Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My New Year's Resolutions

I have a shorter list of New Year’s resolutions over the years. It’s simple, if you have a long list with high expectations, chances being, you’ll still have that long list of unfulfilled resolutions every yearend.

So, for 2014, I’ll settle with two resolutions. The first one is to read more; from around 50 books this year to 60. (20% growth rate, the same with my COO’s resolution on sales figure) The second one is to contribute bigger donations to charity and community.

I like reading. I hope my organization cultivates reading habit as well. Readers learn through reading, it self-motivates, it is better than training courses arranged by companies. Reading habit ensures life-long learning; keeps ones’ mind fresh to constantly absorb knowledge like a sponge.

That's why I started the Academia, to encourage pseudo-academic research and study among the staff that ties up with our served industries. I made them read AND write as well. Many short theses were produced over the one-year through a lot of reading process. With better understanding of the industries and their specific and in-depth concerns, our R&D team has dawned on the direction of software development.

As for charity work, this year, we donated more than 5% of our net profit to support some non-governmental and human rights organizations, cultural activities, and charity bodies like orphanage homes. On our corporate website, we have a statement that goes like this: FingerTec Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of self-regulated corporate governance integrated into our business practice. The FingerTec CSR policy functions as a built-in mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of law, ethical standards, and international norms. In short, this is what Google called “Don’t Be Evil” policy.

However, by adhering to these principles in one’s business doesn’t make a saint out of you. Because, apart from achieving your own dream, the main objective in business is also to selfishly making money for yourself in pursuit of wealth. Of course, getting rich is not wrong when the money is legally your hard earned or smart earned. But it’s also good to peek into the not-so-fortunate life for a lot of other people and making some effort to contribute. As a business owner, or as someone who has more to spend, contributing some to the needy will make one more humanitarian if not a saint and make a better society for everybody to live in.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Business Model

In the biometrics industry, I was once introduced to this findbiometrics.com website, a portal covering news of the industry. Because its revenue model is based on sponsored ads, it publishes mostly positive business news boasted mainly by the project-based biometrics companies, rather than their journalists’ own coverage. I found the website was not of much use to me. 

Two years ago, when we decided to develop cloud video surveillance solution, I bumped into another website, ipvm.com, a portal which the owner self-claimed as “the world's leading video surveillance information source. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisement, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers. We provide the best video surveillance analysis, testing and training for thousands of members globally.”

 After I perused some of the industry analysis and testing reports, I was convinced and thus signed up for a corporate account & paid the subscription fee online, frequenting my visit to the website to gather useful industry & technical know-how in a more neutral manner.

The above two different business approaches have their own target audiences with pros and cons. Unless they disclose their financial performance, I don’t think my personal preference is fair to judge who has a better business model.

Business owners have the liberty to choose their own business model. In many cases, we witness business models carrying more weight than the real substance of their products and services. Even the same products when run under different business models might end up with two totally different outcomes. Sometimes, one business model looks good in a short period, but might not sustain in a longer period; so, change is equally important too.

Business model plays a pivotal role in today's business
During the Dot Com Boom in the late 90s in the last century, investors were not dazzled by the technologies, but by the business models the Internet startups pitched on them. For example, Yahoo! succeeded with its news portal, Amazon with its online bookstore, and later Google’s strip down search engine struck gold. We have plenty more examples like Groupon, Foursquare, YouTube, SalesForces, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and etc; all of which proved business model plays a pivotal role, rather than the technologies in their success stories.

Today, with cheaper technologies and higher computing power, even conventional products and services can easily be revitalized with new ideas.  

Just like FingerTec, we produce quality products, but our business model works wonders. What is our business model? We’re heavily dependent on the Internet. We have plugged in almost everything; our sales and marketing, technical support, warranty claim, resource centre, all around the Internet. And from now on, we added FingerTec Webinar, a web conferencing tool to enhance our online training, to provide interactive training courses for our resellers and customers around the world. The best part of it is, at the right time, at your own place, no travelling is required. Just turn on the Internet, with a cup of coffee in your hand, you can join the class and participate in the discussion.  And it’s totally free of charge at www.fingertec.com/webinar/.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Advanced Access Control Market

When we planned a step forward by including control panels in our product line two years ago, a string of other considerations followed. This was unlike merely adding a new reader with improved features to our product line, even though on the surface business still runs as usual.

FingerTec Ingressus Controller
Control panels or controllers in an access control system are not like rain that drops onto a pond, stirs a ripple on its surface and settles thereafter. The controller as a major core component for the advanced access control system just wouldn’t align to fit into our existing business system, it’s like having a different stream of water that runs across the pond, a separate pathway is needed to contain the stream.

When controllers were introduced, it forked the access control system into two topologies; it has added a centralization option to previously distributed systems; and it provided an increase in professional concerns.

Centralized IP Access Control Topology
Access control system also have become increasingly complex since the introduction of TCP/IP communications, and a great deal of people in the industry who remember the good old days of the proprietary RS485 communication system are now somewhat frightened because the TCP/IP network needs of each security system element must be planned beforehand in conjunction with the needs of all the others, especially when often associated with business information technology systems. We are lucky because we are from the IT background, and always welcome and embrace the new era, yet we still have to address the following shortcomings.

Firstly, the features provided by the simple access control module in our TCMS V2 software were limited because our main concentration was in time attendance. Secondly, in the access control segment itself we needed to shift focus from securing individual doors to securing entire premises. Thirdly, it would be a new learning process for some of our resellers to market the advanced access control system.

Our R&D team spent two long good years to come out with our very own comprehensive access control software, Ingress to tackle the first obstacle.  For the second concern, we integrated video monitoring system via Milestones, developed epicamera.com cloud surveillance and apps on remote access as well as addressed the issues on alarm, sensor and etc.

Advanced Access Control System
And for the third hurdle, we just launch www.fingertec.com/accesscontrol, a sub-portal that includes all key topics regarding physical access control as a resource center for our resellers and customers. We have a few hundred resellers in around 170 countries; quite many of them are still fresh and eager in the controller/access control business. To think about access control as a holistic security system, they have to upgrade their knowledge, and this portal helps in both marketing and supports.

We surely understand the importance of the continual research and development for Ingressus controllers and Ingress software; and more system integrations to turnstiles, visitor management, lift control, and patrol system; and content enrichment of our web portal. No problem. It’s in our pipeline, and we love new challenges.

We came in a little late, but given some time, we have the confidence that we can play catch-up and stand tall with the lot of the market leaders.

Selling standalone access control readers confine us to a small world but with controllers, the world is our playground and we could have the keys to unlock more doors and opportunities.

And www.epicamera.com is just one of them.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cloud Applications - Constantly Upgradings!

Business is strange, sometimes. We recently received an email from Business Software Alliance (BSA) demanding a complete list of all licensed software that the company uses.

We used to be a BSA member quite some years ago to protect our software copyright, but we cancelled the membership after the arrival of the Internet Age.  Honestly, I didn’t realize that the organization is still alive and kicking in enforcing licensed software for every company. Do I think that software copyright is no longer important? In fact, it’s the contrary. But because software has evolved since the Internet era, piracy raids seem so outdated.

Nowadays, we hardly see any software sold in a box. We simply download one from a website after completing its payment, or we are provided with a free trial version that lasts for a specified period. Software developers instead impose protection through other methods, like making any pirated software quit automatically once a user goes online with it. Smart, as who doesn’t go online these days? Most software users have applications installed in their tablets and mobile device. Is there any way to raid these users if they are using pirated ones? Never heard of it so far. And with the onset of the cloud platform for subscription-based software service, how do you take action against non-paying customers? Would it be easy to close their accounts? The huge changes in the form and norm of software ridicule the so-called anti-piracy enforcement. In fact, software developers should adapt to the change in business model or to redevelop its software to survive the future.  

I was stunned when I read this article “Silver linings – The IT Cloud” on The Economist July 20th 2013 issue, when a CEO of a new financial institution in Nigeria told his unimaginable banking story that his firm has maintained only one IT guy, the rest of its IT system processing is outsourced to cloud services.

The global research & consulting firm, Celent, estimates that by 2015, financial-services firms will spend a total of $26 billion for the cloud-based banking system, especially for newcomers with no historical burden of in-house data centers. Although it’s just a fraction of 13% for total IT expenditure in banks, the pressure to reduce cost will likely force the pace of change even for the bigger ones. According to the trend, banks in developed countries have started to outsource data processing that does not involve sensitive client information.   

When we first started developing cloud services, I always pondered upon the higher perspective of dissimilarities between Windows and cloud application, besides the commonly known differences like how the former needs to be installed in a local PC, whilst the latter is hosted in cloud server, and etc. It suddenly dawned on me that versioning is irrelevant in cloud system.

You can't skip versioning with Windows applications. A new version of a software is released with some new features, but after a few months, another ‘bug-fix’ version is released with minor updates – and the loop continues, again and again. For end-users, to receive a ‘bug-fix’ version, you have to patiently wait, bearing in mind you can almost guarantee that you’ll bump into new bugs in the new version and, thus, yet again wait for another round of upgrades.

This is why I like the cloud system process better. The update of new features and bug fixes for a cloud solution can happen almost instantaneously. In some cases, no official announcement even needs to be made as we upgrade our cloud applications. Be it TimeTec Cloud or EpiCamera Cloud Surveillance, we constantly strive to improve them day-by-day! This business practice is unthinkable in traditional Windows software, as developers can’t afford too many upgrades in a year. 

With cloud systems, besides outgrowing the ‘versioning’ concept, we can also adopt a lot more new ideas to extent its possibilities. Welcome to www.timeteccloud.com and www.epicamera.com!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Data: The Race Is On

One of the buzzwords in the IT world apart from cloud computing technology is big data. For a lot of people, (the concept) is hard to comprehend because no matter the size of the data, data has been around us all the time. Why now in a sudden, big data becomes significant and gathers so much attention? And how big is one’s data to be considered as BIG data? 

Big Data
Big data is claimed to be valuable in improving service and user experience, and sometimes, even to refine prediction. So, as a not-so-big company, what is the size of data we have? If it can be considered as big data, how can we make use of it? I pondered a little and told the cloud surveillance development team on how we can tap on big data to improve our service. 

Currently, we are using a customer's last page view as default for their next login page. This is hoped to reduce the unnecessary clicking and to bring the customer straight to the "intended" page. We went ahead with this decision only based on the assumption that customers would always want to visit their last logout page the next time they login.  However, this built-in mechanism may not be necessarily right even when we observed a high hit rate on the relevant pages. 

Hence, I suggested that they crunch individual customer’s data for a period of one month based on two parameters, frequency of page log and total time spent on a page, and strike a balance between the two.  Therefore, if a customer’s behavior changes, the intended first view page would also change accordingly to improve user experience. The method is considered a deployment of the big data concept on a smaller scale.

Big Data
According to Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier in their book, Big Data, “Data was no longer regarded as static or stale, whose usefulness was finished once the purpose for which it was collected was achieved, such as after the plane landed (or in Google’s case, once a search query had been processed). Rather, data became a raw material of business, a vital economic input, used to create a new form of economic value. In fact, with the right mindset, data can be cleverly reused to become a fountain of innovation and new services. The data can reveal secrets to those with humility, the willingness, and the tools to listen.”

In the past we depended on samplings when dealing with large populations and numbers. This was due to the constraints of tools to collect, organize, store and analyze data, which often times did not provide enough confidence to the participants and led to many cases of self-censorship. But with the era of big data, where N=all, using all the available data lets us see details we never could when we were limited to smaller quantity of data.

When we can make use of data effectively, some market surveys become irrelevant because now you realize that the answers to your questions are somehow buried deep down somewhere in the pool of your big data, something that you possess all these while. If you know how to excavate the dormant value, it’d give you much accurate findings than those sophisticated pricey market surveys.   

Big Data

For example, when you dine in a restaurant, a waitress approached you with the sweetest smile she could muster and passed you a survey form to fill. If the service column were filled with “excellent”, she would have a chance for a pay hike. In such a case, you would oblige hoping that your response helps her to get a raise. 

In a market survey however, we usually tend to ask why in our effort to understand the preference of our customers. But when we’re dealing with big dataset, it’s more towards what, rather than why. The big data tells you outright about what is happening, and what you should do next. 

That’s how the Internet giants, Google, Amazon and Facebook become humongous and invincible. For them to improve their services in all aspects; they dig into their own data, find the logic, extract the hidden value, and act according to pattern of the data. With astronomical quantity of data, the numbers speak for themselves, without any need of conceptual model and hypothesis.

Big data marks the beginning of a major transformation, from quantitative to qualitative change. Since we are providing two cloud services, TimeTec as a cloud based workforce management system and IPCamera as cloud surveillance system; we will start to collect data in a larger scale. How can we differentiate ourselves among the competitors? This relies on how data holders open up their big-data mindset, continuously improve the algorithms, innovate the services and enhance user experience too.

When words, locations and interactions are considered data; when one can dataficate almost everything; the big data race is on. The earlier a web firm can capture and reuse its data, the accumulative of data exhaust would turn into a huge competitive advantage for the company, and raises the barrier of entry against its rivals.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Invasion via Invention

Information Technology has invaded almost every industry. The invasion is actually welcomed because once IT pierced through the hull of the industries; it injects juices, and rejuvenates the industries to move forward with a faster pace. We observed how IT has helped revamp industries in the eighties and nineties during the last century. For examples, Microsoft Office improves office automation, Adobe perfects graphic design and publishing, CAD/CAM excels as aided tools for engineering, accounting software increases efficiency for financial reports preparation and etc., and this is all happening with Moore’s Law working behind the scenes while doubling computing power in every 18 months.

But those were the good years when IT companies came in as friends rather than foes. They knocked on your doors, delivered amazing hardware and software, took your money, and left you without interrupting your business. At that time, IT business meant selling IT products, and it never trespassed between industries to compete with you and grab a piece of your market share.

Information Technology
When the smart IT guys leaned further in, all in the name of producing ‘better stuff’ for you, they get to know more about your operations, your business logic and process. When the Internet technology started to emerge in the late nineties, and provided them with virtual power, the invasions suddenly turned “hostile”. They started having less interest to sell IT products to improve your business. While the old-school bosses are still struggling to comprehend the virtual world phenomena, they have already made your border borderless, crossover to open fire. And we observe a lot of industries losing their grounds to these newcomers.

Here’s an example: Amazon not just posed an impending threat to conventional book retailers like Barnes and Noble, it extended warfare to include publishers, resulting in the recent merger of Penguin and Random House, with eBooks and Kindle. It continued the attack on WalMart for the groceries market, gobbling up everything it saw fit to be sold in its online store.

Here’s another example: Apple created another upheaval paradigm shift by turning cell phones into smart phones, changing the phones that supposedly serves the body parts of ears and mouths into eyes and fingers, thus putting the once dominant Nokia in a hemorrhaging state, and accidentally slaughtering the digital cameras and game consoles market along its way.  Now, think of the wearable IT gadgets, and think of the self-driving car. IT marches into almost every aspect of our life, just name it.

Google's Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass
In general, the bloodshed of IT invasion may be a bad thing for industry players, but it is definitely a good thing to customers. IT invasion brings inventions, new ideas and directions, eliminates the incompetent players, while still refreshing the industries with new bloods.

Imagine a decade ago, we’re just an IT player supplying electronic publishing solution to the newspaper industry to automate their operations.  And now, we are one of the invaders for workforce management and access control industry. We use biometrics algorithm, TCP/IP communications, Windows applications, Web and mobile technology, Cloud services, accomplishing them with other IT knowhow to break through barriers, and turning ourselves as one of the leaders in this industry. No doubt, the competition is becoming fiercer with more newcomers, but the industry is apparently also becoming more interesting and beneficial to the customers.

On top of our products being IT-coated, FingerTec also uses IT to improve business operations. But to unleash the real power of IT, we have to burrow deeper into the industry knowhow, creating something new that the industry agrees with. That’s why we have established FingerTec Academia, to have thorough academic research for the industry we intend to serve. We believe the industry would welcome invasion via invention, seeing its usefulness to them.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Turning Honesty into Customer Confidence

Just like marriage, there are no small details in business. There are, of course, suspicions. As such, I had suspected for quite some time that the Electromagnetic locks that we've been supplied with were well under the claimed holding force in their invoices. The problem was, I have no measuring instrument to prove that the ‘white paper’ is wrong. This requires a special instrument, called precision magnetometer, to pull the two electromagnetic slabs apart when the electricity is turned on. The exact reading that it takes the moment the two slabs are separated indicates the holding force for the EM lock. 

To eradicate my doubt, I sent a few samples to a lab to carry out the test. The finding? Averagely down 30-40% from its specifications. 

Once I had the confirmation from the lab, I immediately ordered the amendment of the specifications to the exact amount on all affected marketing materials, and started to look for suppliers that valued quality and honesty.

His reply:
You are too particular. It is just a peripheral in an access control system. I’ve been in this business for 15 years; I assure you that no customers will make any complaints as long as your price is right. And nobody actually cares about the discrepancy of the holding force of an EM Lock as long as it’s beyond the force-open power of any human being under any normal circumstances. What’s the issue?

My reply:
Yes, your statement is most probably right. But, when our products sometimes go along with the accessories traveling around the globe; who knows what circumstances we might encounter? That’s the issue.

At the end, I paid a higher price and swallowed the extra cost, steadfastly insisting to uphold honesty as one of FingerTec’s (and my) business policies. Yes, it will reduce my profit in the beginning, but I believe this is the virtue that guarantees us long-term trust from customers.
When my wife couldn't get her cosmetic lotion, La Roche–Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen SPF 50 in local markets last month, she dared not buy it from any less prominent online store. She went straight to amazon.com, placed and paid her order online, and waited for the delivery. You know you can trust Amazon, and if anything goes wrong you can still get your refund.

As online commercials are getting more popular nowadays, we don't physically see many of our partners. In fact, we normally only trade with and support them online, which explains the problem of end-users whose names we might not even know if they don’t register their FingerTec products online. Without physical interactions, customer confidence level is becoming the essence of any successful e-commerce operation. Honesty, then, is the very basic element for vendors to earn customers’ trust, and later to translate it into customer confidence.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Fine Line Between Entrepreneurs and Businessmen

Can you discern the differences between businessmen and entrepreneurs? In vocabulary, both are synonymously similar.  Both have to form a company, start a business, sell products to customers and pay their dues.  But it does sound better when you’re known as an entrepreneur rather than a businessman. Nonetheless, a so-called entrepreneur would stay a businessman, if he lacks substance in being an entrepreneur.  

Businessmanship is not a word, but entrepreneurship is. So, what is entrepreneurship? Once, I asked a college student majoring in Finance and Economics; and he just stared blank at me. Of course, anyone can consult Google and find a bunch of answers, but if I did it that way, then my blogpost would look placidly plain, wouldn’t it?

Typical businessman
Some friends compared me with one of our common friends, and asked why am I more successful even though we are almost in the same industry? My reply amused them. I said, while we both started small, I applied businessmen practices to achieve the results of an entrepreneur; while he, an MBA graduate, did it the reverse way.

A businessman’s approaches are calculative; he will be frugal when the resources are limited in order to survive but he would never sacrifice the vision. Just like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, if a garage is good enough for an office in the beginning, then it is an office. 

Unlike businessmen, money shouldn’t be the only lure to start a journey for an entrepreneur. Yes, you can act like a calculative businessman, but you have to develop a mindset maintained like an entrepreneur. The right mindset is more crucial than a recipe that a step-by-step guide tells you on what to do to become an entrepreneur.

Would you have everybody sit down for a proper meeting, or you’d go straight to tackle a problem even without one? Do you fancy a SWOT analysis before anything is fundamentally laid down, or passionately jumpstart something that is instinctively right? Would you prefer a first-class report that will score you an A academically, or you would do a first class job even without a report? Would you choose to collect customer feedback from disseminating well-designed questionnaires, or you’d rather breathe in tandem with your customers? These, are the questions.

What is entrepreneurship?
To run an MBA-like enterprise, you may look professional, yet you could end up as just a businessman, if the luxurious pack that contains all kinds of tools, equipments, methods, strategies and skills eventually shrink to merely an objective on your monthly balance sheet. 

All the expensive formalities that come from the business books may not yield you the anticipated results if ones don’t pursue the core concepts, but hunt only for the details. And the few cores are in fact spiritual, rather than physical substances.

A businessman cares more in making money; an entrepreneur cares in a larger perspective, including humanitarian community and social responsibility. A businessman is nearsighted; focuses mainly on a monthly sale. An entrepreneur is visionary; stresses on research and development. A businessman trades to trade; an entrepreneur builds to trade. A businessman considers employees as costs; an entrepreneur treats them as assets. A businessman strategizes on exploitation; an entrepreneur believes in human resource development. A businessman turns himself into a selfish rich man; an entrepreneur brings wealth to the society at the same time.

How to become an entrepreneur? Maybe you can learn to become one from any B school, but I trust entrepreneurship flows naturally in one’s blood, and that makes one a true entrepreneur.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Marketing is Supreme Than Sales

I started my career in sales, selling PCs with standard software to home and corporate users. Later on, I moved on to sell Electronic Publishing Solutions to newspapers industry on a project basis. From sales of a few thousand dollars upgraded to over a million dollars in a single order, you may consider this a great leap forward.

But I disliked doing sales, especially project-based sales. You bade and pitched and diverted all your resources and times, writing thick proposals, presenting multiple presentations, and on top of that, you have to build relationships by becoming a Cheap Entertainment Officer rather than Chief Executive Officer.  Even after all that, you might still fail to secure the project. It is worse if the industry is so niche that all you have are only a few potential clients in your region. It’s like your fate is not in your hands but belongs to a handful few.

That’s why I relentlessly sought for new ventures that can turn my own fate around when the newspapers industry was facing its own predicament from the Internet threat. When by chance I settled on Biometrics, the road forked. Whether to aim for the lavish government projects; or to be more commercial, where we can land on a broader customer base? Or perhaps we can be greedy and stomach both?

Life is definitely full of choices. I finally chose to go along with my passion and inclination. With that, I might have achieved success and happiness; or even if I failed, it would be a failure with dignity.  And today, here we are, standing tall and firm in the commercial sector, but premature at that time when I made the decision without hesitation.

I still dislike doing sales. However, to avoid hefty selling process, a product has to speak for itself. And if customers shouldn’t be begged to buy your products, you have to be able to spread your feathers like a peacock to attract customers.  Your inner system must behave like a magnetic field to draw customers. If selling is oblivious and diminishing, marketing must be obvious and overpowering. The larger image marketing system stand in the way of sales, the better the sales would be.

In the big picture, our sales persons are chasing more than just sales, they’re also chasing stories from our resellers to enrich the content of our monthly e-newsletters. Furthermore, they collect quality email addresses as recipients of our monthly e-newsletter from our resellers, with more in mind than to just accomplish their individual sale figures. The wide reach of a good marketing system’s message has proven to yield better results and assist resellers to reduce their sales cycle to close deals.  Hence, when we hire, our sales personnel are from a plethora of backgrounds, but rarely sales.

Over the years, I have enjoyed seeing sales growth, being relaxed a bit in my office to improve our marketing system, to improve our support system, to improve our software and hardware products, to improve everything I think can be improved, with a clear vision and more importantly our own fate to where we are headed. With the oblique approach, ‘sales’ is no longer a worry to pursue a larger goal in life. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Choices, Choices, Choices

Imagine if your sales strategy is to talk only bad things about your rivals and channel your entire advertisement budget to condemn their products and services; do you think it can help you boost sales? What if you don’t think you have done enough, can you go beyond?

Your next step may be, you soften it a bit by adding cash prize contests to hit the soft spots of potential customers, and later invite an international superstar to sing, dance and gallop your brand out. 

After a while, when you notice your brand's response is only lukewarm, you harden your tactics and include aggressiveness, this time sending some hooligans to create havoc at your rival's marketing events, and tear down their banners, splash red paints on their advertising vehicles, and beat up their supporters. “No problem,” you said, since you have the cops in your pocket. 


You might think the above despicable actions are some fictitious and exaggerated illustrations in a Hollywood movie and restricted to only underworld organizations that control brothels, massage parlors or nightclubs; you won’t think it would ever happen in normal life, right? And if someone uses that strategy in business, you might think, he would most probably end up facing a fiery lawsuit, or behind bars.

But these are exactly the common scenarios happening now in Malaysia, especially with the General Elections around the corner. Even in a civilized society, the barbaric approaches in the political arena may not be necessarily worse than the less civilized. And the dire consequences may not necessarily occur to them, even when they’re evidently against the law.

My political view is quite simple. You need to have a choice to deter political hegemony. When a country spends too long a time controlled by a political party or a dictator, any tactic used can become very dirty. Normal commercial practices might not be applied anymore. Yes, you can have the Antitrust Law to promote market competition; but in politics, tyranny cannot be revoked.

If we appreciate market competition in a fairground, we should value the same for the political playground. If you have choices, the invisible hand of economics will steer the market so you’ll get better products according to your preference. Market competition promotes improvement. So, a mature country has to encourage alternation in political parties, and has a healthy rotation of those in power to maximize their people’s rights.

If we have no choice, we’re left with only one destination. Regardless of the light in the beginning, it leads to calamity in the end.