Life contemplation 

I have been in my current career for almost five years and can’t help thinking about being in another job. I wanted to be an artist, an illustrator, a graphic designer, a librarian, a researcher, a teacher and so on.

I realised that no matter where I am, I will always be the same person because what I want most is the freedom to pursue new knowledge, express myself creatively, to teach and to learn.

I’m starting to feel stagnant and noted and work. It’s true there is still a mass amount of things I can learn in my job – the procurement processes, the rules and work processes are always changing and becoming more onerous with time.

But I’m not inspired. I only need to comply with the prescribed practices. 

I’m thinking of resigning and putting myself in the job market. But I’m nervous in facing interviews – I’m afraid of the unknown and whether I’m good enough.

Food Wastage in Singapore

According to the Straits Times News Article, a staggering 788,600 tonnes of food were thrown away in 2014 with only 13 per cent of last year’s food waste was recycled (Boh, 2015). This is a tremendous waste of resources for this country.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) would be launching a new campaign to tackle food wastage and educate people on the poor habits of overstocking of food at home and having to discard expired the food that were unconsumed.

However, I feel that NEA’s attempt in trying changing the consumption patterns is not as effective as taking a multipronged approach in addressing food waste in our food cycle from the production, distribution, retail to consumption.

Food waste is created due to

  1. Discarding of spoilt food from improper storage or handling; or
  2. Discarding of ‘unsellable’ or ‘ugly’ food although they are still edible,
  3. Discarding of excessive leftovers

Supermarkets, wholesale and wet markets and farms would do cosmetic filtering where food that look less than perfect are discarded although it is edible (, 2015). Moreover, fresh produce are perishable and could not be kept for sale for long.

NEA can consider adopting the “ugly food movement” which is quite successful in Europe and Australia – where edible food that are in odd shapes are also put up for sale instead of being discarded (Dan Mitchell, 2015). For a start, our NTUC Fairprice supermarket can do their part by adopting the ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables’ that was launched by Intermarché, a French Supermarket (Martha Cliff , 2015).

Alternatively, more of the edible but ‘unsellable’ food can be donated to soup kitchens, such as ‘Willing Hearts, which offers cooked food to the needy residents.

Food & Beverage (F&B) establishment ought to invest in managing their inventory of food stock, where they order or prepare more food than required (, 2015). Currently, the voluntary welfare organization, ‘Food From The Heart’, help to channels unwanted bread from hotels and bakeries to needy families and individuals, and more can be done to encourage other bakeries to participate in the programme.

During events and social functions, it is common to over-order the food for the guests. Most of the leftovers are gone to waste as the practice of ‘tau-paoing’ the food can be seen as embarrassing. In additional, the ‘tau-pau’ or doggy-bag practice is also not recommended especially after NEA implemented the mandatory time-stamping of catered food.

Lastly, food waste from homes is substantial as many people tend to overstock of food at home and the food could end up not being consumed and expire. The Food Bank Singapore is making an effort to collect excessive food from the affluence and redistribute them to the needy through the various volunteer welfare organizations.

If NEA is committed to reducing the food waste to as part of the ‘Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015’, there should be much stronger network and synergy between itself, the stakeholders in the food cycle, and the welfare organizations. The importance of food security should also be emphasized in its public awareness campaigns


Boh, Samantha. (2015). NEA To Launch Campaign To Reduce Food Waste Next Week. Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 November 2015].

Dan Mitchell. (2015). WHy People Are Falling in Love With “Ugly Food”. TIME. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 29 November 2015].


Anonymous. (2015). Food Wastage in Singapore. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 November 2015].

Martha Cliff (2015). French Supermarket Sells Ugly Fruit And Vegetables At Discount To Combat Food Waste. Daily Mail Online. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 November 2015].


Food Bank Singapore. (2015). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 November 2015].

Heralding a Post LKY Singapore

I wrote ‘Singapore, without LKY, What will my future Be? on 6 June 2009.

The inevitable had became a reality. Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23 March 2015 at the age of 91 years old.

Death is sobering. It reminded us of our mortality and that life is transient.

There was an outpouring of grief and tributes from people of all walks of life and nationalities during the week of state mourning. We began to grasp the extend of Mr Lee’s impact upon his death, as we piece anecdotes from people to learn more about this man – as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend, a political leader, a mentor, and a boss – and remember him by.

For so long, many Singaporeans, like myself, have take the prosperity, peace, and beauty of Singapore for granted. It is a luxury to do.

The accomplishments of the pioneers of Singapore, and the hardships they faced, had faded with time. Mr Lee’s death sparked a new awakening of our national identity and appreciation of our history, as the media bombarded us with stories and historic recordings which encapsulated the Mr Lee’s achievements, and together with his comrades, in charting a sustainable history for Singapore.

Lives goes on. Mr Lee’s lifelong passion in guarding the future of Singapore imbued a sense of pride, patriotism and the mission in us to steward Singapore to greater heights.

PS: I am sharing the vide, ‘I wish I could Miss you, Mr Lee’, as I thought it is one of the poignant tributes to Mr Lee Kuan Yew which reflects the sentiments of the younger generation

I Wish I Could Miss You, Mr Lee from Zo Fan on Vimeo.

Fundraising for Charities


Following the lawyer’s letter to remove my original post ” ***** and Fundraising for Charities” in October 2011, I am re-posting the content with general information to avoid the accusation of “defamation”and “confidentiality” issues as I believe that such information is scarce on the Internet.

(Disclaimer: Please note that the original post was published in 2010, and I had not been keeping abreast with development of charity fundraising. The information is still relevant as I still see people asking for peoples to make monthly donations to the charities organisation in Singapore; but I am not sure whether transparency of such practices had been improved.)

Continue reading

What is in a Job?

I was reading the book written by R. William Holland, ‘Are There Any Good Jobs Left? Career Management in the Age of the Age of Disposable Worker’ and it struck me on the accuracy and poignancy of his observations.

As we pore through the news, we will notice that job creation is one of the foremost priorities for many governments around the world. With high sustained unemployment rates, people will eventually lose faith in the government and thus lead to political and social upheaval – as seen in Europe.

This got me thinking: What is in a job? Why are jobs so important?

According to, a job is defined as employees performing and accomplishing quantifiable duties, responsibilities and tasks in exchange for a salary. It added that beyond this perspective, jobs are especially important for us as we identify ourselves through our occupations, and our unique contributions to the organisation and society (, N.D.).

Below are some of the memorable quotes from the Holland’s Book.

One feature of a good job relates to the continuity of work and its associated income. It allows us to do things such as take on long-term debt. How much debt as well as the length of the debt obligations is often a function of monthly cash flow. Interruptions to a person’s income can easily interrupt access to the Dream (Holland, 2006, p.43).

We believe education is a ticket for admission to a good job – one with security of employment, health care benefits, career development, and a pension programme for retirement (Holland, 2006, p.4). Access to good jobs is a key motivator behind educating ourselves and our children. We structure our debts and dreams through our jobs (Holland, 2006, p.45).

The price of the admission ticket to good jobs has steadily risen while what we are getting for a return is less certain than before (Holland, 2006, p.4) How we prepare ourselves as a society and as individuals to deal with these changes, will have a dramatic impact on the quality of our lives.

The availability of job will ebb and flow depending on forces in the market place, including technology and concerns about efficiency (Holland, 2006, p.12). When companies are free to move jobs to their most rational economic locations, those who held those jobs become part of the labour pool in need of redeployment (Holland, 2006, p.12).

For the economist, workforce redeployment is looked upon as an engine for economic development as workers migrate to other jobs and companies reinvest to get better returns on capital (Holland, 2006, p.12). For individual workers, redeployment can be a source of economic demise because their jobs move elsewhere or disappear altogether (Holland, 2006, p.12).

There is no benign mechanism that redeploys workers on an as-needed basis. Indeed, people are left to fend for themselves, and there is no assurance they will share in any of the economic benefits workforce redeployment generates for society as a whole (Holland, 2006, p.12). In this sense, workers become disposable (Holland, 2006, p.12).

There was a time when our careers or occupational choices were prescribed by what our fathers did. Sons of farmers became farmers and their daughters became farmers’ wives. Later, greater access to education gave men, and then women, access to jobs unavailable to their fathers a generation later. Still later it became common for people to have several jobs during the course of a career and more than one career in the course of a lifetime. But it is a freedom bringing an unprecedented set of anxieties and insecurities. In this context, personal freedom and security can be at odds with one another (Holland, 2006, p.12).

While it has never been quite this cut-and-dried, it does seem fair to say that whatever post- World War II job security existed has given way to a more complicated reality (Holland, 2006, p.12). The expectation today is that we will be free (forced) to change both jobs and careers (Holland, 2006, p.12). Consequently, we are facing levels of complexity unknown just a few generations ago (Holland, 2006, p.12).  At the same time, what we do for a living (and whom we do it for) continues to play an important role in our self esteem. Our occupational choices feed our egos and affect how others view us (Holland, 2006, p.12).

But if having a job of which we are proud is important, losing that job can be devastating. Being let go/ fired is often viewed as a threat to our sense of personal worth and value, as it tends to invalidate everything we know and believe about ourselves. “I was laid off,” the reasoning goes, “so what I thought about myself is not true. My personal effectiveness with people – the value I bring to my organization and my peers and the esteem with which I am held in the community – must be less than I thought or they would have laid off somebody else.” (Hollang, 2006, p.13)

These insecurities and anxieties are the other side of workforce redeployment and why being let go feels a lot more personal than it actually is. And, as it turns out, finding the right replacement job is trickier today than ever before, adding complexity to the lives of so many people. (Holland, 2006, p.13)

However, with a increased pool of educated workforce worldwide, more companies have the bargaining power to decide who to hire in order to maximise profits. The decision to hire or fire or retrench on the basis of the bottom line, had transformed the mutual relationship between employers and employees transactional. From the business perspective, a huge pool of people are objectified and thus viewed as a factor of production and thus an aspect of variable costs to be controlled in response to the market conditions. Below are exerpts from Holland’s book.

A flexible workforce is one that can be redeployed to other high-end jobs created as a result of the global economy (Holland, 2006, p.48). For now, the number of jobs going offshore are more than offset by the numbers of jobs being created as companies put their capital to different and more profitable uses. The jobs that go away come back in the form of jobs requiring higher levels of skill, and with the creation of greater value than those that left (Holland, 2006, p.48).

At all times, companies will be what they have always been, self interested economic entities determined to survive. Survival will require them to provide goods and services in some combination of quality and cost better than their competition. That is the context in which jobs exists today. How well of us are treated will be, as it always has been, contingent on the perceived value we create. Immediately following World War II, a college degree was the passport to the perception of being able to create value and land a good job. Perhaps for the first time in modern history, value creation has to be more real than apparent. Where one went to school will be less important than what that employee brings to the table. We are entering an age in which we can no longer afford our prejudices (Holland, 2006, p.79).

The difference between the low income worker and the middle class manager lies in their career opportunities and the means they earn a living. Beyond that, both are groups of people likely to feel financial hardship should their jobs cease. Only the Rich, with passive income, can afford to disregard the pressures of the labour market faced by majority of the population.


Job (N.D). [Online]. Availale on: [Accessed 1 September 2012].

Holland, R.W., (2006). Are There Any Good Jobs Left? Career Management in the Age of the Age of Disposable Worker. Praeger Publishers: USA

AFP. (2012). Young South Koreans face jobless woes with ‘graduate glut’. The Straits Time. 27 August 2012.

Devie, S. (2012). Economy can support more graduates: Government. The Straits Time. 29 August 2012. [Online] Available on [Accessed 1 September 2012]

A Start

Work is consuming most parts of my awakening life, since I started work as a civil servant a year ago. The luxury of having time for myself become scarce – and the hobbies I used to enjoy (drawing and blogging) became less important and thus infrequent.

One year on, with a bit of work experience, it becomes more manageable to squeeze in more time to do what I want. But to maintain a strict discipline to engage myself in my hobbies on a regular interval is still a tall order – after all it is easier to slip into my comfort zone and indulge in passive leisures like watching online videos, tv and etc to whittle time away.

This entry is a start after an almost year long hiatus from blogging

Civil Suit

I was served a lawyers letter and had to remove one of my blog post for the following civil suit – 1) unauthorised use of CONFIDENTIAL information and 2) Publication which is DEFAMATORY  in nature.

I had taken down my blog post. The content had been about the private fundraising for charities in Singapore – and street fundraisers seeking donations through the public owning creding cards with the “Direct Debit Donor Programme (DDDP)”

Confidential? I am not sure if I had breached it by raising the issue on my blog. I wrote it as I thought there was a void in relevant subject  matter on the internet, and there is immense public interest in it – people are concerned where their donations goes; how charities outsource their fundraising function, and how these company recruit people to solicit donations in the street.

Defamation? It is the communication/ publication of a false claim that caused the person/ organisation defamed to be cast in a negative light (Wikipedia,  2011). I was in disbelief – I tried to write as factually and neutral as possible, referencing to other sources of information. I know that online, my particular post had attracted a wide number of readers, but  I doubt I had been able to exert influence others to react negatively to the organisations mentioned in the blog. I admit that the comments left by anonymous readers on my post can be caustic and negative, and thus defamatory. By neglecting to remove the comments, I had made myself liable.

It is a shame that I am prohibited to blog about the subject matter. :-( I did not bother to fight back, or rebel against the unfair lawyers’ letter against myself as I am preoccupied with my work and do not want to jeopardise my career.

Nonetheless, I am deeply interested in how charities bodies runs, and its sensitive relationship to its various stakeholders – the donors, the volunteers, management, the public and the beneficiaries.


LOD to Tan Ying Wei dated 13 October 2011


TanYingWei_LOD from Lawyer


Wikipedia (2011). Defamation. [Online}. Available on: (Viewed on 6 November 2011)