Monday, 8 September 2008

Passion a primer for success

The Times

Harvard Report
Published:Sep 07, 2008

Enthusiasm for a job ensures your company attracts like-minded people who have similar objectives

When my future husband , Roger Brown, and I graduated from the Yale School of Management in 1980, we postponed job offers in management consulting to run emergency programmes in Cambodian refugee camps. The Vietnamese had recently invaded Cambodia and ousted the Khmer Rouge, and thousands of refugees fled to the Thai border. I managed a programme for malnourished children, and we saw a lot of very ill babies. Yet, with food and basic medicine, most completely rebounded. Roger and I had always been moved to make a difference, but this experience gave us focus. If you intervene by age five, we realised, you can positively change the whole course of a child’s life. Later, after a few years in management consulting, we went to Africa to become co-country directors in Sudan for Save the Children.

Our humanitarian work engaged us 24/7 — so we gave absolutely no thought to long-term careers. But when we came back to the US in 1986, we had to make some tough decisions. By then, Roger and I had met James Rouse, who co-founded the Rouse Company to turn blighted urban areas into vibrant public spaces. Rouse became our mentor, and one weekend he invited us to his summer cabin on Chesapeake Bay. During one of our wonderful conversations, he said to me: “Linda, your passions don’t have to be extracurricular. They can be central to your life. Unleash them, and you’ll help other people unleash theirs.”

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m loath to follow anyone’s advice, but Rouse’s words immediately clicked. Millions of parents in the US wanted and needed to work, but they had little access to affordable, high-quality child care. It was a national tragedy. We decided to put our passion for giving children the best possible start in life at the forefront of our careers and at the core of a new company.

Don’t get me wrong — building this company was one long, hard slog. We faced a lot of scepticism, including from our financial backers, who had never seen a successful husband-and-wife team before. And when we struggled during our start-up years, some of our initial investors couldn’t understand why we paid higher-than-average salaries, or why we spent precious time founding a non-profit organisatio n to help children of the homeless. But putting our passions first — and backing them up with good financial numbers — gave us a real business advantage.

Through this passion we helped to create an entirely new sector: high-quality, workplace-based child care as a benefit for employees. During our IPO road show in 1997, we talked about the Bright Horizons mission first, before the financials — and witnessed rooms full of tired-looking asset managers, many of them parents of young children, snap right to attention.

Today, Bright Horizons has more than 600 child care and early education centres, and we have made the transition to our second generation of mission-driven senior executives. Our annual leadership conference of more than 1000 managers feels like a cross between a political rally and a tent revival meeting. When you put passion first, you attract the right people, who all naturally head in the same direction. — Linda Mason is chairman and founder of Bright Horizons Family Solutions © (2008) The New York Times

Cambodian Orphans Visit Hawaii

Written by KGMB9 News -
September 06, 2008

Dozens of orphans from Cambodia are in Hawaii. Learning about our culture and getting a check up on their health. The children are all part of the program, "Email Foster Parents International."

They are in the islands to meet and stay with their foster parents for the first time. On Saturday, optometrists at Dr. Tyrie Jenkins' office in Honolulu performed free eye exams for the children who don't always have access to good health care.

"They were seeing below what is necessary to be able to function very well seeing at distance so we were able to provide them with a subscription for new glasses and that should really help them," Dr. Loretta Ng said.

The children will be staying in Hawaii for two weeks before heading back to Cambodia.

Smiling on history
September 7, 2008

On a rutted road in sun-drenched jungle, a man named Kola thought back 30 years to Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge regime.

In 1975, at 13, Kola was marched by Khmer soldiers from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the fields.
How did he, who survived to raise a family and fight for democracy, navigate those dark days?

It was simple, he said: He talked to no one. He worked in rice fields. Each morning he saluted his rulers' flag.

"I acted stupid," he said.

To illustrate this prior life, Kola screwed his face into a demented twist, then released it back to a grin.


Five killed, three wounded by anti-tank mine in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- A truck carrying rice to a mill hit an anti-tank mine in Koun Kreal commune, Sam Rong district of Oddar Meanchey province of Cambodia, killing five people and injuring three, including a baby boy aged eight months, national media reported Sunday.

The place is the last battlefield of civil war and local people were warned not to travel on that old road because it was planted with heavy mines, Khmer-language newspaper the Rasmey Kampuchea quoted Men Ly, police chief of Oddar Meanchey province, as saying.

But they do not have other choice of road and the accident occurred Friday, Men Ly added.

In the past years, the number of mine casualties stood at over 800 people each year in Cambodia, one of the world's most-heavily mined countries with an estimated of 4 million to 6 million of such "hidden killers" buried underground.

According to statistics of Cambodian Center of Mine Action (CMAC), 1,640 of 13,913 villages of Cambodia were seriously suffered from mines.  

Editor: An

Former ambassador, lawmaker help raise $60,000 for musical

Stephen Spillman / Amarillo Globe-News
Danielle Fehr and Glenn Campbell of the Randall County Sheriff's Posse take part in the Rider on the Rim Trail Ride in Palo Duro Canyon on Saturday . More than 50 riders showed up for the fundraiser.

By Janelle Stecklein
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A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a state representative and a Scot were among 75 participants in the first Rider on the Rim Trail Ride fundraiser.

"That's a good turnout, and it's a beautiful day," said Bill Anderson, executive director of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, which sponsored the event.

The eight-mile ride through Palo Duro Canyon started at Pioneer Amphitheatre, the home of the musical "Texas," and raised more than $60,000 to help fund the musical.

Former Ambassador Sichan Siv joined state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, David Tidmarsh of Scotland and dozens of others along Palo Duro's scenic trails on horseback.

Siv, author of "Golden Bones - From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to a new Life in America," contributed signed copies of the book for an auction at the event. He is scheduled to speak at West Texas A&M University and the Amarillo Downtown Lions Club this week.

"Many of our facilities were in need of repair," said Doris Alexander, co-chairwoman of the event and chairwoman of the Heritage Foundation board.

"This fundraiser has raised more than any other fundraiser in the history of the stage play 'Texas.' "

Most of the riders paid $1,000 each to be the first to experience a new trail created for the event. The auction featured a variety of items, including paintings, jewelry and a truck.

For those who decided not to go on the four-hour ride, volunteers stayed behind to offer old-fashioned wagon rides.

Cole Cleveland of Claude lounged on a surrey as he waited to give free rides.

"It's a fun deal," he said. "It's like stepping back 150 years every once in a while."

Eddie Longhofer of Canadian spent his afternoon volunteering and driving an old-fashioned Conestoga wagon for people who couldn't ride.

His wife, Judy, rode in the back.

"I think it's neat," she said of the event. "I think it's really nice that they did this."

Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese cross the border to go to school

Ethnic Vietnamese primary school pupils living in Cambodia cross the border into Viet Nam to go to school. — VNS Photo Doan Tung


by Le Hoang Vu

AN GIANG — Schools in Khanh An Commune, An Phu District, An Giang Province are welcoming hundreds of new Vietnamese-Cambodian students from Kan Dal Province, Cambodia this academic year.

The majority of the students hail from Pec Chay Commune, Koh Thum District, Cambodia, where many ethnic Vietnamese are living.

Khanh An Commune’s Primary School B has more than 600 Vietnamese-Cambodian students, according to principal Nguyen Tan Tai. All of the school’s new first graders are Vietnamese-Cambodian.

Vietnamese-Cambodians made up 60 per cent of Khanh An Commune’s Primary School A’s 930 students, said principal Nguyen Thi Sanh.

According to Le Van Be, Khanh An Secondary School principal, 30 per cent of the 800 new students this year live in Cambodia.

More and more of Khanh An Commune’s student body is Vietnamese-Cambodian because many cannot afford to send their children to schools in Cambodia.

The Vietnamese-Cambodian students’ parents, many of whom are illiterate, also hope their children learn to both read and write their mother tongue.

Thus, many of these overseas Vietnamese cross the border into Viet Nam to take their children to school every day.

Bui Minh Hung of Koh Thum District, Cambodia sells fish at An Giang Province’s Khanh Binh border gate, and brings his child to a Khanh An school every day. After all his stock is sold, he takes his child home at 12 a.m.

Despite a difficult commute, Nguyen Thi Xuan of Koh Thum District, Cambodia still makes her children to go to school in Viet Nam so they would speak Vietnamese.

Educational authorities in An Giang Province are assisting Vietnamese-Cambodian students to go to school by waiving school infrastructure fees and giving gifts.

For preparation of this school year, Khanh An Commune Primary School A gave away 878 packages of school bags and other classroom necessities worth VND100,000 (US$6) each.

Residents at the border also help out the students by ferrying them across the river for free.

Thanks to local authorities and residents’ help, many overseas Vietnamese students have beat the odds to succeed. For example, Le Duy Phuong, Nguyen Van Lanh and Diep Hoai An, all former Vietnamese-Cambodian high school students, have gone on to university.

Danh Thi My Non, a Vietnamese-Cambodian An Phu High School alum, just entered her junior year at An Giang University, said her vice principal Ngo Thai Can.

Nguyen Quang Tuu of Koh Thum District’s Vietnamese Association said many ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia were happy their children could learn their mother tongue and keep some Vietnamese cultural traits. — VNS