Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bedeviling the details

In the context of the healthy chatter over the NEM, the idiom, "The devil is in the details" appears to have made some more informed quarters touchy while it rolls off the tongue of others with ease.

Granted that it is a throwaway phrase that enables indolent minds with pretensions of wanting to say something about the NEM to say something curling, the touchy response is rather amusing and, if I may say, a trite dismissive. Some may even say it smacks of arrogance at some level.

The setting of strategic goals is a necessary starting point in any meaningful endeavour. As de Bono has pointed out on many occasions, strategy sets the parameters within which tactics are required as a form of adjustment mechanism. The directional flow set by strategy cannot be immutable since there are many risk factors and happenstance events that can never be envisaged much less anticipated.

That said, the NEM Part I sets the strategy.

And, when we get to the implementation stage, whenever that might be possible, it is the tactical features that will come into play. These are the details that, some say, may bedevil the NEM.

As such, even if indolent minds use the idiom and, even if they are clueless about being able to answer any challenge for specifics, such a paltry response does not deserve dismissal. For, to use a phrase from Bruce Lee when he was expounding his Jeet Kune Do philosophy, "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer".

If "inclusiveness" is a strategic goal in the present context, then, the principle should be broadened to include foolish questions or, even throwaway idiomatic remarks by stakeholders who may also be voters...unless there is no which case we are doomed.

In any event, in true Malaysian fashion, I offer my contrition for, mea culpa, I am guilty of such a foolish utterance albeit made in good faith.


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