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How much time do you spend online?

After hours on the internet, we often complain of eye strain, headache, trigger finger, physical unease, and the blue light emitted from screens keeps us awake at night. Yet, we are dependent and hooked on this digital landscape - in terms of commerce, social engagements, fact-finding, gaming, branding, education, emerging digital currencies and even the current dream job as an 'influencer'. The virtual world is now the new playground. Everyone requires a smartphone and computer – without internet access, you are pretty much incapacitated unless you decide to live off-grid. But how much Web use, including the increased adoption of artificial intelligence (A.I.) in all areas of life, is just too much?

Traffic on the World Wide Web, to no surprise, has been sky-high since the year 2020 due to the pandemic's physical restrictions and lockdowns worldwide - keeping most of us cooped up at home. The only pathway to sanity was the internet, a true lifesaver. Almost overnight, countless brick-and-mortar stores took their businesses online to survive; educational facilities morphed into online classrooms; and we shopped our socks off on various websites, which inadvertently boosted profits of delivery and courier services such as Grab and La La Move.

For Yayasan Muhibah, live seminars and mentorship classes conducted by Tan Sri Fng at physical venues swiftly shifted online using Zoom's video conferencing platform. Tan Sri Fng also expanded his online presence through Facebook and YouTube by posting daily topical videos, which triggered a substantial rise in subscribers. A website followed to highlight the charity foundation and provide a payment gateway. It was a positive move for Tan Sri Fng to take his courses online. Participants now join regardless of location; plus, it is cost-saving, time-saving and requires less manpower. Even with a return to organising physical events as restrictions gradually lift, the online mode is here to stay.

The online technological era has created a multitude of conveniences, but beyond the benefits, some questionable effects are observed as the virtual world infiltrates society. Two coinciding factors come to mind. First is the magnified use of the internet exerted due to the pandemic. Second is the changing life goals and socialising methods of the generations who have grown up predominantly in the digital landscape, compared to previous generations that mainly did everything' old-school' or hands-on.

Crunch Time

It seems that society has been steadily pushed to embrace online technology and integration in all areas of our lives, especially in the recent turmoil. While it is excellent for monitoring your home when you're out or using phone apps to pay for goods and even safely track the movements of loved ones – however, we notice that personal privacy is diminishing as social media, bureaucracy, hackers, and opportunists come increasingly into play. There seems to be a normalisation towards exposing our personal information publicly. This is a worrying security threat, especially with predators stalking vulnerable and impressionable youngsters and internet-savvy crooks breaching bank accounts and accessing sensitive information through the dark web and other scams. Figuring out where the boundaries lie to protect the right to anonymity needs careful consideration.

The pandemic's strict social distancing for months on end took a heavy financial, physical, emotional and mental toll on countless individuals, in particular, the older folks who needed the extra care and support. Children could not play together, which affected their developing social skills and families were stressed being suddenly housebound with little personal space. Deep depression and anxiety swept the globe as the world we knew turned unpredictable and unsafe within weeks. Many delved into gaming, gambling and social media to escape the pandemic's painful realities. They watched celebrities on Instagram, Tik Tok, and friends and families 'met' online through Zoom, WhatsApp and other video call options. Yet, although we could still communicate online, it just wasn't the same as gathering physically. These impositions went against human nature. Being masked up and not allowed to mingle physiologically limited proper communication. Psychologically, many turned aloof and wary of others – literally masking our emotions. Our previous free-spirited society was being stamped out and replaced by fear-based living. So, many turned to the online world for comfort and safety. After months of working from home, employees started to prefer this alternative arrangement. Currently, there is a strong reluctance to return to the office environment – wanting to avoid the stress of travel, time constraints, money spent going out and other factors. Working at home means they get to spend more time with family, fit in personal chores, dress more casually and be under less scrutiny from superiors – and they get paid just the same.

The attraction to work from home also suits recent generations who are less inclined to work for traditionally structured companies long-term or full-time. Many have shifted into entrepreneurship - desiring to be free and hoping to earn their fortune through unconventional or creative means. YouTubers can make substantial sums of money if they attract a large number of subscribers. Many individuals also sell their artwork and other items on various sites such as Etsy, OpenSea, Instagram and Facebook. For example, to set up a multi-media company with the necessary equipment a decade or two ago would have been extremely costly. While today, starting a company requires only a fraction of the cost. The minimum purchase of a digital workstation with the right software and equipment add-ons, all set up in your room – and you're in business! Training? Just check out the free training online!

It is the bane of business owners and leaders to figure out how to attract and retain employees who have recently discovered the benefits of working from home. Hiring reliable staff is challenging. Nowadays, when an interviewer asks potential candidates what they can do for the company, they reply by asking what the company can give them! Leadership has had to morph from the traditional approach to a more accommodating structure - to encourage the younger workforce to support their business while allowing some wiggle room to suit the freedom-loving generation.

Real or Surreal

Undeniably, the internet is truly a magnificent information centre. We can find almost anything online in an instant. The utter speed of the internet's information highway has exacerbated the impatience of youths to make their fortunes quickly. Are digital conveniences inadvertently making humans mentally, emotionally and socially numb and lazy? Have we adopted the attitude of wanting to own riches without putting in the work?

In the not-too-distant past, we commonly memorised stuff, mastered mental maths, hung out together, had mad outdoor adventures, and wrote in diaries. We frequented the library or bookstore to read in-depth on subjects, wrote letters to loved ones in cursive and had pen pals. We hoped for a steady job and saved for years to buy our first home. It was tactile, organic, physically intense, and the social bonds were strong. We developed the mental, emotional, physical and intuitive muscles to navigate life.

Associating with others through the internet is not the same as physical interaction. The nuances of expression during in-person communication are missing when text messaging. The physical separation also gives people a way to hide behind an icon or false persona – giving them the bravado to be rude and dismissive if they choose. Online bullying has been a significant problem, sometimes driving youngsters into depression or worse. Parents, sadly, cannot continually monitor such harmful exposure. As more youngsters predominantly interact with others through social media, texting and emails, they might be affecting their ability to build genuine rapport with people in physical settings.

How much should we allow intelligent technology to take care of things that we could easily do for ourselves? What will become of us? Does 'use it or lose it' apply? Instead of using our facial muscles to make a smile, we post a smiley emoticon to do that work for us….it is somewhat an emoti-con! Leaders are good at assessing the body language of their employees. But if they communicated solely through messaging or emails, it would limit the accurate assessment of a person's intention. Therefore, negotiations, interviews and discussions are usually done in person.

Our eyes are gradually turning away from the physical construct of our surroundings and plunging into the digital dimensions of virtual reality to re-create an alternative world, hoping to explore new possibilities without the consequence. It is not to say that technology is bad, but at what tipping point will digitalisation disempower us from using our innate human abilities? Perhaps before we lose our minds entirely in the fast-emerging tide of A.I. and the Web cloud, we should approach our technocratic future by carefully assessing the best way to preserve humanity's timeless values and natural potential. For the family unit to survive, we must hold on to love, appreciate Earth's natural wonders, and value our internal compass of empathy and common decency. Preserving humankind's mental and emotional intelligence and our natural propensity for building heart-based communities is a vital anchor in the era of digitalisation. These observations will provide some food for thought as we decide how each of us will engage with advancing technology moving forward.

The Editor

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High achievers love to challenge themselves, taking on progressively demanding and risky activities. Testing their mettle is always a way of life. Tan Sri Fng Ah Seng is no exception – possessing the same inner drive to push himself to succeed in activities of ever-increasing difficulty. Yearning for the next new thrill never stops. 'The Unique Adventurous Tycoon' is a jaw-dropping compilation of Tan Sri's physical feats through the years, covering a wide array of sports, hobbies and expeditions.

You can get a sense of the book with his opening quote,

'If you're not living on the edge, then you haven't comprehended the real meaning of life.'

Journey vicariously with him into deep waters, mountainous altitudes, extreme ice and heat, gliding sky high, navigating dense jungles, and battling the various elements to survive the many risky undertakings. It is hard to meet a Malaysian housing developer billionaire who thrives on physically-demanding activities, which require a high level of skill to master.

Ever wonder what it takes to go wingsuit flying? Or the endurance required to trek towards Mount Everest? What about the mental strength one needs for free diving into the sea's dark depths? Or the level of courage necessary to swim in the treacherous Amazon River? These are only a few of Tan Sri's activities!

The danger is real, so why does he risk his life even though he is already a highly successful businessman, a family man, academically accomplished, and has acquired many accolades and titles to his name? He answers that thrill-seeking is in his DNA – always the explorer and always giving his all in everything he wants to accomplish, be it in the corporate world, philanthropic pursuits, or within the realms of adventure. Tan Sri's broad span of accomplishments is what makes him truly unique. Nothing to prove, only to inspire. The support from his family, friends and team is unwavering. Yes, some onlookers might think that he's mad to risk his life, but to Tan Sri, it is what gives life meaning – to walk the edge and feel the adrenaline of wanting to survive and succeed. His appreciation of life deepens with every new adventure completed. But rest assured, these are all calculated risks. He approaches every challenge heavily prepared, with thorough risk assessment – a practice honed from his time in the army.

We might not all have the nerves of steel to try out many of these activities in his book, but he does show us that we all can achieve so much more if we are willing to put in maximum effort. His wise words and tips for success throughout the book are valuable triggers for getting started on our own goals. He also wanted readers to appreciate Mother Earth, the wondrous flora and fauna, and understand the different types of activities and cultures - by including interesting facts and colourful imagery in every chapter. To date, we are on the second edition of this book, and don't be surprised if there is a third one in the future! Most likely, Tan Sri is not done with exploring!

If you want to be entertained by his nail-biting stories and contribute to a good cause, purchase 'The Unique Adventurous Tycoon' Second Edition on his website ( or CLICK HERE. Note that 100% of sales revenue goes directly to Yayasan Muhibah's chosen charity. Makes a perfect gift.

The Editor

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Greetings! I hope you are all keeping well. Here are some thoughts for the month ahead.

Malaysians start the month of May with two notable public holidays. Labour Day arrives on the 1st for us to take a moment in gratitude to appreciate all our hardworking citizens. Success in my business would not be possible if it weren't for my fantastic team. I noticed that the pandemic increased their resilience, innovativeness and problem-solving skills to meet goals regardless of circumstances. Everyone has a part to play, and I am fortunate to have a dedicated workforce that has stayed with me through the years.

Following Labour Day, the month-long fasting of Ramadan comes to an end, tentatively on the 3rd and 4th - where I'd like to wish all our fellow Muslims in Malaysia and across the globe a very joyous Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration. It is important to cherish our time spent with family and friends and strengthen our bonds within our communities and as a nation.

In the spirit of 'family', regardless of race, religion or gender, it is crucial to support each other. We need more empathy in this world and to become part of the solution of eliminating poverty and offering education to empower the disadvantaged. I am happy to share that for April and May 2022, our foundation has been in the process of donating around RM 400,000 to the poor and needy. We are doing our best to cover the many worthy causes that have been presented to us, such as orphanages that have seen some difficulty in receiving help during the recent lockdowns and restrictions. We have focused on offering scholarships, medical assistance, and food supplies. Regardless of the current economic climate, I have made sure that we still do what we can to reduce the burdens of the less fortunate. There is more than enough for us all, so let's all contribute in our own ways to society and prosper together.

Have you been working on manifesting your dream goals these past months? If you have let the months slip by unproductively after promising yourself to pursue your dreams, then you better start now. It's never too late to get a plan together. Begin by brainstorming. Systematically write down all the elements required to support your goal. Form a clear, logical and practical strategy to execute your goal successfully. Set up achievable objectives and seek the relevant resources to get moving. If resources are lacking, consider utilising or borrowing the skills and resources of others to achieve your goal. Get more info and know-how by reading relevant literature. Consult mentors and sponsors who are willing to share their experiences, challenges and wisdom and can elevate and fast-track you to success. As a personal contribution and passion, I, too, share business wisdom and life skills regularly in my online seminars and leadership courses.

I always make time periodically to review results and strategies for the road ahead – to ensure the smooth operation of my business and implement new ways to secure greater profits that will see us through comfortably to the end of the year and beyond. In short, to seek more opportunities to create greater sustainability for my businesses and projects. Make sure to track your progress monthly. Troubleshoot early to eliminate possible issues, which will smooth the way towards achieving your dream goal. Once you have set a goal, see it through. Never give up!

Wishing all of you a very pleasant, productive and profitable month ahead!

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