Saturday, August 8, 2009

Division C TLI at Mesiniaga

This morning, I dutifully went to a Toastmasters meeting, the Division C TLI Supplementary Session at Mesiniaga, Subang Jaya. (TLI stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute, for those who don't know). There were 30 of us altogether, and I must admit that I have found it very useful and dare I say it, very interesting too. I am sure the other Exco members of the HICT Toastmasters Club who attended with me, agreed as well.

I particularly liked the 2 Franklin Covey videos they screened: ‘Goals’ and ‘It Is Not Just Important But Wildly Important’ – the first is especially meaningful because it illustrates the importance of actualizing goals through execution. There, that word ‘execution’ again! If only we understand how important this concept ‘execution’ is to the organization.

Anyway, this YouTube video clip - although not the exact one that was screened today - captures the essence of what we learned this morning:

The Star today (p W46) was carrying a news report on Julie Powell’s blog (she started her life as a blogger in 2002 at age 29) which became a memoir, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, which was later, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, which then became a movie – Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. (The movie is also based on Child’s My Life in France.)

I had stumbled on this piece of news when I was devouring this newspaper this Saturday afternoon, and there is a certain truism about what she had said: “I had no idea what it was going to do for me when I started. It was really sort of a personal project to cut out a piece of my daily existence, purely for me, that gave me a creative outlet so the rest of my life didn’t seem so stultifying”. And of course, for many of us bloggers – it is a sentiment many of us can relate to. It is really about self-expression, isn’t it?

Few bloggers will come close to Powell’s success, say blog experts, especially considering there are 133 million blogs afloat on the Web, according to blog search engine Technorati, which has kept track since 2002.

And Powell readily admitted: “It’s such a challenge to keep up a blog now. It requires a great deal of rigor, discipline, a real stick-to-it-ness”. Now, this is very true – how many of us can post, say, a paragraph or more on a regular basis?

If Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim has his way, the government is set on censoring the Internet, to ensure only the opinions it likes will be available online – even though he had only confirmed of plans to develop an Internet filtering system, supposedly for pornography. But as we all know, the government has zilch credibility, so who will believe him? Therefore, it is somewhat of a relief when PM Najib Razak in a front-paged headline, declares that “We will not filter Net access”. The sub-headline reads “Blocking information flow will lead to public discontent” (The New Straits Times, August 08, 2009, p 1). Maybe Najib is getting to be a little bit more intelligent now? For the sake of this country, let’s hope so. In the same newspaper, Koh Lay Chin in her Opinion article gives this timely reminder: “If governments want to win the battle of public opinion online, it would make more sense to engage and understand their citizens online than to conduct a counterproductive mission and spectacularly annoy them” (p 17).

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