Friday, October 22, 2010

Singapore on fire

If you think, based on the title, that I am going to write about haze, you are wrong.  I am referring to the mess some of the industries are, especially those the Government hopes to foster. These are the current industries or perhaps employment in a drama and on fire:
- Financial consultancy
- Property agency
- Private education
- Wellness clinic

The industries are pretty much those that fits into the Government drive for more SMEs. However, typical of people falling into complacency, laziness or perhaps simply ignorance or even worse, gambling mood, there has been a kind of stand where these steps are repeated:
- Sudden emergence of a business

- Noone cares as it looks like providing a good amount of SME
- Noone cares so lack to no regulations are set up
- Booming time, plenty of jobs - some of it goes to the so called immigrants because locals do not want to do it (for example those in wellness clinic)
- Crashing time, plenty of problems

Let's break it down one by one.

Financial businesses are very lucrative. After all, Singapore drives itself hard to be the leading financial hub. What comes with it is the financial consultant, people who are supposedly working hard to help commoners to plan for their finance. However, as the business rules go, profit is the main driver. So the client's interest go to the back, money making comes to the front. So far, does not seem that there is any regulation to put bad financial consultant to task (or even the agency) if they cause a big loss to the client, misrepresent product or even for hard selling. Unless of course, the client is so rich that they can hire lawyer and push it to court! Plenty of insurance product sold under investment linked features add up to the woe because let's face it, we all want to get more for less. So what happen? Plenty of people become one of such consultants, plenty of people including ah pek and ah mah who got burned. Let's recall Lehman brothers. What happen after that? Nothing, practically nothing that would really change the life of the ah pek and ah mah. I bet those financial industries remain banking on people with sweet lips and nothing is in place to ensure their agents know the products upside down and have system to check or audit for things like honesty. Is it so costly to set up 'mystery shopping' kind of thing for a check and balance system? Nothing comes from the Government so far. After all, the drive is for financial hub, profit, profit, profit. They will at most tell you, if you don't want to get burned, don't go in. Again, my fault. Indeed, so every single one of us has to take care of ourselves better. Know what you are going into and oh yeah, make sure everyone in your family is super smart and don't get conned unless you are rich and can get a lawyer to get your money back. *sarcasm intended* ( I simply wish for a better regulations and to make sure those people are responsible for their jobs. I am sure if I am one such consultant, I will not make too much sales per people but I am sure those clients will love me as I will never cheat them. But then again, I prefer honesty. :-) )  

Property agent is another issue. Lots of moonlighting meaning, potential lack of commitment. Plenty of cases to use for example where there is allegation that the agent won't help the client to save or earn few more thousands. Hey, wake up. What will make the agent help you with few thousands since it only translates to few more tens of dollars. Remember, you are paying 1%. Worse, if you are buyer, you are hoping to lower the price so you are hoping to cut the agent's fee? Dream on! What I would probably do next time I buy a house is to say to the agent that I will give him 20-30% of the savings should he succeed in reducing the cost. I hope no one kills me for disturbing the status quo in the industry. Then again, plenty of bad apples in the industry. Plenty of people who see their interest not represented. Even a case where the agent get a client, the client's tenant (for rental that is) not paying and got evicted within 2 months, the agent still pockets the money and small claim tribunal action has to be started. Gee..... where is the honesty? What's the rules anyway? Huh? Got rules meh? Again, where is the governing regulation or even framework for the industry?

Private education is one of the newest problem. Plenty of schools, into thousands. Yes, you read it right, thousands. Small ones of course. SME, remember? Small enterprises. Seems to be so easy to start one. Plenty of people from overseas coming in for education. Hey, the drive is to be another education hub. Heck care of the start. No strict regulations. Just register with Ministry of Education, get a CASE (Consumer Association of Singapore) and then run your business. My biggest question is why even with the involvement of Ministry level people and a consumer association, a so called accredited and approved institutes can still fold up so easily? What is in the so called requirement to get approval anyway? Simply has money to invest? Gosh... does anyone even start to sit down and think how many foreign students and poor hard working souls (especially those who really want education but got ignored by the other institutes) will be stranded? How many of the foreigners end up being exploited and becomes overstayer? There is even a news of a student who after schooling for a year, haven't obtained student visa. What's he staying with anyway? A work permit? Or simply an overstayer? Now, what does this seemingly mess produce? Some (or plenty perhaps) super rich and a dent in the image. Only after some folds up suddenly there is so called stricter requirements for registration. Gee.. why does it need to have some casualties before action?

Wellness clinic is also another SME growth in the latest years. Plenty of gullible people who thought they can save money by buying a year worth of service only to find out that their money flies away and no service can be obtained since the clinic folds up. Why would you buy the package anyway? Is the risk so low? Who will even guarantee your money should the clinic folds up? CASE will never care even after providing so called accreditation. What is the requirement anyway? Is it a good list of requirement if so many can fold up after the consumer's money run away? Who benefits? Well, again some (or plenty perhaps) super rich. Lots of unemployed immigrants (since their jobs are not interesting for Singaporeans) and clients with money in the black hole. Some of the immigrants surely will contribute to the social ill at the end of the day. Perhaps simply the case of the honest people being pushed to the corner. And yeah, no new regulations yet.

I question the roles of CASE and will they ever do better in protecting the consumer? Perhaps one of the possibility is to start a more powerful consumer association manned by people who can better predict and come up with better accreditation system and who can be hold responsible in a way if there a mess despite their so called accreditation system.

The bottomline is that there should be a simply risk assessment. The Government agency who is the stakeholders in any emerging business should sit together and carry out a risk assessment. They need to assess the positive and negative risk and think about what framework and regulations are required to safeguard the population. What I am looking at now is a Government who is so reactive that I wonder what they are doing in the office day by day. Is that so difficult to wish for proactive civil servants? They are not exactly paid low, supposedly at better than market to get the best. Too much to ask similar thing from the Government to make sure sufficient regulations are in place before victims show up? Is that so difficult to do a risk assessment? The workplace safety and health council just release a code of practice on risk management. I am confident that the code of practice can be easily used for non safety issues, provided they want some changes to better governance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Risk assessment in Singapore

Today's newspaper reported the incident of silts from building site leaking into two rivers feeding drinking water system in Singapore. While there does not seem to be a clear indication of preventive action, there is also no clear indication that the builder will even be punished.

What I come to realize in Singapore is how risk assessment has become an empty catch word. Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA) requires companies to do so, but there is no enforcement scheme. I never know of any requirement for environmental assessment before construction as well. All these, I suspect, are in the name of progress. After all, doing proper risk assessment require some initial investment (read: COST) which burdens the company. Worse, even saying that risk assessment will prevent further cost, the FUTURE COST is not something easily tangible and seen at present. Hence, things are easily ignored.

The case on silt which is reported is a highly probable sign that little to no environment assessment via risk assessment was carried out before construction. If they have carried out the assessment, most likely they would have realized that Singapore tends to rain all year long and the location of their site is near river feeding to drinking water system. Hence, there shall be a need to ensure no run off of building materials or waste into the rivers. Sadly, no such thoughts seem to exist. In addition, for PUB, nothing seems to have gone wrong. 

It is also a sad practice that risk assessment becomes a task for a single person sitting down in the office. How would that person be able to cover issues from multi disciplinary field? Or is it simply for convenience sake when things go wrong? After all, it is easier to blame one than a group of people?

From what I can see, Singapore's risk management system is far than working. Unless remedial action in improving the safety culture and enforcement, I am afraid that we are waiting for big ugly event to occur. Hopefully it won't be as bad as the red sludge in Hungary.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Minimum wages for maid in Singapore

Now, there has been some argument that there should be a minimum wage for maid in Singapore. This is mainly triggered by Philippines' Government who wants USD 400 (~SGD 525) as a minimum wage for their citizens who work as maid.

I want to examine the case objectively. Since maid or housekeeper is a profession, it needs to be compared with other profession of similar nature. In Singapore, I would argue that cleaner in the coffee shop should have a job similar in nature to maid, i.e. keeping things clean. After all, Ministry of Manpower in Singapore theoretically says a maid should be asked to do only one job scope, i.e. if the maid is to keep house clean, he/she cannot be asked to take care of your kids.

I understand the cleaner in coffee shop is normally paid SGD 600. Considering that they are paid for 8 hours work while maid normally work up to 16 hours, the equivalent wage would be SGD 1,200.

Currently a maid from Philippines in general is paid SGD 350 a month. However, that would have included accommodation, meal and other expenses. If I put in monetary value into those:
- Accommodation of one room without air conditioning and relatively poor condition (admit it, only very few employer give their maid an accommodation fit to be paid normal rental): SGD 300
- Meals, assuming SGD 3.00 a meal and 2 meals and 1 breakfast (SGD 1.00): SGD 7.00/day or SGD 210/month; say if you give fruits and others stuffs, maybe I will round it to SGD 230
- Toiletries and other expenses: assume SGD 30/month
- Travel expense: assume SGD 40/month

The total expense for a maid excluding wage is then SGD 600. If I would to include wage, in total it will become SGD 950. However, there is still levy to pay, that is around SGD 170 (with concession). That means, an employer's effective cost is SGD 1120. That is not that much different from what will be earned by a coffee shop cleaner. In fact some coffee shop cleaner may be even paid less. In fact, if the employer does not receive concession, there will be around SGD 80 extra for levy, making the cost the same.

If the minimum wage for maid is upped to SGD 525. It constitutes a SGD 175 increase. Using the same argument of cost, it would mean that a maid will earn more than a coffee shop cleaner. Hence, I would urge the Government of Singapore to also implement a minimum wage for coffee shop cleaner and other similar profession similar to a maid. There should be equality, right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I have visited Hanoi numerous times but I can't get used to the city yet. Many things remain confusing to me so I thought I may just write some of my experiences here in case someone happen to stumble upon this blog to learn more about dealing with Hanoi trip for first timer.

1) Hanoi airport
1.1) Arriving
In the international airport, there are two baggage belts, check where your baggages will be issued from the TV screen hanging on the ceiling. The cart to wheel your luggage is available for free. You may or may not have to give the officials your custom white card. It all depends on the guy who watches over the booth near the exit from the baggage areas. Just in case, fill them up.

1.2) Money changer
Go around various money changers to compare exchange rate. It may differ nearly 10% among those service providers. I was told that the rate is better in town but I have not had chance to compare so pick your choice.

1.3) Taxi
Taxi trips can be one of the most exasperating experiences in Vietnam in general. Do not try to get taxi from tout. Upon exiting the airport, look around and you will see simple marking indicating Noibai Taxi or Airport Taxi. Go to the stand (most likely there will be plenty of other people there as well) and ask for taxi. You can choose to pay fix rate or by meter. I am not sure what is better yet, even after numerous trips! For this current trip to the famous Hoan Kiem lake area from airport, I chalked up 300,000 VND by airport taxi. I had a feeling that I was had but I am not sure how to check. That is the problem. However, that is still better than the 30 USD rate quoted by some private taxi stands within the airport which translates to 570,000 VND. Taxi flag down rate ranges between 9,000 to 15,000 VND. In town, try your best to get Mailinh or Vinasun taxis. They are considered the most honest ones.

2) Amenities
2.1) Shopping
It is not that easy to find supermarket in Hanoi. Appears to me that many relies on traditional market or small mini market. There are some supermarkets in the big shopping malls but the prices are slightly expensive.

2.2) Hotel
There are quite a number of decent hotels with the rate of 50 USD a night and above. I am sure you know more than I do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

I feel compelled to write something about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) after listening to the woe of my friends whose children had or is having HFMD. The information I write here are a compilation from the internet with some analysis that I carried out.

1) Organism
Wikipedia entry mentioned that Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a human syndrome caused by intestinal viruses of the Picornaviridae family. The most common organisms causing HFMD are Coxsackie A virus and Enterovirus 71 (EV-71). I understand that within that two species there are plenty of strains and new strain can also emerge. That should be why your child who has had HFMD did not develop immunity towards HFMD. Other strains may strike and when that happens, your child does not have immunity. If it is the same strain, most likely your child would be immune. Something in the line of why Flu vaccination has to be taken every year.

2) Victim
Basically it is infant and children who can fall ill to HFMD. However, although uncommon, healthy adult can also get HFMD. I had one colleague who actually contracted HFMD and although it was mild, she was absent from work.

3) Incubation period
The most commonly stated incubation period from infection to onset of symptoms are three to seven days although Singapore's MOH states in their website that the incubation period are between two to five days.

4) Symptoms
From US CDC website:
* The disease usually begins with a fever, poor appetite, malaise (feeling vaguely unwell), and often with a sore throat.
* One or 2 days after fever onset, painful sores usually develop in the mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. The sores are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks.
* A non-itchy skin rash develops over 1–2 days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the buttocks and/or genitalia.
* A person with HFMD may have only the rash or only the mouth sores

Hence, it is important to check for those symptoms if you suspect your child to have contracted HFMD.

5) Transmission
The most common transmission route for HFMD is contact transmission. Meaning that the illness is passed through contact. So it is not something you get from breathing in the virus. It is something that has to get into your body. The virus causing HFMD can be found in nose and throat secretion, blister fluid, saliva and stool. Hence if a kid touch those infected fluid and get that fluid inside his/her body, he/she can be infected. Once the virus is inside the body, it does not necessarily cause a disease. However, children are with lower immunity compared to adult and hence, the chances of getting the disease after infection is more likely. It is also said that the first week of illness is the most infectious period. Disappearance of symptoms should also not be taken as a sign that the child is no longer infectious.

In fact, some people who are infected with HFMD may not have symptoms. Hence, it is very important to check your child's surroundings and friends to ensure that no one has had symptoms of HFMD and keep personal hygiene high. You should not let your guard down simply because there is no one with HFMD symptoms. This is specifically important if your child is in area where contact transmission is easier to happen, such as infant / toddler / child care, schools, etc.

5) Hygiene
It is important to inculcate good personal hygiene from young. Good personal hygiene will reduce the risk of infection but will never fully eliminate the risk.
Personal hygiene include (but not limited to):
- washing hand with soap and water before meal
- sneezing and coughing into tissue, handkerchief or the sleeves
- cleaning articles which may have come in contact with the body fluid of HFMD sufferers
- avoiding direct contact with HFMD sufferers

6) Vaccination
There is currently no vaccine available for HFMD. I am quite sure the inventor will earn quite a handsome amount of profit considering the economic loss from HFMD (e.g. parents taking leave to bring their child to doctor or even hospital).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Singapore breakdown in rain

Seriously, I think problems are surfacing in Singapore. The recent flood in Orchard Road smells of something wrong. They do good actually since after some work, the flood does not occur again. However, it does show that if they have done something before that wicked rain, the flood may not have happened. Now, other areas are flooded, or perhaps they have always flooded but have not been reported in news until just now?

I would think that a period of complacency has set in and has taken too deep a root in the public services in Singapore. My interaction with the ministries in my work seems to obviously point out to lack of coordination. Although it is an "expected behaviour" of public servants (I face nearly the same thing when dealing with US's government agencies), I would have thought that Singapore's system would do more justice. But then again, the government may have lost control. After a period of "nothingness" as in nothing bad happen, people stops thinking about improvement and they become reactive. That is what I think the main issue.

It would appear simple that risk assessment can be carried out on the drainage system for example, to examine the weak point. Then there should be more coordination from building authorities (BCA), public utilities (PUB) and natinal environmental agency (NEA) on issues such as sewerage. I would suggest maintaining active surveillance and issue long. That would really help point people towards common issues and making sure appropriate communication programme in place.

I really hope the situation improve. Other issues such as inflation has lowered the attractiveness of Singapore and creates mumbling among the residences. Hopefully, it will improve, for the sake of the next generation.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nurturing employees

Many companies nowadays put forward programs to help their employees to develop. One interesting marketing campaign I have seen said "your development is your responsibility" implying that the employees have to take charge of their own development (I assume it means career and personal development). However, it does not seem to imply employer's role in it.

Granted that unless one is driving oneself, one would find it hard to succeed in anything. However, many times the employees' hands are bound by what the employers plan. How many employers would agree to fund and support their employees' development plan which is not aligned with the greater business objectives (aka making money)? I am not pessimistic to say none but I would say a great deal of them would say a clear "NO" although they may hide it under different disguise. In reality, a development plan means time and cost is required. A mentoring plan requires the mentor to spend the time and it is an opportunity cost where the time can be used to make money. A course will cost the department / company. These are the parts that are often forgotten. I would argue then that the employers have a bigger role in developing the employees. All comes to budget and thoughts within the organizations. All need management support. A company losing money will not be able to realistically fund for a course for the employees unless the course will make more money in a very short time!! However, I would also argue that the employers should look into a longer term and think about how the employees can be happier, more productive and when even leaving a company they may appreciate what have been done. These intangible values are somewhat lost, at least based on what I have experienced and through my reading of the newspaper. Sadly..

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cost of salary

Everyone wants higher salary, doesn't it? Why? Because we think we deliver more value to justify that, right?

Now, plenty of us tends to forget several other costs of working. We always think about Profit = Revenue - Cost, aka Savings = Salary - Time spent.

However, what has always been forgotten are costs such as:
- Family life
- Social life
- Rest time
- Ethics
- Integrity
- Honesty
- Morality

Those costs are intangible yet important as it provides the invisible support to allow one to work optimally. However, plenty of times we and our employers do not value them. It is pretty much a driven world, world driven by money. We have seen recently how those many costs are blowing up. Consider the financial crisis fuelled by irresponsible acts. But wait, who says it is irresponsible? It is the unfortunate. In a way, it is the lack of integrity, ethics and morality which has seem degraded our working life to just work, for money, money and money. Plenty of times other rewards, benefits and contribution from working life are not considered. A meaningful work should be those that help the world turns around and better other people. Consider the cleaner, the operator, the rubbish collecter, etc. We need all those but we rarely reward them just simply because they don't create the money. Wait, someone will say "the value". I am not exactly sure when we human started to equate value = money and only money.

Similarly, moral degradation affects lots of facets of our lives. See how lavish some senior management is rewarded. It is time that more realistic and moralistic based salary calculation is implemented. Only then perhaps working life is considered sacred and really for the betterment of society.

Wait, even then this argument may turn against me because I am also talking about money here. :-) Then again, those other values ("costs") need to be considered as well. Why are we paying irresponsible and ethically incorrect people higher than the honest folk?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Singapore and music player

Singapore residents seem to have quite a romance with MP3 players. This morning I took an opportunity to count how many people actually hearing songs while waiting for the train. Out of 33 people waiting for the train in a single door, I notice 22 people wearing either ear phones or head phones! That is 67% of them. No wonder mobile phones in Singapore seems to have audio player as a default feature. Too bad it does not seem that any company is taking a significant market share in it although iPhone seems to be very popular, held by students, teenagers and young adults.

Some people even use their music player to entertain others, kind of anyway. They enjoy blasting their music on their tiny ears. At times the music sounds even louder than if I were to use my own music player. When the music is what I enjoy, it is not that bad but most of the times, it's a pure ear splitting drums, heavy metals or alternative music that are blasting off. So it is quite annoying. This morning was not that bad though. There was only one (a Secondary School boy) out of the 22 people with music player who was blasting his music. It strikes me that with such a number of music player user and a small number of people who over estimate their ears, the business of hearing aid should be good in 20-30 years down the road. Surely they would have problem with their ears after subjecting their ears to daily loud music. Some scientific studies have outlined the danger of amplified music regularly:

It would be interesting to understand whether the hearing aid companies actually know this case before venturing to Singapore. Quite a number of advertisements in the train actually.

Sometimes I have even thought of producing a T-Shirt with wordings "Listen less to music, Protect your ear" or "Keep your music to yourself" kind of T-shirt to wear in the train every morning. Haha... There are two big players in sarcasm T-shirt in Indonesia but none in Singapore. Anyone wants to join me?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Curriculum in NTU

I studied in Nanyang Technological University for a total of 7 years ins the School of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. So I have a good idea of what was taught. However, my several working years clearly indicate the insufficiency of what was taught suring the undergraduate study. I feel that they should have taught taguchi method and project management as core subjects. Plenty of engineer's work would need taguchi method and most of the time, engineer runs project so a good understanding of project management surely help. However, I do understand that there has been plenty of comments on how busy he study life is.I would think that simple weighting prioritization scorwe wilhelp determine which subject would need to bw compulsory. Subject such as human resource management is hard yo argue for its usefulness. When project management is in the curriculum, project team management would be inside anyway.

There are plenty of ways to reinvigorate the life of engineer in NTU and I believe the change is necessary for survival and to ensure survivabity and relevant to the world today. I don't think that would be other ways to do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Singapore taxi driver

I am continuously amazed by the taxi driver in Singapore every single time I take taxi. Most are generally quite talkative. They all offer unique perspectives of their lives and do not shy away from dishing some advices of how to lead one's life.

I can however put them into three baskets generally speaking:
1. Super rich taxi driver. They are some sort of high level executives in their previous jobs before deciding to retire and instead of spending time doing nothing, they drive taxi. Simply as filling up their time. These drivers are generally of full praise of the government.
2. Normal taxi driver. They are simply driving taxi to earn a living. Nothing like the type in no.1. Perhaps since generally they are in the middle income range or slightly below middle income that they are the complaining type. Most rant about how the Government doesn't care about the people, how Singapore is terrible place to live, how things has become quite expensive.
3. The silent one. They are simply ignoring you and aim to put you where to go with the slightest conversation as possible. They just want to make their ends' meet.

I think the drivers embodies typical Singaporeans. It is quite interesting to see how diverse the view that people have of the governance in Singapore. It is also a good description and wake up call that nothing is perfect in this world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Clean room testing and containment laboratories

I have been working in containment consultancy for few years and I still can't stop amazed by the confusion in the market between clean room and containment laboratories. Plenty times I have come across news and laboratories which are tested by clean room standards. Many times, the firms doing work in containment laboratories have been certified for clean room work, get the work in the laboratories for having such certification and well, deal with the laboratories as if they are clean room.

As a start, clean room is to keep things from going in, although generally there are some that also keep things going out. However, the first and foremost key issue is to keep things from going in. On the other hand, containment laboratories (BSL3/4) are intended to keep things from going out. Although there are some BSL3 that also provide means to keep their facilities clean either with the intention to improve work quality or simply to improve indoor air quality (arguably unnecessarily at times). Hence, the key principles between clean room and containment laboratories are rather different (or opposite, if you like). Therefore, one has to be careful in choosing contractors to ensure that safety and not quality is the focus of the work in containment laboratories.

Unfortunately, clean room is heavily regulated with plenty of standards while containment labroatories are something new without many technical standards guiding it. For a start, the website of NEBB, a popular accreditation body that provide certification to firms doing work in clean room, does not list Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) in their testing list. BSC is in fact, arguably the most important equipment in a containment laboratory, providing protection to the personnel, product and environment. I have seen places where only the HEPA in the BSC and the BSC is called as "certified" although popular BSC standards such as NSF 49, JIS K 3800 or EN 12469 call for other tests such as downflow and face velocity, smoke test, etc. for the cabinet, both in factory and on site! There is also a separate BSC certification scheme organized by NSF which an owner of BSC has to take note of. Therefore, BSC is not simply the HEPA filters installed. The airflow performance has to be tested as well. This is a second issue which many firms dealing with clean room are not familiar with.

The third issue is with the HEPA certification. Clean room has plenty requirements for HEPA and such facility puts a lot of scrutiny to the HEPA, which is good and similar to containment laboratories. However, sometimes, some clean room requirement would allow particle testing using atmospheric air. Owners of a containment laboratory should take note that such testing is not something acceptable for a containment laboratory! Acceptable HEPA leak testing in containment laboratories include DOP / PAO testing, scan tested or by overall penetration. Owner has to be clear as well that the testing is to establish a leak level and appropriate testing standards and methodologies acceptable to containment laboratories have to be specified by the testing firm. Unfortunately, technical standards for HEPA in containment laboratories do not exist. Many biosafety guidelines would refer to acceptable leak level but now how they are to be tested. Canadian guidelines goes one step further and require adherence to IEST standard which is essentially a clean room standard. However, the guideline is clear about the type of testing required and I can vouch that atmospheric testing is not something commonly accepted for containment laboratories.

Last difference is on the sampling of indoor air. Sampling of bacteria in the air is not something commonly practiced in containment laboratories. Gaseous decontamination of containment laboratories also uses biological indicator to validate. The biological indicators are mostly in the form of spore strip or other proprietary products. However, clean room at times uses bacterial sampler. Again, this is a different practice.

In conclusion, clean room testing standard is not directly applicable to containment laboratories and owners of a laboratory should question which standard they would want to comply with. Some testing commonly accepted in a clean room facility may not be acceptable in a containment laboratory setting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Precious little family

Family is something precious. We hear that very often and it is something that we rarely stop to think why it is stated as such. Never have I reflect that point until recently when my parents left for home (some 1.5 hrs flight away) after coming here for a few days to attend my sister's wedding. I have never felt the feeling of "missing someone" but when my mother texted me to inform me of them reaching my hometown, I feel the surge of a sad feeling. The feeling that I will not see them for some time. Despite my constant quarelling with them for many little petty things and despite knowing those things and actions I dislike was there because of their loving me, it is not easy to imagine that I will miss them somehow. Yet, here I am realizing that they have made an impact in my life with just a couple of days being with them in the same house, without even mentioning that I only see them few hours a day since I am working! This really show me how much a human can make an impression on others regardless of what they are doing. Just simply having a chat and even those quarelling can really give a deep impression. In case of parents, talking to them face to face after separating for few months can be very insightful. Realizing how much things have happened back at home, what has happened to them when they are away, etc. are a mind opening experience. Hey, they do help me clean my house, cook and tend to my boy. They are not exactly big stuff. I still don't like them straining themselves over those "dirty" (few specks of dust) window. But their just being there is simply enough to change and indicate that there is something different. After taking them for granted, their leaving for home just strikes me as something I would feel sad. How much we as human can take our lives and family for granted is beyond comprehension. I vouch to be more aware of people's presence in my lives especially my parents.