Saturday, April 11, 2009

NMF 2009 Framework

We still have a lot of spaces for Northeast Malaysia Forum in KL. Do turn up tonight (Sat 11th April) 8pm at Studio V, 1 Utama. It is next to rainforest, and just ask for the Star Studio. It is next to Cravings restaurant.
Do show up! And participate!


Hi everyone!

This is an overview of what NMF 2009 will be like, the framework etc. that will enable you to further understand what this year's discussions will be structured around. Please read this thoroughly in order to ensure that discussions will be held effectively.

Once again, welcome to NMF 2009, wherever you are! We look forward to a fun and exciting weekend ahead.


Carol Yong

Organizing Committee, Northeast Malaysia Forum 2009


NMF 2009 Framework:

Revision 2020: Malaysia 2.0
A. PREMISE: What we believe

• A common vision at the mindset level is the key to our unity and our realizing the future we want. 

B. OBJECTIVES: What we seek to achieve

• To collectively discover and map out a "Malaysia 2.0" mindset.
• To envision and exemplify that mindset throughout the forum.

C. FRAMEWORK: Guidelines for discussion
I. Spirit of discussion: We envision a discourse characterized by engaging dialogue, empathetic understanding and effective agreement culminating in action.

II. Focus of discussion: Three words – tangible personal vision. In deciding how to approach a particular topic, we aim to choose according to the following three criteria:

a. Tangible. We aim to focus on approaches that are readily actionable, as opposed to "if only" solutions that are heavily contingent on external circumstance. 
b. Personal. As opposed to institutional. We aim, as far as possible, to ask of every issue what it means to the single individual, and what appropriate response one may muster, in thought or deed. 
c. Vision. Normative, not positive. In the spirit of visioneering, we aim to be especially mindful of what might –and should – be, instead of debating the finer points of present-day events and policies.

Global forum recap:

Global forum in 3 parts: 1. Global discussion, 2. Local working groups, 3. VisionWiki collaborators

1. Global discussion

  • Global forums can tune in to ongoing live discussions, and will contribute by way of ScribbleLive, questions and comments (chat is for misc. conversation, i.e., what you would not want to save as part of the speaker-related discussion)
  • The ScribbleLive will be projected, along with the video, the chat will not be.

2. Local working groups

  • Global forums will be able to organize their own working groups, similar to those that will be run in New Haven, and on similar topics (all focused on the Revision 2020 theme). We will base these working groups around live GoogleDocs, to be hosted on These documents will be open to all NMFers, global and local, so that anyone can contribute to any other discussion. When complete, they can readily be published, so that we can easily collect and consolidate them as the first incarnation of our VisionWiki

3. VisionWiki collaborators

  • The Global Forums will be part of the same theme and vision, and by being part of the same discussion (#1) and going through the same discussion/working group procedure (#2), we hope that they will be invaluable collaborators with us in producing the same global VisionWiki, which we hope to publish at, as a basis for further discussion/action growing out of the Forum

#1 and #3 are fairly straightforward, since everyone will be on the same page (literally)

As for #2, here's the vision for how we intend to structure these discussions in a Malaysia 2.0 way:

As part of our vision on conducting discussion in a new way (engaging dialogue, empathetic understanding, effective agreement + action), we're trying to develop a method for facilitating discussion that is similarly minded in letting people make the most of discussion from the bottom-up instead of dictating it from the top-down

We're going to be trying out the ideas of Open Space Technology ( which, essentially, allow participants the freedom to:

(a) choose topics that engage them (under the umbrella of an overarching theme and with a specific intent in mind)

(b) lead the discussion on these topics independently

(c) start new discussions and move to other groups at any time they wish

The way this will work at NMF, and perhaps similarly at the global forums

  • Discussion starts by going over a few ground rules (choose your own topics, you are free to move around at any time if you feel that you are not learning/contributing, what we hope each group/discussion to achieve, etc.) with everyone involved
  • After that, people submit topics of their own and announce them (they can do this by posting topics on a board or just sitting in groups with signs, etc.) and get to work in discussion and drawing up frameworks, exploring topics etc. 

Basically, the people control the discussion, in line with the ground rules and overarching vision

Everyone is encouraged, as far as possible, to note their progress on the Google Docs area by creating a new doc for every group, and monitoring the current Documents so as to learn from / contribute to existing dicussions as much as possible

The intent is that anyone who just steps into the discussion, e.g. a Global Forum that just assembled, can log onto the Google Docs page and immediately get an idea of all ongoing discussions and allocate themselves accordingly.

As these Docs develop, the soft deadline we have in mind for this present forum is Sunday morning, when all groups will hopefully be able to present their discussions/conclusions/recommendations for each topic during the session (in person, over Skype, via text, etc.). By the end of the forum on Sunday, we hope to have a good base from which to compile version 1.0 of the VisionWiki.

And speaking of the VisionWiki, here's the fundamental question we intend it to ask (and attempt to answer), the question that we hope all the group discussions will be geared towards addressing: 

What is the mindset of Malaysia 2.0? As a developed country - economically, psychologically, spiritually, culturally, politically, scientifically, civilly - what is the way we would, and perhaps should, be thinking?

Some hopefully helpful guidelines:

We encourage the discussions to focus on:

  1. Individual attitudes instead of institutional structures
  2. The normative vision of how we should think instead of the positive/descriptive reality of how our mindsets are as Malaysians, and
  3. Tangible differences in attitude that readily translate into local action instead of "If Only" wishful thinking on a purely idealistic level that stop at dreaming.

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