Welcome to Sharudin Jamal Blogspot

More than two decades ago, I was diagnosed of having a peculiar illness known as Bipolar Affective Disorder. My world as I knew it crumbled; I lost my business, then my job and later my sense of purpose. It was during this dark moments I rediscovered the joy of running and writing. Most of the articles here are about my rekindled pleasure of hitting the tarmac, my coming to terms with the illness and my discovery of the meaning of life.

I always on the lookout for inspirations to write in these three areas with the hope that they will shed new ray of hope to others who are in the same position as I am.

Do keep in touch if you feel connected through these essays.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Partnering for Success

You don't have to look far to observe whether you have a successful partnership or not.  Just observe your circle of influence.  Are you having a happy marriage?  Do you have friends who go head over heels to help you?  Is your business ecosystem works favorable towards you?  Do you sleep well at night not worrying about facing the day after?  

We are in a way a reflection of our surrounding.  Hence the degree of our success in life is dependent on the success of our partnership.  Managing partnership is very much about managing interpersonal relationship.  At the very foundation, the basic element is trust.  Without trust, there can never be a partnership.  Trust got to be earned.  There's no way a person can buy trust unless you are a corrupt politician or a Mafia big boss.  For most of us, we cannot make an offer the other person can't refuse like Don Corleone. 

Therefore we build trust by giving favors.  Stephen Covey term this action as topping the emotional bank account.  It is a very simple concept but yet as profound as the adage "do onto others what you want others to do onto you."    Imagine you have a bank account.  Every time you do good to somebody, you top-up your account with that person.  Conversely, if you do bad deeds with the person, you withdraw from the account.  Over time, the account fluctuates and eventually settles at a resting point.  If the resting point is a positive balance, you are in the good book. If otherwise, you are in trouble.

The following are some examples of an emotional bank account:

  • Keep promises
  • Be kind and courteous
  • Be loyal
  • Listen
  • Apologize
  • Set clear expectations
  • Break promises
  • Be unkind and discourteous
  • Be disloyal; bad-mouth
  • Don't listen
  • Be arrogant
  • Create false expectations

There is a little caveat to this conundrum;  that is you have to assume people are good at the core.  We must have faith in humanity at large.  This is not an easy feat to achieve.  There bound to be liars, swindlers and smooth talkers around.  At times when  you trust people so much, you eventually get hurt.  How do you know you can trust a person?  A very tricky question.  The science of neuro-linguistic programming offers some hint.  You can tell either from the eyes or the rate of speech whether a person is honest or not.  Also, notice the breathing.  It tells a lot about the person.

In my experience, if a person seems hasty, then caveat emptor - buyer beware.  Do proper due diligence especially in making decisions involving money.  There is a famous book written by a businessman named Harvey Mackay.  The title is Beware of the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.  To sum it up, if a person makes too good of an offer, stay clear from him as far as you can.

The mainland Chinese has a practice.  It's called guanxi.  Basically, it means doing favors.  A person may need to do many favors before he can enter into a business with another party.  In China, it is a common practice to give gifts to another party before initiating a partnership.  Since nowadays such practice is frowned upon as bribery, they settle with a drinking or karaoke session as part of the new guanxi.  I knew a magnanimous person once.  As far as I can remember, KAT (his acronym) will always be the person forking up the bills when he goes out with friends.  The effort pays off eventually because the last I heard he is a monopoly service provider to one of the telco giants.  Not bad for having a practice of picking up the tabs among friends.

There is a saying, "people who are like each other also like each other."  That means we are the reflection of our environment.  So the success or failure we have in life also determined by the company we keep.  Birds of same feathers flock together.  As you progress through life, you accumulate a network of support structure around you.  It helps that you sieve your contacts from very early stage of your life to avoid future complications.  After all, a man is measured by the company that he keeps.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blood vs Water

Just three days ago I discovered that I had two sisters from two different mothers born in the same year as me, 1964, the year of the Wood Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac.  When I first knew about it I was ecstatic.  What's the odd of that happening in a lifetime?  Very remote indeed.  We are like triplets, only this case one father but with three mothers.

At first, when I was small I thought I had a sister, Suria and a brother Amirul.  Then when I was a teenager I got to know about Yati, the eldest daughter of the first marriage.  For the longest of time, I thought there were only three step siblings.  It was Yati who told me much later that there are two others, Bakri the brother of Suria and Norlia, the daughter of the third wife.  Prior to three years ago I didn't know Norlia exists.

Being abandoned from birth and while they were babies, life was not easy for them.  That doesn't mean life was a bed of roses for me and my immediate siblings.  There are four of us.  I am the eldest, then there are Ameezan, Rohaizad and Azura.  Ameezan (31/12/67 Earth Ram) and I had each other while Rohaizad was my mother's favorite and Azura was my father's favorite.  The two of us, Ameezan and I share a lot of common interests.  We enjoy exploring the jungle, mountain biking, martial arts and doing internet research.  At present, we run our own businesses and are very successful at it.

Many of the rough and outdoor personalities, we inherited from our father.  Jamal Moslem Al Farisi was an adventurer, a hunter, an artist, a singer, a comedian, a chef, a shaman, a mountain biker and also a Red Cross volunteer.  He used to be the lead shooter whenever they went on a hunting trip.  He was swallowed by a giant river monster (Ikan Tapah), he spear guns fish in crocodile-infested rivers, he dived into the ocean and he was also an accomplished angler.  What we missed out in tender loving care we got in exchange the attributes of an Alpha Male.  Because of our upbringing, neither Ameezan nor I are afraid of of anything.  Not even death.

Born 23/3/33  Year of the Water Rooster

Rohaizad (28/7/71 Metal Pig) is the family Mr PR.  He can talk like a charm.  A street smart player in life, Rohaizad has a wonderful flair when dealing with people.  He is a smooth talker indeed.  Currently, he is involved in currency trading.  My youngest sister is Azura (1/9/73 Earth Ox).  In our early days, we had our differences.  But as we grow older we become good friends.  Azura is a manager in Al-Jazeera.

The two sisters who were born in the same year are Norlia 18/2/64 and Suria 1/7/64.  I was born 4/9/64.  We clicked almost immediately.  We basically are down to earth people who are peace loving.  

The eldest is Yati who were born in 1957 (year of the Fire Rooster), the year Malaysia won its independence and the same age as my youngest auntie.  She is instrumental in keeping the family together.  She and her husband OCPD Zukir is a match made in heaven.  OCPD Zukir (born same year) is the only child of the now deceased parents.  So we are his only family.   I have Amirul & Bakri the other two brothers, Though modest blue collar workers, they manage to have a harmonious family life.

It is worth mentioning that my youngest daughter Puteri Sarah (15/9/99 Wood Rabbit) & Batrisya the oldest daughter of Azura are of the same age.  Finally in total, we have five dragons in the family.  That include the 1964 triplets, my mother Faridah and Rohaizad's daughter Hani Umairah.  Since my mother is a dragon, that makes me a double dragon by default.

My eldest daughter Puteri Balqis is a Fire Horse (2/8/91)

Fractal Geometry Twin Dragons

Dragons of Varna, Bulgaria

Both my father and mother, Haji Jamal Moslem 86 & Hajjah Faridah Inun Yahaya 76 (2/1/40 Earth Dragon) are also a match made in heaven.