Freak-ish weather in Shanghai

Mr Zhou told me that Shanghai was having strange weather...something which has never happened before, in a week, we have gone through all four seasons...

Just two days ago, flurries everywhere...

Today, dh went to our backyard and cut out this lovely flower...strange isn't it but I am not complaining...cos, spring is finally here!

Pottery class, yipeeee!

The kids were all excited when they found that they were going back to pottery class again. Kai has done it for many years until we left for the States. In fact, some of his pieces were exhibited at a pottery exhibition held at the National Library.

Happinese is doing pottery...
Do our kids have a fighting spirit in them?

I have just recently finished writing an article for a family group. I titled it "Raising Up Kids." I felt it was a harsh piece but it was something which must be addressed. I talked about most kids these days lack discipline. This was because raiseing up kids have been outsourced. Not too long later, a friend sent me an article which tied up with what I have written...something all parents must take time to read and ponder...(I have even asked Kai to read it and he nodded in agreement as he read it)

I have a prediction. My prediction is that in a couple of years, the
expatriates (from China , India , US etc...) will rule Singapore . They
will increasingly take on more leadership roles of CEOs, directors,
heads of organizations, award winners etc... If you observe closely,
it is already happening now.

Last year's top PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam) student is a
China National. Most of the deans list students and first class
honours students in the local universities are foreigners and more and
more CEOs, even that of go vernment link corporations are expats.
The top players in our National teams are expats.

As a Singaporean, I am not complaining. I think that in a meritocratic
society like Singapore , it is only fair that the very best get rewarded,
no matter their race, religion or nationality. Like Lee Kwan Yew said,
I rather have these talented and driven people be on our team
contributing to our nation than against us from their home country.
The question I have been asking is, 'why are the expats beating the
crap out of Singaporeans?'

What I noticed is that these expats have a very important quality that
many Singaporeans (especially the new Y generation lack). It is a
quality that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers (who came from
distant lands) had that turned Singapore from a fishing village to the
third richest country in the world (according to GDP per capita).
Unfortunately, I fear this quality is soon disappearing from the new
generation of Singaporeans.

This quality is the HUNGER FOR SUCCESS and the FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!

Expats who come here today have the same tremendous HUNGER for
success that our grandfathers had. They are willing to sacrifice, work hard
and pay the price to succeed. They also believe that no one owes them a
living and they have to work hard for themselves.
They also bring with them the humility and willingness to learn.

Take the case of Qui Biqing, the girl from Qifa Primary school who topped
the whole of Singapore in last year's PSLE with a score of 290.
When she came to Singapore 3 years ago from China , she could hardly
speak a word of English and didn't even understand what a thermometer was.
Although she was 10 years old, MOE recommended she start at Primary 2
because of her lack of English proficiency. After appealing, she managed to
start in Primary 3. While most Singaporeans have a head start of learning
English at pre-school at the age of 3-4 years old, she only started at age 10.
Despite this handicapped, she had the drive to read continuously and practice
her speaking and writing skills, eventually scoring an A-star in English!

This hunger and drive can also be seen in the workforce. I hate to say this
but in a way, I sometimes think expats create more value than locals.

Expats are willing to work long hours, go the extra mile, are fiercely loyal to
you and don't complain so much. They also come a lot more qualified and do
not ask the moon for the remuneration. Recently, I placed an ad for a
marketing executive. Out of 100+ resumes, more than 60% came from expats.
While locals fresh grads are asking for $2,500+ per month, I have expats with
masters degrees from good universities willing to get less than $2,000!
They know that if they can come in and learn and work hard, they will eventually
climb up and earn alot more. They are willing to invest in themselves, pay the
price for future rewards. Sometimes I wonder how some of the locals are going
to compete with this.

Of course, this is just a generalization. There ARE definitely some Singaporeans
who create lots of value and show fighting spirit.

Unfortunately, I have found that more and more young Singaporeans lack this
hunger for success. Instead, they like to complain, blame circumstances and
wait for others to push them. Some hold on to the attitude that the world owes
them a living. I shake my head when I see local kids nowadays complain that
they don't have the latest handphones, branded clothes and games.
While I acknowledge that the kids of today are much smarter and well informed
than I was at their age (my 4 year old daughter can use my Macbook computer
and my iphone), I find that they lack the resilience and tenacity they need to
survive in the new economy.
Some kids nowadays tend to give up easily once they find that things get tough
and demand instant gratification. When they have to work first to get rewards
later, many tend to lack the patience to follow through.

So, how did this happen? Why is our nation of hardworking, hungry fighters
slowly becoming a nation of complaining softies? I think the problem is that life
in Singapore has been too good and comfortable. Kids today have never seen
hunger, poverty, war and disasters. What makes it worse is that parents
nowadays give kids everything they want and over protect them from hardship
and failure. Parents often ask me why their kids lack the motivation to study and
excel. My answer to them is because they already have everything!
Giving someone everything they want is the best way to kill their motivation.
What reason is there for them to fight to become the best when they are already
given the best from their parents without having to earn it?

It reminds me of the cartoon movie MADAGASCAR where Alex the Lion and his
animal friends were born and raised in the Central Park Zoo. They were well taken
care of and provided with processed food and an artificial jungle.
When they escaped to Africa , they found that they could barely survive in the wild
with the other animals because they had lots their instincts to fight and hunt for food.
They could only dance and sing.

I see the same thing in the hundreds of seminars and training programmes I
conduct. I see increasing more and more expats attending my Wealth Academy
and Patterns of Excellence programme in Singapore . Not surprisingly, they are
always the first to grab the microphone to answer and ask questions.

While many of the locals come in late and sit at the back. The expats (especially
those from India and China ) always sit at the front, take notes ferociously and stay
back way after the programme is over to ask questions.
I feel ashamed sometimes when I ask for volunteers to ask questions, and the
Singaporeans keep quiet, while the foreigners fight for the opportunity.

For my "I Am Gifted!' programme for students, I have the privilege to travel & conduct
it in seven countries ( Singapore , Indonesia , Hong Kong , China , Malaysia etc...) and
see students from all over. Is there a big difference in their attitude and behaviour?
You bet!

Again, I feel really sad that in Singapore , most students who come are usually
forced by their parents to come and improve themselves, Some parents even bribe
them with computer games and new handphones to attend.

During the course, some adopt the 'I know everything' attitude and lack the interest
to succeed until I kick their butts. It is so different when I go to Malaysia , Indonesia
and once in India . The kids there ask their parents to send them to my programme
They clap and cheer enthusiastically when the teachers enter the room and participate
so willingly when lessons are on. I still scratch my head and wonder what happened
to my fellow Singaporeans to this day.

So mark my words, unless the new generation of Singaporeans wake up and get out
of their happy over protected bubble and start fighting for their future, the expats
(like our great grandfathers) will soon be the rulers of the country.
At the rate at which talented and hungry expats are climbing up, our future prime
minister may be an Indian or China PR or may even be an Ang Moh! - Adam Khoo
10 years on...

As I am typing, outside there are flurries (small little, tiny snow flakes). Wish it could really snow. I missed the snow so much...

I couldn't believe it, my dear little miracle is 10 years old. How time has passed us by so quickly. The never sleep, the ever crying and colicky precious baby of mine is now a 10 year-old boy.

From this

Last Friday, 5th of March, we celebrated Kai's 10-year-old birthday. A quiet but warm celebration, surrounded by his papa, mum and "Annie-ous" that's how Kai calls his sister.
He coined that name for her and now we are all calling her by that name. In the US, some of our neighbours thought that's her real name!

It's good to have a little sister when you need help to pack your birthday goody bag.

Kai's favourite homemade burger by mummy's dearest. If your kid/s love burgers, you can try this at home. It is much healthier. Buy lean cut minced meat (pork, beef or mutton) seasoned with pinch of salt and chopped onions, keep in the fride overnight and grill it in the oven when ready to eat. The meat patty will be very juicy and not dry. Burgers are never complete without fries...smilies fries for the special occasion!

Cutting his birthday cake. Travelled 1 hour to buy this Baskin Robins ice-cream birthday cake.