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Haze Hell in Malaysia and Singapore June 23, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in environment, environmental pollution, malaysia, man made calamity, Singapore.
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I think AQI 746 is probably about the same as PSI at 400. Maur and Ledang are now declared as states of emergency. Which ever pollution index is being used, pollution levels are considered hazardous. Malaysia declared state of emergency without a second thought. On our front, we have no state of emergency even when the thick haze almost swallowed up the entire city state.

Construction workers still work. People bare the noxious smoke to get their masks and work done. I don’t think this is right. While it is crucial to go forth on international terms to seek consensus on a macro level to end the fires, I thought the basics should have put in place along with the diplomatic mission. The haze is temporarily off for now, but if winds don’t blow like these two days, the haze will return. Who knows what would happen next, but as far as the ground is like for masks and all things about the haze are concerned; it’s quite a civilised panic here. – Karen Fu

Reference
1. ABC News ABCNews.com: Worst of Haze Shifts From Singapore to Malaysia http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/worst-haze-shifts-singapore-malaysia-19466046

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A Lego Lesson. April 16, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, creativity, Economy, talent.
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Issues on global talent came as I was watching the video. There are clearly many British and American educated individuals in the video. If I were to shut my eyes up just listening to them, I would have thought they were natives. It can be a strange sight to see. But with the propagation of western colleges doing transnational education as well as an increased demand for overseas western education, many students are opting to learn abroad if they have the opportunity.

Many creative individuals appeared to bear a strong multicultural background. Just like the interviewee who is a Malaysian graduated from Harvard, a good number of well known people tend to also have a ‘Rojak’ (Malay word for a delicious mixed salad of fruit and vegetables) blood of Asian and caucasian mix. Either this, or they often come from a rich diversified experience of multiethnic cultures.

As I watched on, I cannot help but to compare with what Iskandar, where Legoland is, has to offer, I cannot help asking why Singapore could not have legoland and universal studios without the casinos. Iskandar is only a strait away from Singapore and they are blooming the area up with Eco diversity living waterfront houses apart with hi tech industries. My gut feeling is that many will be lured to the region. If they could create the kind of security like we have over here, they could easily attract many to their shores for investments.

Our recent debate on raising the minimum wage and wage freeze for top income earners focus on keeping the local economy sustainable. As far as I see it, focusing on costs alone will not see us through. Surely we need to raise salary only when productivity is good. But to deprive the lower income group earners by cutting manufacturing / service costs is just as bad, if not worse. Could we be more innovative in our course in economics without slashing pay of employees when the cost of living is getting to be uncontainable? Lego started off from a small cottage industry to a mega toy business that isn’t confined to just play value. It has also been used in even furniture and architectural structures out from their simple block unit. Why is it that we cannot replicate such creativity instead of drooling on cutting costs ? If the lower income blue collar get their wages so low that they can’t economically survive, be sure to expect high social costs in due course. To start off burning costs as a mantra, be also sure that middle income earners pay will be controlled and marked downwards too. In fact, this is happening as the global economy isn’t good and companies both big and small are trying to slash wages paid to employees.

Often I feel we need a good flip. When things don’t get better, then it is high time we skip it and try something new. What maybe a soft skill may turn out big. We dont need to follow what most people do. The time when you start seeing many entering the same field, that’s the time you should be thinking of another emerging field.

There are many ways of leveraging what we don’t have. Our forefathers have done it. Why is it our generation seems to be talking backwards? We have the brains and the talent here but I think many are underutilized. If you were creative, what would you do? If I have the chance, I would flip it. — Karen Fu

Addition 17-4-2012 from my own quoted comment on Facebook : Cost cutting is not the way to go. Quality and innovation is. When you start to focus on the money alone, the result is you missed the innovation. Finally both firm and employees loose really — Karen Fu