Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why AirAsia can Trash Singapore Airlines, Tigerair & Scoot

Last month, i blogged that Singapore Elites Can't Compete so Suck Locals Dry with the govt-linked airline company taking a severe pounding from competitors.

1 of the competitors is AirAsia. This malaysian airline company had a remarkable turnaround when Tony Fernandes bought the heavily-indebted(USD11 million) company for USD0.26 in 2001. It has 2 old aircraft & started with short haul budget flights & has since gone on to long haul budget routes.

Its growth has been phenomenal. Singapore Airlines started Tiger Airways(short haul budget) & Scoot(long haul budget) as a response.

I've recently finishing reading the AirAsia Story books & this blogpost is to share what i consider to be the key points that enable AirAsia to outcompete the lumbering giants.

Parental Influence on Tony Fernandes
Before going into the key points, something about Tony Fernandes. In the book, it was revealed that Tony has a very right-wing mother & a very left-wing father. His mother likes to make profits a lot(sg's hybrid regime). His dad likes to help a lot of people by giving free treatments as a doctor.

Very Right Wing + Very Left Wing = Tony Fernandes business motto - Now Everyone Can Fly!

Make profits while helping as many people to experience flying through budget airfares. I'm rooting for him for he sure beats the hell out of the greedy hybrid regime of SG whose govt-linked companies are only good at sucking money from a captive market.

Now Everyone Can Fly!
Southeast Asia is a difficult market.
People in this region don't have high incomes compared to western europe & north america.
A large portion of the population has never flown on an aeroplane prior to AirAsia.

Is amazing the airfares can be so affordable for what once considered a luxury experience.
It also shows how ridiculous the taxi & public transport fares in SG are.

Hiring Policy
He hires people with right attitude then gives them opportunities to earn promotions.

In SG, govt-linked companies, govt & many private companies hire people based on paper qualifications.

Is a caste system in SG where people are pretty much condemned due to a 'toilet paper':

  • scholars are at the top of the hierarchy,
  • degree holders
  • polytechnic, A levels
  • Institute of Technical Education students
  • Secondary school & below at bottom of 'food chain'

It is a game where many are losers. There is a salary ceiling based on 'toilet paper' achieved despite right attitude.

Competitors can easily duplicate the business formula but it is much more difficult to duplicate the culture aka software. People can't be cloned(not allowed) so it serves as a competitive advantage which AirAsia has harness to great effect in David Vs Goliath.

As I pointed out in the caste system above, how motivated is a worker in performing when he/she is condemned due to 'toilet paper'?

Its offices have few physical barriers between desks, there are no titles on their namecards & first names are encouraged to be used.

In most Asian companies, the top 10 executives do everything & the staff are just statistics. But AirAsia has a flat structure. We allow people to be themselves, we don't dress up, everyone has the same desk, no one has real titles. Everyone is out there thinking & pumping out ideas & trying to do things that most Asian companies would not dream of doing.

Everyone of his Allstars are encouraged to speak their minds.

Equal opportunity- To motivate staff, AirAsia offers the opportunity to every qualifying permanent staff, from bag handlers to flight attendants to become pilots after thorough training at its flight academy.

At AirAsia, rank & level are not as obvious or as important as they normally are at big corporations. AirAsia has a flatter organisational structure to allow people to work more fluidly without encumbrances like titles getting in the way. Tony for instance doesn't use his title of Datuk on his namecard.

Hiring people with right attitude + Egalitarian is a  very powerful approach.

I don't feel sorry that Singapore Airlines, Tigerair & Scoot are badly beaten up. The more they suffer the better! Hahaha.

Notice that Tony Fernandes refer to his employees as 'Allstars'. A good leader looks for the good in his men & inspire them to higher standards. In SG, our political leaders are the opposite – they belittle the citizens. Is no coincidence that the morale for the conscript military force is dismal.
Egalitarian countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden & Denmark have competitive economies.
Their citizens are much happier too.

On Ivory Tower Leaders
A leader cannot know what's going on if you're only in the office. When AirAsia was operating the 737, the way to load bags into the plane was pretty straightforward. However, the Airbus had a different structure that caused difficulty to load the bags manually. When Tony was told that belt loaders cost almost RM5 million, he immediately rejected the idea, thinking that it was only natural. It was only when he took the initiative to go down to the ground & manually loaded the luggage onto the Airbus that he sanctioned the purchase of the belt loaders. Otherwise, he wouldn't have realised the magnitude of the problem.

Much of the problems plaguing SG are due to political leaders in their ivory towers. News are brought to them by 'Yesmen'.

Marketing & Branding
Branding should be an inside-outside exercise. A company needs to be able to sell its services to its own people first before it can successfully approach outsiders. Insiders are the ones who will carry the company's message out to the world.

Recently, someone wrote in the state controlled newspaper about taxi drivers complaining to passengers about the government. The idiot laments this type of promotion to tourists by taxi drivers is inappropriate.

Increasing numbers of taxi drivers who are previously professionals, managers & executives are replaced by cheaper foreign workers. That idiot expect these highly schooled drivers to sing the praises of the hybrid regime to tourists?

How can that idiot blame taxi drivers as poor ambassadors when the hybrid regime is not able to sell itself to the citizens?

AirAsia creates individuals, not clones.

This openness allows even stewardess the freedom of styling their hair & applying make-up in their own individual way in contrast to other airlines that require cabin crew to assume the same look & style, much like semi-clones of one another.

Cog labor is the preferred approach of SG's hybrid regime & much of the economy. Clones being alike are easily replaced & thus cost can be kept low. However AirAsia has managed to keep costs low using the human individuals approach.

You prefer to be an individual or cog/clone labor?

During SARS, nobody was advertising air travel, so we decided to triple our advertising. If you give people a low enough fare, they are willing to risk their lives.

The hybrid regime likes to portray the locals as picky with regards to low paying jobs. If the salaries are decent for the high cost of living, there isn't much problems getting willing workers.

Education is not about getting a string of 20 As in examinations. It is about learning how to be creative & expressing oneself effectively. Education is about interaction with people. Our education system is from ages ago. It's about memorizing books. This is not education to me. Education is the best time for you to experience lots of things & know what you are best at.

You have to go when your time is up. A lot of Malaysians think they are irreplaceable. But that is wrong. There will be a time when i'll be of no use to AirAsia. There will be someone younger, smarter & better. And at that stage i'll have to go. You've got to know when to go. You should not outstay your welcome. I'm not going to stay on any longer than i should because that's going to be bad for the company.

This is something that the Old Man of the hybrid regime don't understand & hence I consider him a Level 4 leader. The trait of knowing when to leave is 1 of the traits that define Level 5 leaders in Jim Collins' business classic book 'Good to Great'.

Leadership Ego
To achieve great things, ego management is critical. A leader needs to be able to learn from others, even if he/she is the top person in the organisation. From experience, Tony knows a lot of corporate leaders tend to be arrogant. People who start off small & humble, for instance, change suddenly when they are given a title like Datuk. It is the beginning of the end for anyone who starts believing in his/her own greatness.

There is a fine line between managing the ego & having no ego. You've got to have an ego. If you don't have ego, you won't be successful but you need to know how to manage that ego.

SG's hybrid regime started off as humble. They're now 49 years in power since independence & humbleness totally evaporated. It is the beginning of the end for Singapore when the hybrid regime starts believing in its greatness.

Not to mention the Old Man refusing to leave & publishing book after book after book of his greatness.

Hiring Lions rather than Sheep
It may seem a high price to pay, but surely a company full of high achievers is far more attractive, albeit challenging, to lead than one where the staff are sluggish & desultory, doing only what they are told to do.

Cog & sheep labor of the Singapore airline companies are getting slaughtered by the lions.

It shows the pathetic leadership in SG. Preferring to manage docile sheep & avoid managing challenging lions.

Main Function as a Boss/Leader of a Company
My most important job function is to make sure that no one loses their job. We must build the business so that no one ever has to be redundant. I build a business that is sustainable. And that means you can't give everybody everything they want.

"As CEO, i have a high responsibility towards our stakeholders & generally the biggest stakeholders are our employees. Their livelihood is reliant on my ability as the CEO to ensure the company stays healthy & profitable by introducing various cost initiatives".-Aireen Omar, successor to Tony

Notice that their priority is people before profits. When you take good care of your workers, they will take good care of the company. Profit flows as a result. Sadly this concept is lost in SG's hybrid regime.

In SG, it is shareholders that matter. As much profits for shareholders(hybrid regime) as possible. The hell with stakeholders aka citizens even if they lose jobs to cheaper foreigners brought in as replacement to maximize profits.

Little to no consideration with regards to social costs when a stakeholder lose his/her job & its effects on the family. Sustainability?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why Hybrid Regime is Incentivize to Keep Populace Less Schooled & Struggling

Occasionally, one can read comments in socio-political sites that the hybrid regime has incentive to make the peasants struggle & remain less well-off so that the regime can continue to stay in power. Why? Because a less well-off populace would rely on the govt for goodies.

Recently the hybrid regime is on a blitz to discourage locals from pursuing university degrees. There is ulterior motive to it as around the world, it is mainly the university students who start protests.

Examples of university students led protests:

By relegating the locals to 'lower class' & not so well-informed, the regime would remain in power governing over a population of sheep.

Poorer People are More Susceptible to 'Carrots'
I just stumble upon the Home Improvement Upgrading Program results for Clementi West Street 2. The results are the same for the Lift Upgrading Program in my precinct a few years back. What is the conclusion?

General conclusion is:

  • More poorer people Yes to upgrading
  • More richer people No to upgrading

Blk 717, 723, 724 are 5 room flats
Generally, the 'No" are higher in these better off flats
Yes is lower compared to many of smaller flats(less well-off)

Result is overwhelming Yes to upgrading as it is subsidized though others might say the peasants are already paying for it over the years through inflated conservancy fees & other indirect taxes.

PAP's Poor Voting Results for Rich District of Holland-Bukit Timah in GE2011
Bukit Timah is a coveted living district for the well-off because of the coveted schools located there. Even Jet Li live in this district. How come such a poor showing of 60%? Majority of the more 'peasants dominated districts' have a higher vote % for the hybrid regime.

The more well-off people living there are generally more well-informed. They don't need to rely on govt carrots such as subsidized upgrading programs. Being more well-informed, most know about the perils of the hybrid regime's policies on the country.

If not for the peasants living there voting for the hybrid regime, their vote might be even lower as more of the well-off vote against them.

Poor voting result for the rich district & poorer folks grasping for 'air' in the block upgrading add credence to the theory that the hybrid regime is incentivize to keep the populace struggling to make a living in order to perpetuate its hold on power.

Friday, September 26, 2014

How did the Vietnam War Affect the Psyche of Singapore's Hybrid Regime?

I've just finished watching a 12 episodes Vietnam war documentary titled Battlefield Vietnam on youtube. As the documentary chronicles the war, the timing of military operations led me to think about the situation in Singapore.

In 2012, i blogged about the Mutation of PAP as Seen from S&P500 Index. I will again use the American broad stock market index. This time with focus on the vietnam war as the local stock market index doesn't exist in the period shortly after being kicked out & gaining independence from Malaysia.

The period after World War II was a decolonization period. Many former colonies were gaining independence from their colonial masters. Singapore is no exception. North & South Korea became divided & so is North & South Vietnam. American doctrine calls for 'containment' of the spread of communism & its 'domino effect' & hence resulted in the american quagmire in Vietnam.

Vietnam War Period is a Glorious Period for Singapore
Despite the S&P500 stagnating sideways during the Vietnam War, it can be considered a glorious period in SG despite facing the problem of massive unemployment with the withdrawal of the British.

The fear of massive unemployment led to the hybrid regime implementing a 'Stop at 2' birth policy that is outrageously successfully that it created another major problem of too low a birthrate.

If we look at southeast asia region as a whole, newly independent Singapore(1965) can be considered safe & alluring with the war going on up north in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & Thailand(US airforce bases).

Oil Crisis of 1970s Were Great
No doubt the price of necessities shot up with the oil price spike making life hard for the common folks. However if you also consider the potential massive unemployment problem, we can understand why the hybrid regime of the early years took such great care of the peasants with these 2 big 'headaches'.

With the communists threat brewing up north in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia, the early hybrid regime of SG are scared of losing power. The south vietnamese govt is partly to blame for its downfall despite massive financial & military aid from America because it didn't take care of its peasants.

To gain popular support in the midst of the ongoing threat, the early hybrid regime of SG:

  • built hawker centres.
  • truly affordable peasant housing.
  • inclusive society whereby peasant housing are also built right smack in the city center where land prices are high.

Despite high oil prices due to the 2 oil crisis, peasants in SG are rehoused in truly affordable public housing!

Golden Age... 
The oil crisis & the end of vietnam war ushered in what i call the Golden Age of SG. With memories of the oil price spikes & establishment of communists govts in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia, the early hybrid regime of SG is not complacent thus the peasants continued to be well taken care of.

As the years go by, the fear of losing popular support dwindled away & the hybrid regime became consumed with greed. No more hawker centres are built.

Followed by Greed Period
The greed sets in slowly as the hybrid regime still has fear & thus they 'test water' with the first privatization of govt services starting with Singtel, the state owned telecommunications company. The first privatization still has some inclusive elements as citizens are offered discounted share prices to get the peasants to own a stake in the national economy.

What happened to other national services which was privatized after Singtel? I don't know of any discounted share prices thereafter offered to peasants. With fear totally replaced with greed, we are experiencing the consequences today as frequent breakdowns even as these 'privatized' public transport services are subsidized with taxpayers $$ & the resultant profits flow to the hybrid regime.

Instead of peasants being offered a stake with discounted national companies being privatized, peasants are now being treated as cog labor aka economic digits to be milked dry.

Well-being of of peasants? The hell with them as the hybrid regime does not ensure adequate hospital beds.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day I Cried Most in 2014 - Dad Died

  • 8th (Mon): Admitted to hospital.
  • 11th (Thurs): Discharged from hospital.
  • 15th (Mon): Died at home & cremated at Mandai crematorium.
  • 16th (Tues): Sea burial for remains.

I haven't blogged for much of this month because my dad passed away. He was admitted to hospital for the first time on 8th (Mon). After 3 days his lung infection has improved  & thus discharged on 11th(Thurs).  He doesn't smoke nor alcoholic with no medical complications which is why condition improved with 3 days hospitalization treatment & discharged.

However weakness due to poor appetite eventually led to his death at home. He ate & drink very little during his stay at hospital & later at home. Dietitians gave him nutrient water as supplement along with meals & more packets for home consumption but he still drink very little.

It was eerily quiet at night & somehow i just 'auto' woke up at around 4am to check on him. Found him lying on the floor in the toilet. He was cremated at 3:30pm on the same day. Sea burial at sea near Pulau Ubin & Pulau Tekong the next day.

My mum & i were mentally prepared for the worst when he ate/drink very little at home. He has difficulty standing & only consume a bit of food/water when threatened with going back to hospital again. In fact when he passed away, my mum took out a cutting of newspaper advertisement of funeral companies to call.

It was my first time going to the police station. The death certificate is obtained from the police with the paper produced by the coroner who is the first to arrive at the house.

My sister who is married didn't get to see dad for the last time as my mum told me not to inform my sis regarding the hospitalization so as not to worry her.

My Poor Relationship with My Dad
My dad & i seldom communicate. He is those bochup(heck care) type although he doesn't flirt outside. After coming back from work, he shower, have dinner, read newspapers, watch tv & then sleep. Same cycle repeat year after year after year.

Although i haven't read the novel 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, he could be described like the dumb horse named Boxer who only know to work hard. As a consoldation he always vote alternative parties unlike those even more dumb who vote for the hybrid regime.

Dad - blue collar worker Often Exposed to Sun
Why i cried during funeral session? As the chinese phrase says 没有功劳 也有苦劳 - don't have credit/equity, at least have 'sweat equity'. While i considered him a 'dumb horse', at least he provided me with a stable living environment without family problems of mistress, drunkard, chronic gambler etc.

Burial at Sea for Cremated Remains
Burial at sea is a decision made by my mum for my dad's cremated remains. She said dad likes to travel & is better for him to be 'free'. My mood improved a lot while out at sea with the sea breeze & aeroplanes on final landing approach one after another towards the airport.

S'pore is already damn crowded so why squeeze with others on the already overpopulated tiny island?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Spamming Shopping Malls with Spam Shops is Bad for Tourism

2 days ago, american & british media reported that President Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge after NATO summit. Last year i blogged that Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to a hawker centre in SG. Tourists like local unique stuff & not going to shopping malls with spam shops(chain stores).

In the middle of last month, the hybrid regime announced plans to develop Jurong Lake area to be a tourist area. In the west, Jurong Lake park has become a foreign worker 'picnic' enclave on weekends as these foreign workers congregate there. Where else can they go with the high cost of living & transportation? If i'm in their 'wage shoes', i'll do the same too.

I'll be cycling on the main road if i have to cycle further west on weekends. I try to avoid cycling on the park connector in the Jurong Lake area due to it being crowded with foreign workers & the experience of being a foreigner in my own country.

At Least 2 Years Never Set Foot in Orchard Road for Me
Already the prime shopping district of Orchard Road has become a 'Manila' on sundays. Imagine the damage done to tourism on a sunday as tourists experience 'Manila' in SG without going to the Philippines.

How would tourists feel when they are not serviced by locals for the local experience but instead are attended to by cheaper foreign workers who might share the same country of origin? eg. PRC tourists serviced by PRC foreign worker import? How would you feel if you are in a similar situation as the tourist?

There's nothing great about the myriad of shopping malls in the prime shopping belt. People can buy most stuff online with a few clicks.

Plenty of Toilet Bowls to Grow GDP at All Costs
Open fields are becoming scarce on this tiny island.
Hotel under construction opposite Jurong library. So far minimum 15 stories & might be higher...

As you can see from the picture above, the hotel is more than half done. Thus the hybrid regime's plan to add plenty of toilet bowls to grow GDP at all costs is already well on their minds before announcing to the peasants last month.

There's plenty of construction going on in Jurong East resembling.the Creepy Construction Mania - Choa Chu Kang(blogpost) & elsewhere.

Replacing Open Fields with Plenty of Toilet Bowls
More toilet bowls.
Big Box construction nearing completion. Another shopping mall.
Note the bridge link to Jurong East Mall (JEM).

Again, more toilet bowls.
Hospital in Jurong under construction.
Everytime i cycle past at nights or weekends i feel stress with the construction. So hectic.

There used to be wide open fields surrounding Jurong East train station. Much of it is gone due to the buy more toilet paper to generate gdp at all costs doctrine. When Big Box is completed, there will be 4 shopping malls in Jurong East within walking distance. Already i've blogged that JCube shopping mall has already suffered a core meltdown. The newest Westgate mall still have vacant shops.

The hybrid regime's plan to turn Jurong Lake area into a tourist shopping belt is a mistake. Is also where they plan to have the high speed rail station to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I seriously doubt tourists would want to visit the fake Jurong Lake gardens.

I find the spamming of shopping malls with cookie cutter spam shops on this tiny island more & more repulsive. Obama & Joe Biden certainly won't say visiting a shopping mall is an item off their bucket list!

Obama visiting big blocks of stones is considered an item on his bucket list. How many stuff/possessions aka consumerism is on people's bucket list?

Is visiting a shopping mall with those spam shops in a foreign country an item on your bucket list?