Monday, January 2, 2012

End of Year Meetings

As with many companies, the college and its parent body like to host end-of-the-year seminars and celebrations to instruct, motivate, encourage, and honour their workers.  I am not always a fan of these, but participation is usually mandatory (DIWAJIBKAN!) and sometimes even interesting.

On Friday, the final day of work for 2011, all workers were called to a seminar at the parent body's nice new facility (KEHADIRAN DIWAJIBKAN!).  Of course, not everyone went; if you are an Important Person, you can skip what you want; attend what you want.

Motivational Seminar
The seminar on Friday started off innocently enough.  The presenters were both well-dressed and fairly professional in their presentation.  Simple ideas were shown on the overhead screens; even some simple terms, such as the phrase "Accelerated Culture Transformation (ACT)", was Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved, which I find a bit over-the-top.  Corporate consultants are at any level akin to the Snake Oil Salesmen of the past, presenting self-evident ideas in flashy packages, and charging high fees.

Not everyone tracked with the talk, however.

Not so riveting for everyone!
If these two presenters had left it at a presentation of some regurgitated ideas, I would have found it only annoying, but in fact, at the end they resorted to that loathsome tactic of making an emotional -excruciatingly emotional- appeal.  It brought back painful memories of a similar situation two years back.

After the stated two-hour period was up, the presenter said something like, "Let me take just another five minutes of your time."  Now, when someone says that, WATCH OUT!

All lights in the room were darkened, and he began to show a video of an important religious figure from history, who apparently was not too well received in one village at the time.  The village leaders gave permission to the village children (we are told) to chase the important man out of the village under a hailstorm of rocks.  This is portrayed by actors in a short video.  Stopping the video at this point, one of the presenters began a long and tedious lament about how this hurt the feelings of the important religious figure.  Okay; thought I; I would have felt bad too.  But, this lament went on for ~30 minutes with the presenter seemingly feigning sobbing and crying into the microphone.  What did he want from us?  I nearly walked out, three or four times, but knew that it would not be looked at favourably.

Presenter appealing to emotions...they threw rocks at our Hero!
Finally, the long and painful lament ended, and a group of men were called up on stage to lead the group in a sing-fest, waving the national flag whilst singing a religious song and the national anthem.  Clocking in at a 2 1/2 hour presentation, it could have been worse; like the 9-hour joke from January 2009 which has been alluded to already. 

The saving grace, however, for Malaysian organisations is that they love to host meals, and thus, to the spacious cafeteria we went to eat away our lamentations.

Eat, drink and forget the lament...
The following evening, the parent body of the college (and other subsidiaries) gathered at the near-new Zenith Hotel in downtown Kuantan for the end-of-the-year banquet and awards ceremony.  Held in one of the Zenith's massive ballrooms, it was a more festive affair with no appeals to the emotion.

A Zenith Hotel (Kuantan) Ballroom
Although also DIWAJIBKAN, I would have wanted to attend this one anyway.  In addition to an excellent meal, and a set of dances from the parent body's dance group (with very colorful costumes), the parent body gave service awards to a large group of us.  Yes, I said "US", because Teak has worked over 11 years at this college, and thus was awarded a 10-Year Service Award.

Not only did the Service Award consist of a paper certificate, in a nice velvet folder, but it also came with a 1/4 oz. gold coin, the Kijang Emas coin which is issued by Bank Negara Malaysia.

Kijang Emas, 1/4 oz. gold coin

Kijang is the Malay word for the barking deer (Muntiacus muntjac), which is found in Malaysian forests along with the more common Kancil (mouse deer, which often plays the hero in Malay folk tales).  The national bank of Malaysia (Bank Negara) began to issue the Kijang Emas gold coin in 2001, making Malaysia the 12th country in the world with its own gold bullion coin issue.

The front of the coin shows the mouse deer (kijang) and the statement of 999.9 fine gold (99.99% pure).  The back shows Malaysia's national flower, the bunga raya (hibiscus), and the legal tender value of RM50 for the 1/4 oz. coin.  Of course, it is bought and sold at the prevailing world market price for gold with both a sell/buy spread, and a dealers premium of around 10% for the 1/4 oz., 8% for the 1/2 oz. and 6% for the 1 oz.  All in all, a most excellent gesture on the part of the parent body to give us gold coin rather than fiat money!

Backside, Bunga Raya (Hibiscus) and RM50 as legal tender
Remember the Golden Rule : he who has the gold, rules!

No comments:

Post a Comment