Phone

I had not planned on getting an iPhone for Christmas. My wife is sweet, but not THAT sweet! Besides, I had just bought myself a cute little Azus Zenphone 4 which fits nicely on my belt. Unlike my hip and much more tech-savvy son, I have no Apple addiction, and have been content to simply use whatever device comes my way. Taylor’s College in Kuala Lumpur, where I have worked for the last eight years, was kind enough to provide me with a Dell laptop many years ago with XP Professional as a platform. I used that happily for many years and only recently upgraded to Windows 7.

A couple of years ago we were all issued with iPads to facilitate a move to a more electronic pedagogy, an initiative that has had mixed results. We are certainly a lot more tech dependent in school than we used to be. But the phone market is very fluid over here, and Apple does not dominate like it does back in North America. At any rate, with my iPad in daily use, it is not like I am unfamiliar with the brand. And of course you would have to be a Tibetan monk to have missed all the hype and hoopla that has accompanied the release of each new iPhone since its first release seven years ago. Don’t you listen when my wife tells you I have no patience!

But exactly how I got my hands on one is story all by itself. Allow me to relate it to you. I report directly to the CEO of Taylor’s Education Group, the entity that owns the College where I used to work and several other schools as well, including the university, where I am now located. During the past eighteen months I have managed to forge an entirely new direction for this company, and taken them into corporate social responsibility in a much more integrated way.

A website, which has been the principal vehicle for linking together all the various community service projects together, is now up and running. Its construction has occupied a huge chunk of my time for the last year and a bit. You can have a look for yourself, if you are interested. There have been other successes as well, but I don’t want to beat my own drum, just to tell you a story about a phone.

CSR is a bit a new thing over here, and it has been a tough sell, to say the least. My CEO has been very supportive of my efforts, and he appreciates the fact that I don’t bore him with the details either; I just get the job done. He always takes the time to thank me for what I am doing, and today he gave me an iPhone by way of thanks. To his credit, he did try to give it to me in time for Christmas, and it is rather more my fault than his that I was across town at the time, and he had to leave before I got back to the office. Today he got back. Getting me the phone was near the top of his agenda.

My CEO is a very rich guy. I know that some people don’t like him for that reason alone. Personally I have no problem with wealth, and always thought it was more important to God what you did with you money than whether or not you have any. It is for that reason that I admire Bill Gates and rather dislike Steve Jobs. But I will happily take his phone, and appreciate how and why I came to have one. It is fitting that this should happen on 9 January. See? I’m not so out of touch as you may think.

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