I grew intellectually today. By an inch I guess. Because I learned something profound. Well at least in my context that is. Here’s the trivia. What is the difference between a Muslim Malay professional and a professional Malay Muslim? I know what you are thinking, because I had that same aghast quizzical look on my face too. What kinda question was it? It was posed by Clive, Director at Vector Score Card, managing consultant for EDC.
You see this morning, I paid a visit to the EDC office over at Jalan Pinang.EDC is a government approved agency formed to help aspiring young entrepreneurs and business owners with their setup. A friend of mine,Azam had been egging me with the services provided over at the center, and I thought that it would be a great platform for me to tap on. He was designated as a senior consultant there, so I guess it helps to have a familiar face around. Well, he was not the only one actually. Jim from my Toastmasters network was also part of the panel of consultants. So, I kinda became comfortable with the setup of the meeting. The Director of the managing agency tasked with the center’s program was an “Ang Moh”. A giant and friendly Caucasian by the name of Clive Wright. He was the smile that greeted me the instant I stepped through the room, and there was a sense of calm radiating from him. He took the liberty to explain the happenings of the meeting, as briefly as he could. The whole meeting setup was done to mimic that of a speed dating session. And by that I mean that there were scores of tables and chairs arranged in a circular setup, for the movement of the participants at a regular intervals of 10 minutes. Each station was manned by a consultant, who was versed in a niche aspect of business, such as Manpower, International, Finance and so forth. There were 8 stations in total. It was an engaging round of interviews and consultations, as I did my best impression of a business owner wannabe. I highlighted my vision and outlook on how my business entity will flourish and so forth. And all the consultants were at hand to give insights or comments. Clive’s station happened to be my last. He was in charge of Branding & Marketing. After a short exchange about my marketing strategies, I asked him the million dollar question…
Jaz: “Clive, from your interactions, do you feel that most Malay Muslim business owners have strategically positioned themselves in the market?”
Clive: “Excellent question. Most owners, if not all, have indeed positioned themselves, but only within the market itself. Few are willing to explore the possibility of exploring the market. I can see that you have the needed mindset to position yourself well. I wanna ask. Will you want to be a professional Malay Muslim or a Malay Muslim professional?”
Jaz: (thought for 2 seconds)”Professional Malay Muslim.”
Clive: “Excellent answer. Because being so, markets yourself just like us ( Vector Core Card ).We are professionals in our area of expertise and services, but we touch base with the Malay Muslim corporate community, which in your case is the same, only at a personal level. So, it will help you if you are seen as an authority in your area, within the community. Make yourself visible.”
I noted the conversation with a deep consideration after that. As I had shared with Yani, after the session, that in summary what I shall aspire to be is a world thinker valued with culture and tradition. Thus the professional Malay Muslim moniker. Why not Malay Muslim professional? Cause, evidently the paths maybe a bit restricted in its reach and influence. It’s like food joints. Macdonalds getting a Halal certificate will probably reach a faster and higher profit threshold, compared to Ramly burger being sold in America. I think you get the drift. It’s not a biased view. It’s just a thought process of mine. Like how I shared with a 20 year old girl last Saturday, about her aspirations. She wanted to pursue her studies. She has a diploma in IT which does not interest her at all. Thus the reluctance to explore such a career. She was passionate about design and architecture though. My reasoning was perhaps a selfish point of view, but I was trying to stay realistic. I told her, that if indeed that was an area she loved, she had better excel at it, rather than studying and hoping that she will land a lucrative lifelong career in the architecture industry, by virtue of an education. Just told her to consider and weigh her options. Because if an IT diploma gets one started on a job of an income worth $1800, and the degree gets one started on an income worth $2100, I do not see how the 3 years spent has increased a person’s value to the industry of their choice. A mere $300 is not a fair reflection of an individual’s capability. I still believe that it’s the value one puts on himself that is more important than all the education one receives. I always tell some of my clients, who hold degrees and masters, when they whine about their salary, that the pay they receive is a value perception the industry holds. So, if they are paid a maximum of $6000 after 5 years of work, backstabbing, politics and so forth, it’s only because the market determines it such. At the end of the day, the onus is still on the individual to expound and amplify his value through other means outside the context of his job.
It’s just like how I noted in awe, whilst watching Discovery and History channel the past two days. An example is that of the Mayan civilization. Do you know that the Mayans had built a temple, that is still standing today, that served as an observatory. The amazing thing about it was the fact that at a precise time of the year, certain alignments of the planetary bodies will result in certain “inexplicable” phenomenons happening on the temple’s structure. One will see, the shadow of a snake slithering up the temple as the sun’s rays are setting on the temple. And the temple was strategically built using the mathematical theories only recently discovered. Amazing huh? And I’ve not even discussed about the Egyptians…
So in a nutshell, I’m concluding that the way we see ourselves definitely reflects an amount of possibility in our lives. But it definitely is not possible for everyone to adopt the possibility mindset, because it will mean that there will be no cleaners to clean our blocks, policemen to safeguard our country and so forth. Because a possibility mindset will pave the way for an establishment of a great and powerful community like the Mayans and Egyptians. For how else can you explain their legacies that survive till now? For now, if we are to lift slabs of stones, we will think it’s impossible without the aid of cranes. But 3000 years ago, those civiliations literally used their bare hands. And it was only because they believed it to be humanely possible.
Well, just as a food for thought. Possibility mindset.
Possible or impossible?