Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's not that bad afterall...

I was really apprehensive before my first seminar type lecture yesterday. There are only 7 of us on this course and all of them seem to have a lot to say while I thought I had none. Fortunately, I had things to say too. I'm glad to say that I contributed to the vibrant feel of the seminar and shared my little knowledge about the Malaysian business climate and ethics. Of course I also to shed some light on our practice of "duit kopi" to get things done quickly and with less red tape. The 2 students from UK were shocked when I said that but the other students from Germany, Brazil, China and Iraq did not even raise an eye. This way, the Brit students managed to see that business practice are shaped by the culture of each society since they have heard and learn very little from outside their own little island.

The whole seminar today was equally as interesting or actually it was even more interesting than yesterday's. We had a very experience professor in this field and he shared with us his experiences in having hand at formulating the UN Global Values, Social Reports for various MNC's. He also pointed out something very very interesting. How many of us actually know the owner of a brand of a certain product? I did not know that Kraft Cheese and the Kraft associated products are actually controlled by Phillip Morris the tobacco company. Would this deter you from buying Kraft cheese from the supermarket tomorrow? Would it deter me? I think this too is a good dissertation topic. How many people in this world are actually aware of the impact of business ethics in their lives? So what if they did used animals to test the shampoo you're using? So what if Dove soap contains an agent which is cancer causing? It smells nice. Its cheap. It has a great meaning behind the word Dove. It means peace. Dove's advertising campaign tells us that everyone is beautiful. You may be fat, short and ugly but it won't stop Dove from making you feel good and live a life that belongs to you and not to the eyes of others.

Would you use a Body Shop product because Anita Roddick runs her company ethically or do you use it because it smells great, its good for your skin and etc? Why don't you use a bar of soap which has the same ingredients and same effect on your skin as a branded soap produced by a multinaltional conglomerate (usually Unilever)?