Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Giving Feedback To Others

A colleague recently asked me about how to give feedback effectively to another person.

One way to give feedback to a person is by answering the following questions and sending it directly to the person concerned:

1. On a scale of 1 (low score) to 10 (high score), how do I rate your performance?

2. What are three things that I think is positive about your performance?

3. What is the one thing that I think you should focus on improving?

4. What will you need to do to get a perfect score of "10"?

I have often found this to be an effective way of giving solicited / unsolicited feedback that is welcomed by the other person.

The above questions compel me to say positive things about the other person while focusing on one key area of improvement. Best practices can also be shared with the person about how to work towards the perfect score.

It is important when giving such feedback to focus on facts so that one can be as objective as reasonably possible. And it is also important that one give such feedback regularly.

Dharmendra Yadav

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beefing Up The Corporate Counsel


In recent years, as the world was rocked by scandals of multinational corporations such as Enron, questionable practices involving organisations in Singapore have also come under scrutiny.

There was the Asia-Pacific Breweries executive who cheated various banks of some $71 million. Then, China Aviation Oil admitted it had lost $550 million by betting wrongly on oil prices, with its head pleading guilty to failure to disclose the trading loss and deceiving a bank.

Later, it became clear the rot had reached the non-profit sector, with dubious practices at the National Kidney Foundation and, lately, at Youth Challenge, coming to light.

In all these situations, much like the pivotal character in the comic series Where's Wally, one question persists: Where was the corporate counsel or legal adviser? Could either have played a more vigilant role?

Last week, Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin — Singapore's top government in-house lawyer and public defender — addressed members of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association on the importance of their role in corporate governance and maintaining shareholder and investor confidence.

Chief legal officers and their in-house legal teams must play a critical role in "helping management and the Board enact governance reforms", ensuring "sound systems of compliance", he said. In addition, corporate counsel have a duty to bring questionable management practices to the attention of the highest responsible authority.

"Lawyers who represent corporations owe their duties to the institution, (and) not to any individual within it; this is a basic tenet of all professional ethics rules," he stressed.

This, in effect, makes corporate counsel the moral compass of an organisation.

The Attorney-General's comments are a wake-up call for all directors and senior management in Singapore on the importance of having a proactive corporate counsel in their top ranks.

It is also an alert for those organisations in which corporate counsel appear willing to be tucked away in some corner of the office — keeping to themselves, being generally inaccessible to colleagues and only desiring to be tapped when the odd contract or property deal needs to be reviewed.

Unfortunately, some directors and members of senior management in Singapore, as well as some corporate counsel, do not see the role of corporate counsel — there are an estimated 1,000 here — as broadly as that outlined by the Attorney-General.

This partly stems from the existing guidelines on corporate governance. For example, in the Code of Corporate Governance 2005, the word "law" appears only once — in stating that "directors should receive further relevant training, particularly on relevant new laws, regulations and changing commercial risks, from time to time".

Hence, the role of the corporate counsel appears to be limited to just training directors. Perhaps there is some work here for the Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance to do.

Another reason is mindset. One director shared: "My in-house lawyer often does not give me a solution. He only tells me what cannot be done and such negative remarks do not help me in running the business."

One corporate counsel colourfully sums up the concerns of his peers: "Firstly, I am not paid enough. Secondly, I think this falls under the purview of my company secretary. Thirdly, taking into account that I have a lean team and about 10 hours of work per day, I can only do so much!"

Even so, it is a good sign that some organisations are already including corporate counsel in their top ranks.

For example, in the National Trades Union Congress, chief legal officer Halimah Yaacob is also its Assistant Secretary-General. Likewise, in the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, general counsel Chua Lee Ming is part of the management team.

Many such corporate counsel are also now invited to meetings of management, board of directors and even board committees. These can be useful opportunities for corporate counsel to update directors and key officers about legal risks and developments affecting their organisations.

In several financial institutions, the head of legal is also responsible for ethics and compliance — a broad interpretation of a such a counsel's role, says veteran consultant to American corporate legal teams Rees Morrison.

When properly equipped, corporate counsel can play a prime role in championing corporate governance. And it is time more organisations gave better attention to beefing up the role.

Dharmendra Yadav

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Meeting Harvard Law School - Part 2

Last Thursday night, I met three representatives of the Harvard Law School who are doing legal research about Singapore. Over dinner, which comprised local delicacies such as ‘laksa’ and ‘nasi goreng’, we discussed a range of issues about the Singapore legal system. Here are some highlights of the discussion – Part 2.

It does not matter if a reader chooses to read Part 1 first followed by Part 2 or vice versa, as both parts can be read independently.


I have no doubt that our judiciary is an independent one. Our judges go out of their way to be whiter than white, especially since we are such a small country and word does get around.

Judges across the Commonwealth have on different occasions spoken highly of Singapore. Recently, there was a case in Canada (Enernorth) where the court there expressed confidence about the impartiality of our judiciary in commercial disputes.

In fact, I have no qualms inviting people to use Singapore law and our dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve their business disputes here.

Of course, the case made certain observations about how judges rule in non-commercial cases. But what you must understand is that, in such cases, the judges are driven by the prevailing norms of society, and they are especially sensitive about not creating divisions in society.

I had the honour of interviewing David Marshall, a prominent lawyer and political leader of Singapore before he died. Marshall, in his lifetime, was highly critical of the party in power. Something he impressed on me during that interview is how independent our judiciary is.


There were reservations expressed when Singapore decided to go on its own and cut off the right of appeal to the Privy Council in the early 1990s. There was criticism about the political nature of this reaction.

For me, it was a positive development. It marked the coming of age of our legal system and displayed the high level of confidence we had in it. It was also a reinforcement of the sovereignty of this little red dot, which is very critical for a small country.

And I think it has made us freer. The quality of our legal thinking has also improved.

We no longer just limit ourselves to English law. We are more willing to look across the Commonwealth for good precedents, which can valuably apply to us. Thus, for example, our insurance law is influenced by Australian insurance law.

It has also improved the international outlook of our legal profession.

In fact, we are so confident about Singapore law that there is now a movement, led by a sitting judge, to promote of the use of Singapore law in commercial transactions in the region as opposed to the currently preferred English or New York law.

As a legal professional, I am both proud and absolutely excited about this development.


Plus, to deal with the potential increase in demand for legal services and also the present shortage of lawyers, a new local law school has been announced. The curriculum of the new law school is going to be quite different. A student will get to study non-law subjects, undertake internships in legal practice and even do community service - which will all count towards the award of the law degree.


I think we need to bring our criminal law to the level where our commercial law is, that is at the cutting edge! The President of the Law Society of Singapore colourfully reflected not too long ago that some aspects of our criminal law needed to urgently catch up with the rest of the world.

There is a practical reason for this: we have focused on our economic priorities over the last three decades and our commercial law has developed in tandem. Those priorities are still there. Nevertheless, we are at a stage of development where we can afford to better look at other aspects of our society and legal system. Hence, the on-going review of our Penal Code.

I also hope that our legal system can be made more accessible, especially to those who cannot afford to hire lawyers. In this regard, I was happy to learn that there is a plan where every practising lawyer in Singapore will commit to do slightly over 20 hours of pro-bono work for such individuals.

Dharmendra Yadav

Monday, January 22, 2007

Meeting Harvard Law School - Part 1

Last Thursday night, I met three representatives of the Harvard Law School who are doing legal research about Singapore. Over dinner, which comprised local delicacies such as ‘laksa’ and ‘nasi goreng’, we discussed a range of issues about the Singapore legal system. Here are some highlights of the discussion – Part 1.


Our fundamental rights are enshrined in the constitution of Singapore. Most of these rights are not absolute; they are qualified. For example, freedom of expression (Article 14 of the Constitution) is subject to the prevailing laws of the land. As a result, one is free to say whatever one likes so long as one does not defame others.

Some of the rights are also limited to citizens of Singapore. My criticism of this is that it fails to take into account both our rich history and present circumstances as a city of immigrants. Perhaps, one day, these rights will apply equally to all living in Singapore.


Our defamation law is not very different from the law in England.

What is different is how the law has been applied to the facts. Issues of fact are firstly not decided by a jury; we don’t have a jury system so judges make the call. Judges are especially mindful that this is a small country and scandalous allegations can painfully affect reputations. As such, in our case law, one finds that the court has often been willing to construe a defamatory meaning in words.

To me, as a corporate counsel, a recent case has been of some interest. In this case, a shareholder had asked certain questions and was later accused in the press of “playing to the gallery”. The shareholder then took out a defamation action. The Court of Appeal considered the circumstances and ruled “playing to the gallery” while defamatory was a fair comment.

I don’t think this case should have gone to court in the first place. Actions such as this show we are evolving more into a litigious society and becoming more insensitive.


Another key difference is that, in England, public figures and governmental bodies are not entitled to sue in defamation. There is good rationale for this:
1. You are a public figure and, in taking on this role, you have exposed yourself to a higher threshold of criticism.
2. You also enjoy at your disposal wide access to resources to correct negative remarks about you.

However, our constitution provides: "All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law". A majority, including those having the mandate of our people and our judges, argue that, like all other persons, public figures must protect their reputation. Defamation actions are thus a means to achieve this end.

As importantly, defamation actions have not just been started by political leaders of the dominant party. Even opposition party leaders have taken out claims against others successfully.

I think the jury can be brought back in such defamation actions, and I also think that matters involving public figures should not be litigated. But I am in a minority.


Michael Palmer of Harry Elias Partnership – now also a sitting Member of Parliament and a member of the dominant party – wrote an interesting paper for the Law Gazette in 2005. It considered awards for defamation claims and argued that the courts have generally been consistent in such awards. An offer to apologise and amend can also help reduce damages awarded.

Public figures also show that they are not seeking to profit from such actions because they often donate what they are awarded to charity. And I believe this is one key reason why many continue to support such defamation actions.

Dharmendra Yadav

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My India Is Great

My late grandfather, who left India some five decades ago to build his family in Singapore, often used to say that one day Indians will no longer need to uproot themselves and leave their homes to live elsewhere, and India as a country will awake to a new dawn of great promise.

And he taught his children and his grandchildren to take a more than casual interest in India, even though they may not visit it regularly, let alone consider India their motherland.

Many Indians and others around the world believe that time of promise has now come.

This year, India celebrates 60 years of independence. In its sixty years, it has been a country of contradictions and diversity.

Despite the motives of some seedy sections to break it up and shatter it at its core, its people and society have remained resolutely united.

And it has come a full circle to play an influential role in not just Asia but also the world - a role that will be increasingly difficult to ignore.

Resultantly, The Times of India, a leading English newspaper in India, has named 2007 as the "Year of India".

Over six weeks since early January, the newspaper has begun "a critical assessment of India 's readiness for any serious claim to international fame".

In doing so, it has produced a dedicated website and even named it, India Poised.

Journalists of The Times of India have been "actively scouting the country's topography in the past months in search of unsung heroes who have succeeded" in India desiring to showcase these persons to inspire individuals to excel in their respective fields.

A special anthem, India vs India, has also been produced and two icons of Bollywood have been roped in to attract India Poised the attention it aptly deserves.

My sister shared this anthem with me earlier tonight.

It is an anthem that I think comprehensively summarises the contradictions of India.

It is an anthem that inspires confidence about the fantastic future before India.

It is an anthem that I found myself listening to again and again; and I believe every time one listens to this anthem one will find new meaning and value in being an Indian or even a friend of India.

Above all, it is an anthem that vividly captures the freedom and ideals one enjoys in being part of the story of one of the world's largest democracies.

Perhaps, this is what an Indian means when he or she says: "Mera Bharat Mahaan [My India is great]!"

Dharmendra Yadav

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Corporate Governance Needs Corporate Counsel

Last night, I attended the 4th Kick-Off Dinner of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association.

The Attorney-General of Singapore, who is patron of the association, spoke at length about role of corporate counsel in relation to corporate governance, and shareholder and investor confidence.

He said he still has not decided whether or not legislation should be introduced to give effect to this.

But he emphasised he was worried about recent corporate scandals in Singapore, and he noted that corporate legal teams in other parts of the world are prioritising such issues.


His lessons for legal teams and organisations that champion good corporate governance are these:

1. There should be a direct reporting line of the legal team to both the Board of Directors and senior management.

2. Legal teams, and not just the company secretary, are responsible for corporate governance and educating Board of Directors about such issues.

3. The legal function extends beyond just legal risk management to include whistleblowing, ethics and compliance.

4. Counsel have a duty to escalate questionable management practices to the Board or, if necessary, to external regulators or other higher responsible authority.


Quoting the American Association of Corporate Counsel, he said, "Chief Legal Officers and their in-house legal teams can and should play a key role in helping management and the Board enact governance reforms that ensure that the company’s ethical culture is supported by a framework of sound systems of compliance. Corporate counsel embrace their professional and fiduciary responsibilities as managers of the legal compliance function, which include reporting allegations “up the ladder” of responsible management to the highest authority necessary to insure that the client can and does remedy legal problems caused by rogue employees or executives. Indeed, lawyers who represent corporations owe their duties to the institution, not to any individual within it; this is a basic tenet of all professional ethics rules."

Then, he drew on the British experience and highlighted some ways how this can be achieved by corporate counsel:

- advise the Board on corporate governance matters and help organise the board and its committees and provide independent advice to them on corporate governance;

- ensure "that the organisation’s contracts and property rights are valid and enforceable, and are enforced, as part of the risk management process";

- manage regulatory risks by identifying, designing and implementing quality procedures to enable good compliance and to deal with issues of non-compliance appropriately;

- conduct legal risk education and training for board of directors and senior management.

These are useful lessons for organisations that champion good corporate governance.

Dharmendra Yadav

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Healing Wounds Helping Neighbours

Our relations with our neighbours have been in the news recently.


Thailand has cried foul over a recent visit by its former Prime Minister to Singapore. Some diplomatic meetings have been cancelled. An invitation to a Singapore minister to visit Bangkok has also been withdrawn.

What Thailand appears to be particularly angry about is not that he was met by the current deputy head of government in Singapore but more that an assurance by Singapore's head of state - the equivalent of such a leader being the Thai monarch - was not honoured by Singapore.

Thai Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kitti Wasinondh has said, "The main reason behind our measures was because Singaporean President S.R. Nathan has told PM Suryud on November 9, 2006, that Singapore will not betrayed (Thailand) and will not do anything to damage the trust and understanding between the two countries."

A Thai does not view such matters of trust and understanding lightly, as would most other people.

I believe this incident will not affect ties at a personal level. However, it is likely to take a lot longer to restore the level of trust and understanding that Singapore and Thailand enjoyed before this misunderstanding. That process has to start with Singapore letting Thailand cool down, and then taking positive steps to heal the wound.


On the subject of wounds, I read this evening that "over 110,000 Malaysians have been forced to flee their homes as floods worsen" there. This has stretched avenues for help available to such Malaysians.

It has been reported: "Relief agencies have launched appeals for food and relief supplies, volunteers and even boats. Newspaper reports said some shelters in Johor were bursting at the seams, while at least one centre in the area of Sri Medan said it was rationing food supplies. Medical relief organisation Mercy Malaysia said some centres were overwhelmed and called for better government coordination of the relief efforts."

I cannot imagine what it is like to be forced out of our own homes but I know what it feels like to be denied access to essential services. When I was much younger, we used to live in rented property. We had a terrible landlord who used to shut off our water supply unreasonably and quite regularly; often when she had a bad day. (We knew little about our legal rights then.) These acts brought my loved ones much grief. Support from wonderful neighbours in such dire situations helped us manage the problem.

Indeed, as a good neighbour and as suggested by at least one other person, it is necessary for Singapore, including those living in Singapore, to extend its help.

I was most happy to learn that at least two charities in Singapore have been extending their help to flood victims since December last year: Singapore Red Cross and Mercy Relief (Singapore).

As individuals, we can help these charities better help our neighbours and make a difference. Please give generously to both charities so that such help can continue to be extended to our neighbours.

Donate to the Singapore Red Cross online here.

Alternatively, donate to Mercy Relief (Singapore) online here.

Do share this request for help with your loved ones.

Dharmendra Yadav

Monday, January 15, 2007

What shape should this piggy bank take?


So it's confirmed: Singaporeans will soon get extra funds from the Government to freely pursue higher education.

Indicating that the Government has embraced the suggestion by a panel of education experts to set up post-secondary accounts for every individual, Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said, on Saturday, that more details would be announced in March.

The aim is to help Singaporeans get that "edge" that "comes from not just having studied something in the past, obtaining your certificates and degrees, but from continual learning", said Mr Tharman.

What shape this education account takes remains to be seen — but there are already hints, going by some precedents.

In 2005, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) launched a pioneering initiative with some of its cooperatives. SkillsSave lets employees open individual-based learning accounts with NTUC Thrift and Loan Co-operative Limited.

Both employer and employee contribute a regular amount to this account and, until 2009, the Singapore Labour Foundation will match the contributions for union members. The result is that a sum of just under $1,000 goes into an account yearly.

SkillsSave has three key characteristics. Firstly, the account is portable — meaning if an employee resigns and joins another organisation, he can take the account to his new job.

Secondly, the funds can be accumulated throughout one's working life and have a savings element. The account can only be closed in limited situations, such as when the person dies or retires.

Thirdly, personal responsibility for one's learning is encouraged; employer approval is not required for the use of the money in the account.

The individual decides what he wants to learn from an array of offerings provided by training providers, which include the likes of the Singapore Academy of Law. Importantly, the learning "need not be of any direct relevance" to one's current role.

Also, at least one of the cooperatives on this scheme allows a person to take learning leave of up five days — on top of the annual leave entitlement.

Would the Government's plans for post-secondary accounts be as ambitious? It's unlikely.

An important consideration would be the costs incurred for employers, and organisations may be expected to resist any attempts to raise the already dear cost of doing business in Singapore. Nevertheless, with SkillsSave, the NTUC and its cooperatives have set the lead for the Government.

Indications are that the plan for post-secondary accounts will take the 14-year-old Edusave Scheme — which sees funds deposited in deserving schoolchildren's accounts for enrichment programmes — a step forward.

Currently, the Government transfers any remaining sum in the child's Edusave account to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) account when he or she reaches 21 years of age. It is likely the post-secondary accounts will thus come under the CPF Board's purview and be linked to one's CPF account.

As such, the advantage that the Government's post-secondary accounts will have, over the SkillsSave scheme, is the protection from creditors accorded to CPF-related schemes.

It could also mean that any balance in a child's Edusave account would be moved to the post-secondary account when the child turns 21.

Perhaps, as part of its plans, the Government will also revisit the CPF Education Scheme. It currently enables one to pay for "approved full-time subsidised undergraduate courses leading to a degree" or "approved full-time diploma courses".

It would be timely to expand the CPF Education Scheme to enable an individual to pay for full-time postgraduate courses at the Nanyang Technological University, the National University of Singapore or the Singapore Management University, using his or her own CPF funds.

The plans for post-secondary accounts is a milestone worth celebrating.

It highlights that the Government is finally putting its financial weight fully behind a principle it, and the labour movement, have long espoused: The importance of life-long learning, and the importance of setting aside funds to invest in one's post-secondary education.

Dharmendra Yadav

Monday, January 08, 2007

Global Media Awards Event Supported

Last month, I supported the Biannual Awards Evening of the Triangle Media Group (TMG) held in Leicester, England.

At the event, which I was not able to attend due to work, some fifty "South Asian and foreign achievers that have made an outstanding mark and contribution in the global mainstream media" were honoured and the winners were selected from various parts of the world.

This is the second time the event has been held.

Those honoured included Bollywood legends such as Amitabh Bachchan and Shabana Azmi; a top Hollywood director M Night Shyamalan; and Sheeraz Hasan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of - Hollywood's leading entertainment portal.

The awards are conceived by my friend, Haresh Sood, who, despite being named as Tomorrow’s Lawyer by United Kingdom's The Times newspaper in 2001, has chosen to focus on his media career rather than a legal one.

Haresh has shared, "TMG prides itself to be unlike any other awarding ceremonies and proud to announce that it is precisely this sort of evening that we need more of to get the quality of our artistes seen and heard about. We need to merge on the TMG platform to showcase quality audiences what we are all about in all the fields of the media mainstream we operate within be it film, theatre, politics, sport or fashion."

Nevertheless, it was interesting that the focus of this year was, in fact, the law.

Firstly, it was attended by several legal practitioners and scholars, and hosted by the University of Leicester law school, where I studied.

Secondly, Indian film-maker Jagmohan Mundhra spoke about his film, Provoked, which, based on the landmark British criminal law case of R v Alhuwalia [1992] 4 All ER 889, involves a woman abused by her husband. The film will feature the beautiful Aishwarya Rai.

Thirdly, the 2006 awards were announced by David Flint, Emeritus Professor of Law and Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

It was also interesting that another awards ceremony was also honoured at this event - the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, which was held in Singapore in 2004 with the support of the Singapore government.

The director of IIFA is said to have specially attended the event and "captured & mesmerised the audience with a colourful and glamorous portrayal of Bollywood Cinema which explained what [the] IIFA does and how the awards are coming to Yorkshire [in England] in summer 2007".

As importantly, the event received the endorsement of British cabinet minister, Tessa Jowell. She noted, "I was so interested to read about the Triangle Media Group alliance for foreign artistes and I am delighted to say, the excellence and quality of the Britain's cultural and sporting activities ensure that our reputation for creativity and innovation is renowned worldwide. I am delighted that South Asian artistes have an opportunity to demonstrate their own rich and diverse range of talent and skill to the rest of the world through this campaign."

An awards magazine has been published to provide more comprehensive information about the winners and it can be purchased here for £7 including delivery.

Dharmendra Yadav

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Remembering Birthdays

A problem that I have faced for years is remembering birthdays of loved ones.

Often, I found myself only remembering the birthday after the date had passed, and I would end up sending the loved one belated birthday wishes.

I know there are other solutions available on the internet but all those that I found involved signing up for an account and remembering a new password.

It would also mean I would run the risk of compromising the privacy of my loved ones by disclosing such information about them to these third party websites.

A much older colleague taught me a less risky way to remember the birthdays of loved ones some months ago.

She encouraged me to indicate the day and month of the birthday after the name of my loved one in the address book of my mobile phone.

For example, where it used to be "Gavin", it is now "Gavin 6 Mar".

My colleague said it would serve as a reminder every time I contact this person. I have tried this for the last 3 months.

I find myself more promptly wishing my loved ones on their respective birthdays, and I now have something useful to do when I am commuting on public transport!

Dharmendra Yadav

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Employers & Blogs

A public servant recently wrote about how he chose not to be featured on television with another higher ranking servant of the people.

One reason he cited was the absence of guidelines by his own employer on blogging.

Last year, my own workplace considered the value and the inherent risks of blogging by our employees.

After all, we are quite possibly among a small group of organisations where a Chief Executive Officer blogs actively.

We decided that it was necessary to put in place some sort of a policy to deal with the issue.

This is an edited version of how the policy reads:


We encourage you to express yourself through your personal websites and blogs. As your readers may link your views to us, we request you to use these guidelines.


1. Disclose your personal website or blog to us if you intend to write anything relating to us, our subsidiaries or to your work by informing your supervisor.

2. If you use your website or blog to earn money, please declare to our Human Resource team.

3. Make it clear that your views are personal. You may wish to use this disclaimer in a prominent area of your website or blog: "The views here are mine. They do not necessarily represent the views of my organisation and its management".


4. As your website or blog is a public space, be respectful to us and our colleagues, customers, partners and competitors. Take steps to protect your privacy.

5. Respect your audience and be positive. Do not use racist, vulgar, seditious, defamatory and other negative remarks.

6. Only share information about us, which is available to the public and not confidential or sensitive. You can provide links to our corporate websites. To use our trademarks, seek permission. If you are not sure, please check with our Public Affairs team.

7. Your personal website or blog may be covered by the media. If any person from the media contacts you about us, please inform our Public Affairs team.

8. Respect the law, especially intellectual property and financial disclosure laws. If you are not sure, please check with our Legal team.


9. Add value and be constructive. Correct your mistakes and apologise, where necessary.

10. Write about what you know. Check your facts and strive for high quality. Disclose your sources and include links to other websites.

11. Be interesting, clear and concise. Accept feedback.

12. Ensure that your personal website or blog does not interfere with your work commitments.

Dharmendra Yadav

Friday, January 05, 2007

Feedback From Another Blog

Another blog recently provided some feedback about this blog. This is my response to them.


It has been alleged that I am "a pawn being used to instill fear and intimidation, and condition internet users from speaking candidly about their issues with the associated affiliations".

I am also - allegedly - a "coward" since I am "afraid of potential public dialogue on [my] views that [I] enabled comment moderation of" my blog.

They finally colourfully invite their readers to write to me directly: "spam the hell out of his email inbox".


I respect their right to hold such views.

I read this blog from time to time since I have found it provides me a perspective different from what one finds in the mainstream media. This has enabled me to arrive at a balanced position on various issues.

As alternative media, it is imperative that they continue their work in providing different perspectives, and the least that anyone can do is to continue to read them.


I also agree that my call for self-regulation may not have been helpful in encouraging individuals to express themselves, although I would add that it was not intentional.

In fact, I thought that having some guidelines which enable bloggers to self-regulate will encourage more to come out and express themselves.

I have also recognised in the past that, while there many other reasons for not expressing oneself, one reason people don't do this is because of fear.

I have often hoped that more people will share their views, without having to use a pseudonym or be anonymous.

Individuals should be willing to speak candidly about issues that concern them and be prepared to hear things as candidly.

To this end, I will be setting up another blog, The House of Happiness, through which I hope to persuade my loved ones, including the readers of this blog, to share their thoughts on any issue that concern them.

I am happy to share that many friends have agreed to come forward and support this initiative, and I expect The House of Happiness to be up and on by the end of this month.

I hope that, as time passes, more individuals will support this initiative or even do the same with their loved ones.


I also recognise that, in enabling comment moderation, I have come across as a coward. However, this was not because I fear potential discussion on views. I was afraid that someone would leave a comment that would leave me having to face dire consequences.

I have, since receiving this feedback, revisited this issue. As a result, I have decided to face this fear and disable comment moderation. And I thank this blog for the opportunity to reflect.


I also second the blog's invitation to their readers to write to me. Please share with me and enable me to learn from you.


Finally, I also wish to clarify that I work for an insurance cooperative, which is linked to the National Trades Union Congress, as opposed to NTUC directly.

However, the views posted on this blog by me are personal, that is they are mine only.

Dharmendra Yadav

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Love Happiness Murdered

My other blog, Love Happiness, was killed today as a result of a conspiracy involving my friends, readers of this blog and me.

Fortunately, she died peacefully and has reincarnated herself here as "Inspire".

With the growing popularity of this blog, I had received feedback from various persons that it was time for Love Happiness to go.

Last week, while on holiday, I found the will and ability to do this. This did not come easy. There was a lot of planning and I also had to learn the art of labelling blogs so as to ensure that the death was less painful.

Nevertheless, I am pleased to also inform that Love Happiness leaves behind a child, The House of Happiness, which will feature contributions from friends and readers.

The child is also a fruit of the conspiracy involving my friends, readers of this blog and me.

Friends and readers of this blog have from time to time shared that they too would like a independent space to participate more actively and even be featured.

Check out The House of Happiness in the coming weeks, as more will be unveiled!

Dharmendra Yadav

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Planning The Year Ahead

New Year is a time of celebration. It's also a time for deciding what to do in the coming year, having reflected about the past year.

Many of us make a string of resolutions and tend to forget about it days, weeks or months down the road. A lot of times why this happens is we put little thought into how we decide to go forward in the year.

Some years ago, I discovered the book, Go to Work Your Career, where I picked up a list of questions which are helpful in deciding the year or years ahead:

1. What do I want to do?

2. What do I want to learn?

3. What do I want to have?

4. What else do I want to achieve?

And, most importantly, it is necessary to find strong reasons to go for these.

In the last 2-3 years, I have used these questions to plan 1-3 years ahead, and I have grown as a result of this process.

Dharmendra Yadav