Monthly Archives

February 2017

Classy!! How Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dealt with the BBC reporter’s implied "white man’s burden".


Have you guys watched the latest snippet of BBC’s interview with PM Lee Hsien Loong shared by Channel News Asia today?

Our PM Lee Hsien Loong BBC appearance was soooo much BURN. WATCH! 😀


I especially LOVED how PM Lee responded to the reporter’s condescending assumptions in his line of questioning. So much class!

“The world is a diverse place. Nobody has a monopoly of virtue or wisdom.” –PM Lee Hsien Loong

Here’s a toast to our Prime Minister for standing his ground so well! =)

This is another classic case of a “What is” VS “What should be” conversation. The people who preach that Singapore “should” do this and that– Just look at their track records. Have they done anything constructive for Singapore?

In other words, IF our nation ever vanishes one day, do these “should-sayers” with NO stakes in Singapore have to suffer the consequences?

It’s easy to preach “should”s when you don’t have to be responsible for the livelihood of many, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, of COURSE it is good to have noble ideals. However, in a world of constrained resources and responsibilities, leaders have to make tough trade-offs and choices.

With freedom of expression comes A LOT of responsibility. Will I trust the masses with complete responsibility?

Looking at the UK’s recent excellent choice of BREXIT, OPPS! I think I’ll pass. Thanks and no thanks!

5 Minutes with Mr. Patrick Tay, assistant secretary-general of NTUC.

patrick tay ntuc

Recently, the report by the Committee of Future Economy has raised considerable interest and concern in Singapore. Against this backdrop, we have the huge privilege of having 5 minutes with Mr. Patrick Tay, the assistant secretary-general of NTUC today. He will share with us some of his thoughts about preparing Team Singapore for the future workforce.

Mr. Tay will also be at the Singapore Management University tomorrow to talk about the opportunities and threats of the future workforce. Do join in if you are interested in this topic!

WW: Hello Mr Patrick Tay! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are doing?

Patrick Tay: Hello Wan Wei!

I am the assistant secretary-general of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and am currently overseeing the Future Jobs, Skills and Training (FJST) Department and Legal Services Department.

I Am also an elected Member of Parliament (West Coast GRC) and Chairman for the Manpower Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC).

WW: On Feb 9, the Committee of the Future Economy recommended 7 strategies to take the Singaporean economy forward. Strategy #2 is to utilise and acquire “deep skills”. What is the meaning of “deep skills”?

Patrick Tay: It means we must go beyond trying to attain the highest possible academic qualification to focus on acquiring a personal mastery of skills.

As we embrace digital disruption and technology, we must acquire deep skills to create and add value and utilize these skills effectively on the job.

WW: How do you suggest Singaporeans be prepared for future jobs that do not even exist currently?

Patrick Tay: The future jobs will either be very “Hi-Touch” or very “Hi-Tech” because what can be Digitised, Robotised or Mechanised will be Digitised, Robotised or Mechanised.

Singaporeans can be prepared by being:

  • Agile (flexible to move across, move into and move up);
  • Able (upskill, second skill, multi-skill, deep skill); and
  • Adaptable (to changes).

This is so that Singaporeans stay ready, relevant and resilient….ready with new skills, relevant for new jobs and resilient to new changes.

WW: Singapore’s growth for 2017 does not really seem too optimistic. Singapore is also not a welfare state–so there might not be enough cushioning in the event of layoffs . Do you have some tips for Singaporeans to cope with acquiring deeper skills in the event that they are structurally unemployed?

Patrick Tay: The 2016 growth results of 2% is promising.

I expect continued uncertainties, consolidation and disruptive challenges in 2017.


There will be industry transformation maps for all 23 clusters/sectors of the economy. What is important will be how we translate that to the ground and properly execute/implement the manpower strategies entrenched in those maps so that workers can benefit.

In this respect, the Labour movement is working closely with tripartite partners and stakeholders to identify what are the future jobs, skills and training needed and to cascade it to all workers sector by sector.

WW: How can Singaporeans continue to be competitive in a region where wages are lower than within the country? Apart from “working harder”, is there anything else we can do?

Patrick Tay: We need to be better than the ‘cheaper’ countries.

We need to create value and have that extra value add to ensure we are always ahead in terms of quality and reliability than those who are ‘cheaper’ than us.

WW: What are some programmes that NTUC has for Singaporeans that will value-add us greatly in 2017, but we are likely not to know about yet? Perhaps because they are not as widely publicised as hoped, or simply too complicated?

Patrick Tay: We are hard at work in expanding the Labour movement network to ensure we look after the interests and welfare of ALL workers and the entire working population in the areas of

  • Care (caring for our workers in need),
  • Fair (ensure fairness, protection and progressive practices), and
  • Grow (helping the working population grow in their jobs and careers).

WW: What is the one biggest misconception that Singaporeans are likely to have about NTUC that is far from the truth?

Patrick Tay: That the Labour movement only looks after rank and file workers.

We now have an expanded Labour movement that look after all workers and the working population in Singapore.

We hope you have enjoyed the interview with Mr Patrick Tay today! Featured picture courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.

[The Hieno! Suomi 100 series] Interview with Josephine Atanga, founder of WODESS.

Finnish People, Foreigners in Finland, Official Finland 100 Series Endorsed by Prime Minister's Office
josephine atanga

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programmeThis “What is Finnish-ness?” series is endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Today we feature Josephine Atanga, one of the most prominent and inspiring foreign lady in Finland. Josephine is a people’s person with a heart for the community. She is also one of the most positive ladies I have ever met.

Enjoy the interview!

WW: Hello Josephine Atanga! Can you tell us more about yourself?

Josephine Atanga: Hello Wan Wei! Thank you for having me on this meaningful series.

I am Josephine Atanga from the beautiful country of USA. I describe myself as a positive, enthusiastic woman, a musician and a visionary woman. I see possibilities in every situation in which I find myself. I strongly believe in the power of the community and that is why I am a community person—I love people and giving back to society is my heart beat.

I am an American but my roots can be traced back to Cameroon, West Africa. While in the USA, I was involved in many community projects. I also started a talk-show which airs on local TV every Sunday for one hour as a means to expose the African talents in the USA while giving them an opportunity for their skills to be exposed and their voices to be heard.

In addition, I received two citations and recognition from United State senator in USA for my community works with inner city youths and my local talk show —opportunities which I am very grateful for.

I have been in Finland for number of years. I am currently studying Bachelor of Science Nursing program at the Arcada University of Applied Science. With my passion for the community and women in particular, I had the drive to start a women’s empowerment organization in Finland called “Women Designed for Success”.

This is an association registered in Finland and USA with a mission of celebrating the various successes of women, empowering them to live a purpose driven drive, engaging in charitable deeds through supporting girl’s education and recognising their achievement in society through an annual Award gala called Golden Women Awards.


WW: Can you share with us the most important and meaningful event that happened in Finland?

Josephine Atanga: I would like to share with you the Golden Women Awards annual gala. It really is the most important and meaningful event that happened to me in Finland because of the power of appreciation and impacting positively education of girls in third-world countries.

After we registered Women Designed for Success, we really wanted to highlight the power of appreciation. You see, we feel strongly that women, especially international women, need to be appreciated for their contributions in Finland.

So, I called a couple of ladies residing in Finland. I told them that there are so many amazing women doing so many things here in Finland which we should recognize and high light their contribution in the Finnish society. We need to showcase the talents of these ladies because when women are appreciated, they tend to do more. It raises the standard of their work and promotes excellence as well as stimulating other women to do better

In WODESS we believed in the power of collaboration and working together as a team to achieve great event. The Golden Women Awards was birthed out of the power of collaboration with different associations such as SCADAA ry, MONIHELI, CAISA, Jehom Driving school, African women association to mentioned a few not forgetting the many volunteers who sacrificed their time to make sure that women got the best recognition possible .

Josephine Atanga

Doing the Golden Women Awards event was challenging as I had never done an Award Show but I believed that gaining knowledge through reading and research work that it was going to be possible and a huge success.

So I went back to the books to find out how to do an award show, what the most important elements to a successful award show and so on is. It was very important to have high profile judges.

So over the past two Golden Women Awards, we have had diverse high-profile panel of judges from all over the world who worked so hard to make sure they came up with the right nominees and winners after the public nominations. The judges spent their time as volunteers to select the best nominees and eventually went through their work profile to make sure they fulfilled all the necessary criteria to be declared winners.

Let me share with you a story of one of the 2015 Golden Women Awards winner- Cinta Hermo Martin. She is WODESS Woman of the Year and has been living in Finland for 30 years.

I was moved when she said–“I have won many awards from my home country in Spain, but I have never won an award in Finland until in 2015. Finally my contribution to the Finnish society is finally being recognized.” She was very happy about this Award and said it has opened so many doors for her not only in Finland but also to her home country in Spain. Now she wants to do more to impact the lives of younger girls in Finland and around the world with this her Award.

To see our distinguished winners being so happy, appreciated and excited—that gives me so much joy.

Let me share another story with you—a huge success story. There was this other lady who was nominated: She has done great work, an amazing lady with amazing talents. In the category in which she was nominated for, she had not package herself well as a professional comparatively to the other nominees.

After going through some of the works of other nominees in her own category she felt like she needed to upgrade the way she had packaged her works. She sent us an email saying she think she will not win after going through the works of the other nominees. She said that “This award has changed my life completely–because I am now doing things differently in a more professional way. It has helped me to raise the standard of excellence in the way I present my business to the outside world.

She said she is actively showcasing the positive things she is doing in the right professional way so she can come back and be a winner of the Golden Women Awards in future.

This is a success story to us at WODESS as this nominee finally wants to step up to reach to the next level by actively showcasing her skills and talents in a professional way that will give her the edge to be more competitive in the industry standards.

In addition, this award is not solely about flamboyance. It’s also about supporting Girls’ Education in third world countries.

WW: We definitely love your positive attitude! Can you tell us now one challenge you have faced in Finland?

Josephine Atanga: The biggest challenge I face in Finland is the language barrier. I have been studying the language for a while.

I will not say that Finnish is difficult but will rather say it is challenging and it requires hard work.

I do believe that with more effort in grasping the Finnish language the sky will be my limit in Finland! Well, it is just a matter of time I do believe to overcome this challenge. You see, I have the power, and I am generally a positive person. With a positive attitude and hard work nothing is impossible to achieve.

I am so determined to make a difference in the language that I told myself–why don’t I become a translator of the Finnish language one day at the United Nations. Hahaha!


WW: You have also started a multicultural magazine for Women in Finland– the WODESS Magazine! What motivated you to do that?

Josephine Atanga: We started the first multicultural magazine in Finland in 2015 with the launch issue. The second edition of about 180 pages with high quality glossy pictures will be launched in spring 2017. The WODESS Magazine is a hard copy lifestyle magazine for the everyday woman.

What inspired me to come up with this magazine in English was the realisation that there are many international Women in Finland who are highly talented at various levels. So we wanted to come up with a magazine for the common women who are doing extraordinary things. Our goal was to have the magazine in language spoken by many at the international level which happens to be the English language.

By so doing we are giving their businesses international exposures that will benefit them in the long run. We wanted to use the magazine to create more job opportunities and to impact their business positively. Our magazine is a lifestyle magazine with the aim to educate, entertain, inspire and impact what these great international women are doing in Finland.

So you can pick up our magazine and see for yourself what amazing work foreigners are doing in Finland.

It’s not just about women—we also have articles about men. Therefore, this magazine is a way to promote talents in Finland and show case them to the rest of the world.

The reason why we chose it to be in English is because this magazine is global. We are in UK and US as well. Therefore, the women we feature in the magazines also benefit from international exposure, leading to the flourishing of their businesses. This magazine is never about money—it is about the wing beneath the wings of multicultural women here in Finland.

This magazine is truly the Finnish ebony! ☺ We do things out of our hearts and not out of selfish reasons.

WW: What are the three things or traits that you would consider to be uniquely Finnish?

Josephine Atanga:

The first trait I would consider as “uniquely Finnish” is humility. The Finns are really humble people.

The second trait I would consider as “Finnish” is “honesty”. If I drop something in my school, I can come back after two days, go to the front desk, and would find it there. It is no doubt that Finland continue to top the list of being one of the best countries in good governance.

The third trait I would consider as “Finnish” is perhaps the lack of openness. I think Finns keep to themselves a lot.

Let me give you an example—you see, I do a lot of walking and exercise. When I was exercising in parks in the USA, I normally greet people with a hearty “Good morning! How are you?” You see, such greetings bring out life in people!

In Finland however, there has never been a day when I get a response by saying “Hello!” or “Huomenta!” Nobody talks to you. It’s probably the Finnish culture not to be friendly—so it probably just the culture, and we have to accept it.

Josephine Atanga

This is probably a pity. You see, when you are closed, you are like a lake. It is always good to have an outlet to express yourself—Express yourself! Fly like a bird; just express it! And you will be happier! ☺


WW: What are some of the dreams and hopes you have for the future of Finland?

Josephine Atanga: I really love for Finns to be more open and welcoming to foreigners.

Foreigners are nice people. I think Finland is doing great now in welcoming foreigners but I think more can still be done. I am sure it is just a matter of time that I see it happening.

You see, I do not have a Finnish friend. I will love to have one. Yet, how do I have one?

Ha ha ha of course I can go out looking for a Finnish friend! “Do you want to be my Finnish friend?”

WW: What are your hopes for Finland?

Josephine Atanga: I hope to see more international women in Finland become more successful and start mentoring the younger ones to reach their highest level of potential.

I also hope that the Finnish media can become more involved with what foreigners are doing—for instance, give them more press coverage or even some time on Finnish television channels on the positive activities of internationals. I would love to see them appreciate the contribution of the international women in the Finnish society by giving us some coverage with the Golden Women Awards.

I hope the Finnish media can one day finally see how much of positive and constructive building blocks our initiatives have on Finnish society.


WW: Finland will turn 100 years old this year!! What is the one wish you have for Finland’s 100th birthday?

Josephine Atanga: I want to wish Finland a Happy Birthday, and I want to thank the country for giving me free education. Nelson Mandela said that you can use education to change the world and that it is through education that the son of a peasant can one day become a president.

The free education in Finland is one thing I am really grateful to Finland for. I hope free education will continue in Finland. Who knows one day may be I will create a TV from the education I have gained and will continue to gain from Finland.

Josephine Atanga

I will love to say that on the 100 years celebration of Finland’s independence, I am not looking at what I can get from Finland but what I can give back or do to make the next 100 years of Finland a memorable one for the younger generations. I would love to thank Finland for giving me the opportunity to soar like an eagle as I have been able to use my talent to impact positively.

I never thought I will one day be the founder of a hard copy life style prestigious WODESS magazine that sits amongst other magazines in the library at the Women’s resource centre at the University of Estonia. I am able to change the world through the free education and knowledge I have gained in Finland.

Thank you to Finland for educating me and welcoming me. Happy Birthday Finland! One Love.

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. We hope you have enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did!🙂