Personalities


My grandma aka ‘Punch’ Paati is very intelligent yet emotional, may be old in terms of the year she was born but definitely not in the way she thinks and works. Bold, spiritual, inspirational, stubborn, creative and interesting are some of the words people use to describe her … to me she is all that and more. I have learnt so much from her that I thought I should share some of her “philosophies” with you all. Most of these are common sense and things you may have heard or read about. However, to me these are special because my grandma exemplifies them on a daily basis and applying them has made a difference in my life so far. I hope this post reminds you and helps you too.  Her thoughts may be applied to work as well (@work refers to those). So here goes…

Principle #1 Family First – “NO matter where you go… what you do…never ever move your family lower down your priority list.” She would also tell me “ remember your parents and sisters are like your two eyes… you should see the world through them and never forget them”. I think she wanted me to be family conscious and in a way self conscious regardless of what I do. I was leaving to Singapore to further my education when I was 16 so it was a natural thing for her to do i.e. send me with words of wisdom (punch dialogues too), so that I shall continue to be the good boy that she had raised me to be. I would also like to add that… when someone is on his/her deathbed … they don’t ask for material things but want to spend time with their loved ones and cherish past memories. So Family FIRST !

@work – these days people talk about career-man/woman need to put family behind or no money no life/wife/family etc etc… truth is at least for we Asians, family matters and it is this institution that provides us the moral and social base for us to grow and fly higher in life. As long as we hold on to this principle our social, socio-economic and other facets of life will be meaningful and fruitful. Or at least that’s what I think.

Principle #2 KISS – apart from the physical expression of love(yes she gives me a peck on my forehead and we wave to each other every morning when I leave for work… reminds me of school days) it also refers to the Keep It Simple St*^id principle. Applying this principle when she talks to us has also earned her the title ‘Punch’ Paati which in Tamil refers to a witty, ‘punch-dialogue’ delivering  grandma. For a detailed write-up on Punch dialogues click here. My grandma says “We make life so complicated that we forget…. the solutions to most of our problems is very simple”… especially when you apply Principle #3.

@work – when you are doing a presentation or communicating with your colleagues it pays to be simple and getting straight to the point.  We once had a PM who would beat around the bush before getting to the core of his message, my boss would always get restless and mad at times with him and so did our clients. Before long he was fired!   Don’t forget to have short and sweet ‘Punch’ dialogues need lessons call my grandma 😉

Principle #3 Forgive & Forget – Very often we are ‘stuck’ with our past prejudice or stereotypes of individuals which affects the way we interact with them. Grandma says… “forget all that, even if they have wronged  you … forgive them and if you have wronged seek forgiveness because you have a very short time to live in this World… just make it happy and worthwhile. Remember nobody is perfect and that includes you as well.

@ work – most of the issues people generally face at work are people related, very rarely you find people  talking/scolding their PC’s (some geeks do that too!). I realized that the lens (frames of reference) with which we form our perceptions defines the perception itself… when you talk to people and understand their perspective (or frame of reference) putting aside our assumptions/prejudice/stereotypes you will be more inclined to forgive and forget. It’s not easy initially but if a 75yr old can do that!!  Why not me?? I tried and I can assure you IT WORKS!

Principle #4 Recycle, Reuse and Reject (rarely) – I am always amazed how my grandma can be so creative about reusing stuff. For e.g.A Twistee’s chips bag is now used as a packaging cover for my lunch box (Yes I carry a lunch-box to office everyday). Sometimes she would re-cycle the leftovers in ways you can never comprehend. (NOTE: this would result in stomach upsets once in a while but when it clicks you have a new secret recipe to your portfolio). This principle helped me a lot in Japan where I learnt cooking/baking and explored a lot (thanks also to my mum and sisters who had set a very high benchmark)

@work – my boss always tells us to reuse paper and find ways to efficiently use and re-use stuff. You feel good when you do save papers knowing that you’re doing your bit to save trees (and also reduce the OPEX for your company ;-))

Principle #5 Trial Costs Nothing But When It comes $$’s and Cents Reduce – Sometimes you just have take your chances and try unchartered territories.  You never know what you may discover and more importantly your learning curve will never stagnate. However my grandma cautions me when it comes to spending money save or reduce (let me be honest she says “Bargain”). Her argument is this “You are happy to give the shop-keeper extra $1 or 2 when you buy stuff but say you pay him $99 when the bill is $100 he will not accept!

@work – we need to invest our resources be it time or money to learn new things. RnD is important for the growth and development of an individual/organization but definitely we will find ways to reduce and save $$’s and cents. If you still say NO, then you have not practiced Principle #4.

Principle #6 Eat-Pray-Exercise-Enjoy – you mess-up any one of those… it ruins your balance says my grandma. For e.g. if you don’t eat properly on time then your health deteriorates over time… and when you don’t exercise then you get sick/depressed over time… If you’re sick or sad it affects your performance (@ work too )… and then even if you have plenty of time you will neither be healthy nor happy to enjoy it. (Note: Exercise = Mental + Physical; remember all work and no play makes Ch00b a dull boy). According to my grandma prayer is probably the most important element in this equation as it provides the ‘manna’ for your soul and the value system to lead your life.

@work – “Where got life?” is the answer my good friend gives me whenever I ask him “How’s Life?” He is still laboring in one of the Big4. I want to ask him “Why Got Work? if you cannot enjoy/live the life you want ?”

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This is a  post from Jon Morrow, who is 25 years old. His blog is On Moneymaking.

 By Jon Morrow – I nearly killed myself in college to get straight A’s.  Well, almost straight A’s. I graduated with 37 A’s and 3 B’s for a GPA of 3.921. At the time, I thought I was hot stuff.  Now I wonder if it wasn’t a waste of time. Let me explain:

1.  No one has ever asked about my GPA.
I was told that having a high GPA would open all kinds of doors for me.  But you know what?  I interviewed with lots of companies, received a total of 14 job offers after graduation, and none of the companies asked about it.  They were much more impressed with stuff like serving as Chief of Staff for the student government and starting a radio station run by 200 volunteers.

I suppose a college recruiter from a Fortune 500 company might ask, but honestly, I can’t see any employer hiring a straight-A student over someone with five years of relevant work experience.  It might tip the scale in a competitive situation, but in most cases, I haven’t seen that grades are really that important to employers.

2.  I didn’t sleep.
Unless you’re a super genius, getting 37 A’s is hard work.  For me, it was an obsession.  Anything less than an A+ on any assignment was unacceptable.  I’d study for 60-80 hours a week, and if I didn’t get the highest grade in class, I’d put in 100 hours the next week.

Translation: I didn’t sleep much.  From my freshman to junior year, I averaged about six hours a night.  By my senior year though, I was only getting 3-5 per night, even on weekends.  I was drinking a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew and 2-3 energy drinks per day just to stay awake.  Not only is that unhealthy, but it’s not particularly fun either.

3.  I’ve forgotten 95% of it.
I majored in English Literature and minored in Communication Theory.  The main reason I chose those subjects was I thought they would teach me how to write and speak, two skills that would serve me well for the rest of my life.

Boy, was I stupid.  Instead, I spent all my time reading classic literature and memorizing vague, pseudoscientific communication theories.  Neither are useful at all, and I’ve forgotten at least 95% of it.

I’d guess the same is true for most college graduates.  Tell me, what’s the point of spending 60-80 hours a week learning things that you immediately forget?

4.  I didn’t have time for people.
Being in the student government and running a radio station, I had lots of opportunities to build a huge network.  But I didn’t have time.  Between studying and doing my job, I had to prioritize the people I wanted to develop relationships with and narrow it down to the handful who could help me the most.

That’s no way to go through school.  College isn’t so much a training ground for entering the work place as a sandbox for figuring out who you are and how you relate to other people.  You develop your social skills and forge relationships with people that might be colleagues for the rest of your life.

If I could do it all over again, I would spend less time in the library and more time at parties.  I would have 50 friends, not 3.  I would be known for “the guy that knows everyone,” not “the smartest guy in class.”  Not only because it would’ve been more fun, but because I would still be friends with most of those people now and would have access to the networks they’ve developed over the last four years.

5.  Work experience is more valuable.
In retrospect, I could’ve probably spent 20-30 hours a week on my studies and gotten B’s.  That would’ve freed up 30-70 hours a week, depending on the course load.  When I think of all of the things that I could’ve done with those hours, I just shake my head.

If there’s one thing graduates lack, it’s relevant work experience.  If you want to be a freelance writer, you’re much better off writing articles for magazines and interning with a publishing company than working your tail off to get straight A’s.  The experience makes you more valuable to future employers and usually results in a paycheck with a few more digits on it.

What about Graduate School?
If you’re getting your masters, going to law school, or becoming a doctor, then you’ll need all 37 of those A’s to get into the best school possible, and you can safely disregard this entire post.  Just be sure that you follow through.  I thought I would go to law school, and then I found out what a miserable career it is and how little it actually pays.  All of those good grades are now going to waste.

It also comes down to the question, “What’s the most effective use of your time?”  If you can’t imagine living without an advanced degree from an Ivy League school, then reading until your eyes fall out and sleeping on a table in the library is a perfectly defensible lifestyle.

On the other hand, if you want to get a job and make as much money as possible, then good grades aren’t going to help you as your teachers and parents might have you believe.  You’re better making powerful friends, building a killer résumé, and generally having the time of your life on your parent’s dime.

Jon Morrow’s blog is On Moneymaking.

What would you do if you knew that you have only 3-4 months left to live?? If you ask me I think I will freak out and panick may be I might try to be more pious… may be do more good deeds… may be do all the things I wanted to do but never did. I have always heard the saying – “The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind” and Mr. Randy Pausch has personified it. Recently I was reading this article and it made me reconsider my priorities in life. This is the link to the Business week article about this you tube sensation who’s life is to be covered in a book and a movie too.

This post is dedicated to one of my lecturers I truly admire.

One of my passions in IT has been Free/Open source movement (eventhough Free Software and OSS movements are two different movements , they pretty much share the same objectives, more on that in later postings).

I am fortunate to have known a genius and a great human being; famous in M’sian FOSS community (lately in the International scene as well) as one of my lecturers Mr. Adli Abdul Wahid, who has also been our facilitator for many Linux based classes in my university. Do check out his group blog. He has left IIUM as a full-time lecturer (he still teaches part time) and has moved on to secure Malaysia’s cyberspace. Thank you Br. Adli for all your time. Terima Kasih cikgu!
IT Guru !

The man himself… Yes, thats exactly what he does ‘Performing algorithmic acts of kindness’.