Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AidilFitr; Syawal 1, 1432

AidilFitr is here again (Syawal 1, 1432H; August 30, 2011), much to the rejoice of the Muslim world to celebrate the end of the Ramadhan, the fasting month.  Yet some are saddened by the exit of Ramadhan.  "Ramadhan, the month of my Ummah", to quote the holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.  This year's auspiciousness of AidilFitr is further enhanced by it's double celebration with Merdeka Day (Malaya's Independence Day) normally celebrated on August 31.  They say this double celebration comes once in 30 years.  Wonder where I was some 30 years ago that I can't really recall such a celebration!  Merdeka for this year will instead be celebrated on September 16, commemorating the formation of Malaysia.

Unlike most Malaysians, we again made no balik kampung plans for the celebration.  It has been this way since Ma passed away.  Going home without her around had not been the same.  The second reason being my eldest is heavy with her child.  She's due early October.  The journey would be too strenuous for her.  Thirdly, we have to admit that we are much too old to tackle the traffic.  Normally it'll be a 9 hour drive to reach our hometown.  Come Raya time, I've heard friends making it in 13 or even 16 hours!  That's way too long for us.  To add to that we'll be encountering all sorts of drivers along the way, mostly young ones with new cars sprinting their way.  We'll just make way for them.

Some years ago we managed the journey home.  Laid out plans to visit out of town relatives on the second day of the celebration but the hellish traffic refused to leave us.  The roads were jam-packed and the journey led us nowhere but to more frustration.  So now we choose the peace of our own home preferring other more favorable time to balik kampung.

Wishing all Muslims a joyous Hari Raya AidilFitr and a resounding "Merdeka!!!" to all Malaysians.

The full clan
Standing: Aiman, Abu Khori, Nazim, Meera, Sherli, Faiz
Sitting: Shaida, Wan Hussin, yours truely, Amir
Squatting: Hakimi

My eldest with her hubby & son (Abu & Hakimi)

Nazim with his wife, Sherli and children, Amir & Meera

Teary eyed Amir refusing to leave the tripod alone

Faiz & the father

Kak Sherli with Hakimi

Aiman & her self-portrait as usual

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The proper PROPER

Note:  This entry has to be read alongside my July 12, 2011 entry.

The D-Day made its second debut today, August 22, 2011.  A lot of effort was put in to really improve PROPER.  This time around, we let the system do the info extraction and have it tabulated for easy viewing, maximising the system's computing ability, and making report presentation a breeze.  This called for a sub-module development - the 'reporting module'.

The earlier PROPER version gave rise to much confusion where there was need to 'click' back and forth or go deeper for information that needed deliberation.  It must be reminded that not everybody, especially in the management, is computer savvy. As it normally is, IT competence goes in inverse relationship with one's position in the organisational hirarchy.  The higher one is in the management, the less computer proficient one is, especially when dealing with systems.  It's easy to be confused, to have the frustration and anger short-circuited putting the whole process in complete disarray.  I can testify to that, as it happened in PROPER's earlier debut on July 11, 2011. I am not particularly proud of that incident, to mention the least.

Our team in the corporate planning and system management got to work immediately after our last debacle.  I must remind all that we had a wash-down from the management for what happened on July 11.  Undeterred and realising the system's short coming, we got to work with gusto.  We mapped out how the M&E is to be approached and the critical info needed to be displayed.  We brainstormed and held discussions after discussions with the system developers.  We tabled dummies to our R&D and Operational Managers' approval.  Satisfied with the alpha tests, we called in the centre directors for workshops.  For best impact, we negotiated the KPIs for the year and have their project leaders submitting their project information and progress achieved to date to the system.  With the system shell filled, we test run the M&E process.  Satisfied, we held a pre-council with the management for a final run before attempting the real M&E.

The show was set and we are more than prepared.

We set the corporate M&E exercise to a two-day session (Aug 22-23, 2011).  Things could never be smoother.  We completed the job scheduled for the two days within a day.  Everybody played their part and the system held through.  We had the normal comments, points in need of clarifications and things to justify/rejustify.  But what matters most is that the system did what it is supposed to do.  The team salute the system developers for translating our needs well. My heartfelt thanks goes to L, Umi, Jariah, Faizah, Ros, Zul, Farah, Chong.....

PROPER will no doubt be further improved as we refine our needs.  As it is, there is already talks about integrating it with other in-house systems.

Guys, let's rewrite our limits and reach for the sky!!!