In Golf Lies Our End

December 31, 2011 12:40 pm 0 comments

Share this Article

Author:

When our grip on good values is the basis to our being, our delivery will be good in all aspects of our lives

THE Mayor of Casterbridge, one of the most critically acclaimed fictional writings of Thomas Hardy, tells the tale of how the flaws of human condition can haunt even at the cusp of success. It is a narrative of accomplishments, when decked on unchecked values, can collapse like a house of cards.

The writing brings to the fore the very essence of how actions define destinies.

The novel relays a poverty-stricken Michael Henchard who would one day sell his wife and daughter to the highest bidder when in a state of intoxication. Mortified by his action, Henchard would take an oath of abstinence from alcohol for 21 years.

In the ensuing years, through hard work and acumen, Henchard would become a wealthy merchant, as well as the Mayor of Casterbridge in Wessex.

Years later, the wife he once sold would reappear with a daughter. His past would come to haunt him at the zenith of his public life. As he struggles to conceal his past, his public life suffers with his inability to move with the changing times. His fall becomes inevitable to what can be mirrored across generations of fable and reality.

At its core, this tale narrates how the kaleidoscope of fate and destiny throws its curve balls at our characters waiting for it to rise or dent to the occasion.

We often go about our lives thinking there are two, but parallel stories, that run in our lives. Our own lives that revolve around work, kids, family, bills, chores, and the hustle and bustle of nonsensical traffic.

Yet there is another world that runs parallel called the “other outside world”. We hear of the other world through media and headlines, and from party talks. We spend very little time connecting the dots between “our own realities” and that of the “other world”.

The other reality

What eludes us is that “the other” reality is what shapes our own destiny, what defines our own reality, what moulds our own future, least said our own character. Our own story and the story of our future, and even that of our future generation, is not a different one.

I draw these parallels to demonstrate the realities that engulf us today. More and more people across the Atlantic and down the Pacific are losing faith in public and private institutions. We need to only turn to the breaking news as testament to this. Events before us lean towards the argument of an interdependent world.

The values with which we live our own lives have bearing on the lives of many we may come to impact directly and/or indirectly, consciously or otherwise. But this fact continues to escape many of us. And so many of us contemplate the fundamentals of what works for the times.

So what does work?

For those who play golf, you will know, the grip of the golf club is the foundation to a good swing. Why? Because the grip is your only contact with the golf club and ultimately the golf ball!

Hence the grip is the basic technique to master when you want to improve the game. With a good grip, aided by a good posture, the swing is the same no matter the club or course.

Applying this analogy to our own lives, I am persuaded that when our grip on good values is the basis to our being, then our delivery will be consistently good in all aspects of our lives.

The crux to me lies in the core of our own characters, in the depth of our own value system and in the consistency of the standards we set for ourselves in life.

Localising this to the sector I work in, the public sector, I’d argue that the core purpose of public service is simply this to me that we are here to serve the public and it is a service. Our one and main role as public officials is to make sure that “other world” aligns with “our own world”. But do we really do this though?

Many a mail that greet me bemoan if the system has failed every time a service at the public sector doesn’t meet an expectation. Why can’t public officials honour their responsibilities, I am asked?

I struggle with the question that isolates public officials alone at a time when the world is seeing a global movement of “Occupy Wall Street”, which challenges the very ethics of private institutions which affected the lives of the man on the street across the world.

Yet as a taxpayer myself I have experienced less than acceptable service at times and have made known my disappointments.

Policy state’

Someone recently said to me, Malaysia is not a “police state”. It is most definitely a “policy state”. I can’t agree more. Our love of circulars and policies in the public sector has at times blindsided our ability to apply common sense to the service we deliver. We toil through complexity with the conviction simplicity is not progress.

Though a thankless job, some say, I have come across many in the public service who have served much better than the service I have received from top-tier private sector companies. That said, I have also experienced hare-brained solutions from the service that has driven me up the wall.

Whether in public or private sector, media or non-governmental organisation, the same rule applies as it does with golf. Get your grip right, the swing is then consistent no matter the club. Be that in serving the next customer equally as well, or to report an event fairly, or manage finances trusted on us transparently. All of these reflect on our grip on what is universally accepted as good principles and values, I am persuaded.

These are the values that will define our legacies. Our legacies will be defined by those we have served. If our time is defined by oblivion then that’s how we did serve, perhaps. If our time is commemorated by others with monuments, metaphorically speaking, then perhaps that is how we delivered.

This to me is the very essence of public service. We are here but to fill an office temporarily. We can each plan our legacies but we cannot our marks and stamps. That is anchored in the lives we ultimately touch.

There is a part of “Mayor of Casterbridge” in all our lives. Even as success pursued and found the Mayor, Thomas Hardy expounds the essence of “character is destiny” in his writing. He wrote how the core of a person can ultimately save or destroy a man regardless of the phases of life he may have seen and experienced.

All along the same man is there in Michael Henchard, but he gets lost somewhere beneath the surface in the hustle and bustle of life. He never really knew his core, only to realise its make when his mettle was tested.

I dare argue that the world that awaits us will be not be upheld by cutting-edge achievements, but it will be in how we revolutionise human values into connecting the dots of the parallel worlds. It will be defined by our acceptance that our own value system will define us, no matter where we work.

In the service industry, we are all ultimately judged by the court of public opinion. And so what we then choose as our value system will define our end!

> Tan Sri Sidek Hassan is Chief Secretary to the Government.

No Comments

Leave a Reply



5 × = thirty five

Categories

  • Speeches

    118th Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM) Convocation

    Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM), Kuala Sungai Baru, Melaka Thursday, 26 April 2018 Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Salam Sejahtera Dan Salam 1 Malaysia. Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Hj. Baharin Dato’ Abdul Hamid, Ketua Pengarah, Jabatan Laut Malaysia, Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Abdul Halim Mohyiddin, Pengerusi MISC Berhad, Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Halipah Esa, Pengerusi Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM), Yang Berusaha Encik Yee Yang Chien, Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan MISC Berhad, Yang Berusaha Encik David Fredrick, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif ALAM, Ahli-Ahli Lembaga […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    Rakan HSE Finale Dinner 2018

    PETRONAS Leadership Centre (PLC), Bangi Thursday, 12 April 2018 Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Salam Sejahtera Dan Salam 1 Malaysia. Yang Berusaha Enck Dzafri Sham Ahmad, VP Group HSSE, Graduating Rakan HSE participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, When Dzafri sent the invitation to me a few weeks ago to this Rakan HSE Finale Dinner 2018, I immediately said yes! So tonight I get to meet and speak with a group of people who are so important to our organisation. I strongly […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    Majlis Ikrar Bebas Rasuah MDEC

    Auditorium MaGIC, Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Cyberjaya Selasa, 10 April 2018 Bismillahhirrahmanirrahim, Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Salah Sejahtera dan Salam 1Malaysia. YBhg Datuk Seri Azam Baki, Timbalan Ketua Pesuruhjaya (Operasi), Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM), YBhg Dato’ Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil, Timbalan Ketua Pesuruhjaya (Pencegahan), Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM), YBhg Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif MDEC, Ahli Lembaga Pengarah MDEC, Barisan kepimpinan tertinggi SPRM dan MDEC; serta seluruh warga kerja MDEC yang saya hormati sekalian. Alhamdulillah, […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    Majlis Pelancaran Buku “No Wrong Door : The Story of Sidek Hassan”

    Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, KLCC 8 Mac 2018 Bismillahirrahmannirrahim, Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1 Malaysia, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Perdana Menteri Malaysia Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Ketua Setiausaha Negara Yang Berbahagia Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Azlan Ghazali, Naib Canselor, UKM Yang Amat Berbahagia dan Yang Amat Arif Tun-Tun, Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato’-Dato’, Datin-Datin, Dif-dif Kehormat, Serta hadirin dan hadirat yang dihormati sekalian. […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    Majlis Pelancaran Penerbitan Buku “ALEGORI: EKSPRESI SENI KONTEMPORARI BERASASKAN MANUSKRIP MELAYU”

    Galeri PETRONAS, KLCC Rabu, 17 Januari 2018 Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1 Malaysia Yang dihormati Profesor Emeritus Dr. Muhammad Haji Salleh, Sasterawan Negara, serta pelengkapnya, Puan Norani Mohd Salleh, Yang Berusaha Puan Zahariah Abdul Rahman, Pengurus Besar Kanan, Bahagian Komunikasi Strategik, PETRONAS, Yang Berusaha Encik Joseph Edwin, Pengarah, GALERI PETRONAS, Para Seniman dan Warga Seni, Rakan-rakan Media, Para hadirin yang dihormati sekalian. Alhamdulillah, marilah kita bersama-sama merafakkan kesyukuran ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala kerana […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    PETRONAS Board Excellence: Essentials For Directorship

    Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Wednesday, 29 November 2017 Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Assalamualikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Salam Sejahtera, Salam 1Malaysia and a very good morning, Yang Berbahagia Datuk John Zinkin, Ladies and Gentlemen. I feel so excited to address a group of PETRONAS executives, who are not only based in Malaysia but from all over our global operations. Welcome to the ‘Essentials for Directorship’ programme, which is the foundational programme of the PETRONAS Board Excellence suite. 2. You will learn throughout this […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    7th Outsourcing Malaysia Excellence Awards 2017

    Thursday, 2 November 2017 Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur Bismillahirrahmannirrahim, Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1 Malaysia, Mr Cheah Kok Hoong, Chairman, Outsourcing Malaysia, YBhg Dato’ Lim Han Boon, Organising Chair, Outsourcing Malaysia Excellence Award 2017, Friends and Colleagues in the Global Business Services (GBS) industry, Media partners, Ladies and Gentlemen, Alhamdulillah, let me express my utmost gratitude to Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala, for it is with His Bounty, and His Grace, that all of us are gathered […]

    Read more →
  • Speeches

    Majlis Perasmian Loji Kojana Pengerang Dan Terminal Regasifikasi 2 Oleh YAB Menteri Besar Johor

    Selasa, 24 Oktober 2017 Kompleks Bersepadu Pengerang, Pengerang, Johor Bismillahirrahmannirahim, Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, Salam Sejahtera, Salam 1 Malaysia dan Salam Muafakat Johor, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Mohd Khaled Nordin, Menteri Besar Johor, Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, Presiden dan Ketua Eksekutif Kumpulan PETRONAS, Ahli-Ahli Lembaga Pengarah PETRONAS, Yang Berusaha Dr. Badrul Hisham Kassim, Pegawai Daerah Kota Tinggi, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Syed Sis Syed Abdul Rahman, ADUN Tanjung Surat, Dif-Dif Kehormat, Teman-Teman Warga Kerja PETRONAS, Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan […]

    Read more →