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Brenda Reimers, photographer of senses

A balinese artist living in the Netherlands, Brenda Reimers was presenting her creations at the Singapore Art Fair from 9th to 11th October. Photograph of the senses, she has created for her model a set of natural jewels and vegetal hats, whose ingredients are an evocation of each country's culinary tradition.

Portraits splashed with light on a black back stage, Brenda Reimers' pictures are like a joyful invitation to travel. From Argentina, to China, via Belgium and Denmark, we delight ourselves from this chef-stylist-photograph's facetious creations, whose inspiration we admire as much as her technical mastering.

► See the whole "culinary jewels" photo gallery: www.photoworks.nl

 

Malaysia: a US$444 billion Investment plan over 10 years

Malaysia unveiled an ambitious investment plan to develop it's infrastructure and become a first rank economic actor in 2020. The plan has been estimated to US$ 440 billion by the Think tank set by the Government. The total investment should be principally born by the private sector; a perspective that leave some analysts skepticals about the actual implementation of the plan.

The ambition is huge: Malaysia intends to double it's income per capita over a period of 10 years (from $6700 currently to $15000 in 2020) and be at this date in a position to join the selective club of developped countries.

the program lists 133 projects amongst which 7 would be ready for an immediate implementation. It encovers multiple sectors: from oil & gas, palm oil, agriculture and tourism to financial services, education and urban infrastructure. 

One of the icon project foresees the construction of a high speed train to link Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Singapore. The town would be embellished, it's rivers would be cleaned and a shopping city centre would be developped in order to attract the clientele chic of the region.

60% of the project's financing would be covered by private investors, 32% by public companies and 8% by the public sector.

Source: Reuters

 

 

Asia has 1 coach for 900.000 inhabitants

Coaches from the Asia Pacific region were holding their first regional conference early in September, in Singapore. A meeting for professionals to exchange on their practices and to assess their number: Asia, which accounts for 60% of the world population, would have no more than 10% of the coaches on the globe; an opportunity for a fast growing profession. On the contrary, Australia enjoys a amazing ratio of 1 coach for 7500 inhabitants, by far the most impressive in the world.

 

In the pre-conference workshops of the ASIA PACIFIC COACHING CONFERENCE 2010, Franck Bresser presented the results of a global coaching survey led in 2009. In Asia the situation is very contrasted : a professionally matured activity in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, coaching is still an emerging practice elsewhere, including in India and China, Hong Kong & Shanghai excepted.

Although the survey did not manage to single out any distinctive style for coaching in Asia, not least because most clients are multinational companies and main actors are international coaching firms, it acknowledged a great diversity of approaches from one country to the other.

In Japan, coaching is very business oriented. the coaching "market" is split between professional coaches and managers who get train in coaching as an addition to their management and leadership skills.

In Malaysia, coaching has to be rooted in the culture and values of the country.

In Singapore, the coaching is very much results oriented; which implies that a great attention is given to ways of measuring individual progress. The survey also highlights how what is considered a generally accepted concept, such as "executive coaching", may be misinterpreted in countries like Singapore or Malaysia where the term "executive" rather designates a lower manager, just slighty higher than a controller..

The Asian University for Women, in Chittagong

Opened in March 2008, the Asian University for women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, is a remarkable international initiative providing women across Asia, mostly from underserved communities, with a high level learning opportunity. The University currently has more than 400 students, recruited in 13 Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, USA, and Vietnam.

 

The creation of the Asian University for Women (AUW) is a result of the task force on higher education and society convened by the World Bank and UNESCO in 2000, and is based "on the firm belief that education - especially higher education- provides a critical pathway to leadership development as well as more broadly in achieving sustainable development, economic progress, and social and political equity".

The University offers an undergraduate program and 2 graduate programs: the School of Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development and the School for Entrepreneurship and Management Preparation. All students are recruited on merit and selected for their academic aptitude, leadership potential, and dedication to community service. 75% of them come from geographically or socially disadvantaged background. A majority receive a financial aid to cover the 10.000$ tuition fees.

In addition, the University offers an access academy. Restricted to students who are the first in their family to get a University education, this pre-collegiate program is designed to ensure that students from underserved communities will be on equal academic footing as their peers from more privileged backgrounds.

During their studies at the UAW, students are required to complete 3 internships, one within a company, another with a non-profit organization, and another with an entrepreneur.

The target is for the University to reach a student body of approximately 3000 women at capacity.

France.fr now online

Originally launched on July,the 14th France.fr had rapidly disapeared because of problems attributed to it's servers. The situation had brought a flow of criticism, spurred  by the amazing financial ressources that had been invested. The page is now turned with this new website, online since August, the 15th: simple to use, colorful and with an abondance of resources,  France.fr aims to be the reference website for all public ressources and services on the internet.

France.fr "aims to promote the image, values and specific characteristics of france around the world". the portal is available in 5 languages. It provides visitors with an in depth presentation of France - History, economy, institutions -, of it's cultural patrimoine and places of interest, and of all practical aspects: living, studying, working, investing...

► see the France.fr website

Best MBA's in Asia Pacific

In the last MBA ranking established by the Financial Times, most of the best ranks are unsurprisingly being trusted by American and British institutions; the London Business School leading ahead of Wharton, Harvard, Stanford and the french-Singaporean Insead. Institutions from the Asia Pacific area are progressing: 9 are amongst the 100 top MBA.

 Rank  Institution  Pays
Ranking of MBA's from the Asia Pacific region
 5  Insead  France - Singapore
 9  Hong Kong UST Business School  China
 12  Indian School of Business  India
 22  Ceibs  China
 27  Nanyang Business School  Singapore
 28  Chinese University of Hong Kong  China
 36  Australian School of Business  Australia
 63  Melbourne Business School  Australia
 99  Macquarie Graduate School of Management  Australia

Amongst those institutions, 4 have decided to lointly promote the visibility and reputation of their MBA's in the United States, Canada and Europe: the Hong Kong UST Business School, the Indian school of Business in Hyderabad, the China Europe International Business School of Shanghai and the Nanyang University of Singapore.

Outsourcing: China takes the lead over India

According to a recent study by KPMG, China would have replaced India as the first destination of outsourcing and shared services for companies in Asia pacific. Singapore would be second.

Although the survey was restricted to asian companies, the trend is clearly: China is the number 1 choice for Asian companies to outsource services.

42% of respondents say their company has set up one of their shared services center in China and 41% say they have an outsourcing provider There.

Singapore is quoted as second preferred outsourcing location (29%), ahead of India (25%).

The survey shows low labor costs are one major reason for companies to outsource or organize a shared services center in China. But other reasons are also emphasized such as supply of skilled talent, language skills and infrastructure. Such arguments haven't so far convinced western companies as well, but the situation could evolve on the midium term.

 

China imports more and still exports a lot

Despite recent warnings, the chinese economy confirmed it's trade growth with a once again impressive figure in June. Imports show a sharp growth curb, sending a rare optimistic message for the world economy, but exports remain also -very - high. 

Chinese exports reached a two years peak in June. China maintain on a fast growth track. The growth rate, compared with same month the previous year, although slightly lower than in june, displays a commanding 43,9%.

The trade balance nevertheless declined as a consequence of the level of imports, whose growth in the last 12 months outpaced exports'.

As for the future, specialists remain cautious. They anticipate the consequences of the rise of the Yuan (although a mere rise of 6,78 to 6,83 Yuan for 1 US dollar) as well as of the crisis in the Euro zone.

European Union remains the first trade partner of China, ahead of the United States and japan. Trade with South East Asian countries recorded a sharp increase (+ 54,7% in June). Trade with Brazil also grew impressively (+60,3%).

Thailand teachers short of skills

In a move to develop it's teachers' skills, the Thailand Ministry of Education had the idea to have teachers in secondary school take the same test they are supposed to prepare their students to. The results are catastrophic: up to 88% of teachers specialized in computer science failed the test, 86% in Biology, 84% in Mathematics, 71% in Physics, 64% in Chemistry and 63% in Astronomy and Earth sciences.

At junior high level, the results are, fortunately, significatively better, with 58% of teachers in mathematics getting marks of more than 80%.

The situation shows how badly thailand needs to enhance the level of it's educators. The Government has set a budget of 1.4 billion Baht for that purpose. But that budget might well be insufficient to meet the challenge.

 

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