Sunday, 19 February 2017

Forum: Don't wait for government to solve our problems

I was amused to read that United States President Donald Trump had questioned why the Japanese were not buying American cars ("Abe's US visit offers hope of stable ties"; Feb 11).

The same question was asked at an American training workshop I attended in the 1990s.

Then, American car makers were crying foul over the protectionist market in Japan.

However, car imports into the US were also subject to tariffs, making Japanese cars more expensive for the US consumer.

Despite this, Hondas and Toyotas were still being bought by Americans.

In contrast, except for a few really exclusive brands and models, US-made cars were rare on the streets of Japan in the 1980s.

The training workshop noted two key things the Japanese car makers did which the American car makers did not do.

First, the Japanese car makers did not waste their time crying foul or pleading with the Japanese government to intervene.

Rather, they set up manufacturing plants in the US so that their cars would not be subject to import restrictions and tariffs.

Second, the Japanese re-engineered their cars from right-hand drives to left-hand drives so the vehicles could be used in the US.

There are two lessons Singapore can learn from this - the power of self-empowerment, and that we have a choice.

We do not need to always rely on the Government or some other country to address all the ills and challenges that life might throw at us.

In every challenge, we have a choice to take action or to be the victim. I, for one, do not relish the thought of being a victim.

Taking action may be unpleasant and may call for us to change our set ways of doing things or tighten the belt for a year or two.

But such actions may be necessary if we are to take charge of our own destiny and not be just another victim.

Matthew Ong


ADHD is brain disorder, not just bad behaviour

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have slightly smaller brains than those without the condition, according to a study released yesterday, which said it is a physical disorder and not just bad behaviour.

This will help to reduce stigma that ADHD is 'just a label' for difficult children or caused by poor parenting.

Most often diagnosed in children, ADHD is blamed for severe and repeated bouts of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsiveness that can cause problems at school or home.

The symptoms can persist into adulthood.