By THE LEADERONOMICS TEAM
How do you imagine Malaysia to be in the year 2050? To start turning our vision and dreams into reality, the country needs young groups of foundational and emerging leaders to start outlining Malaysia’s roadmap on how we can get there.
The current leadership realises the power of the youth and the millennials, and is ready to engage with them via the 2050 National Transformation (TN50) policy document. In this respect, the National Aspiration and Leadership Summit (NALS) 2017 can play a key role in facilitating the voice of the youth under one platform.
As a collaborative learning partner for the event, Leaderonomics caught up with Suwarna Laxshmi Ramanathan, who is the chief executive speaker management for NALS 2017. She is a doctor in the making with the University of New South Wales and the president of the Malaysian Organisation of Volunteers (MOVe), based in Australia.
According to Suwarna, NALS serves as a platform for young people to voice out and express themselves in a way that they would be heard. With a wide array of issues being presented and discussed in this instalment, participants will be at a better vantage point as compared to their peers when it comes to keeping abreast with the latest developments.
We asked her some thought-provoking questions from our Thinkonomics set, a gameplay that consists of various thinking questions based on our five Leaderonomics values: relationships, empowering, giving, growth and building the future.
Getting to know Suwarna
1. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
If I had to choose one, I would rather be a worried genius. We wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the theory of relativity if all Albert Einstein cared about was making jam now, would we? In reality, it depends on situations. I try my level best to leave out emotions from the equation when making decisions. So, I can be a genius, or a simpleton or a complete opposite, as it depends on how I choose for it to be.
2. What would you have to do to build a ‘just, free and caring world’?
When asked the ultimate “why do you want to be a doctor?” question, almost all medical students will tell you “I want to help people”. Rightly so, but exactly how do we help people?
In the quest to build a just, free and caring world, all aspects of human development should be considered. Be it in a spiritual, emotional or a physical manner, we should reach out to those who need it the most.
I would play my part by being a volunteer, which is what I aspire to do all my life.
3. Joy can be found with simple awareness. What is your joy?
I try to find joy in everything I do, be it finishing a bowl of spicy Korean ramen or changing a baby’s diaper. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have problems. I think problems are great because they help you grow. Whenever I’m bogged down and left alone to face a difficult situation, I pause and take a step back. The ability to just completely stop and analyse your surroundings, to be able to feel and understand misery is a joy of its own kind. We wouldn’t have been able to appreciate light if not for darkness. I’d say the same for happiness.
4. What qualities in you do you wish to share and teach others to harness? Why?
Compassion and passion. Have compassion for your fellow beings and follow your passion. Find your purpose in life, although that it itself is not an easy task.
Also, live and let live, love and be loved. If only our forefathers practised this back then, we all wouldn’t be boggling our minds out trying to pass examinations with flying colours.
That aside, the current digital world faces a lot of discrimination and hate. This has to change; we have to change. Instead of allowing the future generation to suffer with more painful and bitter history, how about something nice and rosy to remember?
5. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
The law is never above a life. The right to life is not confined to a few sentences created and exercised by mere humans. In my line of work, we protect and preserve life; be it loved ones, a complete stranger or the most wanted terrorist.
However, no crime is above the law. The law brings order and justice to those who requires it. I am against the death penalty as you can guess, but I also believe in the sanctity of law. One must always be responsible for their own actions and have some empathy for those who are being denied justice.
6. Your hope for Malaysia.
To be one of the most respected countries in the world! I want people to jump in amazement every time I tell them I’m Malaysian. At the moment, our ‘fantabulous’ food, i.e. the beautiful roti canai, the ever handsome nasi lemak and the hot char kuey tiaw (and many more) is doing the job for us. We need more than that. In the future, all I see is praise for the sort of talents we are able to nurture and the goodwill we are spreading. To a better Malaysia, folks!