The fragile happiness of Japan's 'insular' youth East Asia Forum The youth of Japan appear to face a bleak future — a catastrophic budget deficit, ageing population and collapsing social security system.
David Collet's insight:
I want to scoop this more because of what doesn't say than what it says. I see Japan as a place where the average worker endured difficult conditions not because he/she was climbing up the social structure. It was more a combination of culture (the boss was the boss) and security. A job was for life. No lay offs. He/She continued working even if it was boring and only very marginally rewarding. Very much like a feudal system. But then came the crash. This all changed.
Now the youth see their parents as an example of what is wrong with this system. In most cases efficiency improvements happen in small mostly invisible steps. All of the celebrated efficiency of the Japanese work force is accurate and is the result of a dedicated team. The whole team is rewarded commensurate with their level in the team. Often it is at the very lowest level in the team that the greatest contributions to the team efficiency are made. But with the crash it is these very contributors to the core prosperity both of the company and the country who lose their security.
The executives who made the strategic decisions about investments and product mix continue to enjoy employment. But it was a failure to navigate a changing global economy - the result of these strategic decisions - that led to the crash. The youth now are well educated. They are hooked in to information sources that their parents never had. They realize the inequity of the fall out. And, while they may be worried about the future they realize that their voices will not be heard over the din of the elderly. Thus worrying is futile. As the song says "don't worry... be happy!" Live for today because the future is too uncertain and beyond your ability to affect.
Malaysians should take note. This not uniquely a Japanese problem.
This one I have to rescoop. I am too old to have benefited from Sesame Street but that doesn't my life was not affected by it. This is technology used at its best and most effective. The message delivered has always been universal. And it has remained true to its original format. There is no mention of the creator of the series in this piece and I think that is a mistake. Sesame Street was done by a creative genius on a par with Steve Jobs.
There are lessons in this success for young entrepreneurs if only you look.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation are often discussed as though they are interchangeable. They are not.
David Collet's insight:
In this discussion, Malaysia comes somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We are wealthy enough (sort of) to afford much of the adaptation strategy that will be required. But not for the more expensive versions so we will simply have to 'suffer'.
On the other hand, mitigation is only slightly within our control. Much of the problem belongs with the big two - China and the U.S.A. Unless we look at per capita contribution in which case Canada also comes into the picture.
But the big thing here is that mitigation is actually a religious obligation - that is what is meant by 'morally' here. People who are broadly concerned for all creation, including all flora and fauna (animals, fish, plants) generally are this way because of a religious conviction. In the case of Buddhists this is not considered a religion as such but as a moral imperative. I personally don't see much of a distinction. These same people tend to be concerned in this way even to the temporary detriment of their living condition (financial, etc).
Adaptation on the other hand is pretty much a survival issue - protect me, my family, my group, my country and then maybe others.
But, be sure to read to the end of the article because there is a light at the end of the read. There is actually a financial incentive to 'doing the right thing'. And it is enough to actually cause the normally selfish human to act. Being a religious person I will pray that our Creator will inspire all people to act in their best interests and therefore behave in a manner that will help all of creation.
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network Scientists in Brazil believe the loss of billions of liters of water released as vapor clouds by Amazon rainforest trees is the result of continuing deforestation and climate change—leading to...
On a smaller scale but just as important view the Reserve behind Ampang. It is huge stretching from KL to Ipoh and far to the east. But with development it is shrinking rapidly. And as it shrinks KL gets hotter and drier. Think Selangor water rationing. Trees are really important to maintain a rain forest. That should be so obvious but greedy people seem to forget this.
New York Times Back to the Slums of His Youth, to Defuse the Ebola Time Bomb New York Times MONROVIA, Liberia — The girl in the pink shirt lay motionless on a sidewalk, flat on her stomach, an orange drink next to her, unfinished.
Ok. So this is some pretty serious stuff. I read stuff like this all the time but because it has a very technical slant I don't normally pass it on.
But this is a subject that everyone needs to learn something about.
First, think of where you get your news from. In Malaysia the internet has caused some real changes in this since the mid '90 s. The primary published newspapers are all owned by persons or groups with strong ties to the ruling party. As a result the general public only get news that the rulers want you to hear/read. This pretty much the same all over the world.
With the arrival of the internet things changed. And the shape of that change wasn't always anticipated. Now, with blogs and social media and high speed global networks anyone could become a news source. And since physical location was no longer important draconian laws such as ISA lost much of their effectiveness. That is probably why they were repealed to be replaced with a more modern version. This too is the same the world over.
The problem though is that even though the cost of entry on the internet is low the reach to the desired audience is actially controlled by the same group as controls the news papers. Some filtering here and there and access to dissenting views is either barred or is so slow as to make it useless.
This is what Net Neutrality is about. Making it illegal for carriers (think Telekom Celcom etc)to block or impede acces to information that is in itself not illegal. This would mean that child porn could be blocked because it is illegal but opposition viewpoints could not.
Ruling governments are generally not interested in dissent so they will not likely support a full implementation of Net Neutrality.
But this all just back ground to the article.
The French and Europeans in general are also concerned with data neutrality and what they are calling Platform Neutrality. This can be a long and generally boring discussion but it is important for Malaysians to be on board with this discussion. If it is ignored we risk imperial and economic domination which will be far more damaging than colonial domination ever was.
As this is the season for celebrating Malaysia's liberation from colonial domination it is a good time to look at keep the country free from undue foreign interference.
Although fluctuating from year to year, coffee production has been on an overall steady upward trend, writes Worldwatch Institute Senior Researcher Michael Renner. World coffee production during the 2013/14 crop year was just slightly over 9 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The vast majority of coffee production—more than 3 tons for every 4 tons grown—is exported, flowing from developing countries (like Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia) principally to industrial ones. The largest consumers in 2013/14 are the European Union (consuming nearly a third of the world’s total), the United States, and Brazil.
As a coffee lover - real coffee black no sugar fresh ground French press - i found this interesting. My experience in Malaysia has always been positive. I believe most coffee grown here would come close to qualifying for 'fair trade' status. I believe most is of the robusta type. I don't favour the local method (kopi campur) of serving it. My personal favourite is from Muar. But the northern varieties are also very nice.
Wow! This one really has me excited. I read this and I can immediately envision the opportunities. I can also see the problems and for some of them I can imagine solutions.
A service like this is already feasible for a city like Singapore and it only requires the political will to make it work in Kuala Lumpur. I think it will take a long time before it could be rolled out to say Rembau (N.S.) but if it were the possibilities for reviving kampung life are huge. Imagine a shuttle bus round trip Rembau/Seremban on a daily basis for say RM20 using a congestion free highway. As I said... the possibilities are boundless.
And it is much easier to imagine in the cities.And all theae people who want to continue to drive around in their big expensive single passenger cars (plus driver) can pay lots for the privilege of a congestion free highway and ample parking space.
I saw this in action in Atlanta (Georgia, U.S.A.) about 15 years ago. I was on vacation visiting my daughter who was on training with her company. An on-demand (subject to availability) free shuttle service was provided feom the condominium complex to malls and frequently visited locations with a 10 km radius of the rsidence. My daughter even used it to commute to and from work.
Open your mind. Engage your imagination. And read.
I find this interesting as a highlight of one difference between Malaysia and Canada. By law in Canada communications must be in bith French and English when send out using taxpayers money. Generally this means that a Cabinet Minister who uses his or her office to maintain a social media account must have all postings in these two languages. No exceptions. And also they cannot use these accounts for political purposes.
I seem to on a topic that won't quit. Another example of quantum shifts in (or should that be paradigm shifts) in career opportunities. Tecnology is destroying many traditional occupations but is creating in their place many new ones. And the flexibility of the new ones in terms of where you work, your working hours, even days is much greater. But the uncertainties are also much greater.
This is scary reading and is at the extreme of climate change reporting. But it is possible. When I combine this with the rapid changes in communication and automation I feel that the current state of advanced education (beyond SPM) renders it a waste of time for my grandchildren. It is training for jobs that won't exist. And, perhaps, society as we know it won't exist. Scary stuff. Trust in God. All others pay cash.
It's been three years since the United Nations Environmental Programme asked Royal Dutch Shell, an Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company, and the Nigerian government to clean up the oil spill in Ogoniland, but that has not happened for a surprisingly long time. Adeola Akinremi and Solomon Elusoji visited Ogoniland and report that its people are a living sacrifice amid a barren landscape of devastated forest and farmland, ruined livelihoods of farmers and fishermen amidst the massive damage to the environment
A long article about economic colonization, local corruption, and bureaucratic double speak used to cover up the lack of any real action to correct a wrong. It should be read as a cautionary note for the river projects in Sabah and Sarawak and the ongoing rape of the environment in the forest reserve behind the communities bordering MRR2. once the damage is done and pockets have been lined and profits taken the burden falls on the local inhabitants to clean up and try to move on.
The Guardian (blog) Six lessons youth media can teach the mainstream The Guardian (blog) The digital revolution has given rise to a growing youth media sector in the UK; the 200 platforms at the Youth Media Summit had a combined audience of almost...
CNBC Jobless youth in China: Crisis in the making CNBC Youth unemployment – referring to those who are between 16 and 24 years old - currently stands at 13 percent (or some 73 million young persons), according to the International Labor...
David Collet's insight:
I think the interesting thing here is that China continues to grow and did not suffer the same problem in 2008 as western economies with the 'sub-prime meltdown' induced recession.
In spite of this, youth unemployment continues to be high. And the highest rate is among the best educated.
This article focus' on the lowest educated segment and identifies threats to employment in this segment.
In my opinion the solution lies not in the traditional methods used over the past 75 years (since the great depression in the U.S.) but in a radical remix of employment options. The ownership mix must change from the elite few controlling the financing and reaping all of the benefits to a more balanced mix of individual entrepreneurship working with a considerably weakened global conglomerate. This could happen peacefully but I am not confident that the current owners will succumb peacefully.
The trade group for franchise owners is lobbying Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to help in their fight to preserve a business model that squeezes workers.
David Collet's insight:
First, I will report that I am among those who do not eat at McDonalds. I have only ever eaten there because a business colleague wished to lunch there, or my grandchildren insist on the toy. I do not consider McDonalds to be a place that serves food. And that requires that you have a definition of food which I do.
I am also among those who boycott McDonalds because as a corporation they support financially the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the unprovoked agression against the residents of Gaza.
Finally, for those who claim that the Franchise in Malaysia is wholly owned by a Malaysian and provides jobs to needy Malaysians I scoop this as a proof that that is not accurate. As this article points, the agreement between the Franchisees and McDonalds overwhelmingly favours McDonalds and limits the options of the local owners. And the employees are treated more like indentured (slaves) than normal employees. If action is successful in the U.S. against this practice, there is a chance there will be spill over effect in Malaysia. This would be good for both the employees and the local owners.
And as a side note, this is not only McDonalds at stake. KFC and others are also included in this group.
I have too many opinions on this subject but I don't wish ti bore anyone. Nor do I wish to detract from the article. It is a New York Times opinion piece and you may have to register to read the entire article but I think you will find it worthwhile.
If you have children just starting on-line (for me grandchildren) there is usefull advice about dealing with cyber bullying.
But the piece is primarily targetted at an adult audience. Discussion on-line is a usefull way to expand your horizons but it comes with dangers that you don't experience in face to face exchanges.
I sm pretty thick skinned an sufficiently arrogant that I mostly ignore negative comments. But this piece offered some advice that will cause me to mend my ways a bit.
Poachers slaughtering Africa's elephants and rhinos with impunity are often shielded from police by powerful connections, but a group of conservationists has turned to the anonymity of tip-offs to try to stem the killing.
Notice that this is not just about wildlife poaching. Illegal logging activity is also covered. In Malaysia, we all need to good neighbours to our environment. Even if that means casting light on illegal activity.
Saudi youth fight IS propaganda Al-Monitor A song was recently released by fighters from the Islamic State (IS) under the name, “Oh headscarf, where are you?” Saudi youths responded angrily to this song, know locally as “al-Sheilah” (the headscarf).
As tablet and smartphone adoption grow, video viewing is increasingly occurring via mobile platforms. According to a new eMarketer report, tablet and smartphone video viewers tend to be young. This is a signal that content owners who cater to millennials and young adults should prioritize their mobile video programming, if they haven't already done so.
This is for youth entrepreneurs. It also follows up on a post I made yesterday with a comment about education. The future will see much more marketing being done through You Tube or whatever the flavour of the day is. And the format is dramatically different. Attention spans are much shorter. Interests are much more varied.