Now You Can Follow Me on Facebook [Alt: The Attention Economy]

I admit it. I suck at updating blogposts. It’s because I can’t stand bad writing — especially my own. And it takes too much time to write well and consistently. So I’ve decided on the next best thing. I’ve created a public Facebook page.

Johnben Facebook

I got this idea when I gave a talk in Hong Kong last month, and one of the co-speakers in the event talked about the Attention Economy.

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My First Ramadan Fast (And What I Learned From It)

berpuasa
Source: Google images

Several year ago, when my Singaporean friend was stationed in Kuala Lumpur at Al-Jazeera, I remarked that Malaysia is a very diverse country and that it is quite surprising to me that we lived in such harmony. He then remarked that Malaysians generally live in parallel realities and we don’t fully intermingle culturally. It got me thinking.

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Should I Fast During Ramadan?

berpuasa
Source: Google images

Living in Malaysia, you can’t avoid the month of fasting for Muslims. You hear it everywhere, you see it everywhere, from the closed Malay restaurants to the tired looks of Muslims. Practicing as a therapist in Malaysia for the last 5 years, I have become sensitive not to offer drinks to my Muslim clients during this month. And I am also sensitive to their differing levels of energy throughout the day.

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Malaysia: We Are Family (Happy Merdeka Day!)

DigiMerdeka
Source: YouTube Digi Communications

When I returned to Malaysia after my Ph.D., people looked at me funnily and asked why I didn’t remain overseas. My answer to them was simple: my family is here.

For our 57th Hari Merdeka, Maxis and Digi have come up with ads that promote Malaysia as a family. When I watched them, one made me laugh out loud and the other moved me to tears. [Watch the ads at the end of this blogpost.]

The past few years have been very challenging for us here in Malaysia. I have tried to remain positive and hopeful despite the political battle cries, the droughts and haze that seemed not to have a solution, and most recently, planes that go missing or are bombed out of the sky. It hasn’t been easy to remain positive.

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What do you do on a holiday? I re-create!

CommonFactors
What I am reading on my break!

Some people chide me for being a workaholic. One of Rekindle’s clinical interns said to me yesterday that he could not fathom how I manage to do all that I do. I replied that during my Ph.D. studies, I was three times as busy as I am now. He didn’t seem very encouraged.

I admit that I am busy and sometimes physically tired from all the work, but I don’t feel tired in my soul. I love what I do. For instance, while I was sitting on the plane alone traveling to my holiday destination, I found myself thinking about what could be done to train up good marriage and family therapists in Malaysia. Instead of watching an inflight movie, I opened my new book, Common Factors in Couple and Family Therapy (authored by one of my mentors, Doug Sprenkle) and devoured it for ideas on training therapists. Continue reading “What do you do on a holiday? I re-create!”

Good Followership: The Founding of Rekindle Community

Teamwork
Source: Google images.

What is leadership? Is it to start something completely new? Spearhead something that no one has done and doing it in a completely new way? Is it “to boldly go where no man has gone before?”

In 2010, I facilitated two plenary sessions at a family business conference where founders and successors shared their experiences across two generations of leadership [link]. First, the founders spoke, then the successors responded. Leader, then follower. Pretty straight forward, right? Not quite.

At the dinner, a successor to one of the founders said privately to me, “I am not sure that it would be accurate to say that my father is the founder of our business. You can say that I am the founder of this business because I took it over from him and grew it to the successful enterprise it is today. Or in another way, you could say that my grandfather was the founder as there were many tangible and intangible assets that my father received from him. Then, you also have to think about my great-grandfather’s influence on my grandfather. So, who exactly is the founder?” Continue reading “Good Followership: The Founding of Rekindle Community”