Saturday, April 19, 2008

Price Rise of Rice

This has been the talk of the town in the recent weeks.

Yes, shared by someone interviewed (think sometime a week ago) - he said he didn't really feel the pinch because, first, he did not buy (raw) rice - he only bought cooked rice from food stalls! and of course, his main staple is pasta and noodles! hahaha... so, not much of the impact!

That reminded me the very first time I bought my first package of rice was only when at Bhutan! I was amazed by the range available in the provision shop - came with different price tag. Well, being prepared to spend, and bearing in mind what mum always bought, I opted for the most expensive one available in the shop - Fragrance Rice from Thailand! In fact, I thought, the best quality comes from Thailand and so it won't go wrong :D What happened next... I bought a 1-kg pack and I still had more than half a pack left after 11 months! hahaha.. It's not that the rice is not fragrant... but found another side of myself, I prefer noodles! So, in my case, I would not be sensitive to the rising cost and certainly, not much impact to my pocket, too.

On the other hand, why is there a sudden surge in the cost? The root(s) to the problem? Simply put it across - Climate change? (This cross my mind because that's what in the talk nowadays) Population growth (Demand greater than supply)? Unfair dealings???? Yeap, on the 3rd point, are farmers fairly paid for what they harvest? I wonder... While in Paro, saw the hardwork put in by people from the start to harvesting... and they only earn that little... do they have enough for themselves for survival or are they paid enough for a living? The farmers are not rich. Why? I sometimes wonder. So, it's the 'middleman' to blame? I wonder...

Here's another article in today's paper (Straits Times, 19 April) - "Poor hardest hit by food crisis". The article started with this
  • "Let them eat cake" was how Marie Antoinette, France's queen during the late 18th century, was alleged to have reacted to news that her subjects could not afford to buy bread

This reminded me of our peanut story by Mrs Goh... I think, it's really about empathy; knowing the ground and feeling it. Really. When one is ignorant, one could not even imagine, because one does not know what to imagine! It's as good as we quite often say, the most scary part is we don't even know what we don't know! What struck me is the photo of 2 children picking up the grains of cooked rice, putting them in their mouths so gingerly and the appreciative and satisfactory look on their faces - yes, they felt so lucky (isn't it?). Our children here could not imagine that! Go to the foodcourt, look at what's leftover on the plates... Yes, do not waste. Just buy enough and finish it! It's a value that all of us should have with us, and practise it!

On the same day, another heartening news was CJC collected rice for the UNIFEM. It's an act to contribute to the society. Applause!

Living Unplugged

An article on the Straits Times (Sat, 19 April, p40) this morning.

It talked about a new 'move' to counteract addiction to the use of gadgets and technology. In the article, it relates one instance... "...she realised she was blogging in her dreams and hearing imaginary instant messages" Hahahaha... that gets me continue reading. That sounds something that I almost landed up with... er... not for instant messaging, but emailing and blogging... almost!!!

Taking a day off technology is really not easy... It's like a taking away air and water from a compulsive addict. Am so used to be in touch with the world, every minute and second! The degree of engagement grows over time, and unconsciously... the transition is so undetectable... and natural!!!

Really, the only time unplugged is only when out of Singapore, on a personal trip! Other than that, it's quite common to lug the notebook along, especially in a working trip. Hey, I even responded to Tshering's email request while in Bangalore! So, it's really in touch, anytime, anywhere, as far as there is internet.

A typical day for the computer is really, rise and retire together with me :P

Of course, there was also a time I took over control and really that really helps! That's when I went to Bhutan! hahaha... thanks to the then-technology deprived environment. The first time I suffered from withdrawal symptom! Oh yes, when the network is only accessible from the campus (oh yes, it's too costly to subscribe the line) and when the accessibility can be eractic! It's really dependent on the weather (得看天的脸色!) - this was really bad when it comes to days of heavy rain or snow! Could be cut off from outside contact for days! Of course, even in fine days, there's always competition in the bandwidth - the earlier bird will catch the better bandwidth, which declines as the sky brightens! Of course, I would not take the 30-minute walk to the campus on Sunday! I thought, this kind of spartan life-style helped a lot, to bring back the sanity in me! hahaha... This is probably the period that I was unplugged most often since in touch with technology. It was a good and healthy experience.

Back to the article: Wesbites (cited in the article) for more info on living unplugged - where two shared their experiences in unplugging from technology:

Don't tell me what to do

This was an article on 7 April, Recruit. What caught my attention? The dinosaur looking at a desk-bound worker through a microscope!!! hahaha... It's like, look! Big brother is looking at you! So you better behave!

The message the picture just want to send across is, "Micro-managing by Management"!

In the article, micromanaging is associated to "the old way of doing things" (hm... don't quite agree! depending on what context and environment one was in!). But agree with the definition of "Dinosaur managers" who are described as ones who use micro-management approach - supervise every small step in the workflow process - hence "micro". That is, close supervision to ensure production levels are met - the management literally had to tell employees what to do and watch them to make sure they did it. This system works well when the workflow was simple. As work gets more complex, such management lost its effectiveness. So, the way the employees are treated has becoming more important - micromanagement does not drive motivation.

I like another thing mentioned - Time was viewed as what was "bought" by the company. Yes, imagine, we are paid by $N per hour - it is really very much dependent how the manager puts our time to use - if the manager focuses on nitty gitty things and gets the employees to work on useless things - then look! who's wasting the resources?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Article: Shame or Pride

It's a pretty interesting article... hm... somehow can feel connected to it... hahaha... easily bring up examples of the 'negative' illustrations. On the other hand, what's mentioned under "Pride-based management" is true, too!

Make an attempt to put what's learnt and my thoughts in a simple mindmap... hm... 1st attempt of this kind, to be embedded in a blog... hm... not bad :D

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Received this from Feena...
Sometimes we just need to be reminded!
A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.

He then asked, "Who still wants it?"
Still the hands were up in the air.

Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

"Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.

My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson.
No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we
make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are Worthless. But no matter what has Happened or what will happen, you Will never lose your value. Dirty or Clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still Priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our Lives comes not in what we do or who we know,

You are Special
Don't EVER forget it."

If you do not pass this on, you may never know the lives it touches, the Hurting hearts it speaks to, or the hope that it can bring. Count your blessings, Not your problems.

"And remember: Amateurs built the ark... professionals built the Titanic.
If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008





换个角度,心想,如有杰出的同事被派来此地方,我会打从心底里的为他心痛,难过。。。无疑,在此地不是没东西学,可是,在这期间,几乎完全没有机会发挥领导的潜能。。。 每回,只会遭到泼冷水。。。只会被再次的“被肯定”自己的弱点。。。一次,是这样,两次,也是这样,。。。觉得,在这里,几乎,自尊心,有时,真的是被践踏到一点也没有。。。唉!只能说,使自己找得。。。运气就是差了那点。。。算了吧!



Thursday, April 03, 2008

Stupid Promotions, Stupendous Price

Can't remember who printed and circulated this article (dated 7 July 2005, TODAY), but only got the time to read it today. Felt connected to it... I guess, I won't be able to connect with the writer if I read this in 2005. Yes, the year when I returned to Singapore. Till then, I could not imagine myself being under the 'care' of such bosses (as described in the article). No, no, no... on the other hand, I must say, I was very very fortunate, and I would still say so after N years since I left the school... really appreciate the care I received there and then.

One of the must horrifying thing is not when the manager is under-trained or secretly doubts his/her abilities, but is someone who is blind to his/her flaws and thought can get away with it because of the high mobility of staff in the work place. Such a person has already known his/her flaw and now see it as a 'default' characteristic that others have to put up with.

Agree with the writer the fact that such person won't be able to "understand, inspire and engage people". Instead, this person would only do more harm (than anyone else) to the organisation by harming and victimising others! Oh gosh!

I like the way the 'material for negative education' was described... it sounds so real... isn't that some matches what I encounter?
  • the figures the manager had been submitting did not add up and her team had become the worst performers...
  • reorganising territories... longer working hours
  • took away individual rights to make on-the-spot decisions, insisting approving everything herself - which created more paperwork and costly delays
  • insisted on weekly out-of-work hours sales meetings...
  • constantly berated the high performers and when challenged by seniors, blamed on individual performances, absenteeism or sickness

Interesting, it was reported that within a shrt time, figures begin to slip and within 5 months, 4 out of the 9-person team left or got a transfer!

Doesn't that sound familiar?