IR 4.0 and International Security

Emerging technologies transforming international security:

  • Drones: They are essentially flying robots. The United States currently leads in this technology, but the technology is spreading like wildfire and will soon become widely available and more affordable.
  • Autonomous Weapons: Combining drone technology with artificial intelligence, they have the potential to select and engage target without human intervention.
  • Militarization of Space: A new generation of hypersonic glide weapons is also poised to enter into the space domain. This will increase the probability that space will play a major role in future conflicts. This gives rise to concerns that current regulations on regulating space may no longer be sufficient.
  • Wearable devices: They can optimize health and performance under conditions of extreme stress or produce exoskeletons that enhance soldier’ performance, allowing human to carry loads of around 90kg without difficulty.
  • Additive Manufacturing: It will revolutionize supply chains by enabling replacement parts to be manufactured in the field from digitally transmitted designs and locally available materials.
  • Renewable energy: This enables power to be generated locally, revolutionizing supply chains and enhancing capacity to print parts on demand and in even remote locations.
  • Nanotechnology: Nano is progressively leading to metamaterials, smart materials which possess properties that do not occur naturally. It will make weaponry better, lighter, more mobile, smarter and more precise. It will ultimately result in systems that can self replicate and assemble.
  • Biological Weapons: The history of biological warfare is nearly as old as the history of warfare itself, but rapid advances in biotechnology, genetics and genomics are the harbinger of new highly lethal weapons – airborne designer viruses, engineered superbugs and genetically modified plagues.
  • Biochemical weapons: Technological innovation is making the assembly of these weapons almost as easy as a do-it-yourself task.
  • Social media: This technology can also be used to spread malicious content and propaganda. In addition to that, recruitment via these media is easy and prevalent.

Do you agree? Do you want to add to the list?

Biryani for the Soul (1): They see Failures, I see Lessons

Failures and Mistakes are our teachers and masters.


When you fail, sit down and observe.

  1. What mistakes did you make?
  2. What mistakes did others do that caused the problem?
  3. How did you respond?
  4. How did others in the problem respond?
  5. How can the outcome be different?
  6. What can you change immediately?
  7. What can you change in the midterm?
  8. What can you change in the long term?

When others fail, go and talk to them.

  1. What mistakes did they make?
  2. How did they respond?
  3. How can their outcome be different?
  4. How can you improve to avoid making the same mistake?
  5. Could they have avoided the mistake or failure?

Always, take the time to observe the failures. Because failures offer us an opportunity to rise and be better. It gives us an opportunity to introspect, improvise and adapt. If we allow that moment to pass without contemplation, the idiot will always repeat his mistakes.

Leadership – Inspiring and Motivating (Part 1)

Leadership in this age relies more on motivation and interpersonal influence than on getting other to comply through a chain of command or hierarchy. I have experienced, in more than one occasion, where the ability to motivate and interpersonal influence achieved greater results than simple instructions through a chain of command. I have also witnessed leaders with tremendous potential who failed because they ignored this very primal need.

I was reading a book by Beth Comstock, “Imagine It Forward” and she referenced Jack Welch as very charismatic individual where his presence is felt very personally by each employee, despite GE’s decentralized mega-organization. This is an example of leadership that employs motivation and interpersonal influence.

We need to identify the key people in our organization that will help us to excel

How does this type of leadership work? It is not a set of mechanical management processes. It is not a sleeve out of a management booklet. It is human. It requires good chemistry, a huge amount of listening and observing.

I will break this topic into few parts to allow for shorter and easier reading. We will cover how this type leadership works and can be implemented.

Pembangunan Modal Insan Siri 1

Dewasa ini, kita kerap mendengar perbahasan berkenaan pembangunan modal insan samada di persada kerajaan, dalam negeri ataupun antarabangsa. Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa pembangunan modal insan adalah antara perkara utama yang ditekankan oleh Allah s.w.t. sebagaimana firmanNya:

_Iaitu mereka (umat Islam) yang jika Kami berikan mereka kekuasaan memerintah di bumi nescaya mereka mendirikan sembahyang serta memberi zakat, dan mereka menyuruh berbuat kebaikan serta melarang dari melakukan kejahatan dan perkara yang mungkar. Dan (ingatlah) bagi Allah jualah kesudahan segala urusan. (Al-Hajj, 41)_

Ulama’ mentafsirkan “mendirikan sembahyang” sebagai pembangunan modal insan kerana ia selaras dengan firman Allah s.w.t:

_Sesungguhnya sembahyang itu mencegah dari perbuatan yang keji dan mungkar (Surah Al Ankabut, 45)_

Dari kedua-dua ayat ini, kita jelas dua perkara. Perkara pertama yang dapat kita fahami adalah pembangunan samada dari segi negara atapun tamadun yang dibawa oleh Islam amat berbeza dari konsep yang ceduk dari barat. Perkara kedua yang dapat kita garap adalah keutamaan pembangunan. Dari segi kepimpinan, samada kepimpinan sebuah organisasi, syarikat, mahupun negara, perkara yang harus menjadi keutamaan adalah pembangunan modal Insan diikuti pembangunan ekonomi dan akhirnya pembangunan infrastruktur.

Justeru itu, menjadi kemestian untuk kita bezakan dan fahami kedua-dua perspektif Islam dan barat agar landasan pembentukan modal insan menurut Islam dapat dibentuk menurut acuannya yang murni, tanpa campur aduk atau peniruan secara total daripada yang dibawa oleh barat.

Sebelum kita berbicara lanjut berkenaan pembangunan modal insan, seharusnya kita memahami maksud “pembangunan” itu sendiri.

Syed Hussein Al Attas mendefinisikan pembangunan sebagai “mengubah keadaan sedia ada kepada keadaan yang lebih baik”. Beliau menggariskan lima ciri pembangunan iaitu: (1)pembangunan harus mempunyai sifat insaniah, (2)pembangunan tersebut harus dilaksanakan oleh pemimpin yang jujur, (3)kefahaman dan kesedaran mengenai pembangunan harus wujud dalam kalangan masyarakat, (4)setiap usaha pembangunan mesti berdasarkan ilmu, (5)setiap pembangunan mesti mempunyai unsur estetika.

Dalam penulisan yang lain, Syed Hussein juga menambah bahawa pembangunan wajib mengelakkan cita bencana, iaitu cita kepada masyarakat yang dipengaruhi unsur-unsur tidak bermoral.

Ciri-ciri yang diulas beliau membawa sifat manusia yang berkehendak kepada perkara yang lebih baik, seperti makanan yang lebih baik, teknologi yang lebih pintar dan pelbagai lagi aspek kehidupan. Tidak dinafikan bahawa ciri-ciri yang dibentangkan oleh beliau mempunyai perkaitan dengan konsep pembangunan dalam Islam, namun, definisi pembangunan dalam Islam jauh lebih luas dan merangkumi sifat insaniah dengan lebih mendalam.


Religious Extremism

As of late, many labels have been thrown about by certain quarters on the rise of Islamic movements and advent of extremism. Before we even discuss how extremism manifests itself, we should keep in mind two crucial points.

The first point is the degree of piety of the person with respect to the society he lives in and how it effects his judgement of others as far as extremism, moderation and laxity is concerned. It is quite easy to understand that a society that is quite religious produces muslims who are overly sensitive to deviations, negligence or even transgressions. This is due to his judgement of the circumstance based on his own experience and exposure. Historically, when we examine the deed and practices of people, the closer we move towards the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions, the deeds of the later generations seems less worthy.

Anas bin Malik once told the Tabiins, “You do things you consider trifling. But during the time of the Prophet s.a.w. these same actions were seen as mortal sins.”

On the other hand, a person brought up in a less religious or non religious society will find even a minimal adherence to Islam as a kind of extremism. In both these scenarios, the worldview of the person is shaped by the society and the perception of Islam and adherence.

The second point is the adoption of a hardline juristic opinion of a certain fuqaha (jurist). If he is convinced that the jurist is right and that he is bound by it, then he is free to do so as it only involves him. If it overburdens him, then it is due to his own accord. There is no hard math or principle for this, people naturally differ on these matters.

Some take things easy and facilitate matters, while others do not. We can often see differences among the companions. Ibn Abbas was lenient and facilitated affairs while Ibn Umar was quite strict. In gist, an opinion of a jurist that the person has chosen to follow should not be the sole characteristic that we determine the person as an extremist. It is his choice of ijtihad – especially since it relates only to his personal life and behaviour.

It is my personal opinion that we should not condemn the practice of any muslim or accuse him of “extremism” if he adopts a hardline opinion based on juristic opinion through which he seeks Allah’s pleasure. And it is also my opinion that we nor the government have any right to force him to abandon his opinion or follow the opinion that is acceptable to the society. Our duty is to appeal to him with wisdom and argue with him patiently.

This is the method outlined by Allah swt:

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.” (Ali Imran, 104)

But it is essential to note that this tolerance is limited to his/her personal space and practice. However, when the hardline opinion crosses into the public space and affects others, then a different approach applies altogether.