Friday, May 30, 2008

My experience with KK Hospital

Over the next few days, I will be sharing an experience with the KK Women's and Children's Hospital that my family had a couple of years ago. One that is unforgettable but also one that we really don't want to keep in our memory. We simply can't.

Why only talked about it after so long? Well, I will explain...



A great post on procastination by Celine Roque on


Friday, May 16, 2008

Protect the workers; put the greedy employers behind bar!

I read about this yesterday:

Amid the disastrous cyclone in myanmar and earthquake in china, it makes me feel more angry reading about such human behavior!

It is a classic case of the rich wants to get richer. Well well... rich and poor are relative terms aren't they? This is not the first time news about employers mistreating the employees broke out in Singapore. There is a very strict set of law preventing criminal acts. But there's none, to my disbelief, that would protect the basic rights of the workers.

In the case of yesterday's news, an employer get around the employment pass (EP) system by hiring workers from oversea, promise them the minimum pay under an EP, which is S$2,500, but pay them only $800. The workers are 'housed in a small and windowless room at the back of the restaurant packed with about 20 workers.' Their meals were also sub-standard. 'We got the yellowing vegetables that they could not serve to guests. And meat such as duck's head that was a day old,' said the worker who brought this into the open.

The punishment for employers who're convicted of wrongdoing? According to the report, "Between January and September last year, 52 employers were prosecuted and fined between $1,500 and $5,000 for cheating the system."

I remember reading news that petty crimes like shoplifting can bring a jail sentence. I doubt any employer, especially those richer ones, will be deterred by a mere $5,000 fine.

And the real crime is not in cheating the system, it is really in violating human rights, and breaking the labor law.

It is time to rethink about the punishment. I say let's put these sicko employers in jail!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Dark May 13

The gigantic earthquake in Sichuan province on May 12 2008 in China may kill tens of thousands of people. The latest official death toll stands at 12,000, and still counting; the figure does not include the figure from the worst-hit Wenchuan county.

Exactly ten years ago, on May 13 1998, racial riot, rumored to have been systematically orchestrated by powerful military men, erupted across Indonesia, where thousands of ethnic minority of Chinese origin were killed, raped, assaulted, robbed, and forced to lay low for many months after.

Yet 39 years ago, on May 13 1969, a similar racial riot between the ethnic Malay and Chinese shattered the long harmonious lifestyle of people in Malaysia. Racial politics formally entered the Malaysian socio-political scene, and never once shows any sign of leaving. For years, the term '513' has become a taboo. Some older people who have lived thru that period wouldn't even bring themselve to say the term '513' .

I used to suspect that the May 13 incident in Indonesia was not a coincidence, but a planned event with many similarities to its neighbour Malaysia.

Incidentally, all three events killed thousands of Chinese people. '513' is given another layer of historical meaning. Although the earthquake took place on '512', the full impact was only realised on '513'. And it went to such an extend to show that the act of mother nature can be so strong that put any man-made events to shame. People will now remember that a day before the dark '513', mother earth gave us a stern signal: that we should cherish our lives and the people around us; that we should respect one another; that whatever we do is nothing compare to the mother earth.

Still, I would fear the many May 13s to come.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Grain, Big Pain! Whose Pain?

Here's a commentary i sent to the editors in TIME magazine. It's not published; and i hope it's because it's not beautifully written, rather than due to its contents.

On the article: NO GRAIN, BIG PAIN by Peter Ritter

As a Malaysian, I feel unease reading the concluding remark made by the author in this article. The not-so-implicit conclusion is that Asia should be responsible for the food shortage in Africa.

Well, food shortage is a complex problem. The causes (what we thought) and interventions to address the problem often would also lead to other problems. The author rightfully argued that national hoarding should not be used as a long term solution to food shortage. The economics, the author argued, just doesn’t make sense.

However, the move to hoard rice in many developing Asian countries is not just an effort to control its prices, but rather it is also intended to ensure that their people will have sufficient food supplies. Insufficient food leads to famine, and the impact is more a humanity and survival issue rather than an economical one.

The social responsibility of the developing Asian countries is, I think, being taken out of context in this particular issue... and I am carefully referring to the concluding remark of the article, quoted directly from the author:
"Vietnamese rice going to the Philippines is rice that is unavailable for Africa — or for the NGOs that feed the world's most vulnerable populations. 'A lot of people don't realize that Africa's rice depends on Asia's surpluses,' says the Rice Institute's Zeigler. In other words, Asia's grain is Africa's loss. With Asian nations scrambling to protect their own supplies, that could mean a much hungrier world."
It may be politically incorrect to say the developed countries should have more social responsibilities than the developing countries. But fact is fact: many of the developed countries were colonial powers before the Second World War, and many of the developing countries were their colonies. Should the problems in Africa today be seen as the (undesired) consequences of colonization? Nobody knows! But is it right to say that the conquerors are responsible for the under-development of their former colonies? Well, may be not, just as it is equally incorrect to blame Asia for the hunger in Africa.

The causal relations of a complex problem are not one-way traffic and always multifaceted. To make any causal judgment about a complex issue without taking into account the context of the problem is futile under any circumstances.

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back to the blogosphere

i thought i would let myself settle down in the new work environment, complete my thesis before coming back to blog. FAT HOPE! i am busier than ever... my thesis is still hangin' in the air. At the meantime, i am working on a Competency Framework for knowledge management practitioner for the iKMS Society, together with Patrick Lambe of Straits Knowledge; and at work, there are two big projects coming my way.
but over and above everything, there is my little princess. i can't believe she has grown up so fast. she's so tiny when born, now she's a 15-month-old toddler! she is the center of our life now no doubt about it. my wife dearest just couldn't get enough of her, same here...

well... i am determine to blog more frequently. starting from this next one about an article in the recent issue of TIMES on foor crisis... coming soon!