when the “best” may not be the best – a study in the search for excellence
August 13, 2009
Singapore has a strong claim as the world’s greatest collector of accolades – we are one of the most competitive nations in the world for this or that; our gait has even been registered by time and motion experts to be one of the fastest – yet I find myself asking these days what do all these trinkets amount too; to paraphrase how is any reasonable person supposed to make sense of all these trophies?
To be perfectly honest with you; I don’t know but what I do know is when it comes to surveys – they’re all pretty flakey – I remember a few years ago Geneva was voted as one of the best cities in the world for business; when I stepped off the plane, I thought the bubonic plague had struck Geneva; as every shop was closed and the streets were deserted as I found myself walking aimlessly around like Will Smith in I am Legend – the same goes for Paris; last time I visited that romantic spot – I found myself dodging molotov cocktails and side skirting flaming cars as youths ran amok – certainly gives a whole new meaning to the city of lights – so forgive me, if I look on surveys with a tad of askance.
My point is to be the best one needs to look deeper beyond the dictionary meaning of the term best; if possible beyond the mere chimera of the numbers and key performance indicators; this may include questioning the cost of what it takes to get to the top of the hill – for instance no one denies China is growing exponentially like one of Jack’s magic beans stalks, but look deeper at the cost to people and planet; for starters they pay scathe regard to the environment and the social cost that makes possible this form of growth has not only exacerbated the divide between the have’s and have’s not, but is causing inequalities at every level – here we need to ask is growth without social justice arcane? And this should prompt us all to ask whether it would be far better to consider “best” by combining humanism with the whole idea of economic growth.
These days with the meltdown of the global economy and dodgy businessmen; “best” is hardly a becoming appellation – it doesn’t command the same level of veneration and respect it once commanded over our consciousness; gone are the days when we can even expect the “best” to deliver the gold standard or even make good their contractual promises – my point is if there’s any lessons to be gleaned from this economic meltdown – its simply this, nothing can ever be taken at face value any longer – no one is infallible; and the whole idea of “best” can at best be described as a crumbly idea – matters little whether it’s banks, corporate honcho’s, politicians or someone who is trying to sell you something on TV. In my book they all deserve a good looking over with a magnifying glass.
I am not saying we should all suddenly be paranoid and start looking beneath our beds for hidden cameras or think that we have been secretly invaded by aliens.
But you get my drift – it doesn’t pay to be too trusting. Or even take anyone or anything at face value any more – not with everything from banks and investments plans going down the chute – until very recently (unless you happen you be a minister or a reporter in SPH), if you worked for a blue chip company, you could assume that your job had no expiry date. But when you consider companies can no longer sustain themselves for any guaranteed period, how can they possibly guarantee you a life time job?
Fact remains firms these days are struggling against other firms to compete for a diminishing market pie so the whole idea of life time employment is fast going the way of the dinosaurs. Companies that have had generations of employees working under no-layoff policies are now dumping people like an airship jettisoning ballast just to keep from crashing and burning up.
When you boil all down to crud – you owed it to yourself to be mindful of the term “best” and what it really means and that simply means only the paranoid will survive.
As believe it or not you are literally your own corporation. And just in case you didn’t know it; you’re in direct competition with millions of similar businesses: that simply means you need to accept ownership of your career, your skills sets along with when and how to push, pull to max your opportunities.
Nobody else can do that for you. Not even God can help you and least of all the government – all they can do is give you platitudes and false hope – and that’s no good.
And that’s as real as it gets – it doesn’t get better than that – the truth that is. Now if you excuse me, I need to check up on my recent investment plan: I’m slightly paranoid that friendly Nigerian I met in a forum who claimed to be the long lost relative of Idi Amin is not going to come through with the money for the “best” investment plan of the century – I am kidding, really I am or am I?
The Brotherhood Press 2009 – Going where no mind dares to go.
Special message to all the read clubs of the brotherhood press love story division.
I know many of you ladies want your money back. But please let me explain. There is really only one person writing these sappy love stories in the brotherhood press love story division – that’s me.
The rest of the boys find it a toe curling experience so they don’t really want to get involved that means: I am the editor; proof reader, distributor and everything that goes to make this package possible.
I have been very busy in Malaysia (this is not an excuse; it is fact: you can go and verify this with the read clubs in KL) trying my level my best to sell my inventions and trying to turn the wheel of life as times are really hard and difficult in Singapore – but I am sure most of you aren’t interested to know how or why we were all suffering there 24/7 and surviving on instant noodles; besides I don’t want to be a bore and dump on all of you or be accused of tugging on your heart strings for sympathy sake – but understanding is not too much to ask, I think – what’s important is when I was there; I worked every evening to complete the final installment of the on-going love story series that many of you ladies subscribed too last February, only this time – I chosen to rename it, “lover’s tale.” As the ending has been extended by another some 14 chapters (this comes free with no extra charge) – I wrote most of it during the evenings after work.
You can all call me a scoundrel; that I may be, but thief, I am certainly not – I never skipped town as some of you claimed and ran away with the dosh; I have always delivered on my promises. So there you have it.
The final part of the lover’s tale is now available; all you have to do is log in and read it – I hope this makes up for all the misunderstanding, lapses etc. There, there…everything is as it should be.
Meanwhile I remain yours always – Darkness 2009
P.S: Somethings will always remain timeless to me and one of them is the relationship between writer and reader – my hope is some of you will reconsider suing my pants off – as it would be a great disappointment in more ways than I can possibly elaborate. My feel is somethings are best left to the imagination – don’t you all think so.
Before we conclude this misunderstanding, allow me to leave you with a brief extract from Chapter 271 – “Only the fishes know.” Taken from the Lover’s tale – author Darkness of the brotherhood.
Huang (main protagonist)“Every time when we talk about us – you seem to bring up fate and destiny…you speak as if its already written in stone and nothing we do can ever change it.”
Soong “that’s how the world is from the beginning of time every woman knows that…”
Huang “Alright if that’s what your mother says, here it is – a coin….if its heads, then we will just go different directions right here now…then we will take it from here and see where it leads too…..”
Huang flips the coin – it twirls catching the last light of the waning sun. Soong lunges forward and tries to grabs it – the coin slips and falls into the lake – the couple come alongside the railing transfixed at the sliver of light as it dances into darkness – their eyes meet.
Soong “I want to believe.”
Huang “So do I…………Its best if we leave it to the fishes to know what may or may not come from all this.”