My recent visit to the Junior Chamber International Malaysia national board meeting last Saturday inspire me to recollect the nostalgia of my Junior Chamber International career spanning more than 20 active years.
Observing the younger board at work, I could not help but recall my speech during the opening ceremony of the JCI Malaysia 2006 Annual National Convention held in Penang. The Convention Director of the “Convention with a JCI Conference standard” was current National President JCI Senator Dennis Tan.
Below I would like to share what I spoke on that special day.
SPEECH BY THE 2006 NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF JUNIOR CHAMBER INTERNATIONAL MALAYSIA JCI SENATOR TONY HSING
AT THE OPENING CEREMONY XXXI ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION HOSTED BY JCI TANJUNG BUNGAH, PENANG ON THE 28TH SEPTEMBER 2006.
It is with great joy that, I welcome the presence of all the delegates to the 31st annual National Convention of JCI Malaysia.
On behalf of JCI Malaysia, I would like to record my sincere appreciation to the Penang State Government under the leadership of YAB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Shu Koon, for its support to JCI and to YAB for gracing this opening ceremony. We regard your presence amongst us on this occasion as very special.
I believe YAB Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon as a JCI Senator or life member of JCI understand the struggle of the youth in Malaysia especially in JCI Malaysia.
I am confident that the hosting LOM JCI Tanjung Bungah will give us a memorable convention.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow delegates.
The ANC is not a normal affair. It is more than that. This ANC provides us the place where we can meet, discuss and to formulate our policies and with perseverance to further strengthen our organization and the development of youth in Malaysia as a whole.
I would hope we continue to give our attention to some primary issues which are important and relevant to the youth in Malaysia.
Leaders come and go, but the vision of everlasting peace of our founder Henry Geissenbier in 1915 continues to be the guiding principle of all members of this organization.
Malaysia before 1976, was represented at JCI by three different NOM then. Other countries then found it confusing with three Malaysia flags at conferences and congresses. It was against this background that our predecessors unified the three regions then under JCI Malaysia in 1976. Moving onto 2007, being 31 years old JCI Malaysia has to go beyond the regionalization and be unified together to face the challenges and the wind of change ahead of us.
WIND OF CHANGE
Ladies and gentlemen fellow delegates.
A year ago, you gave me the mandate to lead JCI Malaysia. I would like to extend my appreciation for the trust. In this one year, together with your national board we have tasted the meaning of struggle for the cause of JCI.
Traveling as your president this year has given me some great insights in our organization’s capacity and potential. I have seen some local organizations that are changing their society and I have witnessed others that still have a lot of unused potential.
I would like to take this opportunity to share some observation from my travels and visit, which I see as challenges JCI Malaysia faces and the changes needed to overcome these challenges.
The first challenge is to generate a first class mentality with regards to human capital.
In tabling the 9th Malaysia Plan, Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that if we were to become a developed country, the development of human capital is a priority.
To a regenerate ourselves as a human capital with first class mentality, we have to emphasis on three important aspects which are:
First, the mastering of knowledge,
Second, to foster on exploration mindset and,
Thirdly, to build a high level of moral values.
We must understand that knowledge is life long learning. We cannot generate a first class mentality if we do not encourage reading and the love for knowledge.
A community which emphasizes knowledge-based culture and high moral values, will ensure a strong society in a developed country.
The second challenge is to be pro-active towards social and community issues.
We are not an elite organization. As our mission is to provide opportunity for youth to develop ourselves, we must be aware of the issues affecting the development of youth in our society and community, locally and internationally.
Whether or not we become a relevant organization of young leaders and entrepreneurs, depends on our capabilities to be able to be flexible and adaptable to all situations.
We also need to be present in our communities, both locally, nationally and internationally. We sometimes tell ourselves that we are an apolitical organization. But we are not. A part of our vision states that we want to be the voice of young leaders and entrepreneurs. If we want that to be real – we need to be real.
We need to step up to the challenge of leadership and make ourselves heard. We are a very political organization. Not a party, but an organization with very strong beliefs. We believe in freedom, democracy, free enterprise and most of all we believe in the potential of people. We need to be the first to use this potential and come up with suggestions for improvements in our communities. JCI is not an organization that criticizes; we come up with better solutions.
We must be sensitive with the needs of the youth. We must use our network to promote world peace. We must revive our Youth With A Purpose (YWAP) Program which built up self confidence and self esteem of young people providing them with a purpose in life. We should organize Youth Hates Dadah Campaign, as the young people form the largest number of addicts in Malaysia.
The third challenges will be to build a positive thinking and forward looking youth.
The former Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Churchill once said:
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
As young people, we must be positive thinking and forward looking. By being positive thinking, we will have positive habits. We will look towards our future with great hope and expectation.
Problems will be seen as challenges which will be able to be overcome. A pessimist leader will look to the future with bleak hope and negativity. An optimist leader will be able to rise up with full confidence to face any challenges. He will be solution based.
Those are the characteristics that we want to develop as a leadership and entrepreneur development organization. We should constantly remind ourselves of this especially our values in JCI.
If not us who? If not now when?
The fourth challenge is to develop a culture of excellence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow delegates.
According to the Oxford dictionary, culture is the development of understanding of thoughts. Young people must be developed with the culture of excellence.
To develop this culture of excellence within JCI Malaysia, all members must realize they are leaders and are responsible to the organization. Leadership lies not only on your elected officers.
We must not do a project for the sake of doing. We must not do a project with the aim of winning awards or breaking a record. These would come if we excel in what we do with the values of our JCI Creed.
Based on this spirit, JCI Malaysia proposes to establish a Key Performance Index (KPI) for all programs of our local organizations (LOMs) and leaders. This KPI will assist us to move towards the culture of excellence.
The fifth challenge is to nurture a critical, constructive and creative thinking youth.
The Most Honorable Menteri Besar of Selangor Dato’ Seri Dr. Mohamad Khir bin Toyo, as the then President of Malaysia Youth Council said a statement that urges all young people to on the 3Cs. That is critical, constructive and creative.
As young people, we must constantly remind ourselves not to rest on our success and past achievements. We must constantly be critical of ourselves and of one another.
However, we must be reminded that it is always easier to point the finger or find faults. Thus, in being critical, our criticism must be constructive. We should not be criticized for the sake of criticism. We must have constructive criticism.
In being constructive, we must be creative. We must be creative in giving ideas and solutions. We should also be creative in carrying out our roles and responsibilities.
In being creative with constructive criticism, we would be able to provide the space for more input and new ideas for the benefit of all.
Ladies and gentlemen fellow delegates.
These are the five challenges I see as important for JCI Malaysia. The future of our organization is in your hands.
I understand that to change is not an easy task. However, this is something we have to undertake for JCI Malaysia.
Let us work together in facing our future with great hope and expectation. God Bless JCI Malaysia and everyone.