Reflections on Continuous Self Development
On Sunday, 17 September 2017, the active La Salle Secondary School Brickfields ( Kuala Lumpur ) Alumni body hosted a dignified book launch at the Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The title of the book that was launched is ‘ Choosing to Raise the Bar – Reflections on Continuous Self Development.
Education Should be a Life-Long Process
The book is based on about 25 of my relevant blog postings that have appeared in https://benmorais.wordpress.com as well as in my LinkedIn Pulse. The blog postings touch on issues of personal development which I firmly believe should be a life-long process. After all, isn’t there a well known saying that goes like this: ‘From the womb to the tomb ‘ or if you prefer ‘From the cradle to the grave’?
About 80 individuals attended the lively event. Half of them were old boys of La Salle Brickfields Secondary School. Many of them were in their late fifties to mid-sixties but nevertheless, the fire, the joy and the thrill of being true blue La Sallians still burned strongly in these amazing men.
The others came from the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM), Kiwanis Club of Kuala Lumpur, CIMA, ACCA, Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW), Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, Project Management Institute (PMI) Malaysia Chapter etc.
Panel of Distinguished Speakers
The following individuals spoke briefly before the launch:
- Mr JD Lovrenciear, executive director, Business Ethics Institute Malaysia and an accredited PR practitioner;
- Mr Jeffrey Cheah, former chairman, Education & Training Committee, CIMA Malaysia and a chartered management accountant;
- Mr Ngau Wing Fatt, president, Kiwanis Club of Kuala Lumpur and a chartered certified accountant; and
- Mr Jaya Sarathy, an eloquent and humourous retired senior manager from the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Jaya Sarathy, an old boy also served as the emcee for the event.
The guest of honour is an academic and an old boy, Professor Dr Bernie Renaldo Wong, a chartered physicist from the University of Malaya.
Excerpts from the Foreword
The foreword was written by Mr Denis Armstrong, a former supervisor at La Salle Brickfields Secondary School and later, company quality manager, for the Ericsson group of companies in Malaysia. Mr Armstrong is best remembered by the many athletes he trained as a truly legendary and successful athletics coach. He has also earned an enviable reputation as a no-nonsense disciplinarian.
This is what Mr Denis Armstrong had to say in his foreword:
‘This compilation shines the spotlight on the subject of personal development and its various elements. The range of topics is comprehensive and impressive. This is not another collection of tiresome, gimmicky clichés and taglines written by some armchair consultant that we come across so often. Each theme in this compilation is anchored to first-hand observations and insights honed over more than three decades of experience in Ben’s many-faceted career’.
What Some Others Have To Say
Raymund Jagan: Here is an excerpt:
‘With the rise of technology-driven societies and relationships profoundly influenced by the compulsion to connect mindlessly rather than communicate meaningfully, there is a need to remind us of the rich values, skills and knowledge base of what makes us human. Benedict’s musings do just that – a reservoir of insights on ethical conduct, purposeful communication and living a value based life’.
Raymund is a seasoned counsellor, trainer and council member, Malaysian Association of Social Workers.
JD Lovrenciear had this to say:
‘Having walked through life with him as my first master in public relations, my long years of association with Benedict assures me that this book is not only timely but indeed will be a blessing that readers can count on’.
JD, as he is popularly known, is an accredited PR practitioner and a prolific writer on a wide range of issues that matter. He is, currently, executive director of the Business Ethics Institute Malaysia.
Brenda Lee Tang (all the way from Trinidad and Tobago) had this to say :
‘I have been a colleague of Benedict Morais and can say with absolute certainty that he has been the perfect coach, friend, guide and mentor to many, including me. He has an extensive and enviable background as a high school teacher, lecturer and also as an educator. This background enables him to speak on a wide range of topics due to his professional competence and wide range of soft skills’.
Brenda is a chartered certified accountant and a former head of ACCA Caribbean.
Range of Topics
The range of topics is both wide and comprehensive. They are divided into five sections in the book:
- Values, Beliefs, Ethics;
- Self Leadership;
- Work and Life; and
- A Lasting Legacy.
Some of the topics in the book (in no fixed order) are:
- Practising Common Courtesies;
- Repugnant Habit of Making Rude, Personal Remarks;
- The Alluring Grace of Social Intelligence;
- Implications of Devaluing Your Words;
- Aggressive Language in Speech and Writing;
- The Art of Engaging in Conversation;
- Expressing Gratitude;
- Too Lazy to Really Think;
- Hold High the Torch of Responsibility;
- Seamstress on A Laudable Mission;
- The Many Joys of Serving in a Voluntary Capacity;
- Importance of Striking the Right Work–Life Balance; and
- Leave with Dignity and Decorum.
Quotes at the Start of Each Section
There are relevant quotes placed at the start of each section to prepare the readers for what lies ahead. For instance, at the start of the first section, the quote is: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
At the start of the second section, the quote is: “The art of communication is the language of leadership” – James Hughes.
For the third section, the quote is: “The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself” – Rumi.
In the fourth section, the quote is: “If I had to embrace a definition of success, it would be that success is making the best choices we can………….and accepting them” – Sheryl Sandberg.
And finally, in the last section, which gives us the inspiring stories of three remarkable men, the quote is: “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them” – Anna Taylor.
All these quotes are meant to make the readers think deeply before proceeding to read the articles in the section.
Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away
There is a well known saying about old soldiers. I cannot remember who said it but the following quote is quite meaningful: ‘ Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away ‘.
I recall the dashing actor, Gregory Peck, playing General Douglas MacArthur in a movie about the great general giving a farewell speech at his alma mater West Point, the famous US military academy. He used this saying in his closing remarks with telling effect.
Likewise, when I was asked by a guest at the book launch why I had decided to write and publish the book at this stage in my life, I calmly responded, in a measured manner, by saying: I would like to think that Old Teachers Never Die, They Just Re-invent Themselves!
Note: The book is available for sale at MYR$30 + shipping/handling. For more info on this book (as well as the other books I’ve written) and for placing orders, please visit the Books page.