Saturday, August 21, 2010

could be a life-changing moment at the kopi tiam

every morning, i swing by this coffee-shop near my place to get my coffee and breakfast before heading to work. one morning last week, the auntie at the stall asked me if i wanted to join some bible study class at her church. and she suggested i could go with her son. i asked her how old her son is, and she said, " about your age - 25."

that was a suggestion of 2 conversions in a split second at the kopi tiam - both are potentially life changing, not exactly the kind of place i expect such meaning of life to happen. 5 frozen seconds of life in the most unexpected place, we both heard Beethoven's 5th Symphony in the air which stopped when i said, "no thanks." the buzz of the kopi tiam came back on, life goes on, though i savoured the 25-years-of age bit for a good few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

stand up for Singapore talents

watched 2 re-runs in a day - YOG and National Day Parade - a bit moving becos of mixed feelings - feel proud but really sometimes quite painful to be Singaporean, or live in Singapore ( can sell chewing already or not..? Please pay local talents as much as foreign ones also please...) We stand up for Singapore but also have to fight so hard all the time.. very tiring to keep standing and wait for daylight. Hopefully our next generation will inherit a nation that can be truly supportive and be proud of their own talents, a nation that doesn't short-changed its own talents any more. We already have a full-functioning country, now it is time to develop its arts and culture which have been neglected for so long - Bravo to Ivan Heng, Randy Chan, FARM, Malek and all the creative people who have worked months and months for these 2 landmark events of Singapore and made us so proud that Singaporean talents rock!

running a small design studio, it is scary that in the papers, they kept saying how much the economy has grown and that employers should increase salary for employees, but in truth, small employers (at least speaking for myself) are not earning that much more, as the papers (or the government) are raving about. i remember that when i graduated from architectural degree in the early 90s, an honours degree grad like myself was paid 2.5K, today, it seems like that had remained constant. The pay has not increased because clients are not paying more. And in fact, if you get a government job, they try to squeeze you left right centre, how am i going to pay my staff more?

Today, I have a dynamic studio of young grads who are focused on doing good jobs, they are happy and they are with me, but tomorrow, they will get married, have kids and need more money. But the fees that we are getting as design consultants seemed to have remained stagnant for the past 15 years, as far as i am in this industry. Not only it is stagnant, sometimes even we get less.

A developed nation should start to treasure its own talents, and not focused on cutting our fees? Whcih part of the system went wrong? Why are local designers still treated as inferior to multi-national design conglomerates?