The Branch (Agency) meeting yesterday was a mash of awards, recognitions and performance review presentations. There was a videographer and photographer in tow to capture the essence of the meeting. It was in essential a meeting to celebrate the achievements that my unit had garnered in the year 2009, where the unit managed to clinch Top Unit, Top Financial Planner and Top New Financial Planner awards. It was, as in my manager’s words, a “show stopping” Gala night, for the awards presentation.
The whole affair of the Gala night was captured in still pictures, outlined nicely in Powerpoint slides. It was seamlessly featured with that dose of clichéd motivational songs like Celine Dion’s and Mariah Carey’s. It was an eye opener, seeing how award candidates were lined up and basked up like celebrities in the Oscars. As cars lined up, girls by the hand and everybody toasting you up to the podium.It was a “success” filled awards presentation. Where successful “businessmen” bask in each other’s company,patting each other’s back, in a “capitalistic corporate achievement” setting.
The manager mentioned that it was a historic achievement considering that no Malay agency had ever achieved such an unprecedented amount of awards. I agree with the notion of a history in the making, but that Malay connotation kinda brought a tingle. When we lined up for pictures and the photographer asked us to shout,”Malays Can!”, it broke the camel’s back.
What’s Up With The Malay Can?
It’s cute when we pitch ourselves to be constrained by this Malays Can slogan. It somehow denotes that, “If they can,we can” mantra, which subtly signifies,”I’m a follower,you do it and I will also show that I can too.” Maybe,it’s just me. But it kinda resonates with that campaign, our neighboring Malaysians had attested to for years. Malays Can do what exactly?
My mum, was making a side remark when she read the report of our unit’s achievements in the newspaper today. Her remarks seemed prophetic in a way. “How come you guys are getting so much exposure in a year? It’s almost like always.” Ï casually remarked that it was the cheapest publicity that we could have afforded. The honest truth is, after reading the headlines, I thought to myself…now what does this really mean?
People who do not know me better might presume that this is a sour post intended to pour cold water on my agency’s achievements. At the other end of the spectrum however, this achievement puts me in the frame of reflection. Reflection because, I do not know why it does not excite me. The success that is. Am not taking away anything though from the success of my colleagues who had indeed worked their socks off to respectively deserve their accolades. It’s the bigger picture I am observing.
In a community such as ours, where people are more inclined to send in $50 worth of SMS to vote for their next Anugerah Skrin candidates, it is hard to see how, the “historic success” that my agency has garnered, had made a ripple in the community. Taking factual representations into account, it is actually a collection of say 200 individuals/clients who combined to put in $500,000 into their financial planning with my agency. The collective effort of the agency managed this, with some major contributions from the award winners.
So, in theory, that leaves us with another 580,000 Malay individuals out there who know nuts about our work and our mission.
The ridiculous theory behind this is that, this success is being lauded.
The consolation behind this experience of being a part of a successful agency, is the fact that I’ve managed to focus my thoughts on what I want as a successful career in this industry. It does not entail the accolades, rankings, being associated with the numero uno and the so forth. Am not gonna try and hop into that,”Malays Can” bandwagon. Am not gonna even try to fake myself into making it.
I like the vision of being relaxed. Of experiencing life as it is,with all the failure and successes mashed into one story. I love the notion of being “an experimental individual who is still struggling to realize his potential”. I just happen to like that seafarer type of life.
Here’s a story I will like to share. It’s a story that describes how Life could be, for simple mortals like us.