FINALLY, after nearly 15 years of helping Nehemiah Reinforced Soil Sdn Bhd (NRS) to become known as a company that stood up against corruption, a book is completed. Through the 15 years of hard work, with an unbelieveable small retainer fee, the company has received maximum publicity through the media.
The founder was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in one particular year by the Star Outstanding Business Award (SOBA). Of course, not to mention Ernst & Young as well and the UK Institution of Civil Engineers. This is part of my work as a consultant. Some may say this is the power of the pen, but God was behind all the inspirations. And, honestly, I cannot do the same for every client with the kind of retainer fee I was charging them.
This book was first started about five years ago, but it was only completed this month. In between, I have written and published at least four other books. For years, I have been suggesting to Dr Nehemiah Lee, the founder of NRS to put together a book as a testimony of how God blessed the company. What stands out is its strong stand not to pay a single sen of bribe.
This book is not about how great the man is. In fact, he has his own idiosyncracies which I can and will never be able to understand. The biggest problem I find is that he is unable to communicate what is in his mind. An answer like, "Standard" can mean a lot of things to different people, when talking about the style of writing or how he wants the book to be designed. But that's how engineers think and respond. They are usually men of few words, and they expect everyone to understand their preferences. Thankfully, not all!
There are also many things he does not understand about the writing process. Of course, a draft is raw. From a raw draft, you then get feedback. This feedback is useful for the writer to gather more input in order to make the story more interesting. Before the book is ready to be published, the writer will gradually enhance the writing by rewriting parts of the book. My current project on Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai's book is most smooth-sailing because he himself is a writer. But that's how The Wall Stories went in limbo.
Some of these idiosyncracies are built and cultured over many years. This is what makes Dr Lee a human, as no man is perfect. I, too, have my own idiosyncracies. When I do something, I want to do it to the best I can but this takes time. I often complain to God, how can I explain things to him? I also seek advice from other people. The answer I get is: Just leave it. In the process, I learnt to let go. Hence, the title of the book, for example, is left to his preference, although I would prefer it to drop the second line "of a Jar of Clay" from the title. Most people, including my 15-year-old son who is an avid reader, can understand why I wanted it dropped the momet he looked at the title.
I am not badmouthing my friend, Dr Lee. However, this is just a way for me to say that anyone who reads this book must realise and understand that my objective of putting together his autobiography is not to put the limelight on the person himself. I have mentioned this to him a lot of times, that he needs to keep himself humble before the Lord.
It is not my job to put him on the pedestal or to help enlarge his ego, but I believe God needs someone whom He can use to showcase to the construction industry players in Malaysia that corruption is not the way to go. Hence, his idea of a jar of clay (as against a pot made from gold) is referring himself as an ordinary person whom God can break and reconstruct.
The book is all about God's work in Dr Lee's life and the company that he founded. One thing I can testify to is his strong stand against corruption. We share the same resolute that corruption must be rid off if the country is to become more prosperous like our neighbour down south.
As an author, my name is on the bookcover as agreed earlier, not because I want to be a celebrity author but because I believe I can do more of such projects to chronicle the lifestory of many Malaysians. Anyone who knows me knows that my name is all over the many publications that I have written for in the past 30 years. The glamour is no longer there.
I am, and prefer to be just the "ordinary Malaysian" on the street, who is nothing but the pen God uses to do His work. At the end of the day, when I stand before Our Heavenly Father, I can only say, "Lord, I have only done what you wanted me to do. You have done so much more for me by offering yourself as a sacrifice on the Cross to redeem me!"