Blue Ocean strategy vs. our blood-red sea

BY: Azly Rahman

    “… Because blue and red oceans have always coexisted however, practical reality demands that companies succeed in both oceans and master the strategies for both. But because companies already understand how to compete in red oceans, what they need to learn is how to make the competition irrelevant.”
    – Kim and Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy, pg. 190

    You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
    – Mahathma Gandhi

Leaders are fond of discussing management concepts and theories of social change and next, apply them to political paradigms.

They do this within the framework of Structural-Functionalism in which society is seen as a stable entity such as in the case of ‘power transfers’ and the ‘transitions of hegemony’.

Oftentimes political leaders and their opinion leaders, technocrats, intelligentsia, speech-writers, perception managers, and other members of the regime will embrace new ideas to help fine-tune the political economic structure of the old regime and help sustain the base and superstructure of the power arrangements.

These days, a popular concept of change in Malaysia and Asia perhaps is the blue ocean strategy in which the idea of cooperation takes over competition, and that novel opportunities are to be created to contribute to an environment in a future that promises more peaceful coexistence between producers and consumers, and providers and clients.

This idea is taken from the work of W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, published in 2006 by The Harvard Business School Press.

In a yet to be charted territory of the blue ocean, competition is said to be irrelevant.

Innovative companies thrive without having to compete for saturated markets. ‘Red oceans’ of chaos and competition is abandoned for ‘blue oceans’ of conflict resolution and collaboration, as this new idea goes.

Again, limited findings from the study of a few business entities is used as a model to be applied to public service.

Is Malaysia a blue ocean?

To answer this one must consider what state she is currently in.

Malaysia is wading through the (dark and dismal) River Styx in which her McCarthyism is keeping dissenting voices in jail, hunting down students and faculty, arresting peaceful protesters, battling with new media, making its politics of race and religion is evolve into a Balkan and a Bosnia.

The postmodern condition of this open sky neo-capitalistic country is debilitating and its citizen are in utter confusion of where the national leaders are bringing them to, at time when the central and ethnic-based leadership is rotting to its core, creating a hideous form of a human being infected with a Human Papilliomavirus.

Especially at the time of the December party elections the level of corruption within the ruling parties is at a critical stage that even those vying for top leadership have admitted that one needs many millions of ringgit to get elected.

This is happening at a time when the poor of all races are struggling to survive by the day, maintaining a roof over their head, and making sure that their children have food on the table.

Malaysians are in a bipolar condition in a unipolar form of governance in which there is the belief that only race-based politics is the one best system.

Dissenting views are to be crushed and destroyed by any means necessary, and the hegemony of the previous regime need to be maintained either through force or false consciousness inflicted upon the masses.

The red ocean of Malaysian politics

Malaysians are charting into an unknown territory brought about by the yellow wave of the recent March 8 revolution and the red Makkal Sakthi cries of repression, anger, and frustration.

There is also the ever ‘green’ ideology of Islamic-based parties and the light blue radical multiculturalism of PKR adding to the Kandinsky and Jackson-Pollock type-of political landscape painting of this country’s future.

There is chaos and complexity in the pattern of political scenario, unlike the ‘blue ocean’ strategy feel-good ideology embraced by Barisan Nasional leaders who probably have not done an internal and external reading an critical analysis of what actually blue ocean strategy means in which the country is now trying to choose between depression and the deep blue sea.

In short, Malaysia is in a bloody red ocean that has been plagued with cut-throat shark-eat-shark world of racial politics.

In all these, Malaysians are in need of a leader that will not only embrace all these colors of change and turn them into a ‘rainbow coalition’.

Use that as a symbol to navigate through the blue ocean to arrive at a destiny that will promise a land of opportunities for all, less annoyance of race and religious politics, and onwards to march of participatory democracy and further on towards the reconstruction of a republic of virtue grounded in ethics of philosophical, economic, and political sustainability.

Replace paradigm and people

The theme in the book Blue Ocean Strategy, is hope for the creation of a future of peace and prosperity.

In Malaysia, who has the licence to give that hope? Who has the ability to be the captain of new consciousness and steer away from a Vision 2020 that has become a Myopia of 2012 as Malaysia’s await the next General Election?

Is the present government, ailing with social cancer that started from the head and now heading to the soul, able to help create a blue ocean?

Can it do so with the happenings in the Judiciary, Executive, and Legislative?

This is a question Malaysians have to answer fast, while “hitting the ground running” as an American saying goes.

Paradigms and people need to be replaced. Democrats in America cannot rehire ‘Bush-men of Texas’ to navigate through the American Kalahari desert of Casino Capitalism in order to enter a new world of the unknown.

Can Malaysians do that too — continue en masse supporting a regime that has betrayed its people?

Can Malaysians afford another 50 years of race-based politics albeit fine-tuned?

Making incremental changes are like fixing a machine that has interchangeable parts whereas that machine need to be reassembled or disposed in a junkyard of history together with its operators and owner of the means of economic and ideological production.

New games need brand new players.

In a game of strategies played in the deep blue sea, we need a clear blue sky above us with a rainbow right above so that we may learn to think elegantly like dolphins – rather than think brutishly like piranhas that will turn the ocean bloodier.

  1. #1 by just a moment on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 12:17 pm

    Ya, koret, koret, Blue ocean is fine, thats why the all the BN should be in, others don’t agree, they say Malacca strait are more suitable.

  2. #2 by just a moment on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 12:18 pm

    Opps, that’s “where” all BN parties should be…

  3. #3 by frankyapp on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 12:43 pm

    Yeap Azly Rahman.our strategy has been ship,ship,then fix fix ,thus enabling UMNO/BN /UNMOputras/cronies laughing all the way to the banks,leaving the ordinary folks high and dry . Definitely,not an other 50 years and we should start now by changing the present government in the next general election by ” fix and ship ” strategy .

  4. #4 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 1:00 pm

    ah…This I like to read from Azly….less bombastic words…so easy to understand and a pool of great stuffs for all Malaysians…to ponder upon.
    This is a waking up call.. message!
    But what are the solutions?
    Don’t tell me…this is to hint to UMNO ..”hi you guys….this is what the reasons .you will loose the election”
    Is this a market survey message get responses..for UMNO to plan …how to win votes?
    Until and unless…Azly declare himself….he is 100% voting for change of government….I will take this message as……how to agree to disagree..which is dangerous for Malaysians to fall into such traps…written by smart UMNO supporter.
    I am trained to suspect workers…being insincere and not loyal in my company…and tell them prove I am wrong.
    So far .so good….because…if one wants to judge must be 100% sincere and loving to co workers.
    I increased their salaries …during the 78 sen oil increase..cutting my own balance things up.
    I give their families…best medical cares…they cannot afford…but nothing is too save a life …if a life needs to e saved …with no race or class distinctions.
    UMNO ..go practice this…and maybe you will rule forever.
    First move…no more UMNO…all group into one Party…BN. Will UMNO dare to be non racialists…to win elections??
    I eat breakfast..same stuffs with them…no special dish for me…..and if Prison officers have lunch or breakfast with prisoners…in a big hall…in Malaysia..same food…that will help prisoners to turn to be good Malaysians fast.
    But no…Muslim prisoners are fed with sickening.. UMNO.. Islamic doctrines…most important…as said by RPK.
    So..AZLY….please declare ourself. Are you pro UMNO??

  5. #5 by monsterball on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 1:05 pm

    Azly should start off….ever message…”I declare I am not an UMNO member and my messages are the work of Allah…put into my heart…for the good of Malaysians”….like you know….how fanatic muslims…declare…like what RPK said.

  6. #6 by chengho on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 3:22 pm

    As a start let do some acid test by having 2 parlimentary byelection
    one area is a Malay majority and another area is non Malay majority .
    Put a Malay candidate to the non Malay majority and non Malay candidate to the Malay majority can we apply BOS whom do u think can win?

  7. #7 by draken001 on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 4:15 pm

    Do a house cleaning. No more Umno. No more MCA. No more MIC. No more others in BN. Retain BN as a multi-racial party with new blood and throw out those who don’t buy the idea. Anyone can be be the president of BN. Fat hopes!

  8. #8 by Loh on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 7:08 pm

    ///Can Malaysians afford another 50 years of race-based politics albeit fine-tuned? ///– Azly Rahman.
    Malaysia is bleeding everyday with its racist politics brought about by race-based political structure. 38 years after racist policies have been blatantly implemented in the name of NEP, the country has almost depleted its human resources not only of the non-Malays who succumbed to the push factors, but Malays too who consider the NEP stigma a huge price to pay to remain. But that structure has worked well for those who are in power at the expense of the nation.
    ///Malaysians are in a bipolar condition in a unipolar form of governance in which there is the belief that only race-based politics is the one best system.///– Azly Rahman.
    It may be important to examine what make them think so. Is it because race-based politics is the way for the country to proceed, or is it because race-based politics is the way for the politicians to continue?
    The way the political party forming the government is organized has a direct consequence on how the government administers the country. When the political party chooses to convince the voters and their supporters that they are there to fulfill their wishes, they carry out the duties as expected in a democracy. But when the policies serve only to cater to the interest of the voters which divide the society into classifications such as race and religions, they are effectively making the party a gang, and their supporters the captive voters. UMNO has perfected it as a classic example. To convince that the captive voters were right in their choice, the government moulds the mindset of the supporters that they are weak and vulnerable, and that they only survive under the protective cover of the party. To sweeten the deal the government implements policies that are obviously for the advantage of their supporters, and as emphasis, these policies are seen to be at the disadvantage of the other communities. A division of the society into the term bumi and non-bumi is now complete. The indoctrination that they are vulnerable makes the beneficiaries become ever so sensitive to suspect any discussion bordering on their advantages as a challenge to their status quo. The past three decades have elevated the term NEP, Islam, corruption within UMNO, ISA, Malays’ privilege as sensitive words.
    The government ensured that the aggrieved party would not be able to complain against the unfair and unjust practices by enforcing the sedition act, the printing license regulation and ISA. The control was handled in the name of national security. Social unrest s said to threaten national security; and a group of people gathering together to demonstrate their unhappiness against any statements or actions is proof of that unrest, but the interpretation which party causes the unrest is left to the government. The interpretation is based on who has the support of the racist government. For example, immediately after the 308 election, demonstration organized by UMNO against the new PR state government of Penang was considered proper and so the state government was the cause of the demonstration. However, when the supporters of Hindraf joined the open house hosted by the PM in the manner not to his liking, some of them were taken into custody. So, the government through its political party makes sure that the aggrieved parties among the citizens had no recourses to seek government redress of the unfair policies. ISA and sedition acts have been seen to be used for political advantage rather than for national security, however biased it has been utilized. Consequently, ISA and sedition act keep the same set of political opportunists in power, and with the fail-proof structure, people in power were free to treat national coffer as their piggy banks. The printing Act keeps the people in the dark on the actual state of the country, and in particular, alternative to the present corruption infested government could have improved their standard of living many fold. Further if the government ceases to practice racist politics but allows the people to excel based on their aptitude the people would not have to serve the agenda of UMNO to attend universities when they can be more economically active in trades and occupations; the 60 000 unemployable graduates is the result of NEP. That frees the Malays to pursue what they please and at the same time allows other non-Malays to develop their potential. More importantly, just and fair government policies would stop brain drains that have been going on for the past 38 years since the advent of NEP.
    Race-base politics in the country allow the party with numerical superiority to exercise winner takes all, and the others are like minority shareholders serving at most decorative purposes. The incumbents would not be willing to forgo the proven advantage. Because of the structure, aspiring politicians have chosen to out poll their competitors by demonstrating their flair as racists and masquerade as saviors of the race. The brand stays and it is a path of no return, even till the dying days. So party position in race-based political parties are monopolized by those who are willing to be seen as racist, and subscribe to the racist policies. Those who believe in the good sense of justice and fair play will not present themselves to serve, and that is why money politics is said to be rampant in the coming UMNO party election. Tengku Razaleigh revealed that he was asked to pay 2 million ringgit to get nomination from one division. Candidates without the resources cannot hope to go far in UMNO. It is because with race-based political structure, a position in UMNO has a good chance of landing an important position to recoup the expenses. The risks would be much higher in other political setup.
    The people in the country can live in peace without being affected by the color of their neighbors or co-workers. Bakri Musa claims that he was proud to accept wholeheartedly his classmates whose parents were of different races as Malays. The only common identification is the religion. When Malays can accept others as Malays without looking at their colors and lineage, there is no difficulty in accepting Malaysians as Bangsa Malaysia without looking at the color. So, as long as the government does not insist religion as the point of departure for Malaysians Malays in Musa’s mind would be happy to treat all Malaysians as equal. The term Bangsa Malaysia has been suggested as an extension of the definition of Malays minus the religion; for culture issue is never a sticking point. But politicians are quick to deny that concept. The only reason was that this deprives them of the expertise which they would exploit within the party and in administering the country. TDM is still pursuing his ‘ethnic cleansing’ albeit non violence approach to assimilate non-Malays, after he has paid the ultimate price of calling himself Malay, and severing his ties with his ancestors in Kerela, India. That is the price he expects to exact from non-Malays and other Indians. His writing on this is appended.
    ///Truly Malaysian politics have not been decoupled from racial sentiments and loyalties. And it is going to remain so for as long as the different races prefer to be separated and divided, prefer to strongly uphold their languages, cultures and their historical origins and links. All that is said about reforms and liberalism is mere lip service.///–TDM. From CheDet at

  9. #9 by katdog on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 9:05 pm

    I have no idea how politics can be related to blue ocean strategy. Those who try to apply blue ocean strategy to politics are quite misled and probably trying to appear more learned and ‘progressive’ than they already are.

    The idea of blue ocean strategy is built around competition and value to customer . You are considered in the blue ocean when your value curve is different from those of your competitors and therefore no longer competing directly with your competition.

    I wonder how these politico’s can claim to be practicing blue ocean strategy. Do they even know what it means?

  10. #10 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 22 November 2008 - 9:28 pm

    You don’t need Blue Ocean thinking, just common sense! Even in Communist China, someone has just been fined 125Million yuan for insider trading!! Such penalty will never ever happen in Bolehland. Get caught, just pay $5 million, you are free.
    Owners of listed companies and large corporations in this country have got away with murders [ too sensitive a subject!!] they treated these companies as if 100% owned; not accountability! I was told even when, the Gomen owns part of the equity, simple pay the gomen rep> !

  11. #11 by bc on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 2:16 pm

    By the command of Malayan ancestors:

    Malaysian should create a tsunami wave to those who divide the Malaysian into racial issue with 51 years equal right issue unsolved.

    Overthrew them to the Strait of Malaca.

    Let there be peace and united in the Land of Malaysia.

  12. #12 by HB Lim on Sunday, 23 November 2008 - 10:24 pm

    I have been reliably told that The Blue Ocean is a favorite book of Najib. I think he may be combing the book cover to cover for tips on how to avoid sharks in the likes of RPK from tearing him to pieces.

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