Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The grass is greener on the other side

The lady at my favourite chee cheong fun stall (that's rice flour rolls for the uninitiated) told me today how lucky I was to have a 9 to 5 job and not have to 'worry about the business.' She says that she and her husband wakes up at 3am every morning to prepare their food so that they can start selling at the market by 6am - they can't do this any earlier or the food would not be fresh.

While I would dispute her claim that employed folks 'don't worry about our business' I can only say that this is the usual story of the grass being greener on the other side. How strange we humans are. Small business owners especially those that have known no other vocation, will think that working a routine 9 to 5 job would be a welcome change for them, while those who are salarymen hanker for the day they can run their own business and call their own shots.

All I can say is that we need to embrace and do our best in our chosen vocation and if we can't continue for whatever reason, then make a clean exit and move on. Challenges are everywhere even when you're selling chee cheong fun.

Technorati: self-employment; entrepreneurs; smes

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Singapore: Haven for Indonesian White Collar Criminals?

So says The Age newspaper.

"But why should Singapore be slow? Probably because it is a haven for Indonesian crooks on the run, and they bring their money with them. Billions of dollars in corruptly obtained funds have flowed into Singapore's property market and its banks.

It's a sensitive matter because financial services account for 22 per cent of Singapore's economy. You can imagine the situation from Jakarta's point of view. Singapore lectures Indonesia about the importance of the rule of law while giving its criminals a haven."

Ouch.. Full story here.

Retailers with 15% foreign equity: Give bumis 30% stake

So it finally happened. The Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs (they might as well change its name to the Ministry of Umno Trade & Affairs) has released guidelines for firms in the distributive trades (e.g. retailers, restaurateurs etc.) with at least 15% foreign equity; they must now restructure to ensure that bumis have at least 30% ownership. Not only that, but the entire employment and directorship structure must reflect the 'official' racial composition.

smallandmedium thoughts had earlier highlighted that this might happen here and here.

Oddly enough, the usually subservient MCA has decided to make some noise about this via its Youth Economic Bureau Chief, Datuk Henry Wong.

So as was the fate of large manufacturing companies in 1975, after you have spent years and years building up a retail business with your own blood and sweat, UMNO now wants you to surrender at least 30% of it to its supporters.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Singapore ahead of HK, Malaysia in Corporate Social Responsibility

And so says the CPA Australia after interviews with 351 qualified accountants and associates in the region.

In the survey, 45% of Singapore businesses are socially responsible followed by 37% of Malaysian firms and 27% of Hong Kong firms.

Sadly, as is usually the case for SME's, the report found that "only 24 percent of [Singapore] small and medium enterprises are aware of their corporate social responsibility." This confirms the usual trend that SMEs tend to follow the lead of larger organisations given their much smaller pool of resources.

Interestingly these findings come about a week after our government announced a new Silver Book standard for GLC's to adhere to in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Tenaga Nasional or TNB pioneered the study on CSR as "it appears to be on the right track to achieving its CSR policy."

Well at least it has a page dedicated to philanthropy on its website.

Technorati tag: Corporate Social Responsibility, Malaysia, Singapore

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Malaysian solution to improve our sports: Build a sports centre in London

Yes folks - you read it correctly. Our enlightened and forward-thinking government has given the go-ahead for a RM490 million sports training centre to be built all the way in London to make it easier for our budding Gold Medallists "to [not only] adapt to the cold weather in Europe but to be near countries which are more developed in the sports field, as well as to ensure transfer of expertise and technology to local sports specialists."

I'm speechless.

Oh, of course our dear Sports Minister is quick to remind us that it is Malaysian Government-owned land that this new facility will be built on.
So my question is: how do we go about building this complex in London? Will the construction firm awarded the contract require bumi equity ? Will we have to ask them to send thousands of indon workers over to good old Blighty to build it? What about our white elephant stadium facilities in Bukit Jalil?

And if it's the cold weather that our athletes need to get used to, can't they just turn on the airconditioning during training? I'm sure RM490 million could certainly help settle a sizeable electricity bill.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Italy wins the World Cup : Economists should be happy!

Remember this earlier post? Well, now that Italy REALLY have won the world cup, the folks at ABN Amro should be happy. They had predicted that an Italian win would be the most beneficial to the global economy.

"An Italian victory in the World Cup final would make consumers and producers more confident, which would translate into higher consumption and investment. It would also help Italy to improve its image, which is good for exports."

Now that the Azzuri have conquered the world, let's see whether their win will really lift the global economy!

Technorati tags: World Cup, Italy, Global economy

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Singapore declares war on Mr Brown

Taking offence at a widely-read bloggers' article published in the Today newspaper, the Singapore Government has reacted with its trademark heavy-handedness.

After accusing the blogger, aka Mr Brown, of encouraging "cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with," the Press Secretary then went on to declare that "It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government".

I sympathise heartily with Mr Brown. I enjoy reading his blog and articles and now he has raised the ire of his unforgiving government.

I'm really glad I'm Malaysian.

Technorati tag: Mr Brown, Singapore, bloggers

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Signs of stress behind Malaysia's rosy growth

Poor Pak Lah - he's been getting a lot of flak lately for his leadership style. This latest one from Reuters points to rumblings from within UMNO itself over Pak Lah's drive to cut the government deficit.

"Many who benefited from government construction contracts under Mahathir are unhappy with the scarcity of large infrastructure jobs, which threatens to undermine Abdullah's political base. "If the economy loses momentum ... there will be discontent within UMNO itself," said Chandra Muzaffar, a political analyst and head of an activist group."

Really, what's wrong with this country when a leader wants to better the lot of his people, his political support base starts grumbling about the lack of projects to feed their greedy guts. How sad.

Technorati tags: Malaysia, cronyism

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The UEM Disney Saga - Hong Kong's turn to take aim

After a roasting from our Southern neighbours, the UEM Disney fiasco is now in the Hong Kong media's sights.

Again, UEM has been taken to task for speaking with the Japanese Disney operators rather than Disney themselves and then claiming that they are in talks with the real mickey.

What I feel is uncalled for is the comment that as Malaysia is a muslim majority country, Minnie Mouse might have to wear a hijab! here's an excerpt:

"The political specter, however unlikely, of guests being turned away or arrested because of uncovered knees or gender segregation in the park could be enough to persuade Disney to dismiss the idea. If Disney decides it's ready for Minnie and Daisy to don the hijab, then there's likely a more advanced plan with an even sweeter deal available for the asking in Dubai. "

And, at a sensitive time when most Hong Kongers feel their basic rights are gradually being eroded by Beijing, read what our reporter has to say:

"On the other hand, it's [Malaysia] a still a regional poster child for crony capitalism and related forms of corruption. Malaysia simply can't offer Hong Kong's combination of rule of law and unassailable authority from Beijing. "

That's the first time I've read that Beijing's iron fist is good for business.

Technorati tags: Disneyland, Malaysia, Mickey Mouse

Monday, July 03, 2006

Kelantan offers beauty courses to prevent its women from going into vice

The Raja Perempuan Kelantan has launched a program that teaches underprivileged girls the art of grooming — including bridal makeup, massage techniques, facial and hair care, spa and slimming treatments and salon management.

And all this to prevent them from falling into the vice trap, because apparently quite a few lasses from Malaysia's poorest state migrate to KL to look for jobs and end up 'working in bars or nightclubs.'

Ordinarily this wouldn't raise an eyebrow but in a state ruled by a party that believes a woman's place is preferably by her husband's side, such a development is quite a major event.

When asked for a response, Lo'Lo Ghazali, a senior PAS leader said 'there is nothing wrong in Muslim women wanting to look beautiful for their husbands, but added that it is important to balance beauty with spirituality.

Site Meter

Clean Blue. By Suga.