The 21st ASA Congress, Dhaka, Bangladesh

1st to 6th September 2012.

Sessions Topics covered by Delegates of IASAP, Mumbai :

Session I : On Saturday, 1-9-2012 1830 to 2200 Hrs.

Topic : Inaugural Welcome & Cultural Event

Delegate : Jyoti Salian, Aegis Ltd.

It was a beautiful evening with all lovely ladies gathered at the conference room of Hotel Westin in their traditional outfit. Everybody were clicking photographs, meeting and wishing each other and all looked happy.

Introductory speech was given by Mrs. Durdhana Kabir, HR Manager at Nestle and daughter of PSWA President, Mrs. Obaida Kabir. A welcome speech was given by Mrs. Obaida Kabir followed by the speech by our Founding President, Virginia P. Elbinias who in her speech said that because of ASA many of us are friends with other countries. ASA is a family and it is sharing and caring.

The ASA congress was inaugurated by ringing of the bell.

The cultural program was performed by Saumpriti and team. There were series of 5 dance programs – The first was based on motivational dance to preserve the green world for next generation. The next was on Boat Sailor, then there was a tribal dance welcoming rain, contemporary dance on blooming of a water lily and the last performance on traditional kathak dance.

Pansy, Janice, Jennifer Lee, Hyacinth, and Lucy Shih sang ASA song, followed by dinner, dance and enjoyment of bonding together.

Session II : On Sunday, 2-9-2012 0900 to 1000 Hrs. & 1100 to 1230 Hrs.

Topic : Official Opening of the 21st ASA Congress &

Photo Session for ASA Delegates by countries

Delegate : Vimala D’Souza, Bharat Bijlee Ltd.

The programme commenced with the welcome of the Chief Guest Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, Finance Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, by Ms. Loretta Saldanha, ASA Organizing Chairperson. Ms. Saldanha then handed over the session to Ms. Zarine Commissariat, who took over as the compére for the day and commended Ms. Saldanha and her team for the superlative job done in arranging the Congress. Zarine further emphasized that we were all here for two reasons : to learn more and to renew old friendships and make new friends.

The Chief Guest was then escorted to the dais by Ms. Obaida Kabir, ASA President and Ms. Virginia P Elbinias, ASA Founding President. The proceedings of the day commenced by reciting verses from the Holy Quran by an Imam. A respectful thank you was expressed by Zarine to the Recitor. The 21st ASA Congress was then officially declared open.

Ms. Obaida Kabir was then introduced to the delegates. Ms. Kabir started her career as a teacher and then as an office professional. She is also the Founding President of the PSWA of Dhaka. Ms. Kabir in her welcome note stated that we were privileged that Mr. Muhith, Hon’ble Finance Minister, had consented to grace the occasion. She further stated that we must learn from each other to assimilate best practices in individual work places. Even though the journey of ASA had commenced many years ago in 1974, Bangladesh became an active member of the Association in 1998. Since then they have tried to move forward hand in hand with a common vision to meet challenges by driving continuous improvement and achieve excellence in whatever they have done. She also appealed to her fellow delegates to march forward to uphold the theme of the Congress and welcome our Hon’ble Finance Minister for being with us to grace the occasion.

While introducing the Chief Guest, Ms. Kabir mentioned that Mr. Muhith is a renowned Economist, Diplomat, Freedom Fighter and Language Veteran. He has been playing an instrumental role in the overall economic development of Bangladesh, ensuring steady growth of GDP, poverty elevation and infrastructure development. He is also a prolific writer and has published 21 books on different subjects including administration and liberation work affairs. He has earned outstanding reputation in economic diplomacy and has been a recognized figure in the World Bank and different organizations of the United Nations. We were indeed humbled by his presence.

Ms. Kabir further expressed that PSWA has enough maturity to host this Congress with limited resources, and requested all delegates to overlook certain issues and move forward with this Congress and hoped that the Congress would enrich our learning experience and that we enjoy our stay during the Congress. Ms. Kabir also thanked Westin Dhaka for their co-operation, in particular, Mr. Azeem Shah, General Manager, without whose help it would have been very difficult to host this Congress in Bangladesh.

Ms. Zoya Khan, grand-daughter of Ms. Obaida Kabir presented floral tributes to the Guest of Honour, Mr. Muhith.

Ms. Zarine Commissariat then called upon Ms. Virginia Elbinias to address the delegates. Ms. Elbinias in her address to the delegates made a special mention that she was very glad to see all of us happy and gay and that we should see each other at least once in 2 years. We are all one big ASA family and whenever we visit any country we should carry a list of our ASA sisters in that country and we will be always welcome to other countries as long as we inform them that we are visiting their countries.

As regards the theme of the Congress, Ms. Elbinias, expressed that we keep on striving but cannot seem to cope with the rapid change in technology, that really bothers us, but we can always cope and conquer the human factor that will conquer whatever new technology evolves. All mother creations are devoid of humans, even humans like us learn what super humans have created. We have the initiative to learn.

She further stated that elders need to rest. The leadership of the Association as well as that of ASA depends on us. We will be fading but will be assured that ASA is in good hands. Zarine assured that ASA was indeed in good hands.

Zarine then invited the Chief Guest and Hon’ble Finance Minister Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, to give his keynote address. Mr. Muhith welcomed all delegates and gave a special welcome to Ms Virginia Elbinias who set up ASA in the year 1974. He was very heartened to hear that Ms. Elbinias has attended every ASA Congress. He was given a copy of the souvenir which was published on the occasion and he found it very interesting as the organization was established in the Philippines in 1974, which coincided with his first visit to the Philippines in 1974 and taking residence in that country. It was a pleasure to note that Bangladesh was chosen as the venue for the Congress. He also commended Ms. Loretta Saldanha for taking charge of organizing this Congress.

• In line with the theme “Excellence” is his Motto but construed in a different manner:

– Excellence for Excellence’s sake.

– You don’t strive for Excellence expecting some results.

– Whatever you do you must perform in the most excellent manner that you can master.

– This is very important in life because that is what separates “rewards” from “performance”.

– “Performance” must be on its own – “Rewards” is something which comes or may not come.

– He also emphasized that it is more “Striving for Excellence in league with Information” rather than with “Technology”

In the 1970’s in most offices in Bangladesh, it was very rare to find Executive Secretaries. There were more of the “Stenographers” who later became Professional Secretaries.

At that time the ladies who worked in Offices were viewed not with admiration but with awe and a lot of criticism. It was not considered a good profession for distinguished ladies. He now believes that the job of a Secretary is a very important job.

Mr. Muhith gave a few slogans :

• Technology gives you remote control and gives you full of the entire office

• Technology improves Work Arrangements

• Technology improves Ambience which gives you the advantage of creating a different kind of ambience in your work place

• Technology improves the Economy of space

• Technology helps reduce Paper work and can give you a paperless existence

To conclude, Mr. Muhith wished all the delegates a good stay in the city which has a history of over 400 years. Although a disorganized city but you find corners which are quite attractive, its people are very warm, hospitable, simple and friendly. He concluded by saying that on the last day we would be proud to say that the Congress was a grand success.

The session ended with the ringing of the ASA bell by the Chief Guest Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith along with Ms. Obaida Kabir and Ms. Virginia Elbinias.

After this, Photo session of all ASA Delegates country wise – Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Japan, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Papua New Gini and Bangladesh followed along with Mr. Abdul Maal A. Muhith, Ms. Obaida Kabir and Ms. Virginia Elbinias. Photographs were also taken of the Country Presidents, Past ASA Presidents and the Organising Committee.

Session III : On Sunday, 2-9-2012 1400 to 1530 Hrs.

Topic : It is about Information, not Technology

- Mr. Syed Nasim Manzur

Delegate : Janice Braganza, The Indian Hotels Company Limited

On Sunday the 2nd of September our very first session post lunch was by Mr. Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director of Apex Adelchi Footwear Ltd, the largest leather footwear manufacturer and exporter in Bangladesh. He is the face of new emerging Bangladesh and was selected to join the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit at Kuala Lumpur in November 2009. He is also associated with a mass literacy program called Ganoshikhya Andolon. Mr. Manzur came across as a dynamic, young and very knowledgeable speaker. He kept us glued to his presentation and gave us a lot of useful tips on the above subject which we could use in our daily work atmosphere.

He said that relating to technology is information. We get a deluge of information from all sources every day, be it from the newspaper, the TV, the mobile phone, Google etc. He pointed out that we are the gatekeepers to information and we as human beings need to sieve out information that is needed by us or would help us from all that we receive on a daily basis. He basically gave us a few pointers listed below on how we can improve our lives and add value to technology by filtering out information.

  1. Role of the Manager: He said that Managers need sort out the information they receive on a daily basis and pick out information that is valuable and then decide the way to use the same to enhance their work life. This is very important as in today’s world of technology, we are all aware even in office from the number of mails we receive each day. We need to know what is important for us and just delete the rest as it will only clog up space on our computers.
  2. 20 years ago he said getting information and using it was not difficult at all as we received limited information in the first place and we could tackle the same with ease.
  3. Today it’s just crazy. Information reaches you from all sorts of sources. He gave the example of the Google search engine and how you can get information about millions of things at the touch of a button. Do we really need so much of information? Is it relevant in our work day? People are literally getting addicted to technology.
  4. There is a need to be connected in today’s world with the Global economy coming into play but we need to be more disciplined in the way we handle technology.
  5. Currently most youngsters are slaves to technology. Even at the lunch table you will find people talking on their mobiles or blackberries, on IPhone etc. We seem to be losing the touch to communicate with one another on a personal level.
  6. We need to decide what information we require, how we use it and then how to discard the same.
  7. Know the purpose of why you need certain information, how it is going to help you in your work and make your life more meaningful and efficient so that you get enough time for family and friends.
  8. We tend to hoard information which sometimes are of no use to us.
  9. Mr. Manzur spoke of the Japanese Kaizen where you get rid of stuff especially at your place of work. Things that you have not used for the last six months, you are never going to look at again, yet we keep holding on to this and thus clutter up our lives with a lot of unwanted stuff.
  10. He said we should Dare To Disconnect. We are so hooked on to technology that we feel insecure if we disconnect our phone or blackberries even at night when we are going to bed. This generation is on 24 by 7 and this is not healthy at all.
  11. We need to get rid of Information Overload to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
  12. We are losing the human touch with all the technology available to us. Technology is becoming our masters and we are the slaves to it.
  13. He ended saying that we need to get back to the human touch. Nothing is more important in life than conversing and talking to each other face to face. Use technology only to enhance your work life and keep in touch with family who are far away, but down the line there is nothing more important than the human touch.

My take on Technology:

Technology you are the bane of our lives

You keep us glued to you and give us stress and strife

We need to disconnect and at least give each other a smile

We need to keep healthy and walk a mile

Skype, Tango, Facebook and all social networking sites

Keeps you seated and then the weight piles up right?

So keep up with technology but don’t let it make a slave of you

Is my wish for all most sincere and true.

Session IV : On Sunday, 2-9-2012 1600 to 1730 Hrs.

Topic : Social Engineering : Controlling the Human Element of Information Security

- Mr. A.K.M. Nazrul Haider

Delegate : Ruby Vatcha, Indo German Chamber of Commerce

Social Engineering is basically a technique of tricking people using psychological traits or bypassing the security control of computer systems to get access to the desired information. It is also the oldest profession in the world - that of telling lies. This is done by building relationships, faith, mimicry, creating stories, manipulating behaviour or psychology, impersonating someone in authority and originally started in Europe with the industrial revolution. To understand the relationship with machines, social engineering is said to have evolved.

After World War I, Europe was devastated and economic conditions were bad. It was very difficult to maintain historical places and the Eiffel Tower was one of them.

Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower using some ordinary engineering techniques. Not once but twice. The third time he got caught. With some role playing activities he took the confidence of some of the people. His role was that of a Confidence Artist. More details can be found on:

Frank Abagnale played the role of a pilot and is known as the Father of Social Engineering. He is one of the best Social Engineers of the world, is alive and wrote some books in the area of Social Engineering including the book, “Catch Me if You Can”. He ran away from home when he was 16 years old, wrote bad cheques, posed for a month as a Pan Am Pilot was in the French Prison and took the FBI 3 years to catch him.

There are also fake pilots in training and flying aircrafts. In March, 2011 Captain Parminder Kaul Gulati admitted to never passing the exams. Later the records showed that Captain Gulati had failed 5 subjects, tried 3 times and all 3 times failed. Later was caught during a default landing with front wheels instead of the rear. The Pilot Licensing Association based in Chennai then started scrutinizing and found 14 fake pilots in the Indian airline industry. This is not only in India. In June, 2011a pilot was arrested in Sweden from the cockpit. For 13 years he flew without a license. They enter the area bluffing. This is how dangerous Social Engineering is.

Kevin Mitnick is an American computer security consultant, author, convicted criminal and hacker. He was convicted of various computer and communication related crimes and jailed for 10 years. He has written the books, “The Art of Deception” and “The Art of Intrusion”. He now runs Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC for certified Social Engineering Prevention Specialists for LA.

Stanley Mark Patterson used Social Engineering over the telephone, before computers. Was caught and is in prison.

Radir Brothers - The 3 brothers, born blind in Israel bluffed the Israeli Military and the telephone system. By the telephone ring they knew what kind of telephone it was. They made 6.8 million dollars before they got caught. Two of them are in prison and the 3rd one who is below 18 is in the correction centre.

Social Engineering works on the following:


Why go to the trouble of hacking a computer when you can call someone and make them do it for you by manipulating their behaviour. If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear. This can be done by getting his password. Sometimes we get a lot of e-mail and we provide information to Social Engineering experts by replying to these e-mails or by talking outside an Event where Social Engineering can gather information in public areas. Social Engineering preys on the collection of home knowledge and states a desire to be helpful. The tendency to trust people and the fear of getting into trouble is why people share information. A successful defence line would be to put certain people in charge of relaying certain information.


Pretending to be the Front desk, calling the hotel system asking for information.


By acting, role playing of individuals, con artists, confidence artists, all kinds of tricks to fool people e.g. replying to spam mail and receiving a small amount of genuine currency to build your confidence and then get scammed.