Wishing you a blessed and prosperous Chinese New Year!

A nice Chinese new year blessings in Proverbs:

🍊心想事成 Ps 37:4 God will grant us the desires of our heart

㊗万事如意 Rom 8:28 In all things God works together for the good of those who love Him

🍀岁岁平安 Phil 4:7 The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ

🍊事业有成 Jer 29:11 God knows the plans for us to prosper us and give us a future and a hope

👣步步高升 Eph 2:6 God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

💖金玉满堂 Prov 15:6 The house of the righteous is filled with treasure

🍊红运当头 Deut 28:13 God has made us the head and not the tail (as a result of Jesus’ shed blood)㊗笑口常开 Ps 105:43 God brings His people out with rejoicing, and His chosen ones with shouts of joy.

Ps 105:43 God brings His people out with rejoicing, and His chosen ones with shouts of joy.

3 inch golden lotus feet

Bounded 3 inch golden lotus feet.

Would you believe that mothers used to bind feet of their daughters during the Qing dynasty so they will be of marriageable quality?

This pair of decorative shoes was gifted to me by my mom. But a hundred years ago in China, they were functional.

As I reflected on how older women used to bind the feet of younger women, a thought crossed my mind.

How are we binding the feet of the younger generation? With fear, doubt, negativity?

While our feet are no longer bound. Our hearts and minds are still bound.

Time to be free from this bondage.

Time to forgive the older women who did not know better.

Happiness is having big feet and shoes of peace to explore.

I have been singing the Singapore national anthem for years and recently embraced its beauty.

“Majulah, Singapore” means Onward, Singapore.

Such a beautiful wish for a young nation struggling to its feet in 1965. No blaming. Looking forward

To a nation of immigrants, Zubir Said, the composer of the anthem described his inspiration from a Malay proverb “Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung” (“You should hold up the sky of the land where you live”)

Zubir is also remembered for his composition “Semoga Bahagia” (“May You Achieve Happiness”) which was aimed at primary-school students, advising them to work hard for their future. 

As we celebrate Children’s Day this week, let us remember that Happiness is not about doing well in exams but the many qualities expressed in Zubir’s song. A life worth living.



Source: Wikipedia

Recently some of my international MBA Students asked me about recommendations for recruiting in India. This set me about researching for dome resources to start them off.

How do you choose a consultant?
1. Start with a reputable firm in your market segment.

2. Like all services, it depends on your chemistry with the person, and a match between the firm’s skills, your skills and interest. The only way to find out, is to call and try.

Here are some recommendations, albeit not comprehensive.

ABC Consultants: Top Recruitment Services Company in India

Career Net


Accord Group

Talent Mappers


Job Portals

Other international firms like Adecco, Kelly Services, Manpower, Michael Page will also have offices in India.

Companies in India

How were your interactions with consultants in these firms?

Are there any, you can recommend to help me update this list?

Thank you for your feedback.

Mid-Career to Senior Mgt

  1. Bo Le:

Mobile Recruiting (end to end)

2. Ajinga is in English for MNEs companies looking for Chinese undergraduates. It was founded by Foreigners with years of consulting experience in US and Asia. The technology boasts AI powered, cloud based recruitment tools, and works seamlessly with WeChat, Facebook, Linkedin. Many MNEs in China, including Apple, Nielsen and Henkel are its clients.

3. Zhaopin

Zhaopin which means recruitment in mandarin is a job posting site started by executive recruitment firm Alliance Consulting. Today, it posts jobs for Chinese companies as well as those targeting campus recruitment for undergrads in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

4. 51 Job

51job is a leading human resource solutions provider in China, offering a broad array of services in campus recruitment, training and assessment, and HR outsourcing.

5. Campus China

CAMPUS CHINA was founded by Forum China to assist European companies in industries such as automobile, electronics, machine engineering in the Chinese market. (from website)

6. ChinaHR

ChinaHR was founded in 1997 and is one of the first online recruitment websites in China, including a site for Campus Recruitment. In Feb. 2013, ChinaHR was acquired by global online recruitment network of Saongroup, with HQ in Ireland. (Linkedin profile)


Close to my Chinese roots, my mother put in a lot of effort to find my Chinese name, it means the bell that rings at dawn because I was born pre-dawn. Embeded in my name is my mother’s hope for me. Wisdom, riches, beauty, fame, peace are the typical aspirations. Every Chinese knows this tradition, and in some families, we even choose characters that reveal your position in the family tree.

Yet when it comes to getting an English name, many Chinese/ Taiwanese / Hong Kong Chinese would choose names like Noodle, Rock etc and we puzzle at the quirkiness.

Not so, a young British girl. Beau Jessup. She is making more than $300,000 and funding her way through college by naming Chinese babies. As founder and CEO of Special Name, a website designed to provide Chinese parents with culturally appropriate English names for their babies.

How did she come up with the idea?

Jessup was inspired to start the business in 2015, when she was just 15. She has since named a total of 677,900.

Empathise- A chance encounter

Jessup was traveling with her father in China, when a business contact, a Mrs. Wang, asked for help in naming her three-year-old daughter.

Where are the pain-points?Constraints can be opportunities

“Due to language barriers and internet censorship in China, the ability to research English names can be limited, often resulting in unfortunate and sometimes comical selections”, Jessup noted.(Source:

Prototype: A minimally viable Idea

Back home, Jessup hired a freelance web developer to build a Chinese language website for the Chinese community. Meanwhile, in her spare time, she filled a database with more than 4,000 boys and girls names, attributing five characteristics that best represented that name, such as honesty and optimistism.

Ideate – create choices

The website uses algorithm to generate the names. It also allows collective decision making by encouraging users to share the three name suggestions with their friends and family via a direct link to Chinese messaging app WeChat on the site — to help them settle on their favorite and avoid any “cultural mistakes.”

Travel, Empathise, Talk to locals

Beau Jessup’s idea came about because she is a bridge to a diverse network. How many English speaking Chinese can do what she did? Many.

Sometimes, a simple idea is waiting to be discovered.

Go out and talk to people. Empathise with their constraints and see if you can help solve their problems in a win-win way.

Network for ideas

University of Chicago sociologist Ron Burt has referred to this sort of networking as bridging a gap between different social networks.

Burt studied 673 managers in a large U.S. electronics firm and found that those managers who had a broader network of contacts were consistently rated as generating more highly valued ideas.

Their access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations gives them an edge when it comes to spotting and developing good ideas.

Millennials or Generation Y (Born After 1980)

With Gen Y, full time work is no longer the only source of income, identity nor influence like it was for Boomers. Nor is workplace, the only way to connect with a community. Rather, this generation feels connected with a global community through technology and may get their income through the Gig economy.

Brought up in small nuclear families, sometimes without adult supervision because both parents have to work, Gen Y can be very independent and savvy with technology.

They value ownership and expressions of their creativity and individuality. Explosion of the internet has also given them power such as own social media channels and influencers.

What companies can do

• Career wise, this group is unlikely to be as loyal as Boomers. With a shrinking workforce, they have no problems moving from one organization to another for higher salary and better perks.

•Beyond monetary incentives, Gen Z can be motivated by skills training, mentoring, feedback.

•Gen Z are generally value leadership style that are more feelers than thinkers. Organisational Culture such as collaborative environment, is extremely important for Millennials

•Flexible schedules as rewards, time off to embrace outside interests, and embracing the latest technology to communicate are also important for Gen Y.

•Millennials also thrive with structure, stability, continued learning opportunities, and immediate feedback. Structured path and career planning

• Millennials like to be heard. Factor in one-to-one communication. [Lisa Orrell]

Gen Z (born after 1995)

•Starting to enter the workplace.

•Larger than baby boomers or Millennials. •Motivated by social rewards, mentorship, and constant feedback.

•Want to be do meaningful and be given responsibility.

•Demand flexible schedules.

•Experiential rewards and badges earned in gaming and opportunities for personal growth.

•Expect structure, clear directions, and transparency.

•Majority prefer face-to-face communication.

• They see the world as a connected global marketplace and likely to see short stints overseas as part of their career development and work in a multicultural workplace.

In one workplace survey, research group Millennial Branding found 53 percent of Gen Z respondents prefer face-to-face communication over tech tools like email (16 percent) and messaging (11 percent).

What companies can do

To attract Gen Z, companies need to move beyond traditional recruitment methods and move into gamification, social media, especially with video, pictures and interaction on application process via blogs, Linkedin or Instagram.

Companies may want to provide more information during orientation, internships and job rotation or structured career paths. One company provided clear indications to Gen Z on

  • Where they will start
  • The short-term goals they’re supposed to meet
  • The skills they’ll acquire
  • Where they’ll end up in a year

The company also trains in sound-bites and offers short-term quarterly recognition in terms of rewards, not that different from the bonus points in computer games.

It also provides increased responsibilities half-way through its eight-to-12 month training program, knowing today’s young people will jump to a new employer for a better opportunity.


An must-have is for leaders to pick up career coaching skills and more face-time with Gen Z to agree on goals and outcomes. While Coaching has become an essential leadership skill, companies can consider Peer coaching. Baby Boomers and Gen X may be roped in to provide mentoring for Gen Z teams. But gone are the days of command and control.

Have a friend at work? And why it matters.

Culture differences in HR

Retaining Gen X at the workplace

















猪笼入水 means money come in all 4 directions. 猪笼 refers to the cyclindral basket. (Also refers to the Nepenthes plant).

Pig cage in water

“Pig cages inwater” is a metaphor for wealth. Because the pig cage is empty and submerged in water, water enters cage. “water” refers to finance. “Pig cage in water” is a wish for good luck.

A pig cage is made to conveniently transport pigs. Made of bamboo rafts, it has a cylindrical shape, and is mesh shaped. The mesh opening is quite large with one end open. 

When the cages are submerged in water, water is poured into the cages. Because Cantonese people like to use water to describe fortune, “pig cages in water” is often used to describe a person’s wealth, and wealth comes from all directions. 

Used often by Hong Kong media to describe an artist, in film, advertising, best-selling albums, and concerts, it is really a “pig cage into the water.”

Not very kosher, but we are celebrating the year of the pig in 2019.

Words to greet someone this Chinese New Year –

CNY Prayer & Benediction by Ps Mark Ng

家有義宝 (Jia You Yi Bao)

富星高照 (Fu Xin Gao Zhao)

Christ’s Righteousness in the House of God. Arise and Shine!

一帆风顺 (Yi Fan Feng Shun)

Smooth sailing in life – propitious wind (Holy Spirit) will propel and help you sail smoothly throughout the journey

两全齐美  (Liang Quan Qi Mei)

God made all things beautiful – having God’s wisdom to make the best of both worlds, to achieve win-win situations

三阳开泰  (San Yang Kai Tai)

Original word is 3 goats/lamb which sounds like sun.

Father, Spirit, Son, flourish and prosper you – three ways to stay healthy and prosperous:

动则升阳 (Dong Ze Sheng Yang) keep active,

善能升阳 (Shan Neng Sheng Yang) do good and

喜能升阳 (Xi Neng Sheng Yang) be joyful

四季平安  (Si Ji Ping An)

Peace and protection Where ever you go – We are kept safe all year round in the four seasons

五福临门  (Wu Fu Lin Men)

Grace and blessings In your house – 5 blessings descending upon you.

5 Blessings arrive at the door of your house : 一日寿 (Yi Ri Shou) longevity, 二日富 (Er Ri Fu) prosperity, 三日康宁 (San Ri Kang Ning) health, 四日攸好德 (So Ri You Hao De) virtue and 五日考终命 (Wu Ri Kao Zhong Ming) peaceful/ good death

六六大顺 (Liu Liu Da Shun)

God will prosper your ways – well wishes in good fortune, family blessings, success in career, good health, etc.

Originates with 6 virtues – 君义 (Jun Yi) kingly righteousness, 臣行 (Cheng Xing) ministering good deeds, 慈父 (Chi Fu) Father’s mercy, 子孝 (Zi Xiao) filial piety, 兄爱 (Xiong Ai) brotherly love and 弟敬 (Di Jing) brotherly respect/honour.

七星高照  (Qi Xin Gao Zhao)

Shine above perfectly –

7 stars include 福星 (Fu Xin)happiness and hope, 禄星 (Lu Xin)fame and fortune, 寿星 (Shou Xin)longevity, 月老 (Yue Lao) love and marriage, 北斗星 (Beidou Xin高) guide for seasons, 文武星 (Wen Qu Xin)love / talents for art and literature, 武曲星 (Wu Qu Xin) finance and courage

Can also refer to the 7 stars in Revelation.

八方来财 (Ba Fang Lai Cai)

Prosperity is gathered all around towards you – wealth and riches will come to you from all 8 directions (north, south, east, west, north east, south east, north west, south west). The wealth of the world come to you.

九九同心 / 久久同心 (Jiu Jiu Tong Xin)

United in hearts always; Forever in Christ (Love) – United in one heart forever {Abiding in Christ leads to Him & me united as One}

十全十美 (Shi Quan Shi Mei)

You are perfect in God’s eyes – Perfect in every way,

毫无欠缺 (Hao Wu Qian Que) no shortage, no lack, no weakness,

毫无瑕疵 (Hao Wu Xia Chi) without blemish

百事可乐 (Bai Shi Ke Le) @ 2018 benediction

There is Joy in everything – Can rejoice at all times in all things (a hundred things)

百事如意 (Bai Shi Ru Yi) @ 2019 benediction

All wishes coming true as one wishes

千事吉祥 (Qian Shi Ji Xiang)

Reunion in abundant Blessings – Auspicious blessings in a thousand way

万事如意 (Wan Shi Ru Yi)

Safety, health, wholeness perpectually –

事事合心意 (Shi Shi He Xin Yi)

Have all (a million of) desires/wishes/hope fulfilled.


Photo: woven slippers I spotted on the Nakasendo Trail, Japan November 2018

Gen X (1965 and 1980)

For Gen X, work is not only a source of income, but where many get their identity, influence and connectedness with a community.

Gen X are currently at the peak of their careers taking over leadership of the company or waiting in the wings. They have experienced huge swings in economic boom and bust, witnessed retrenchment, burnout and technology disruption.

Challenges in retaining  Gen X is that they are not a homogenous group. There are at least 4 groups with their unique characteristics:

(i) Waiting to take over leadership from Baby Boomers

(ii) Those who distrust company lifelong employment yet have expertise and able to work independently with minimal supervision. This group is more entrepreneurial with desire more control over their time and goals. Some will move on to become start-up founders.

(iii) Another untapped group are highly educated spouses, primarily women who have taken time off to look after young children and now ready to return to the workforce.

(iv) Need time off to look after young children or aging parents.

What companies can do

(i) Provide mentorship from Baby Boomers, bonus to recognise their contributions and leadership assignments to stretch them. Give them opportunities to mentor Gen Y and Z.

(ii) Provide consulting opportunities in the firm and maintain open door in case any want to return should ventures fail

(iii) Provide training and connect them to support groups to re-orientate and build confidence and skills. Flexible schedules and telecommuting or part-time work.

(iv) Allow time off and open door to return in future. Keep them connected to a support group and provide a sense of belonging (Maslow) to the workplace.

Recruiting and retaining Gen Y and Gen Z

How to retain Baby Boomers