Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Donald Trump calls for the ban for Muslims to enter the US, this is what happens next

So Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention lately. His campaign, focusing on hate -- hating Mexicans and now Muslims. It is scary how presidential candidate can spew such hate and racism. There is no doubt that he is getting a lot of attention -- drowning out all other presidential candidates.

There are however, consequences when you say things like that.

Mideast Retailer Dumps Trump Products After Muslim Comments

Clearly, if you don't like Donald Trump and what he represents, you can also boycott all Trump Products.

He owns hotels and other products, you can check them out here.

Most of them are quite easy to recognize as you can just avoid "Trump" Products because they have his name on them. He is involved in some other businesses which you can find here on Wikipedia.

Trump also owns stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Facebook.

Sadly, with his wealth and reach, it is very hard to boycott everything he owns, but we can all try to do so until more businesses will avoid dealing with his brands.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

5 things to know about 99% of Zuckberg's wealth

Facebook is going out of its way to emphasize that CEO Mark Zuckerberg's pledge to give away 99% of his company shares is not about charity, but philanthropy.

The initiative is set up as an LLC, not as a charitable trust. This means that the LLC can do whatever it wants, including private investments generating profits. And yes, it can retain its profits and not give it to charity.

While charity will certainly be one of the money’s destinations, it will be far from the only one. The money, according to a Facebook SEC filing, will go to “philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good.”

If you think Mark Zuckerberg is giving up 99% of his US$45B to Charity, you are wrong. Many rich people do this, and let me explain to you why they are doing this. It is not out of the kindness of their hearts or Altriusm, but rather, it makes economic sense.

1) Pay less taxes

This is a troubling trend and most of the rich do not pay much % of tax as part of their salaries. And yes, if Mark Zuckerberg puts his money into this initiative, 99% of the money will not need to pay capital gains tax.

So in simple terms, "Mark Zuckerberg will transfer ownership of his Facebook stock without paying capital gains taxes." His kids will also have everything, untouched by estate taxes.

2) Its an LLC

As an LLC, you can do whatever kind of investment he wants. It can use SOME to focus on his philanthropic goals, but most of it to generate more profits. Not a bad thing actually as more money it acquires, the more it can use for philanthropic purposes, but it is not primarily for philanthropic goals as it is not setup as a charitable trust.

"The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will pursue its mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates, in each case with the goal of generating positive impact in areas of great need,” it said. “Any profits from investments in companies will be used to fund additional work to advance the mission.” (From Buzzfeeds)

3) This is not happening immediately.

The Facebook founder is not giving away 99% of his Facebook shares all at once. He will be doing it over the course of the rest of his life.

4) Moving money to his own organization

Rather than give to existing nonprofits, business leaders are increasingly siphoning their fortune into their own organizations.

"Just because you were successful in the for-profit world doesn’t mean that nonprofits are a bunch of bleeding-heart idiots that need you to come in and show them how it’s done,” Ken Berger, the managing director of the social-good data service Algorhythm.

5) Facebook does not need tax benefits

With this move, Zuckerberg no longer need to depend on tax benefits, he is able to give up his stocks, pay less taxes and remain in power of his company.

So is this a good or bad thing?

It is too early to tell, but you can be sure that this is a smart thing for anyone that rich to do.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Never Help: Engage, Enable, Empower and Connect

I spoke at School of Visual Arts: Design for Social Innovation on the topic, and the students applied it on the current events -- Syrian Refugee Crisis.

It was very interesting to see that these students had many good ideas. One of them was re-framing what we call them. These refugees are not helpless people. They are moms, teachers, doctors, carpenters, etc. Instead of looking at them at a liability, these survivors can be a valuable resource that can fill jobs which no one want to take, and all they want is an opportunity and a new place they can call home.

Marginalized communities are not helpless and they are not a liability. Communities can help themselves. If we want to support them, all we got to do is engage, enable, empower and connect.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, August 2, 2015

CSR Lessons from Shanghai

I was speaking at a B4B event in Shanghai, and the whole line up of speakers was very impressive, with a good mix of experienced social innovators and CSR practitioners.

There are a lot of good initiatives and ideas too. Not really looking at the impact some of these initiatives have created, but they do sound innovative and solve some problems.

1) Buick - Human Traffic Signs (CSR) on road safety

2) Voice of China

The Voice of China, a popular TV program crowdsourced viewers and used their voices to read popular Chinese novels, so that the blind and the illiterate can listen to the novels.


There are various other cases where big organizations do CSR without "donating" but leveraging on their expertise to create sustainable change.

Of course, being China, there are many people who leverage on accidents and fear to create sale.

A swim coach used this message after a boating disaster in China. "Learn to swim to survive." It did get him more sales and created more visibility to the problem of people not able to swim, however, many people strongly agree that the message was not in good taste, and purely for profits. But taking a step back, I do feel that it is a communications issue and if the message was "Learn to swim, to save lives" It could also promote the importance of swimming, and people should learn it to save the lives of others.


CSR boosts a company’s brand, manages risk, and just plain saves money. But perhaps most importantly the general public is clamoring for companies to enact good, fair business practices — and most of that public pressure comes through social media.

There are many examples of businesses moved into more sustainable practices by a social media backlash, so is CSR done dues to public feedback or social media? Or does a company need to do CSR because of public feedback?

Feedback through social media is immediate, permanent, and extremely public. When individuals feel strongly about a company’s performance on social or environmental issues, one small voice can quickly become a swarm, difficult for even the most shielded executive to ignore. For this reason, social has become a driving force in many companies’ CSR agendas.

And CSR today is not as primitive as many Asian countries think. Donating a % of profits to charity is not really CSR, but rather, a poor attempt at CSR. CSR today is integration into key business operation. One of the easiest ways to be on the right side of the social media tide is to be proactive — and personal — by listening to feedback and responding in an authentic way.

CSR should not be just donations for sustainability. CSR leadership development creates a cool company to work, and improves employee retention. In many forward thinking organizations, CSR is so in line with business that the word social does not even need to be uttered and business practices will consider many social end environmental aspects before implementing.

Many companies with unsustainable practices are interested in CSR, but CSR cannot "white wash" the pollution they create. CSR should be looking to change the business model or change the product!

When the CSR budget is from Marketing budget and is percentage of profits, sometimes there can be a budget issue with CSR as it is seen as "unimportant" and a cost center, and when profits drop, the budget for CSR tends to follow. This creates a detrimental effect as some programs cannot be terminated halfway and trust will be lost.

CSR can also be co-created by NGO and Corporation and this collaborative engagement is key. Much empathy is needed and it can create a Win-Win situation for both parties. However, the corporate skills and NGO needs must match. It should not be done at the convenience of the corporation, but rather, done together as equals.

CSR should be in the DNA of everyone instead of just a department in the company.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Relief B2V - Nepal Earthquake

The 2015 Nepal Earthquake is an unforgettable disaster for many. 14 districts were badly damaged, and villages like this one saw many buildings damaged. In Phulbari, Many villagers have their homes damaged and the school was also badly damaged.

Fortunately, donations were available to support the rebuilding of temporary buildings and within a month, the students were in schools again.

This community has a cooperative with over 200 farmers as members. The funds consolidated was able to allow them to fix the homes and patch up some.

As for now, the farmers who were already rather poor are ok as the earthquake did not destroy their crops. They would be more adversely affected if there was a drought.

I visited the village and shared with them my experience in Japan and wanted to see if I could support them in any way. They said they needed an ambulance. The reason: during the earthquake, they realized that no one had any way to transport the injured to the Hospital, and it was too far away.

After brainstorming and some discussions, they agreed that a van would serve the same purpose of transporting the injured, and yet be able to send their produce to the market.

But how would they be able to fund the van, especially after the earthquake when their homes are damaged?

Relief B2V

I recorded a video interviewing the villagers, asking 4 questions:

1) What happened during the earthquake?
2) What did you lose?
3) How much do you need?
4) What are you going to use the money for?

And currently I'm talking to the Fast Food Association and other F&B business association to see if they were interested in supporting this village.

I'm not asking for donation, but rather, a loan for the van, and in return, the villagers will pay back the loan with their produce, delivered to the restaurants.

There will be detailed contracts on harvest details and cost for each vegetable type.

This will allow the villager to get support they need, and the businesses that want to support to the villagers with something tangible, yet with a long term goal, of connecting the Cooperative in the village to the restaurants direct, hopefully allowing them to earn more (without the middleman) and the restaurants to know where their food is coming from.

Buy Local, Eat Local!

Please share with me if there are other villages which you can use similar ways to support and connect them with businesses.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Good business to support Nepal Recovery

Nepal has been hit hard in the twin earthquakes. More than 8,800 people were killed and 20,000 injured.

Nepal, a country that is largely dependent on foreign aid is still charging taxes on import of aid. While aid agencies refuse to pay customs duties and the government refuse to back off, survivors receive nothing.

Criminal gangs have been threatening development committee officials with death and attacking them in an attempt to take control of aid for victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal sent by the government of Kathmandu and the international community. Survivors in the remote areas have failed to receive food and emergency supplies as a result of irregularities in the distribution of supplies.

Relief materials are being heavily misused in the absence of one-door distribution policy. Political meddling is rampant in relief distribution, so much so that some people with close ties with local politicians are collecting relief supplies on daily basis.

The government began distributing identity cards which provides each homeowner 15 thousand Nepalese rupees (about 130 euro) to facilitate the purchase of zinc plates useful for building temporary shelters. But this initiative has led to "false survivors" who are chasing state aid.

To pocket the government announced cash relief, even those people who did not suffer any loss in the earthquake have been found registering their names as the victims, says the report. Cases of joint families splitting to claim more cash relief are also common. Distribution of cash relief has become difficult since the number of quake-affected families has risen dramatically as compared to the latest census data.


The scale of the earthquake is not in just deaths and injuries, what is really shocking is, because the earthquakes is situated near Kathmandu, where most of Nepal's economic activity happen, the relative cost to Nepal can be close to 50% of its GDP.

There are definitely issues with aid and giving. With people getting so little, desperation sets in and its survival and self preservation that matters. With the donations limited as there are clear issues with distribution, more problems will arise.


With much losses in real economic terms, it is VERY important that Nepal be on the path of economic recovery. Most of the time, international aid will take a long time before a stead state will be seen, and for a government to refocus on economic recovery, months or sometimes years will pass before any plans conceived is put into place. Meanwhile, business owners wait for the non-existent support and workers remain jobless, compounding to the problems, creating more people requiring aid.

This however can be mitigated by business communities coming together to support economic growth. I plan to be in Nepal next week, from June 15th, on a Economic Recovery trip, to support business recovery.

I hope to meet up with business owners who are affected by the earthquake and share their stories on the kind of support they need. If they need a small loan, I will try to gather local Nepalese business owners to source business to business loans to restart businesses. Hopefully, this will expedite employment for the survivors and allow them to earn money to support themselves.

I plan to work with local entrepreneurs, and run a social business bootcamp, where they can think of solutions to solve local problems, and I plan to connect these entrepreneurs to crowdfunding sites, and hopefully, they will get your support and be funded in their social businesses.

I strongly believe in economic recovery and economic growth, and businesses can play a big roles in supporting with business loans or even looking at ways to collaborate with Nepalese businesses or support economic development.

Being a landlocked Nation,  Nepal is challenged with imports and exports, and hence very few international businesses are doing business with them. With few international business connections, like Haiti, support by multinational enterprises is very limited.

Nepal is among one of the poorest nation in the world, however, with 28 million residents and the evolution of businesses, it could be an attractive market one day. Business giving may not seem strategic today, however, Nepal and Kathmandu -- with its location near everest -- does see a fair share of millionaires and rich visitors visiting before climbing the world's highest peaks, and Nepal could have tremendous reach to many that have much resources.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck gave out Streptomycin for free to post-war Japan when it was ravaged by tuberculosis. Today, Merck has become one of the leading U.S. drug companies doing business in Japan.

There many be much opportunities for business to relook at Nepal for developments as providing business opportunities in Nepal supports them with more than just aid, but with jobs, locals can afford to buy their own food and rebuild their homes.

The cost of land ownership or doing business with locals will probably be low and I could already see some good exports like Strawberries (which are air flown) and tourism and hospitality industry being very attractive.

This is not exploiting people, but doing business and supporting locals with jobs is a good way for them to be on the path to economic recovery.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Can't bring extra luggage on MAS for Nepal

I was planning on a trip again to Nepal for Recovery phase, and as there is always a need for more supplies on the ground, I was checking with the airlines whether they can allow me any extra allowances if I were to bring aid like medicine or a tent along.

After booking with Malaysia Airlines, a relatively decent trip at a decent price with 1 stop over, I sent them this email.

Traveling for Disaster Recovery. 

I am going to Nepal for Disaster Recovery and I decided to book Malaysia Airlines. I was wondering if there are any additional allowance to bring aid to Nepal when I fly there on June 15, 2015?

I was simply looking for an answer like, "How much extra allowance do you need?" or "We would allow 5 - 10 kg extra to support Nepal"

This was their reply.

Dear Mr Low,

Greeting from Malaysia Airlines,
In regards to your email below, please be informed if passengers’ baggage exceeds the FBA limits (per class of travel), the excess weight is considered as excess baggage and the relevant charges will apply. The free baggage allowance (FBA) is as follows:
·         First Class             - 2 pieces weighing 50kg in total
·         Business Class      - 2 pieces weighing 40kg in total
·         Economy Class     - 2 pieces weighing 30kg in total
Should you require further assistance or information, kindly contact our Call Centre at 1-300-88-3000 toll-free number within Malaysia or +603 7843 3000 outside Malaysia. We will be glad to assists and serve you better.
Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Linda

Malaysia Contact Centre|
Global Customer Contact Centre|

So even after all the plane disappearance, crashes and mishaps, the decision to support any groups going to Nepal for relief and recovery is still a no?

I am quite disappointed. Well, it just mean that the rest of my team will not fly with Malaysia Airlines from now on.

-- Robin Low 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Its time for Nepal Recovery.

The Nepal Earthquake in April 25 and another big one just weeks apart has left a big trail of disaster. In all, more than 8,600 people died and thousands were left homeless. The future looks bleak to many of them as aid and relief is slow to come and besides losing their homes, many lost their jobs.

The International Response is weak compared to other disasters, and one of the reasons is due to the lack of business interaction between Nepal and other countries. In most disaster relief, the support for donation and aid is spearheaded by businesses and it makes business sense to help business partners recover, but in this land locked nation surrounded by mountains, they do not have much dealings with other countries.

There was a good response during the search and rescue, but the job is not done then. Recovery is like a marathon, and the search and rescue is just the initial phase, and there is still a long way to recovery.

I've written several articles on disaster recovery and relief.

Disaster relief is not just for experts and special teams

What you can do to help Nepal's recovery

The recovery phase is usually forgotten and not supported. Like the Rohingya crisis, Nepal is at the point of inflection. With enough aid, Nepal can be rebuilt stronger and more resilient. Businesses need to be supported to restart and the people can gain employment and get on with their lives.

Without support and with dwindling aid, the survivors will be turned into refugees, leaving their homes to search for jobs in other lands.

I plan to go to Nepal to support the business recovery and get more ground information from the ground. If you wish to support, I'm running a fundraiser here.

Sustainable Nepal Recovery (Nepal Earthquake 2015)

Lets show the survivors in Nepal that we care.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sustainable Disaster Recovery for Nepal.

The recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal is a heartbreaking disaster with thousands dead and much of the infrastructure destroyed in Kathmandu.

Nepal is a poor country. Nepal’s GDP per capita was only $694 in 2013, unemployment is at about 40% and overseas workers account for 30% of the economy.

The disaster relief phase will be in the headlines as many countries send armies on the ground for search and rescue missions and medical support, saving lives. Providing much needed shelter, food and water will also be very prominent and large NGOs like Red Cross and Global Giving will raise a lot of funds for this purpose.

For people who donated and supported in the relief efforts, I really respect you for taking action and making a difference to the survivors after the earthquake. In disasters however, the rebuilding process is not as easy as providing shelter, food and water. In poorer countries like Nepal, the rebuilding process is extremely complex as the stability of the government is in question and even with a lot of funds from donations, it may never recover to even the state before the earthquake.

From my experience in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, even with US$3.5 billion in aid, Haiti still has not recovered much and in some areas, the situation seems to get worse. The local economy that is supply similar products will find increasing difficulty to earn a living and resort to relying on just foreign aid to get by.

I have worked with a few great organizations in Haiti like Haiti Partners' Children's Academy which does great work and empowers the next generation of youths with holistic education with affordable education. However, there are also a lot of other NGOs which does not provide real social impact. Many NGOs still provide free services or free food, 5 years after the disaster, and local businesses are affected badly.

The situation of Haiti and Nepal may be quite similar, I would like to look at the disaster as an opportunity to rebuild an infrastructure for growth to reduce poverty. My experience at different disaster areas and getting inspired by the great projects and people I met over the years, I believe I have a lot of value to add to the disaster recovery efforts in Nepal.

I'm interested in forming a Relief 2.0 recovery team for the following tasks:

1) Deliver donated products to partners on the ground. (Solar panels, 3G connection, etc.)
2) Relief B2B, helping local businesses to restart, giving them access to crowdfunded loans (locally or online)
3) Gather information about local capacity and state of business and infrastructure. Find out what is needed to help economic recovery.
4) Gather and share information about marginalized communities and connect them to social enterprises in the world to find solutions collaboratively.
5) Document with photos, accurate information about the magnitude of destruction. Perhaps follow up in the future on the progress of recovery and what else needs to be done.

-- Robin Low

Monday, April 6, 2015

CSR came out of a necessity

I was involved much in Social Media in 2008, and got into more public relations and social projects. As I did some consulting for various corporates on crisis management, from the things I read, the things I learn and the cases that I work on, I realized that CSR like participating in Social Media was a necessity.

In the digital environment today, It was critical for an organization to have social media engagement. The public is already on social networks. The Internet gave the public a voice to share about the things they care about. And with this fast hyper-connected world, the public also want a quick channel for customer feedback.

When there is a problem, when a person cannot find any ways to resolve their problem, they will try to look for a Twitter account, Facebook page to inform the brand of the problem. This is the lucky bit because the brand gets notified of the problem fast before it becomes a crisis.

When you have a Facebook page or Twitter account to engage fans, the problem if its user generated gets resolved fast from other fans as well. And when a fake complains come in, the brand's reputation can be protected as well.

The goal of the CSR may be to explore issues and increase understanding of the linkages between business ethics, the community and the business activities, however, from many case studies that show that a brand with a good reputation tend to recover from a crisis faster, it is important for brands to build a good reputation through CSR.

“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.
- Better Business Journey, UK Small Business Consortium

For big brands, having a good CSR program can bring in more sale, retain talents, differentiate from competitors and much more. Its not only good, but it is actually essential.

However, CSR needs to be managed wall and I'll be talking more on it in my next posts.

-- Robin Low

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Volunteers, not always a good thing.

Many people think that volunteering for NGOs and organizations is doing them a favor and having real social impact. After cleaning up at an old folks home or painting murals, many people think they have done well and deserve a pat in the back.

With many of the CSR projects of organizations, employee engagement seems to be the "in" thing now. In Singapore, there is a system called Community Involvement Programme (CIP) where student are required to clock a certain amount of CIP hours to graduate.

However, after running and working with NGOs, I could tell you that some of these free volunteers are not actually helping these organizations, but rather -- giving them more work.

This is a very fine line to thread. Some people and companies like to think that non-profits should be grateful if we have something to give them. This attitude is really wrong as non-profits will try to accommodate volunteers even if they do not need them in fear of losing donations and creating negative PR.

As you know, with social media, bad publicity is just a tweet away. Non-profits that are savvy knows this. When a corporation comes with 50 volunteers to paint an old folks home, these organizations will find them walls to paint on, even though it was painted a few months ago.

As non-profits, they do work with a lot of constrains. They do have liability if something goes wrong or people get injured, at the same time, they are probably tight on manpower, and every minute organizing activities with corporates is taking time away from doing actual work. The organizations also need to create a positive experience, and the volunteers also come unprepared to the site and need equipment to get things done.

The non-profits do not want the corporates to feel unappreciated and will find all ways to accommodate them. Even if its free labor, building the right experience matters or it may end up in a crisis. There needs to be value created for all parties for it to be a win - win situation, or else its just activity for activity's sake.


To add value in the relation, corporates should:

1) Find a value proposition to pitch to the organization.
       - List skills which the volunteers can provide.
       - Sometimes pro-bono work for the administration is better than donations and engaging the                   beneficiaries.

2) Understand the needs and constraints of the organization.
       - Working with children may require background checks on the volunteers.
       - Working with gardens or disaster relief may require tools and outfits which organization may                not be able to afford to provide.

3) Plan in advance, NGOs need time to plan and respond.

At the same time, the non-profits should:

1) Create a list of support they need (skills)
     - List opportunities available. (Training kids, chefs in soup kitchen, etc)
     - Have some budget to pay for some pro-bono work. (Reimbursements, etc)
     - Share needs openly (IT Support, Tech, Marketing, Accounting)

2) Hire a event planner to manage volunteers.
     - Create volunteer programs which enrich experience of volunteers and allow them takeaways and        shares for more awareness. (Photo Ops, learning experience)

3) Be honest and truthful.
      - If you cannot handle volunteers, just say no.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Liberated by disasters

When a disaster happens, some people are burdened by a task of picking up the pieces caused by a force beyond their control, others are given a gift, a gift of being spared from the disaster. Some people take it for granted and do nothing, others may volunteer or donate.

Many things we learn about relief is not true. We are often told that individuals are not effective in the field. We are told not to donate clothes, but only give money. However, when you think of it closely, do you know how your charity money is spent?

I have been to several disasters, and I have realized that there is a big role for individual volunteers to play. Large charities and governments bring aid to the field fast, but due to top down bureaucracy, they are unable to act fast enough to satisfy the changing needs on the ground, and individuals are required to fill the gaps and meet the needs on the field.

I have often seen children running around naked, and yet charities tell us not to donate clothes. The reason why the charities tell us not to donate clothes, is not because the people do not need them, but rather the charities do not have manpower to sort them. As an individual, I have been to a shelter and got the children in the shelter involved to help sort the donated clothes. At the end of the day, the sorted clothes are picked through and used by the survivors.

There are times which I do not agree on how the charities act. Most incoming resources for recovery are managed by foreign organizations, professionals & volunteers and they excluding local stakeholders. Funds provided largely spent on foreign resources - Local resources and Stakeholders are not actively engaged in relief & recovery initiatives, often being displaced by foreign providers. But instead of complaining, I felt that one should take action to do what is right.

Fear prevents people from taking actions. Even when you feel that you can contribute, you will find excuses to stop you from taking actions. Procrastination sets in and it is hard to overcome.

With social media, emails and smses, the world is a much smaller place. Everyone is interconnected. With information that others are burdened by disaster, I decided to go to the areas and contribute as an individual. When I wanted to contribute actions, I constantly send information of my actions back on social media, and request for reimbursements from my friends to support my effort. When they see my actions and photos, much of my costs are covered.

When I declare to friends that I am going to Japan a week after the tsunami, there were people who cautioned me about the dangers, and others who wanted to contribute. Some asked me how effective I could be on the ground, some asked why I wanted to go. Frankly, I don't really have the perfect answer. Some time ago, I have decided to live life by my rules, not by rules other set for me.

It is a liberating experience not to be controlled by fear, but have the courage to do what you think is right. It is not easy, but defeating procrastination is a lifelong skill which I intend to master.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Human Inadequacies

Knowledge both saved us and burdened us.
Experience may help us in may ways, but also make us fear new ways of doing things.
Planning may help us accomplish many things while avoiding problems, however, over planning is the main reason for "failure to launch"
Eagerness to help may sound noble, but too much aid may result in more harm than good.

From medicine to finance, business to government, the world we live in is not as simple as it seems as many problems faced may not be solved by only apply one discipline of knowledge but diverse knowledge is required to understand the root cause.

With the Internet, we all have stupid amounts of information (and misinformation) on our finger tips. Putting this knowledge in the hands of experienced, competent and hardworking people, we have accomplished much, yet failures are common, persistent -- sometimes frustrating and demoralizing.

We live in a world of extreme complexities. Many things are intertwined. High school drop outs may not be just an education problem, as homeless kids will most likely drop out of schools. Over legislation tends to try to sweep the underlying problems further and when the problem arise again, it will only come with increased intensity and magnitude.

We need to recognize that we are humans, and we have egos -- egos which may get in the way of making the best of choices. Even the best of intentions may fail

The snake trying to save the drowning fish may think it is doing the fish a favor by bringing it out of the water.

Though meeting many people, trying out many different solutions and perspectives, I've came to understand the simplicity, complexity and duplicity of many problems, and I hope to share my experience with some anecdotes and stories. Some may apply to you and if you relate to them, please share, comment and discuss.

-- Robin Low