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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Texas considers allowing guns on campuses

If you are a father of kids going to Texas schools, how would you feel about this new bill? Would you still allow your kids to go to school, out in the open, with no assurance that they will return from school alive?

AUSTIN (Texas) — Mr John Woods was a student at Virginia Tech when the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history took place. Thirty-two people, plus the gunman, died.

There were times he thought that maybe he should get a gun.

“I learnt pretty fast that wouldn’t solve anything,” said Mr Woods, who is now a graduate student at University of Texas.

Today, he has joined a fight against bills in the Texas Legislature that would allow licensed concealed gun carriers to take their weapons to school.

A public hearing was held yesterday in the House of Representatives Public Safety Committee on one bill, sponsored by Republican Joe Driver.

Supporters say the bills would protect the rights of licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons and help prevent a massacre on the scale of what happened at Virginia Tech. Critics say that if guns are allowed on campus, students and faculty will live in fear, not knowing who might pull a gun over a drunken dorm argument or a poor grade. AP

From TODAY, World
Tuesday, 31-March-2009

Insights from Lee Kuan Yew’s Daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling

I posted an article containing the message by Dr Lee Wei Ling, former PM Lee Kuan Yew's daughter.

It is a wake-up call, a reminder, to live life wisely, in abundance, or in scarcity. Life is not made of material things, and material things will never make us. They make give us laughter, but not happiness. Riches, but not abundance. For a poor man can be happy, and someone who hasn't much in life can still live in abundance and contentment.

Read that article here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Over 40, under-valued

Here is a feedback from one who is already 47 and seeking a job. Would you be looking forward to getting at 40 years old, and beyond, what would you be expecting, if anything at all?


Letter from Allan Pek

I refer to “Over 40? Don’t send us your resume” (March 26).

I am not surprised that workers more than 40 years old are being rejected in Singapore.

I know this from experience: I have been applying for jobs for six months after coming back from China where I have been for 18 years. At 47, it has been difficult, even though I state in my resume that I am willing to accept a lower position. I used to work in the food and beverage industry.

I do not hear anything from employers after submitting a resume or after going for an interview. At an interview, I am usually asked some simple questions and I know they are just patronising me.

It would help if employers are allowed to state the preferred age range for jobs advertised. It would save lots of time for both parties. At the very least it can give the over-40 job seeker the real picture — we can then decide if we should change our line of work.

Employers are not supportive of what the Government is encouraging: Getting older workers and/or retirees back to the workforce. Maybe it is not a realistic call if those making hiring decisions have never been jobless with a family to support.

Once, I went for a walk-in interview at a company whose office is in a building next to Isetan department store. I had called earlier and was asked to go down.

Another job-seeker arrived after I had filled in an application form. I was told that the woman would be interviewed first as she had an “appointment”. I said that was all right and left my mobile number for the company to call when they were ready for me.

I walked around the whole of Isetan and Tangs for a very long time. No call. I decided this type of company was not worth seeking a job with anyway as they did not have the honesty or courtesy to at least call and tell me that I am too old or not what they are looking for.

It is sad that some employers consider being 40 to be “over the hill”.

Besides schemes for retraining older workers, may I suggest the Government also look into ways to help them become entrepreneurs?

Perhaps they could be allocated a food stall with subsidised rental to start with, or be given assistance to secure a loan with low or no interest to start a business.

If I have the chance, I will open an affordable, no-frills restaurant and employ retirees who want to work again.

For someone who has been away for almost two decades only to come back to see our society in such a state, Singapore has really been a disappointment for me.

From TODAY, Voices
Monday, 30-March-2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

‘Over 40? Don’t send us your resume’

I am now in this age range; will it happen to me?

From TODAY, News
Thursday, 26-March-2009

Employment market

With weaker job prospects, older job hunters turn to entrepreneurship seminars


EVEN in good times, discrimination against older job seekers exists. So what more now that it is an employers' market?

Some recruitment firms told Today the trend has picked up. Some employers do not want resumes from anyone above 40, said Ms Wendy Kwek, managing director of Career Express. Her firm has seen a "slight increase" in the number of such employers.

Two other employment firms, JobPlus and MDK Personnel Resources, confirmed that their clients prefer younger applicants.

"Some don't even want to see resumes from those who are 35," said Mr Kor Lai Hock, MDK's managing director. The company's clients include those in manufacturing, engineering, and food and beverage.

The practice however is "nothing new", said JobPlus' director Alex Thong.

On the other hand, firms such as Adecco, Manpower, JobStreet and JobsDb said they have never received such requests from their clients who include multinational and blue chip companies.

Rather, would-be employers are now more demanding in terms of applicants having the relevant skills, said Adecco's strategic accounts director Yue Yin Mun.

With job prospects for older workers bleak, it is no surprise then that entrepreneurship seminars are doing a brisk business.

On Tuesday, there were three such events with turnouts of 120 and 100 for the two that were held by Executive Directions at International Plaza. The third was organized by Harriet International Network.

Those who were late — even if they had registered earlier — had to be turned away. It was standing room only.

"Compared to last year, I would say there's a 20- to 30-per-cent increase in the number of people attending," said Ms Kwek of Career Express and a managing director of Executive Directions.

For two to three hours, the participants listened to various speakers extol the benefits of being their own boss. However, many baulked at the cost of the courses which ranged from $5,000 to more than $7,000. More than half then left.

Mr James Chua, chief executive of Harriet's, said he was not surprised.

"Most people over 40 want something more stable. Asking them to suddenly become an entrepreneur may be too risky. They should start a small business, something that would give them $3,000 a month and which they will be happy with."

One participant, Mr Sen — who only wanted to be known by his surname — was working in a bank before being laid off last year. He spent the past few months sending out resumes to no avail, so he decided to try the entrepreneurial route.

"What else is there for a 55-year-old to do?" said the father of a 16-year-old. "It's depressing being at home."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My girls are excited; and so am I!

My wife is now on the 2nd trimester for our 5th child, and having lost the 4th baby while she was on her 2nd month of pregnancy, we exercised much caution when she got pregnant this time around. As we are tracking the baby’s growth, guess what? Our 3 girls are very much excited every time they know that their mother is going for her prenatal check-up, which is every month by now, as in every time, we bring home a picture of the child in the womb through the scanner machine.

Last night, on 13 weeks gestation, the baby is already formed, and so I thought, no wonder, the baby is so playful, and whenever I put my hand on my wife’s belly, a jerk up is felt, like the baby is kicking up when it senses some warmth or motion around it.

So I am equally excited!