On Your Own

The writer is an entrepreneur who hopes to share his experience and insights with readers who want to take that giant leap into business but are not sure if they should.

Category: On Your Own

23/2017 – Dealing with digital disruption

Saturday, 9 Dec 2017

EVERY time my son speaks, I have to listen very carefully. My poor brain is working overtime trying to catch his speed of thought while my eyes is speed reading his lips as my ears fail to keep up with his speedy speech. Young smart people nowadays thinks fast and speaks faster.

Perfect recipe for a communication breakdown between a father and son.

We are definitely on a different wavelength or speed of sound as Coldplay (the band) aptly describes.

So you can imagine how much I enjoyed talking separately to two seasoned entrepreneurs over dinner the last two nights. One younger than me by two years and the other older than me by 11 years.

It was not just the well rounded reasoning based on past experiences that was said to me, it was the way that it was delivered.

Deliberate, each word carefully chosen and presented in a calm tone that was soothing to my ears, the occasional pause giving breathing space for my brain to process and validate the idea or context of the discussion.

The main difference in communication between the young and older generation is the gap of patience.

From the ambitious youthful exuberance of impatience to the seemingly unhurried and deliberate patience of a successful entrepreneur.

It is a big gap that can only be narrowed through the passage of time.

On the same argument, young entrepreneurs having a higher failure as compared to a seasoned entrepreneur is all due to a gap of experience.

One can argue that if the young entrepreneur is not given a chance to fail, then how can he or she gain experience?

However the current failure rate of over 90% of all new startups is a cause for concern, causing a massive wastage of expensive capital and loss of talented youthful years to unproductive ventures.

On the other side of the coin, we have established businesses and industries being disrupted by new business models driven by digital and technological advancement.

Seasoned entrepreneurs and experienced corporate managers have seen these disruptive changes coming for some years but they have not been able to find a solution to stem the tide of change coming their way.

These leaders suffer from a gap of ability to make wholesale changes to their existing business models.

Reinvent or perish into the twilight zone.

When your know that your existing business model is going to be totally disrupted by new digital competitors, how should you react to such threats?

If you are running a licensed taxi company, what can you do to reverse the loss of drivers converting to Uber and Grab? If your print newspaper is losing advertising revenue to digital search engines like Google and social network platforms like Facebook despite your offering of print and digital content, how can you convert your business revenue model from advertising to subscription?

Do you know what to do? And if you do, how to do it? If you or your top managers do not have the ability to take the company into the new digital unknown, are you willing to step aside and allow these young digital wizards to lead your company into the future?

The experience gained from your past activities is of less relevance in predicting the future of the digital world.

Narrowing of gap in ability to deal with digital disruption will need a management team that is inclusive of both the young and the old.

Blend of feel with experience, change combined with control and youthful courage mixed with down to earth humility. Bridging the gap in ability means utilising the skill sets of the experienced with the behavioural understanding of the youthful millennials.

For companies facing headwinds in digital disruption, what is the average age of your board of directors?

If your directors’ average age is above 60 years old, chances of restructuring the business model is slim and remote.

This company will fade into the unknown as the forces of disruption will completely overwhelmed the existing business.

The attitude of “protecting what we have and let’s wait and see” will be the main cause of the downfall of the company.

Even an uncommitted feeble attempt of trying out a partial strategy in the digital world is not sufficient to withstand the onslaught of the new competitors.

Insufficient ability to change and adapt is due to the lack of understanding of how the future markets behave.

As such the owners of such companies must have the courage to be decisive and forward looking.

Bring in the millennials and let them lead your company into the new digital future.

At best, your company have a fighting chance. At worst, your company will go down fighting in a blaze of glory. At least, you have tried your best.

Besides digital disruption, the world is facing seismic shifts in many industries. From renewable energy alternatives to battery operated cars to self-driving cars to robotics, the fourth industrial revolution will see massive restructuring of industries and economies.

The new machine age requires new abilities and speedier adaptability from entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.

I am just lucky that I will not live to see all these seismic changes as I do not have the ability nor the patience to adapt and conform to the new millennium.

Since the millennials like my son do not need my experience nor my deliberate advice, I will gladly retire now to enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Leisurely chats with my learned friends over a nice glass of wine and dinner will be a nice way to bridge the gap of boredom in between the loneliness of retirement.

Published: https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/12/09/dealing-with-digital-disruption/#ACDvwxpdJ7lqhkwY.99

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22/2017 – Are you a Zhuge Liang or Sima Yi?

Saturday, 25 Nov 2017

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Epic battle: A scene from the epic TV series Three Kingdoms that was screened on Astro Zhi Zun HD.

THREE days ago, I had an interesting lunch meeting with the top executives (all younger than me) from Astro and BFM and discovered to my horror, they consider me as an “old” generation type of person.

Maybe because I had problem keeping up with their conversation on the future of new digital media or maybe because of my current interest in learning from the past to understand the present. It was difficult for me to translate The Three Kingdoms into digital bite size conversation for this younger generation while enjoying a Chinese lunch over a round table.

In The Three Kingdoms novel, many war strategies that were employed came from the scholars who studied The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Master Sun) which was supposedly written some 500 years before them.

The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text for the last 2000 years and it had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics and strategies etc.

The most interesting characters in the saga of The Three Kingdoms were Zhuge Liang (aka Kong Ming) and Sima Yi (aka Zhongda). They were the most brilliant military strategists of that era and they were on opposite sides of the two strongest kingdoms. Both were of the opinion that whoever wins the war will eventually conquer the rest of ancient China.

Zhuge Liang from Shu attacked the northern Wei for six long years hoping to eliminate the tyrants and restore the Han dynasty but he died trying and his dream was unfulfilled.

Zhuge Liang would only serve a Lord / Master who has a noble cause and in Lu Bei, an imperial uncle to the young Emperor of Han dynasty, he found his true master whom he served with distinction and unwavering loyalty, trying to restore the Han dynasty to its glorious past. Beside his brilliant military strategies, Zhuge Liang was also a capable administrator and advisor to Lu Bei. Some of his famous quotes are still relevant advice to political, military and business leaders of today

“An enlightened ruler does not worry about people not knowing him; he worries about not knowing people.”

How true. Political leaders that does not understand the plight of the common people will lose their support at the end. High cost of living and the inability to own a roof over their heads are major grouses of the poor electorate. When real income do not grow and average income is low, imposing GST is a foolish act of political suicide.

When Lu Bei conquered the Riverland territory, Zhuge Liang advised him that no tax be imposed on the local farmers for two years as the local farms were suffering from bad drought and poor economic conditions. This act of benevolence won over the local population who supported his future military excursions with provisions from their bountiful years.

A business leader who sits in his corporate office all the time will never understand the plight of his foot soldiers in the economic battlefield. A sales team facing difficult buyers, a brand team having reduced budgets facing a fierce competitor with a bottomless pit of funds, an increased sales target during an economic downturn, staff having personal problems are just some of the common unconcerns of flawed leaders who managed by numbers and who do not walk with his team. A demoralised team with a clueless leader is easily defeated in battle.

“Good generals select intelligent officers, thoughtful advisors and brave subordinates. They oversee their troops like a tiger with wings”.

Selection of intelligent leaders is so important whether in politics, military or corporations. If you wonder why the business tycoons are so successful, they have surrounded themselves with loyal and smart generals who hire the smartest managers to work for them. If you are amazed at how Singapore, a small island with no natural resources has grown to become a first world nation within 50 years, it is because the late Lee Kwan Yew appoints intelligent politicians to his cabinet and hires the smartest people to manage his civil service.

Zhou Yu, the military commandant of the Southlands was another arch enemy of Zhuge Liang and he advised his Lord:

“He who wins people, prospers; he who loses them fails. Your present plan should seek humans of high aims and farseeing views, and you can establish yourself firmly”.

Lee Kwan Yew probably read this quote 60 years ago.

Sima Yi though equally brilliant like Zhuge Liang, he was the complete opposite in character and ambitions. He only wanted to serve Cao Cao, the most powerful warlord amongst the three and he bided his time to be called into service. He had to become tutor to Cao Cao’s two sons before he had the opportunity to be included into the inner circle of advisors. And when Cao Cao died, Sima Yi served Cao Pi, eldest son of Cao Cao as the top advisor and helped Cao Pi to usurp the last Han Emperor.

As he was not trusted by Cao Cao, Cao Pi and the powerful Cao clan, Sima Yi had to hide his ambitions and lie low all the time. Not to be seen as a threat, his patience and cunning skills of deception kept him alive. He was only given command of the Wei military when his military skills were needed to counter the constant attack by Zhuge Liang. In the novel, Sima Yi was portrayed as a villainous figure who pretends to be loyal and dedicated subject while secretly planning to concentrate power in his hands and pave the way for his descendants to usurp the throne one day. As stated in historical records, his grandson, Sima Yan (Emperor Wu) usurped the throne from Cao Huan and established the Jin Dynasty (265-420).

Another historian from Tang Dynasty had described Sima Yi as appearing to be generous and magnanimous on the outside while being distrustful and jealous on the inside. Sima Yi was suspicious, calculative, manipulative and adept in politics.

2000 years later, the characters of mankind has not changed much. While it is difficult to find Zhuge Liangs, we have many Sima Yi amongst our current species of politicians. How many Sima Yi characters have you encountered in your business life? If you subscribe to Zhuge Liang ideals of righteousness, loyalty and integrity, would you achieve your ambitions in your career or business ventures? Or will you lose all your battles to Sima Yi and perish before him?

Sima Yi’s most famous quote:

“There are five possible operations for any army. If you can fight, fight; if you cannot fight, defend; if you cannot defend, flee; if you cannot flee, surrender; if you cannot surrender, die”.

Whether you are in politics or in business, always review your position realistically. There is no shame in taking the right action depending on your strength or weaknesses. If you have a fighting chance to win the battle, then fight. If your opponent is stronger, defend and wait for the opportunity to strike back. If you have lost the ability to defend, flee while you still have the resources to do so. Surrender (give up) only when all the odds are against you so that you can live to fight another day. To die is not a voluntary action. Being killed (wiped out) is the consequence of a complete failure. Taking practical actions at the right moment can save you from death so stay calm and persevere like Sima Yi.

To close this final article on Three Kingdom, I leave you with more quotes from Zhuge Liang:

On leadership – “First organise the inner, then organize the outer….first organize the great, then organize the small. First organize yourself then organize others.”

On marketing – “Do the unexpected, attack the unprepared.”

On competition – “The loss of any army is always caused by underestimating the enemy. Therefore gather information and watch the enemy carefully.”

On failure – “What loss is there in dignity, what worry is there of failure?”

On self survival, by Cao Cao – “I’d rather betray the world than let the world betray me.”

To the younger generation, if the character of mankind has not changed much in the last 2000 years, what hope have you that it will change in the next 1000 years?

Published: https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/11/25/are-you-a-zhuge-liang-or-sima-yi/

21/2017 – Power with control of the military

Foreword: Three Kingdoms was considered as the greatest of the “Four Great Classics” of Chinese Literature and many Chinese read it as a guide to success in life and business. Foreigners read it to better understand the core attributes that make up Chinese society.

Towards the end of the Han Dynasty in 220 AD, almost 1,900 years ago, the three kingdoms known as the Wei, Shu and Wu were controlled by warlords in the north, central and the south of ancient China. The three warlords had brilliant scholarly advisers who were learned in military warfare and civil administration with brave and loyal generals helping them to upheld the law and defend their territories.

Each warlord would raise an army of 500,000 to one million soldiers to wage war and battle for hegemony so as to unite the nation. Depending on their individual strengths at any particular period, the two weaker kingdoms would set up an alliance to defend against the dominant kingdom. Switching allegiance was the norm, the vanquished banding together against the victors of the many battles waged over 40 years during this tumultuous period.

Just like in present day politics, there are no permanent enemies nor permanent friends. The power play among the warlords in any political party constantly evolves, the supporters switching camps sometimes for profitable alliances but most times, the financial rewards far outweigh loyalty and integrity. Even within the warlords’ inner circle, the advisers and the generals compete against one another for the attention and affection of the warlord they serve. Treachery, bravery and foolhardy antics are the norms of politicians nowadays.

Cao Cao, the warlord of Wei Kingdom was so powerful that he reduced the power of the Han Monarchy to a puppet emperor. His son, Cao Pi then ended the Han Dynasty by forcing the Han Emperor to abdicate the throne. After Cao Pi declared himself the emperor, the other two warlords also declare themselves as emperor of their own kingdoms.

If you look back the last 100 years in world history, the role of the monarchy in many countries has been reduced to a constitutional role, as head of state. Only the Saud family of Saudi Arabia still wields tremendous power and that is because the extended Saud family controls all the key ministries including the military. Whereas in Iran, the Shah of Iran was forced to flee as the religious clerics took over the country with the support of the military. Flashback to Ayatollah Khomeini.

In countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, the military runs the countries with their top generals going into politics and becoming the prime minister. In Malaysia which is styled as a constitutional monarchy, the prime minister wields the most power as long as the military and the police are subservient to him and the parliament.

In Africa and South America, the balance of power lies in the hands that controls the military and to a lesser extent the police force. In times of chaos, military discipline is required to restore order and peace to the nation. The military usually step in when the civilian government is corrupted and dysfunctional which is the excuse needed for military intervention. It is this moral high ground (Heaven’s Will) of righteousness that will balance the forces between heaven and earth.

Since the beginning of civilisation, power crazy men will use either religion or military means to control the mass, making up justification of righteousness as they go along. It is just cycles of history repeating itself as long as mankind coverts power and greed.

In business, a similar analogy applies. Whereas the entrepreneur is both the emperor and prime minister, the corporation has split the two functions. The emperor (chairman of the board) has to work with the CEO (prime minister) in managing the affairs of the state together with court officials, the advisers and the generals. Internal politics are aplenty with each general setting up their individual silos and fighting battles internally and externally.

The CEO instructs his general and his troops to march forth daily to conquer new territories (market share). The victorious general is richly rewarded while the failed general is beheaded (sacked). While in the palace (office), do watch out for the deceitful whispers of the eunuchs (ball carriers – pardon my pun) as they sow discontent through their boot licking tongues. In the meantime, the CEO has to strategise on stockpiling his grains (cash reserves) for the many battles in the long winter ahead.

While the military is all powerful during war time, the civil service remains arrogant as they are empowered by the emperor. Just like the magistrates that rule over districts back in the old days, our current administrators act like little Napoleons, lording over their so called little kingdoms, collecting personal taxes and administering their own laws upon the hapless people of the land.

Our current state of affairs can be described as a cauldron of boiling oil sitting on three legs. The three legs are represented by the monarchy, prime minister and the clerics. Like the Three Kingdoms, if the three legs stay united, there will be no spilt oil. If any of the three legs decide to set out on its own, the cauldron will come crashing down and the nation will be in peril.

“He who wins people, prospers: he who loses them, fails”.

This quote from Three Kingdom should serve as a reminder to all the leaders to act responsibly for the good of the nation.

Similar to the constant leadership power struggles of the three kingdoms, Malaysia’s former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 22 years ousted and outlasted a few deputy prime ministers. Our current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has already ousted one Deputy PM.

A Chinese idiom says, “One mountain cannot contain two tigers”.

There is still hope that this alliance might just survive. If one is the paper tiger.

Published: http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/11/18/power-with-control-of-the-military/

20/2017 – Lessons from the Three Kingdoms

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Age-old philosophy: A movie set depicting the period of the Three Kingdoms. The philosophy proved unworkable for governing in peacetime.

I HAVE just read the Three Kingdoms, the translated English version which was written over three books which was given to my three children by my third nephew whose grandmother was my third aunt.

It was so absorbing that I finished reading the three books in three days and am now watching the made for TV serial – 103 episodes on YouTube every night until 3am the next day.

I understand the Three Kingdoms book is one of the pre-requisite reading among the four literature novels in China’s secondary school curriculum. Since the Chinese civilisation is one of the oldest in the world (some 7,000 years back), the written records of the History of China can be found in 1500 BC (before Christ) which is more than 3,500 years ago! Writing ink was discovered in China and writing was on bamboo tablets and any clothing materials.

The Three Kingdoms era happened between 220 AD and 280 AD when China was ruled by three warlords at the end of the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). The Imperial China era started with the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) which managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Han Chinese homeland and to unite them under a tightly centralised Legalist government seated at Xianyang (close to modern Xi’an). The doctrine of Legalism that guided the Qin emphasised strict adherence to a legal code and the absolute power of the emperor.

This philosophy, while effective for expanding the empire in a military fashion, proved unworkable for governing in peacetime. Qin Shi Huang united the country but the Qin Dynasty lasted only 15 years.

A golden age in Chinese history, the Han dynasty’s long period of stability and prosperity consolidated the foundation of China as a unified state under a central imperial bureaucracy, which was to last intermittently for most of the next four hundred years.

During the Han dynasty, territory of China was extended to most of the China proper and to areas far west. Confucianism was officially elevated to orthodox status and was to shape the subsequent Chinese civilization.

Art, culture and science all advanced to unprecedented heights. With the profound and lasting impacts of this period of Chinese history, the dynasty name Han had been taken as the name of the Chinese people, now the dominant ethnic group in modern China, and had been commonly used to refer to Chinese language and written characters.

It is from this glorious period some 2000 years ago that we can draw many parallels and similarities with our political and economic realities of today. It is eerily fascinating that some of the philosophies of yesteryears are still applicable today.

The Three Kingdoms book starts with: Unity succeeds division and division follows unity

One is bound to be replaced by the other after a long time. This is the way with things in the world. A single warlord conquers all other warlords and sets himself as the Emperor and starts a new dynasty after unifying the country. Over four hundred years,

The Han dynasty weakened due to poor succession of emperor quality and the last two emperors were indulgent in the good life of woman, wine and song and worst of all ill advised by treacherous eunuchs.

Periods of peace and prosperity often lead to increased arrogance of the palace and its officials thus leading to their downfall.

Nowadays we have business cycles and product life cycles. When there is growth, market stay calm and peaceful and everybody prosper. Then more players enter the market and existing players become arrogant and greedy and this leads to oversupply and a fragmented market without a clear market leader.

During the downturn the weak and inefficient will be eliminated and after some time, the market will start consolidating and you will see the emergence of the new warlords who will rule over the industry in the next growth cycle.

In this digital world, you must disrupt the enemy, grab larger territories, and always ensure food and equipment (finance) supply is continuous. Never mind the losses, don’t worry if you lose some battles, just ensure you win the war at the end of the day. Local market dominance now. World dominance next.

Malaysia has just celebrated its 60th birthday so compared to China’s history, we are considered a new born. Even then Umno has undergone a few periods of major upheavals with old and new warlords at loggerheads every few years. Sabah politics has been most volatile for so many years as the tribal warlords and siblings fight over the spoils of the state.

Barisan Nasional now faces Pakatan Harapan which is really a coalition of parties where its existence is a marriage of convenience or rather of necessity. PAS on the other hand after 20 years of peaceful and meaningful existence as the party of opposition is now stranded all alone in limbo land, out manoeuvred by the emperor.

Who is the next leader who can unite the country?

Wikipedia quotes that The Mandate of Heaven is a Chinese political and spiritual doctrine used to justify the rule of the emperor of China.

According to this belief, heaven which embodies the natural order and will of the universe—bestows the mandate on a just ruler of the Chinese country, the “Heavenly Son” of the “Celestial Empire”.

If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate. It was also a common belief that natural disasters such as famine and flood were signs of heaven’s displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as citizens saw these as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.

Mandate of Heaven is similar to legitimacy to rule as the leader of the party with a simple majority of seats. However in China, the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler has been part of political philosophy and the Mandate of Heaven has been used throughout the history of China to legitimise the successful overthrow and installation of new emperors.

Similarly in our society, everything that has happened has been interpreted as Heaven’s will. This spiritual doctrine was created by scholars way before the Bible and Koran was written. Legitimacy to rule as always been based on the doctrine of righteousness and justification.

As this article is only part one of three, I leave you with the popular Chinese saying, “The winner becomes king, the loser becomes outlaw”.

May you be bestowed with a billion blessings from heaven.

Published: http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/11/11/lessons-from-the-three-kingdoms/

19/2017 – Inculcate Rukun Negara values to the young

Saturday, 28 Oct 2017

IT has been a while since I have eaten supper at 11pm. To the western foreigners, supper in Malaysia means another full meal after dinner. The habit of having supper was prevalent in the old days when family dinners was usually done by 6pm hence being hungry again to have the last meal for the day, supper at late night hours.

Like old times, my childhood friends, Jon, Leo and I had a late supper of hokkien mee and oyster omelette in Paramount Garden. After explaining to them about the potential of the halal market, our discussion veered towards our Malay school friends. Ashraf with the untidy afro hair, the neatly attired Razak with the Arabic facial features and Abdul Hadi, one of our top badminton players in school. All three of our “cool” Malay buddies speak and write perfect English.

When I was in Form 6 Arts, half my classmates were Malay. As I was poor in memorising facts, I avoided History and Geography and took up English Literature and Malay Literature (which had only two Chinese students).

Iskandar Zulkarnian was the only Malay student to take up English Literature at STPM level and he was given a scholarship by ITM to study English in the US when he had a principal pass. Such was a rare Malay talent in the English language some 40 years ago.

My other classmate Mus Chairil was like me, a La Salle PJ thoroughbred (of 13 students) who studied from Standard One to Upper Six. The last I heard of Mus, he was working as an Editor with either Utusan Melayu or Berita Harian. I have lost all contacts with most of my Malay classmates since we left school.

It is kind of funny now to call them Malay friends as I remember back in school, I only know of them as Ash, Razak, Iskandar and Mus. We were all race blind and it did not matter what race you were.

You will be subject to ridicule because you were fat, skinny, short, tall, slow or dim-witted and not because you are a Malay, Indian or Chinese.

The only racial slur that I suffered was when my English Lit teacher, Mrs T.T. Chung admonished me for speaking like a Chinaman in her English class. This reprimand did spur me to study hard and thanks to her, my distinction in her paper helped me secure a place in Universiti Malaya.

Despite La Salle PJ being a Catholic school managed by Christian brothers, I was never pressured in school to join Christianity. Every week, we would have a class where Christians attend bible studies, Muslims attend Islamic studies and atheists like me will attend moral class.

The only compulsory tenet that all students had to learn was Rukun Negara (National Principles). We were drilled non-stop to memorise the five principles of Rukun Negara and I never realised the significance of the philosophy behind this tenet until now. How the Rukun Negara helped this multi-racial country achieved unity and harmony.

Being a marketing student all my life, I have been taught to segment markets by age, income and race. Racial profiling in marketing is important as there are distinct consumer behaviours due to cultural differences and communication strategies involve multi-language campaigns.

Back then consumer profiling based on religion was normally restricted to halal food and beverages.

There has been a tremendous shift in consumer profiling in recent years. Since 65% of our population are Muslims, religion and race have been given more weightage in marketing strategies due to the increasing Islamisation in consumer behaviour. Demand for halal products have extended beyond food and beverage to apparel, headwear, cosmetics etc.

Travel services for Muslims have experienced exponential growth similar to takaful insurance, syariah banking and syariah-compliant investment products. Mass market entrepreneurs should heed this major market shift if you want to stay relevant. Sustainability depends on coverage of total market where halal and syariah-compliant products will have a dominant share.

The other major shift is language of communication. Over the last 20 years, our school education system has evolved into three distinct vernacular model. The national type school graduates speak only Malay, Chinese school graduates speak only Mandarin and the private schools in urban centres produce English-speaking graduates.

As these three types of schools are mutually exclusive in terms of language, you will have to communicate separately with each market in their vernacular language. E-commerce sites will have to be duplicated in the three languages if you do not want to miss out on any market segment.

Astro
image: https://cdn.thestar.com.my/Themes/img/chart.png

and Media Prima have been investing in unique and original entertainment programmes in both Malay and Chinese. As their English programmes will be disrupted by Netflix and other digital media, their future success will depend on their ability to communicate and entertain the local population in their vernacular languages.

Recent events of businesses like the launderette restricting services to Muslims only makes no commercial sense to me.

Just as I urge non-Muslim entrepreneurs to not miss out on the vast potential of halal and syariah compliant segments, I would advise the Muslim entrepreneurs to not neglect the non-Muslim segments. Business is business. It should be race blind and religion inclusive.

It gets more difficult for entrepreneurs when race and religion are politicised as the consumers become confused and irrational in purchasing behaviour. These are testing times for marketeers. Will the good old times return to this beautiful country we called Home?

Suddenly I am feeling nostalgic. Looking back to 1970 when Tun Abdul Razak as head of the National Consultative Council formulated the five Principles of Rukun Negara:

> Belief in God

> Loyalty to King and Country

> Upholding the Law and Constitution

> Rule of Law

> Good Behaviour and Morality

Perhaps we should go back to school and inculcate these values to our young, focusing on unity, preserving democratic way of life, sharing prosperity in a just and equitable manner, guaranteeing a liberal approach towards our rich and varied cultural traditions and building a society that will make use of science and modern technology.

Wise words from a wise man and still relevant after 47 years. Let us all hope for the best.

Published: http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/10/28/inculcate-rukun-negara-values-to-the-young/

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