Shaaz Nasir

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Mind the Economy: “Currency War” made simple

In Advice, Beijing, Blog, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Global Vision, Globalization, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Kuala Lampur, Life, Lunch, Malaysia, Ottawa, Packing, Shenzhen, SME, Song, Success, Technology, Television, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How do Currencies and Interest rates play off each other?

More recently, many developing countries have had to contend with their own currencies rising and undermining their competitiveness.

The problem is that those low interest rates in the developed world have led investors to seek higher returns elsewhere, in emerging markets.

To invest in those markets, they need to buy the currency and that pushes its value up. That in turn makes those countries’ goods more expensive for foreign buyers and the overseas investment money creates a danger of unsustainable bubbles in their property and financial markets.

China has stopped its currency rising much by buying foreign currency. If it were to refrain from that and allow the yuan to rise, it would probably help other developing countries that compete with China, as well as the US which is protesting the most.

But there is another force behind the rising developing world currencies. Their economies are growing robustly, while the rich countries are not.

The tension over between the US and China over currency policy surfaced once again at the International Monetary Fund Talks

USA renewed the pressure on China to allow its currency to rise. The US has a long-standing grievance over China’s currency policy, which limits the movement of the yuan against the dollar. The American complaint is that it gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage.

There was a vigorous response from Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank (The People’s Bank of China), who blamed the rich countries for problems in the currency markets. Mr Zhou said extremely low interest rates in rich countries had created “stark challenges for emerging market countries”.

My Thoughts on the Gap.

Tensions are rising among the developing world and developed as priorities on currency (non)manipulation begin to clash. However, should a country stop manipulating its currency in the name of “fairness”?

Destabilizing the economy in the short run, running the risk of damaging the private sector as businesses go bankrupt; jeopardizing an economy’s growth and ability to reduce poverty  does not sound “fair”. The notion of “fair” implies morals which begs the question: who is making these moral rules?

WTO….IMF….WB……USA…..CHINA…..WALDO?????

International Economics is a game where rules are subjective but actual substantive growth is tangibly objective. I am not for currency manipulation but neither am I for irrational and sudden policies  that would jeopardize  an entire economy….especially not the economy that’s the driving force of world growth in terms of consumer consumption ….

-Articles combined from BBC & CBC

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Mind the Economy: Jobless Recovery…Give me a break IMF

In Advice, Business, Canada, Culture, Economics, Experience, Faith, Future, Globalization, Life, Shaaz Nasir, Success, Technology, Trade, Traveling, World Bank on October 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Four challenges: IMF

Strauss-Kahn highlighted four challenges to be addressed by the officials gathering in Washington…..

• Sovereign debt. Fiscal sustainability remains a problem for some countries, particularly those that entered the crisis with very high levels of debt. “So we are strongly in favor of medium-term consolidation, but it doesn’t mean that in the short term every country will have to tighten as much as possible. It depends a lot on their own situation and it is very country specific.” Where the recovery remains fragile and private sector demand is weak, support for demand is still needed.

• Jobless recovery. Just reviving growth is not enough. “We need growth with jobs. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street. So obviously, for us, the crisis will not be over until the unemployment rate decreases significantly.”

• Financial sector reform. While a lot has been done to address improved regulation, particularly through the new Basle III accord, a lot more needs to be done on supervision and regulation of the financial sector, which was at the heart of the global crisis. In addition, Strauss-Kahn said the IMF supported moves to introduce taxation of the sector.

Global cooperation. The world got through the economic crisis through very close cooperation, but now the momentum was decreasing. One example of this is emerging competition between countries to adjust their currencies to gain an advantage. “What we all want is the rebalancing of the global economy, and this rebalancing cannot happen without a natural consequence of it, which is a change in the relative value of currencies.”

Politics +  Economics = headache

I have been noticing over the past two years that policy makers in the lime light or politicians using the phrase “growth without jobs is horrible” or ” we cannot face a jobless recovery ARHHH”….

Are these guys missing the point or adhering to misconceptions of growth and recovery formed by the pubic?

Depending on what sector, companies around the world  must experience substantive growth for around 12 to 20 months before they can consider hiring once again. Furthermore, during (and as a result of ) recessionary periods, companies examine  their internal workforce and re-prioritize organizational objectives. The restructuring period may lead  to massive overhauls (bigger than Wario’s) for the company’s structure and size. For example, GM…they cut their company in half by killing about 6 brands….people cannot expect them to hire the same amount of workers….

Furthermore, demographics  also play a vital role in unemployment rates. In Canada the time it takes for unemployment rates to return to pre recession levels takes twice as long for young professionals (defined as youth 16-25)…why..that’s another post for another day.

For now,

let us focus on these four challenges and the realization that time is the best public policy tool in the fight against unemployment rates, not fuelling economic misconceptions.

Shaaz in the Amazing Race Malaysia Video !!!

In Advice, Blog, Business, Culture, Experience, Failure, Film, Friends, Global Vision, Globalization, Greeting, Success, Technology, Uncategorized on October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Racing in Malaysia

While in Malaysia we were fortunate enough to take part in the Global Vision Amazing Race!

Same concept as the real deal as our team was superb while running around like mad people in Malaysia for hours. We got a chance to see Malaysia thoroughly from using all types of transportation to find monkeys and much more!

Twist Baby Twist

Here was the twist, at the end of race you had a few hours to produce some type of presentation to the judges. The faster you completed the race the more time you get to prepare and make that crucial presentation that laid out all the answers.

Half way through the race our team realized that we could run around and simply take pictures to complete the tasks or take the time and actually talk to the locals and experience the culture. Furthermore , we merged with another group which did slow us down but on the positive side we really did engage in meaningful discussions.

Nonetheless, we finished last place because of shift in focus and merging with more people.

With only around 2 hours for 10 people to collect their answers, brainstorm, and produce a video….time was running out. After taking showers and coming up with a plan we I had 14 minutes left.  In contrast to teams that were half the size with double amount of time to work on the project.

14 minutes

We decided to create a video and I was the one with the skills and the mac book (iMovie). I had to capture the essence of 10 + people while summarizing around 6 hours into 4 minutes in 14 minutes …this was quite the challenge.  It was a solid team effort where the people generated solid ideas and unique marketing concepts. Keeping cool under pressure is a trait we all need to master as it allows you to find a strong foundation to be productive in an environment of utter chaos.  In other words, “just chill”.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it

Results

While I was making the video, the other team players were perfecting their pitch to the panel of judges. We all came to the conclusion that despite what some clock said…we did not come in last. The point of the amazing race was to better understand and immerse ourselves in the culture as your team, communication, and stress management skills were put to the test.  Not run around simply  taking pictures and pushing people out of the way…yes that would make a great impression on the Malaysians….

Thus we felt confident that although others “raced to the finish line” we took the path less travelled and “learned” to the finish line. With 1 minute remaining the video and pitch was in sync with our team roaring to go.

Everything went according to plan and as a result we went from dead last (10th place) to 3rd as many of those “racers” got numerous questions wrong and missed the point of the whole race.

3rd ….solid team effort with only 14 minutes to prove it.

Enjoy the video (dam youtube downgrades the video quality)

Keep in mind we had three presenters talking about what we did to further add to the video!

Don’t Die Go Jog

In Advice, Experience, Failure, Faith, Globalization, Success, Traveling, Uncategorized, World on October 4, 2010 at 7:06 am

THE NEXT  FEW WORDS  are probably the most important on MTG…so please read the whole post

Life = Jog

A while ago I was on my usual  5 KM route around my neighbourhood when an unusual thought crossed my mind : Life is just a Jog. Give it a minute or two …let the thought marinate in your mind…..no?

Yes, Pace it out (picture of subway door while in China)

In order to achieve your desired goal while jogging one should keep pace in mind. Fantastic, Congratulations, Well done…you ran your fastest 1 km…but can you even finish the other 4..or did you burn yourself out? Just like life, you may be trying to accomplish far too much in your twenties that you simply loose sight of where you are going..the point of life ..I  mean the jog.

Over planning the route of a Jog

Having a general sense of direction is essential for a jog; after all you should not run around with no route. However, if you over plan and  micro manage each step you take your chances of failing increase. This is simply because you over think it. Oh no I am not taking the corner at 3.12 seconds..ACHHH!!! I passed the tree too soon!!!omg!!!! your mental fatigue takes over and slowly drains and distracts you. Don’t over plan your route this just strips the joy out of life..I mean your jog.

I have had the pleasure of interacting with a great deal of young professionals these past few years; all from different walks of life and all with the same flaw: over planning (including me). What happens if you’re stuck behind some smokers while you jog or the road is closed due to construction? you will FLIP out because you did not plan for these externalities. Yes, build a general idea of what you want to accomplish in life/jog and how to best equip yourself for the journey. But please do not try to know what you will be doing on March 30th 2016……or January 12 2012…

With or Without you

When going on a jog the company you bring along is vital. They can help you to reach speeds never thought possible, or act as an anchor and weigh you down.  At first one should jog by yourself to better understand your own limits. Understanding where you are is crucial when trying to become better. However, jogging with people is not only more fun but also furthers your development. When I was training for the official 5 km my personal record (PR) was around 33 minutes. Surprisingly on the actual race is when I established a new PR: 31.054. My best came out that day, not despite being surrounded by thousands of people or enduring a new route but rather because of them.

In life you may save time by not having that many true friends; you may think people are just distractions or something to use for your own benefit but at the end of the day when you are on top of whatever dream you wanted…you will be alone. People around you can support your cause, clear your vision, and above all you can share your attributes/advice with them.

What happens when two good people genuinely help each other?

They become great.

Being misarable and happy takes the same amount of effort….why not be happy?

So with every step you take mind that gap

Don’t Die

Go Live …I mean jog

Dealing with Failure

In Advice, Business, Experience, Failure, Friends, Life, Success, Youtube on September 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

How to learn from Failure

We learn the most when we fail.

With full confidence I can sincerely say the worst critic in life is yourself. When one truly thinks he has failed, no one can do anything to prove otherwise. We must pick up the pieces and build a stronger self, one that will not repeat the mistakes of the past but move forward with lessons learnt.

Even though many people may be fortunate enough to say that their failures are on par with others successes. What others think, say, or do just doesn’t matter if you yourself are not happy with your performance. How you deal with failure defines your character, shapes your resilience, and can propel you to new heights.

At the end of the day when you have tried your best and still come up short, there is not much one can do.

People say: “well at least you tried your best :)”

That’s the point…

Your best failed.

Failing because you did not try; failing because you did not practice; failing because you just did not care…

That’s fine.

But when your best is failing; it is a disaster.

When you put your best foot forward and externalities that are out of your control take you down. That is true failure. The type of failure you never had a chance to stand up to. When your best fails, one tends to loose self-respect. If you loose that, why should anyone respect you? Again it comes down to how you perceive yourself, as you are your worse enemy.

Self-praise is useless

Self-hatred is everything

So how does one learn from failing?

I use to think that the answer was simple: never fail, keep winning. That’s flawed thinking that will smash you in the face when you do fail.

So practice makes perfect ?

Keep on failing?

No obviously.

Take notes on why you failed. Accept that externalities are out of your control, staying positive, and harnessing the art of resilience will assist you. Above all, time, if used properly can be the best healer. However in a fast paced life, who has time?

Knowing you let the opportunity to launch yourself to whole new level slip is a sharp slap to the face. Especially when you knew your true best could have accomplished that great leap and much much more, winning so many times, one could just forget how to deal with failure, and the worst kind, the one where you think you have failed.

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities”

Mind the Mind


Terry Fox Day in Turkey?

In Advice, Canada, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Globalization, Meeting, Ottawa, Success, World on September 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

Each year representatives from the Canadian Embassy work closely with the Istanbul Technical University to organize the “Terry Fox Run” in October. Every year, the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research, a ten kilometer fun-run and walk, is held in over 5,000 locations throughout the world to raise money for innovative cancer research.

Terry Fox knew first hand the need for cancer research. At age 18, bone cancer resulted in the amputation of his right leg. During the treatment that followed, Terry witnessed the pain and despair caused by cancer and he became determined to do something about it. Terry’s dream was to run across Canada and raise money to help find a cure.

On April 12th, 1980 Terry dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean and set off Westward to begin his “Marathon of Hope”. For the next 143 days he ran an average of 42 kilometres per day. Sadly, on September 1st the cancer had spread to his lungs and he was forced to stop.

Terry died on June 28, 1981. In memory of Terry’s efforts, the run has taken place all over the world, including Turkey. Ankara hosted the 12th Terry Fox Run while Istanbul organized the first of many to come. This important event marked the beginning of a long lasting relationship between the Canadian Embassy, Istanbul Technical University, the Turkish Cancer Society, and in fact, the people of Turkey and those worldwide who will benefit from innovative cancer research.

The will of a Canadian hero has transcended cultures and nationalities across the world. Whenever one needs inspiration look no further than to Terry Fox’s timeless legacy.

http://www.international.itu.edu.tr/

Back to school…don’t think so!

In 101 week, Advice, Blog, Canada, Economics, ESA, Experience, Friends, Globalization, Ottawa, Success, Technology, University of Ottawa on September 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

The Start of the Start?

As the summer comes to an end, the same mundane thought creeps into our mind: back to school again.

Not this time, at least not for me. This is not just another school year; rather this is THE school year. Even before kindergarten, the importance of this year was being instilled in my mind.  From late nights to early mornings, everything was for the final year of my University Degree.

It’s a strange feeling as I approach probably the biggest milestone of my life thus far; it’s a great feeling in fact.  My family has been the sole reason for my success; their relentless belief in me has been my driving force. There have been moments when I have doubted my self or lacked the will power to charge through the obstacles at hand; this is when my sister, father, and mother caught me as I slipped.

Fire

Last year was successful in terms of “marks”, but I felt the passion I once had, the same passion that guided me to my degree, was beginning to dim. Don’t get me wrong I loved my third year, it’s just that burning passion to learn from others to further my knowledge in all my classes was being replaced by a misguided and unfortunate pursuit for “high marks”. Studying for tests became a game where I would master techniques to memorize thought processes rather then build my own and critically evaluate the questions at hand…”what would the TA like?”…..not what is my opinion and how can I best convey it?”

The Commitment

My mindset must return to what it was in first year…open and critical…always questioning but with the intent of understanding.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on learning…

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ~Alvin Toffler

Learning is like rowing upstream:  not to advance is to drop back.  ~Chinese Proverb

It is not hard to learn more.  What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.  ~Martin H. Fischer

This is not “back to school” …no this is the start of the realization that the next 10 classes, the next 2 semesters, the next 8 months is what I was working towards for the last 20 years of my life.

Time to shine.

 

Video for Education and Learning

Crazy Chinese Video by Shaaz and Potters in Guangzhou

In Canada, China, Food, Friends, Global Vision, Globalization, Guangzhou, Life, Packing, Success, Technology, Traveling, World, Youtube on August 20, 2010 at 8:40 pm

As we entered our world class hotel, Mr. Potters was transfixed on the floating musical instrument….it was a white piano on some type of platform which floated on water (leave it to the Chinese to make something this epic).  Mr. Potters was tired from the long bus ride  and stated “this is some fine looking glass” as he jumped into the water (about 1 foot deep). He shortly realizes glass is not liquid as he scurries over to counter asking whether it was possible to dry his very nice shoes……

The man replies “Ah yes we will send them to the shoe cleaning centre”

we both replied “A SHOE CLEANING CENTRE?!?!!?”

about 30 mins later after we settle down in our amazing room, we decide to make a video ……..upon recording the Shoe Cleaning Centre enters the room by fluke….

The rest is history, enjoy the video of two very tired individuals being exposed to a world class hotel room.

please remember…we were running on 6 hours of sleep over 2 days…lol we were flipping out for no reason..also there was not a shanty town it was a construction zone…..it will all make sense once you watch the video.

I love Guangzhou. Good Memories.

Andrea chases bus on Chinese Highway…..FAIL.

In Global Vision, Globalization, Orientation, Success, Technology, Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

On our Journey to the Great Wall of China, a car accident renders the entire highway to a standstill. JTC members leave the bus as they are determined to use every moment they have to promote Canadian Culture. JTC got off the bus to hand out Canadian Pins and discuss some light topics with Chinese drivers.

As the situation settles down and the road is clear, JTC members rush back to get on board.

Unfortunately, on the road to the great wall of China ….there was a great gap in judgment. In a bid to be different, Andrea and her two friends travel BEHIND the bus, out of sight of everyone….

JTC crew count the numbers as the bus drives on….the highway is now in full motion…wait guys…where’s Andrea and Co…..oh great

The bus driver decides to pick up the speed as the JTC leaders try to convince him to stop, we see in the distance Andrea and CO (btw all three are on Team Kratos…not Team Hong Kong) Running on an chinese highway.

We could have left them stranded on a busy Chinese highway with NO way home…

Moral of the story: Stop pretending to be different or you will get Antoine chasing you on an Chinese Highway.

At the moment China does not like people uploading .avi movie formats to Canada.

Have a Reason

In Advice, Beijing, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Global Vision, Globalization, Ottawa, Success, Traveling, World on July 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Time to Mind the Gap,

A while back I was lucky enough to attend the Canada China Business Council meeting in Ottawa.  As a private, not-for-profit business association, the CCBC is dedicated to building its members’ business success in China and Canada by offering unmatched business service and support to corporations based in both countries. Its members range from the largest and best-known Canadian and Chinese firms to leading innovators and SME entrepreneurs in both countries.  Members are competing in a diversity of sectors including financial services, legal services, information and communications technology, education, manufacturing, construction, transportation, mining and energy.

I met this very successful man (international consultant, mid 30’s) during the networking event (looked like Matt Damon; no jokes, but taller) as we were talking about my adventure and what I want to do in life. He cuts me off, “Shaaz, you have the tools in place; I don’t know if you will be successful but ya got the tools. Make sure you got a reason, you got to have some type of purpose in what you want to do.” His cell rings; he checks his cell and grumbles to himself: “Well I guess I am off to Beijing  in a few hours”. He exhales heavily, I cut him off, “Sir, let me tell you, you have an amazing life. How did it…” The man cuts me off, he raises his raspy voice and says as he leans into me:  “Listen, yeah it’s fantastic, but if you don’t have a reason…” He looks off into the distance, almost in regret or with some type of mysterious gaze. He continues: “If you don’t have a reason, you get tired Shaaz, you get tired.” He looks at me right in the eye: “Shaaz, I am tired”.

He wished me luck on my journey and we parted ways.

I learned a lot that day, but that conversation put things into perspective for me. Never chase the money, the cars, the women (well some times it’s… no… never mind… no), that whole glamourous  brouhaha people run after, no do not chase that.

Focus on your strengths and weaknesses; find a reason to do great things for yourself and others, and the success will chase you.

That is what I mean by Minding the Gap, not just between people but the gap within us. We got to self analyze what we want in life and above all why, find that reason or I guess we will be tired or just not happy despite all that glamourous brouhaha ( I had to use that word twice in my blog)