days, which for sure will disappoint my sons. Anyway, sometime we have to sacrifice one thing to get other things better. So, when I resume my works sometimes in early 2009, the upcoming New Year hopefully will give me a better life, prosperity and realization of my dreams. Ha..ha, dream is too beautiful, and that is life. Life without dreams is death, and dreams without life are also death which means that I am just a zombie! That is correct, but life is too short for those who could not appreciate every moments of his life, too beautiful for those who know how to grab all the opportunities and excellence in planning his life. No wonder, all the great philosophers and motivators has creates a parable that the time is gold!

Gold? Than you are wrong! Time is priceless. For olden years, it might be correct. There are no other things which is more valuable than gold! For now onwards, maybe the parable have to change to fuel. Why? 2008 is the year of fuel crisis. Globally, economists talks about the fuel price. Worldwide, the leaders are non-stop quarrellings on the fuel crisis. Nationwide, the leaders and politicians busy on the volatile of fuel price and later the bouncing of good’s price. Most important is that, it almost creates similar hurricane to the country’s economy crisis in 1997. Fortunately, it was not as bad as on the eleven years back. Malaysia has experience on it, which I personally assume that our leaders have more experience and ready with whatsoever bullets to avert it. However, what has happened we have to accept it, even though somebody by right has to be responsible for it! It was all about making a good decision.

Decision? Wahh… I think that I should not think that far. Thinking of so many things give me headache, spurs my hateful to the peoples and my surroundings. Everybody seems to take advantage to each other; the poor become poorer, the rich become richer, the weak become the follower and the strong become the leader, there are no limits! To be on that level, everybody is fighting to grab the power and prosperity. As an observer, not siding either the left or right hand side, this creates a natural scenario. God has creates the good things and there appeared the bad one. God has creates everything in couples which means left and rights have to be balance. Only than we should understand that this world is about love and sharing. The world is not just for a one person, he will not survive. Or otherwise, a lot will be disappointed and confront each other.

Disappoint? Yes of course, If you try to understand to too many things. Thinking of too much inconsequential matters is wasteful. However, not to think and try to understand the important issues related to us is stupid! The best word maybe is selfish. Selfish or “Kia Su” in Chinese (I cannot remember of which dialect of Chinese) is sometimes good. So, for those who interested to understand on this word should read the “Dare to Fail”, wrote by a good Malaysian author. I just read it once, but I cannot remember the author name, maybe it was Billi P.S. Lim… To not remember others name is a bad habit anyway... Ha ha. At least if you know your chances earlier, than you will not too much disappoint. Learn from squirrels, who always build their den at the highest canopy so that if he falls, he will fall to the second higher canopy and not directly to the ground. Wahh.. I start to become a philosopher now… Ha ha

At least I am smiling for a moment. Opppss… not yet man! I have to continue my sleeping or otherwise I cannot feed my car tomorrow. For last two or three days, or maybe for the whole week, there was a long queue of vehicles at Shell’s Pump Station. For this rural area, there were only three petrol stations, Shell, Petronas and Esso. Esso already closed for a few years, and Petronas temporary closed for unknown reasons. So, Shell is the only Petrol Station that served thousands of vehicles for the whole town. Monopoly is always not a good practice, right? So, I better stop quarrelling on fuel again. I have so many things to think about, so I better write on other things.

Yaaa…Christmas songs tuned continuously on my headset. Christmas is among the major celebration in Sarawak after Gawai, Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. But how many of the Christian really understand on the meaning of Christmas. In fact, most peoples choose to travel on public holiday because that is the only leisure time they have. On my opinion, the modern celebration like the Valentine Day and Father/Mather Day will become major celebration. For me, as a Christian is a hard thing to understand. I supposed to pray for every Sunday. As in Old Testament of my red Bible, which is my best book collection so far, Sunday is the rest day for God. After six days busy creating worlds and its creatures, He rest on the seventh day. That’s why Christian should rest on Sunday and served God. That is my understanding. It’s not too much right? It’s only less than two hours in Church compare to eight to ten hours at office. But for me, most of my Sunday is spend for sleeping, I am hopeless. Remembering and praying to God only on hard time and dreaming well on my pillow on easy time. I have to change!

Change? Its sound like “Together We Change”, the magic sentence that used by Barrack Obama, a new-born historian for his victory to become the next US President. To be a US President is always not an easy task, anyway. The world are putting their eyes and ears to them, either bad or good things. I am not an American, so I cannot understand on the “Change” that he want to make. However, I believe that he will be success as a great leader like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who really fights for the peace and freedom. For our country, there are still a lot of changes we need, rooms for better improvement are still open! Haiya…talk too much is wasting. My level is just on “tin kosong”. Frequent changes in our policies are opaque. I am not trying to understand others point of view on this. Frequent changes on the education, national language and sports are terrible. In education the usage of Bahasa Malaysia (Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Melayu?) as our national language is change for a few times. For my opinion, in order to become a develop country, we have to be firm to our vision. Bahasa Malaysia is important to unite our Multi-cultural country. In sport, the quota for the import players is also change frequently. “This year you can take for four.” The Mr Minister Said. “Next year you cannot even single.” The Mr. Minister said again. “EPL and European or even the Japanese League are far better than us, so the players. And it is far away to compare to the Malaysian League” A fan said. A historian than said, “In 1970’s, Malaysia can beat Korean, Japan, and other countries in South East Asia. But now our world ranking is far below them.” So, what I see is confusion! The leader is confuse, what to say the public and ordinary people who no nothing about sport like me? Too much try and error policy is not a good practice, boss. I try to tell one of my superior.

As a conclusion, thinking too much on the surroundings can easily give you a regret feelings and disappointments. However, the way of thinking among us is totally different. Some can easily, think and forget. For most people, to think and understand is always the toughest part. The only way of expressing the thinking and feelings is spitting it out in modesty and honestly. Giving opinions are not means that you are against somebody; they might take it for improvements. Nobody is perfect, I might be wrong or I might be correct. So now, I can enjoy my next part of sleeping…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bau - "Gold" Town Of Sarawak

Gold mining activities in Bau olden age. This conomy has turn bau from a small bidayuh kampung to a popular Gold Town.

It was a pleasure to drive from Kuching City to Bau, a small town approximately 30 km from the capital city of Sarawak. The road is in good condition, where in some portion I can drive more than 100 km/h, it is not recommended anyway because road in Sarawak has plenty of surprises on its left and right. Hitting a dog, will cost the driver about RM 50.00, a chicken cost about RM 30.00, and what say if hitting a human being, its priceless. The lesson is, drive carefully and mind your own safety.

Bidayuh kampongs are scattered on the roadside, which in Bau, Bidayuh Jagoi/Singai is the dominate tribes. Other races, Chinese, Iban and Malay are also available, living in harmonist for their better way of developing town.

I am a Bidayuh, of course. But I don’t understand on the Bau Bidayuh, even a word! That is the amazing about Bidayuh. We are in the same race, but divided into several tribes which speak in their own languages. So, if you meet with Bidayuh, do not surprise if they speak in Malay, English or even Iban among them. That is normal!

However, most of the town folks understand the Bidayuh Bau’s language and some of them can fluently speak on it. It was few hundred years ago, when the colonials bring the Chinese miners to Bau for the gold. Most of our Chinese friends live in the town, where the former gold mines are now abandoned, leaving the mines in blue lake. Nowadays, they are the success traders at Bau town.

For Malay, Bidayuh and other races, most of them are settled at the town skirt, developing their land into commercial agriculture. Some of them of course still work in traditional activities. Through the modernization of the town, the Bidayuh youngsters even transform themselves with good educations and work in private and government agencies.

Gold mining in its olden age were the activity that turn this “smelly” town to a develop town. “Bau” actually means “smell” in Malay Language. However, the locals pronounce it as Ba’uk, which me myself cannot describe the origin of this unique name.

However, the gold mining now is just a history. Some says that Bau' gold are not worth to mine because of its inferior quality. And some says that the gold is too deep inside the earth which is not worthy to mine it. Whatever it is, the gold mine has give Bau the title as a "Gold Town".

This town is surrounded by beautiful mountains; some are covered by clouds on rainy days which create a panoramic view. On the foot of the mountains laid the paddy field and traditional farms belongs to the local. This activities being their routines for centuries.

The Attractions

There are plenty of attractions in Bau, which must be visited by the tourist,

(i) The Town Landmark

This landmark of Bau is significant to the gold mining process in olden days. The structure is consisting of two parts. It is located at the town centre. The history of gold processing is also available here.

(ii) Serikin, the home of handicrafts

This small kampong will turn to a busy market on Saturday and Sunday. The scenario occurred when our neighbor friends form Indonesia brought in their handicrafts at the borders. In normal days, the kampong is just a sleepy kampong. However, handicrafts are also available at the local shops on the roadside. For those who like the handicrafts and antiques, Serikin is the right place to visit. Make sure that you come early, or you will buy nothing.

(iii) Baruk, a traditional Bidayuh architecture

The Bau Civic Centre is a unique building which incorporated the cultural heritage of all the three major races in the district of Bau. The round-shape Bidayuh headhouse known as the "Baruk" on the right hand side of the picture houses a mini museum, the main hall is in Bidyuh Longhouse style, the front of the hall is decorated with an Islamic Arch, representing the Malay and Muslim community, while a pair of lions at the entrance and another pair at the Amphitheatre represents the Chinese community.

(iv) Tasik Biru

I am not sure on how it gets his name; perhaps it was named Tasik Biru (Blue Lake) as the water in the lake appeared greenish bluish due to reflection from the green plants around and the blue sky. The facilities constructed included a canteen, toilets, pontoon gangway, viewing platform, footpaths, railing by the lakeside,a car park and landscaping. Signboards have been put up at the lake side by the Government, warning the public against swimming, fishing, bathing or drinking the water from the lake as the water contains high content of arsenic. Hence, every time I visit Tasik Biru, I always keep myself away from the water. Anyway, I believed that Government has their own planning to solve this problems and developing the lake with better facilities.

(v) Hawkers Centre

This building is the one stop centre for shopping of jungle products, as well as fruits and vegetables with reasonable price.

(vi) Rock Garden

Bau Town's rock garden is located around the 'natural rock formations' opposite the Bau Civic Centre.

(vii) Other attraction

There are other places which have unique attractions, and will give a memorable trip to the visitors;
(i) Fairy Caves and Wind Caves
(ii) Paku Hot Spring

Bringing Back the Title

With the great developments of Kuching City, developments are merging to the nearer town such as Samarahan, Serian and Bau. Shop houses and residential parks develop along the main roads, which sooner will connect the towns with Kuching City. For Bau, gold mining is no more, but the quarry mining is actively process as the continuation history of Bau as “mining town”. For those who thinking of buying cheaper gold accessories, Bau is not the right place. Gold accessories are even more expensive compare to Kuching City. Anyway, for the Developers and Investors, the name of “Gold” Town for Bau is still relevant. The great developments will bring back this town to his former glory.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bruit Island - The Venice Of Sarawak

Gold Arawana, on his memorable trip to Bruit Island, Sarawak

Scenic view of a canal at Bruit Island.
Kuching to Mukah
It takes me about one hour by twin otter flight from Kuching to Mukah, where this smallest plane belongs to Malaysian Airlines Systems (MAS) connecting most of the rural area in Sarawak. It can accommodated 19 passengers, and fly as low as 7,000 ft above the sea level will give an impressive aerial views of natural beauties. The web of rivers, big and small and the settlements along the river reflects the connectivity of between rivers and life. In some area, even the passengers can witness the live rapist to the Sarawak’s wealthy, the jungles. Almost everybody see it, but most are closing their eye on this consider non-crime activity. Or in other word, it is consider legal, only in Sarawak!

At Mukah, is a small airport which was built maybe thirty or twenty years ago, originally was a grass turfing airport, but now upgraded to sealed runway where bigger aicraft even can land on it. This airport is located just feet away from the seashore, giving a beautiful scene of muddy beach.

Mukah to Daro

It was a pleasure to drive from Mukah to Daro, a small town popular for it “Terubok”, where I will take a speedboat to the isolated island of Bruit. Mukah and Daro is well connected by roads which take about two hours drive (to my standard of driving, I am driving as slow as a snail anyway). Crossing Batang Igan by a ferry is the most bored part in the trip; I have to wait for almost half an hour! Arrived at Daro, I found a never-eaten terubok replica at the wharf. Of course, before my journey to the Bruit Island, I have to feed my empty stomach with special terubok steam. It was the unforgotten dish in my life! Anybody who visit Daro, please try one!
(Terubuk photo is taken by Mr Toh Chee Leong (Http:// )
Daro to Bruit Island

It takes me another one hour by speedboat to Bruit Island by speedboat. On the left and right are mangroves trees, the paradise of thousand species of fauna!

The local fishermen are on their small boats, bringing home their today’s food, and tomorrow they have come again as it become routines. The bigger fishermen’s ships and barge carrying almost everything; logs, construction materials, cars and foods are the frequent users of the rivers. Of course express boats, the main transport for this area are passing every hour. This no doubt, that river plays the main roles in this very inaccessible area. However, the first time visitors will gain great experience on this!

Arrived at Bruit are not much different views from Daro town. The fisherman’s village is laid along the narrow man-made canals, the only transportation mode that connecting the northern part of scattered settlements. There is a road, but vehicles are not running on it except the motorcyclist to their nearest farms. Paddy farmers and fishing are the only activity that spurs the locals’ economy. On most of their routine activities, canals and rivers are their very best friend.

The used of boats are common, wooden bridges are almost every fifty meters and some are less creates an impressive view along the canals. This scenario is really a copy of Venice in Italy, but Venice is actually a modern city and too far to be equal to the Bruit Island.
Bruit Island anyway has his own attractive, “salai lomek”and “sesar”, the popular productions of the island are almost everywhere, runs by every family. These two dry foods are prepared in traditional ways and totally hand made! Of course, this two items are the must buy souvenirs for the visitors. The only doubtful to me is the price; the villagers have to sell their products to the middle man who could sell it up to two or three folds at nearest major towns.

The villagers actually have no choice; there is no other cheaper transportation mode to trade their product!

For those visit this island for the first time, “Prawn Mee” is the must try breakfast. This is normally a curry Maggi Mee cooked with fresh water prawn.

The villagers are friendly, talkative on their hopes to get more development to their kampongs. Where the rivers and canals are their most valuable assets, sharing by all the villagers for almost all activities, I can imagine that maybe the island will one day become the Venice of Sarawak. Of course it will take not as short as 100 years, by the assistant of developments of their land into commercial agriculture on oil palms and paddy, this will no absurd.

The roads and ferry to connect the island to the mainland is now ready at the southern portion, the whole island is expected to be well connected by roads. The important and popularity of its canals and rivers will be a history!

A primary school in Bruit Island, produce the future leader and developer of Bruit Island....

Other information about Bruit Island

Bruit Island is also accesible by express boat from Sarikei Town which take about three hours, and from Sibu Town which will take about four hours trip. Most of the tribe in in this island are Melanau, but they speak in different language from Melanau in Mukah and Dalat.
There is also an Iban longhouse on the southern of the island. The island being gazette as National Park mainly on birds sanctury, where thousands of species of birds will be temporary assembled before continue their never-end travels.

Paddy, another core product of Bruit Island...

Traditional processing of "Salai Lomek"


There are moments when you miss someone so much that you would only fulfill your dreams by holding that person tight in your arms.........

"Happy Birthday to My Beloved Son -
Q'Eemeralld Naong Jozia"

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

And there are no other value words to say than.... WE LOVE YOU!

Papa, Mama, Brother;

7th December, 2008.