Sunday Market Day along Soi Pradit, Bangkok

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I was in Bangkok on a Sunday morning, wandering on my own  when I stumbled onto this local wet (fresh produce) market along Soi Pardit. Visiting a market is one of my favourite way to appreciate a new culture while travelling.

This picture was taken in a laneway just off Soi Pradit. I loved how everyone looked so happy and relaxed in this picture. This is what Sunday are for, being with family, friends and the local community.

Photo from Mandalay featured in Zen Magazine

This photo of sandalwood Buddhas was featured in the latest issue of Mountain Record (Fall 2015, Vol. 34, Issue 1, Page 27)Mountain Record is the oldest American Zen quarterly publication by Dharma Communications from Zen Mountain Monastery in New York.

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The photo was taken at Mahamuni Pagoda, during my visit to Mandalay, Myanmar in January 2015.

I thank the Editor for the photo selection and I appreciate the opportunity to use my craft for the enjoyment of others and the credit acknowledgement.

A Case for Car-Sharing in Singapore

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I am behind Low’s case for an approach to car-sharing services that benefits consumers and does not over-protect taxi company incumbents (Straits Times). But I share a concern, that often in such debates, the (car-sharing, aka service providers) drivers’ interests to earn a honest living, could easily be side-lined.

Through my frequent car-sharing experiences, I received near unanimous feedback from existing drivers about their eroding earnings because of these intermediaries’ incredible market power to recruit other new drivers and set lower fares. Many of these drivers are full time drivers and they only receive about 80% of the final fares, after paying the intermediaries their cut. The drivers mentioned that they were considering a move back to regular taxi service once their current one-year contract is over, in order to earn a better and stable income.

In midst of these upcoming debates, regulators should never forget to put people interests, the commuters and the drivers, at the heart of their policy considerations.

Embracing the Global Sharing Economy – A UK policy reference

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Image Credit: Emilio Quintana (Creative Common)

An independent report (Nov 2014) comissioned by the UK Government on the potential, barriers and policy recommendations to embrace the sharing economy.

It’s key recommendations includes:

  1. “The Government should embrace the opportunities offered by the sharing economy, both to make its own operations more efficient, and to make better use of public resources.”
  2. “Regulations must be examined to ensure they are still fit for purpose and meet people’s expectations – particularly for accommodation and online task-sharing platforms.”
  3. “We need to support start-ups in the sharing economy – by encouraging experimentation and innovation – and sharing what works.”

Hope this will be useful reference for the all policy makers who are also considering the same issues for their own countries.

(H/T: Independent Report Urges UK to Embrace Sharing, Airbnb)

Invitation to the LKY School Alumni Chapter Kick off and Welcome Party

LKY-School-Alumni-Kickoff-Event-1-Aug-2014Calling all LKY School students and alumni join us for a social night where past, present and future students come together to share in the LKY School traditions. We would also like to take this opportunity to share the alumni chapter plans for the coming year.

Please register your RSVP at http://goo.gl/DtyDNN. We really hope to see you there.

Berno.
LKY School Alumni Chapter (Singapore)LKYSPP-College-Green-Amazing-Race

 

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Enabling Future Smart Cities to Flourish

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In this Project Syndicate’s article entitled “Life in the Uber City“, MIT’s Senseable City Lab researchers encourage policymakers to direct resources towards supporting “a bottom-up” ecosystem to make smart cities a reality and also to nurture “the regulatory frameworks” which creates the urban space to allow innovations to thrive.

On one hand, I agree with their call to enable a more conducive regulatory environment for smart city innovations like Uber, Nest and Airbnb to flourish, but I also believe that technology multinationals programmes such like Microsoft CityNext and IBM Smarter Planet should not be avoided. These multinationals play a very important role to support the larger local technology economy and provide important institutional knowledge and best practices to make such smart cities innovations truly scale up beyond district level and spread the benefits across the entire city.

Therefore, policymakers should not be forced to go one way over the other but keep an open mind about technology, and focus their effort on developing a regulatory environment which supports all innovation from both sides – start-ups or multinationals, to thrive, and that’s a really smart choice.