Posts by Lujain:
With this comes the need for understanding, appreciating and adapting to these alien cultures, which in turn leads to the issue of how to decide which set of ethics to adhere to when we are dealing with a myriad of cultures, each with its own set of ethics, that in some cases may even prove to be contradictory.
With this newly changing setting, the question arises as to whether we should religiously follow our own set of established moral ethics, or whether we should compromise on them.
This also entails whether we should remain erect in our ethical stance or, and if we do decide to slouch, to what extent such a leeway is acceptable.
In the US, the structure of moral values is based on socio-economic morality, religious morality, basic morality, puritanical morality, basic social responsibility morality and financial morality.
While the US has a global dominance over various avenues, this does not necessarily translate into whether these should be the overarching ethics to which the world should adhere to.
Which brings out the assumption that a globally uniform standard of values driven by US administrative law should fall under their expectations rather than time honoured religious and moral codes.
For instance, the notion of religion arises a lot and repeatedly in Arab cultures, where ethics is set within the frames of what the religion prescribes.
Furthermore, local cultural traditions profoundly affect the working of ethics in certain South American countries, where ‘machismo’ and the ‘ethos of masculinity’ dominates the area of ethics in very substantial ways.
With such discrepancies existing, we need to wonder about how to go about with our actions and remain ethical in all senses, and coming off as having high moral values in the international arena.
It is universally acknowledged that ethics and values changes from one culture to another, but more interestingly, apart from descriptive studies within sociology and cultural anthropology, and some speculative reflections within the Marxist tradition, there has been relatively little detailed analysis on how this occurs.
An interesting way of curtailing this problem if we are to function abroad from our home countries, is to adhere to one set of ethical standards as a minimum level of ethical behaviour.
If the ethical standards in the host country are higher than that of our parent country, the accompanying standards should be modified in an effort to make them stronger.
With this comes the question of the extent to which such modifications can be brought about.
There are two thoughts that are running around today in the field of international corporate ethics.
On the one end are those who follow the idea of radical universalism, where they believe that only one set of ethics must be followed by while operating in different parts of the world.
On the other end are those who believe in ethical relativism, whereby different ethical variations in ethical standards must be graduated, largely depending on individual cultures and social climates within the host countries.
Thus, it would seem that the proper amount for ethical slouching should only be limited to the extent that would not offend the values of the host country, while remaining upright in the overarching set of ethical standards that we specifically and traditionally adhere to.
As such, if we are to function in an international setting, we need to weigh in all that we are exposed to on an ethical level, and carry ourselves in a manner which would least compromise our overarching ethics, while minimising the negative impact our actions may have on the ethical foundation of the host country.
Hi there, my name’s Lujain.
I’m from the Maldives, and currently on a US State Department Fulbright Fellowship at ASU’s journalism school.
Back home, I’m a national news anchor, a university lecturer on multimedia journalism, and also a Communications Director for an IT company.
I have also worked on creative and media related projects for the Maldivian government, the UN and other major organisations back home.
During my time here in the USA I won a video competition that was organised by Harvard University, which in itself was a dream come true for me. I submitted an animated piece on how the future of news would look like.
As part of my time in the US, I wish to gain relevant experiences in how communication tools are utilised to convey effective messages, whether it be in the media, or for it.
Such aspects that I want to explore include the formulation of communication strategies that would aid in branding and the spread of public awareness campaigns, amongst others.
Therefore, I think it would be ideal for me to work for an advertising and public relations agency that would allow me to explore how they deal with the creation and execution of communications related content.
I would love it, if you could just point me in the right direction on how to go about doing this, as you are someone who is well versed in this field.
Thanks and have a great day.
(*Ping* Door Opens)
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, written by Sean Covey, is largely based on his father Stephen Covey’s principles set out in the vastly popular book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
The original seven habits book deals with finding oneself through principles of a character ethic that are described as being universal and timeless. The 7 Habits puts forward an integrated and principle-centered approach to solve the myriad of personal and professional problems that people continually face.
In the book for teens, author Covey (1998, p.4) lays forth the reason for why he attempted to target teenagers:
I wrote it because life for teens is no longer a playground. It’s a jungle out there. And if I’ve done my job right, this book can be like a compass to help you navigate through it. In addition, unlike my dad’s book, which was written for old people (and can get boring at times), this book was written especially for teens and is always interesting.
What’s Effective About the Teen Book!
The entire book is generously interspersed with funny and visually appealing illustrations, cartoons and diagrams explaining what is written. These go a long way in explaining the concepts.
For instance, the entire 7 habits are summarized in a drawing of a tree. The use of such imagery provides an easily digestible explanation of where each habit lies in, and what their relations are to one another.
Another strength is how the book provides encouragement towards starting practicing the 7 habits, in what is termed as baby steps. Covey (1998, p. 27) explains that “though small, these steps can become powerful tools in helping you achieve your larger goals”.
As the book is aimed at teens, naturally, the situations that are used to enhance a principle are based on what teens face in their lives.
It’s about how to proceed when a friend badmouths you, your parents’ seemingly overbearing nature, your teachers’ disregard of the importance of your social life by piling you up with homework, etc.
This approach makes everything very relatable to the typical teenager, and thus provides easy parallels from which the teen can work on when using the principles set forth.
All which has been said so far are excellent and targeted enhancements to the 7 habits, which form the crux of the book as it is. The book deals with the habits in a way that is stylized especially for teenagers.
This can be clearly seen in how each habit as was envisioned by Stephen Covey, was manipulated by his son Sean Covey, with a catchy phrase to strip the ostentatiousness from the phrases that title each of the 7 habits.
So, the 7 Habits?
The habits under these deal with identifying yourself, figuring out what your goals in life are and then planning so that these happen.
As such the habits here are to Be Proactive (I Am the Force), Begin with the End in Mind (Control Your Own Destiny of Someone Else Will) and Put First Things First (Will and Won’t Power).
This was followed by the public victory, consisting of Habits 4, 5 and 6, which primarily deals with how to function with other people and in groups and making the most out of such social interactions.
These included the Habits Think Win-Win (Life Is an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet), Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood (You Have Two Years and One Mouth… Hel-lo!), and Synergize The “High” Way.
The final habit of was that of renewal, tagged with It’s “Me Time”. It’s about sharpening the saw every once in a while so that you are kept refreshed of the principles you learn in the book.
Be Exposed Early On
This is because of the simple reason that situations, which crop up during adolescence are novel, and are then interpreted under the limited experience had so far, thus causing them to be wildly distorted out of proportion.
A pimple erupting on the face would be viewed as catastrophic during these years where one transitions to being an adult.
Which is why the book for teens is especially important.
It is a book that is easily palatable for people of that age group, and would equip them with the tools provided by practicing the highly useful 7 habits at that point in their life where they are easily impressionable.
Starting out early with an awareness of these principles would ultimately prove to be advantageous to them when they emerge into the adult world of more complex relationships, time management issues, figuring out what to do with life while being content by renewing oneself.
As teen years are the playground imitation of the adult world, it is at this time that the 7 habits should reach them, to allow adolescents to analyze the adult world mimicking situations they are faced with, and then work towards overcoming them.
This is the book’s greatest strength, it’s ability to make contact with an audience whose minds are not yet set on a certain set of paradigms or habits.
With the highly entertaining way in which the book is laid out, it is extremely easy to absorb and would prove to be invaluable because these timeless principles would reach them at an early age.
Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed is most famously known as being the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 1981 to 2003. He is accredited as having brought prosperity and security to Malaysia today, bringing it up from an agrarian society to one that is one of the most developed in the South East Asian region.
Mahathir has been referred to as a leader who not only had charisma and public speaking skills, but one who invested heavily in his country’s economic development. He has been described as being an intellectual, honest, communicative leader, and one with a clear vision.
The son of a schoolmaster, Mahathir was born on December 20, 1925. His family came from a very modest background, as they were not aristocrats, now were they particularly inclined religiously or politically.
As schools were closed during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in World War II, Mahathir started off in small businesses. He first started selling coffee, and later was a hawker of snacks, mostly pisang goring (banana fritters).
Mahathir studied at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College and University of Malaya in Singapore, where he graduated with a degree in medicine in 1953.
His first official stint was as a government medical officer, until he went into private practice in 1957.
In 1964, he was elected to parliament, as a member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNA).
Stepping into Politics
Mahathir’s political career kicked off amidst some controversy, when he was expelled from his party in 1969 for advocating for Malay nationalism, and subsequently clashing with then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
From then on, it was a meteoric rise for Mahathir, as he rapidly climbed the ranks, going from Deputy Prime Minister, to President of UMNO until finally, in 1981, he reached the pinnacle of being Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister.
Mahathir effectively became the first ‘commoner’ to become the country’s head of government.
Leading as Prime Minister
After becoming Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir is known to have brought in a host of political and economic reforms.
He was insistent on bringing about reforms that would increase his country’s self-reliance and assertiveness.
While Malaysia is a constitutional monarch with a Sultan or King as head of state, during his time as the Prime Minister, Mahathir brought about constitutional amendments that sought to limit the power of the monarch.
His rule as Prime Minister was not left unchallenged. Mahathir had to contend with a host of opposition from the judiciary, opposition, and mostly the media that reported on the government’s corruption.
Amidst sweeping political reforms and criticisms of having a more hard-handed rule, Mahathir stepped down voluntarily in 2003.
Rebuking criticisms that his rule had been very authoritarian, Mahathir is known to have said “this is the first dictator in the world who has resigned while still quite healthy.”
Leading the Way For Educational Excellence
As the education minister in the 1970s, he was responsible for the introduction of the new school curricular for both primary and secondary schools.
The groundwork for this curricula was laid out in the Mahathir Report, released in 1979, which identified that the school curriculum was too content heavy, and suggested one which was designed to offer holistic education to create balanced, all rounded individuals.
In order for his country to compete globally, Mahathir stressed on the importance of mastering mathematics and science.
His reasoning was that this was significant for educational development in order to create the human resources needed to meet the era of globalization.
From the 1970s to the early 2000s, the percentage of persons over the age of 6 who attended school had increased from 67% to 90%, with the enrolment for tertiary education increasing from 1 to 10% within that same period.
Mahathir also challenged local institutions to stop competing amongst themselves for local undergraduate admissions, and called on them to cast the net wider.
In 1992, he proposed that they all work together towards making Malaysia a regional centre of educational excellence.
This fruits of his vision can be seen within the Cronkite Humphrey Class of 2011 – 2012 itself, where two fellows had undertaken studies in Malaysia, Chen Hao from China and Lujain Shafeeq from Maldives.
It can be said that Mahathir became an outstanding leader for education, especially in light of how he transformed his developing country to a regional and global educational hub.
He was a proponent of supplementing growth with equity, a move seen as rather unorthodox, considering how the traditional route was for survival of the fittest.
At the end of 1996, real GDP was growing at almost 8.5 percent per annum for 10 consecutive years, with this rate of growth expected to continue for many more years.
By 1997 total external trade reached more than 157 billion US Dollars, making Malaysia the 18th biggest exporting nation and the 17th biggest importing nation in the world, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO
When the financial crisis hit the region in July 1997, Malaysia’s currency was devalued to half what it was.
Mahathir maintained that any policy towards solving this crisis as put forward by the west would prove to be detrimental to developing countries.
He implemented the unorthodox formula of selective exchange control, measures which were deemed minimal.
By a strong sense of stability, Mahathir and his government managed to successful overcome the financial crisis of 1997, and has to be noted without the support of IMF.
Mahathir has said that “We believe the foreign media must learn the fact that developing countries, including a country that is led by a brown Muslim, have the ability to manage their affairs successfully.”
Through all this it can be seen that Mahathir’s tough personality is what makes him an outstanding leader as he navigated his country to difficult times to economic prosperity.
This vision was one that would accelerate Malaysia’s industry, growth and modernization, and included the following points.
- A united, peaceful, integrated and harmonious Malaysia nation
- A secure, confidence, respected and robust society committed to excellence
- A mature, consensual and exemplary democracy
- A “fully moral” society with citizens strongly imbued with spiritual values and the highest ethical standards
- A culturally, ethically, religiously diverse, liberal, tolerant and unified society
- A scientific, progressive, innovative and forward looking society
- A caring society with family based welfare system
- An “economically just” society with inter-economic parity
- A fully competitive, dynamic, robust, resilient and prosperous economy
This vision, which came to be under Mahathir’s rule, shows the extent to which he wished to provide a transformational change to his country.
It also showcased how far reaching his sight was, in the very essence of a visionary leader.
A tragic incident has happened in Maldives, when a school’s principal and four students drowned while on a school trip to one of the islands.
You can read up about it here.
For Maldives, such incidences have far reaching impact, mostly due to the small community in which we function in.
We may be a country, but in terms of our associations with one another, we function as a close knit village.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims, especially to those of principal, Nazim, who I knew, as he was in my sister’s high school class.
May God bless his soul.
Reports on the incident state that:
Nazim attempted to rescue eight students who found themselves in trouble, and was able to save four before he died.
This I think spoke volumes about the kind of person Nazim was.
Their batch is one of the most strongly bonded groups I have ever seen, as was further evidenced by their most recent reunion that they had just last July.
I was at this event, as both the MC and also filling in for my sister, who is out of the country.
I am very close to all those in my sister’s class, though I will always be known to them as Mirfath’s kokko (brother), which was what my name tag read on that night.
It is to this group of people that my heart goes out to the most, as I was reinforced anew on that night, the camaraderie they had.
Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been seeing how my sister’s class always came together to celebrate numerous occasions, all the while having the greatest times together.
And they are still maintaining this, 16 years after they graduated high school.
One of my friends, and from the same batch, Amyna, posted this as her Facebook status.
Nazim played the part of a superhero on our Centerpiece show [the biennial school concert].
After reading the news, I truly believe he was a real life hero today.
This would indeed be a tragic loss for their class, and it is to them I dedicate this post to.
Be strong, Batch 1995.
It’s this art walk thing!
Well, it happens every first Friday of the month, in downtown Phoenix.
Ah! Umm, so, what’s it about?
It’s free you know!
Apparently, First Fridays are a free monthly self guided tour of galleries, studios, and unique businesses in downtown Phoenix, showcasing local, national and international artists.
Or so the nice little pdf pamphlet said.
So I had to check it out, for this seemed the best way for me to fully comprehend what First Fridays were.
After rifling through the map, I decided that Roosevelt Row was about as good a place to start as any, mostly because it had the most congregation of dots-to-see on it anyway.
As I moseyed up to the street, I knew something was going on: people were walking up and down with a definite intent.
But what was it? Read the rest of this entry “
Blogging, however much I love the concept of it, I positively loathe having to actually get down to doing it.
While I have never been a serious blogger, I have ventured deep enough into the territory of blogging so as to not get mired in the veritable swamps of texts, pictures, comments, links, permalinks and whatnot.
This post, on another brand new blog that I am embarking on for the Humphrey year, will show you, dear reader, how hopelessly addicted I am to blogging, while being the most unsustainable guy romping around on the blogosphere.
To the blogging world, I am a prospector who hits gold, but gets easily distracted by a whole plethora of other things that glitter.