Talking to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Malaysia F1 Grand Prix

I had the pleasure of being invited invited to Malaysia by the Malaysian government investment arm and part of the visit was attending the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix. At the F1 I met Malaysia’s modern founder and Prime Minister for many years, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. I found Dr. Mahathir to be a most pleasant and gentle man. I could feel he had a deep and solid thinking. 

I was introduced to Dr. Mahathir as the person who “invented chicken hugging on the internet” (related to my previous work Poultry Internet). Dr Dr. Mahathir actually asked me about poultry internet, and I was happy to explain. I guess it was the first and maybe the only time he would talk about internet chicken hugging.

As I watched the F1 it actually came to my mind that Dr. Mahathir basically made all this happen, he modernized the whole country. But I am also very impressed that he let the country go into basically full democracy. Malaysia reformed into an open democracy with the people free to express their voices.

I had the pleasure to enjoy the F1 in Malaysia close up, but what I left with was a more deep impression, I felt free to be myself in Malaysia, it is a open and free society.

Analog Books are Best!

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One of my last analog hold-outs in the digital age is books. I tried using an e-reader, however although it is convenient to carry many books, I feel there are still many advantages in analog books. Some of my reasons are:

1. I simply like the look and feel of a hard copy book

2. I can carry it anywhere, and dump it in my bag without any worry

3. I can read it during take off and landing (which for me has been a significant part of my life)

4. I can visually see how many books I have and how many unread books I own. (This is useful for me as I am a book addict, I can physically see on my book shelf that there are a few hundred books unread which I want to catch up, so I should halt buying more books on Amazon). With my e-reader I could store a thousand books, and basically it is lost in the virtual world. Physically I can relate to the amount of book media I have, much better.

5. Related to (4) I do not need to carry a thousand books with me, in fact I find it stressful when presented with so many choices of what to read on my e-reader.

The only part of books which I probably will convert to digital would be text-books. However I think more importantly text books are becoming irrelevant. I can find almost all information on line these days so I rarely look at text books and I hardly recommend text books to my students these days either


The Book of the Future

(for The New York Times Book Review)

“Laughter says the child” in book: The Young Global Leaders Field Guide to Empowering Change

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What happens when you ask a room of exceptional change-makers from business, science, government and the non-profit sphere to model their view of how change happens? Each one has created a shift in some way, pushed their area of endeavor to impressive heights – but how?

When we say change, do you think of it the way that I do? What does change mean, and how does it happen?

In May 2010, over 300 Young Global Leaders assembled in Tanzania to share ideas, insights, and to experience first hand how local people and organizations were making an impact and creating change. As a part of this exercise, participants in this journey were asked to take a moment to capture change – from their point of view – in the form of a model, mixing images and words to explain their point of leverage for turning what is into what they believe could be.

Both in words and in pictures, what follows are a series of triggers, snapshots of how change happens. Their purpose is to convey ideas.

The book may be downloaded at the following link

Section written by Adrian David Cheok entitled “Laughter says the child”

We are entering a completely new form of society due to the complete and pervasive connectivity of humans around the globe. This is not just a simple extension of the industrial age. In some respects, our society is starting to resemble more traditional group oriented cultures, such as the huntergatherer societies, or Ancient Athenenians, where everybody would know everything about each other constantly. Yet, one revolutionary aspect of this development is that there is some research showing that a new type of human is appearing. These new humans are the children of the Internet age, who have grown up with constant networked communication and almost limitless real time visual media. Researchers have shown that unlike most adults, these net generation humans can genuinely multi-task and learn in a non-linear and visual manner. It is suggested that their brain structure itself is different from all previous humans due to their immersion from birth in connected multiple channel media. In the future what this means is that we may lose some aspects of human intelligence which requires deep solitary concentration (solitary genius), but perhaps we may gain even higher achievements through group intelligence, similarly to a bee hive being more intelligent than the individual bee. We are seeing the end of solitude in society, and new models of the human brain that are based on the network mind. To fully develop the children of the Internet age, we should create technologies that allow us to facilitate new communication and learning, and to create natural and humanistic ways of interfacing with machines, as well as other people remotely over large distances using the full range of human gestures such as touch, sight, sound, and even smell. This new media includes new ways of communication between people and between cultures and races. Children need to be given opportunities to learn with the new media they feel natural with and to develop their creative potential, rather than rote learning of facts. Children, immersed in new media can have great imaginative envisioning, futurecasting and creative engineering potential. We can develop new forms of learning using design thinking and open-minded creative experimentations. Finally, another positive use of interactive media for the young is to promote deep culture by creating new forms of media that combine traditional culture with modern media. Young people often prefer new entertainment and social media, and this we can allow them to explore culture through a novel merging of traditional cultures and literature with recent media literacy. New forms of cultural computing systems are thus an important for children.

The Youth Effect Book

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An excellent book about engaging youth and ensuring that children and youth play an integral role in making decisions that will impact their future, was written by Jennifer Corriero.

I wrote a chapter in the book as follows:

Embracing the Imagination: Adrian Cheok Focuses on understanding today’s children who are born in a world of unlimited communication due to the proliferation of new media and digital technologies. These tools provide children with new opportunities to be creative, connect with an audience and have outlets for their expressions. The Internet has provided children with spaces for creative innovation and group interactions that can be further enhanced through specific initiatives that Cheok discusses.

Jennifer Corriero’s foreward to the book is as follows:

In response to the recent global financial crisis, in 2009 the World Economic Forum convened leaders across industry, government, academia, media and civil society as part of the Global Redesign Initiative. The Young Global Leaders (YGL’s), a unique, multistakeholder community of exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future, were also called upon to submit ideas, proposals and recommendations for action to contribute to solutions with a longer-term future outlook. As a response to the invitation for involvement, a group of 30 YGL’s decided that a broader and more diverse network of youth from around the world needed to be included in the discussions. A series of online consultations and Town Hall meetings were facilitated with over 3,000 youth in over 30 countries and at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a report was presented highlighting the ideas and contributions of youth under the age of 25 that garnered an acknowledgement and response from over 14 Global Agenda Councils. To view the report and response, go to:

The Youth Effect was created to inspire leaders of organizations across sectors to believe in the capability of youth and to develop the skills of established leaders in being able to engage and collaborate more effectively with youth. It is part of an effort to ensure that children and youth are an integral part of designing, shaping and creating a more sustainable future. We live in a world with increasing threats and risks such as rising rates in unemployment, crime, terrorism, and spread of diseases including HIV/ AIDS. It is important that youth do not see themselves as victims but as active agents of change. It is essential for established leaders to view youth not as part of the problem, but as part of the solution. Offering young people meaningful platforms to express their concerns while also articulating their hopes for the future is an essential part of cultivating the next generation of leadership. It is also essential to addressing disillusionment and apathy of a generation who has a strong need for social ties and a desire to have an impact. We hope to create positive ripple effects by engaging with all generations to solve problems together. Each chapter of this book offers practical insights and suggestions on working with youth.

The book can be viewed and downloaded at this link:

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Christianity: n. a religion encompassing forgiveness for all, but stopping short at Judas

‪Derek Abbott posted in Wickedictionary.

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Crime: n. a logical extension of the sort of behavior that is often considered perfectly reasonable in legitimate business.
(Ambrose Bierce)

‪Derek Abbott posted in Wickedictionary.

PHD Movie: Finally, a film about the weird and wacky world of Academia.

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I have been following PhD comics for many years, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a movie is also coming out called “The PHD Movie”. It looks like the comic to be a wickedly funny movie about the life of academics. I am sure it will not appeal to 98% of the population who are not academics, but I can’t wait to see it 🙂

THE SOCIAL INDEX: A brilliant analysis of social relationships in the Facebook age in New Yorker.

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Human relationships used to be easy: you had friends, boy- or girlfriends, parents, children, and landlords. Now, thanks to social media, it’s all gone sideways. I decided to try to index these new entities—to draft a sort of Social Media Bestiary. Here it is, so far:


    1. The friend you know well, have encountered frequently in the flesh, perhaps even hugged, have visited domestically, and would invite to your child’s wedding, and with whom, coincidentally, you might occasionally communicate via social media in addition to more traditional friend channels such as lunch dates, telephone calls, et cetera (formerly known simply as “a friend”)
    1. The friend you sort of know, because you have friends in common and have maybe attended the same events—not together, but you’ve both ended up there because you know a lot of the same people. You perhaps would not have thought to invite this person to a small party, and yet you do include him in your wider sense of your social circle—and you now communicate with him via social media more than you ever did before such a thing existed, and you now have a surprising intimacy after years of static, unenergetic just-sort-of-knowing one another (formerly known as “an acquaintance”)
    1. The friend, or friend-like entity, whom you met initially via Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or, heaven help us, MySpace. You met—online, that is—because… well, who remembers now, anyway? Maybe through some friend of a friend of a friend, or because some algorithm on Facebook “suggested” that you should be friends. In any case, you now interact with this person/stranger frequently—in fact, maybe many times a day—and, as a result, she enters your conversation the way anyone would with whom you exchange chitchat several times a day. When a real flesh-based friend asks you who this person is, you describe her as a friend, for lack of a better word. It’s an awkward description because you have a) never met in real life b) might not actually know this person’s full name or profession or background. Yet you look forward to interacting with this person, and if/when she mentions experiencing a sad event, a birthday, a job loss, a cute baby experience, or a car accident, you have a strong, actual reaction (this sort of friendship formerly had no name at all, since the only kind of liaison that even comes close to this in the history of human relations is that of pen pals)
  1. The friend-like entity mentioned in No. 3—that is, someone whom you know only virtually—but in this instance you and this person have actually met. The meeting was probably brief and a one-off encounter, and it probably occurred because one of you happened to be passing through the other’s hometown. When you finally meet, you spend most of your time chuckling over how much smaller/taller you look in your profile picture.

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