APR 2018 Business
Frontier SEA markets Business Sweden report
Thailandâ€™s first Danish Pastor
The Return of the Vikings
The Nong Khai oasis
International Schools theme
With a diverse community of over 70 nationalities and a growing Scandinavian student population, Stamford American International School is one of the leading International Schools in Singapore to offer the full International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum aligned to American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards for students from 2 months to 18 years. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to learning, hence Stamford offers students the choice of multiple graduating pathways – IB Diploma, AP International Diploma, US High School Diploma, or a blended program, aligned to their capabilities, interests and ambitions. Offering flexibility and choice, students can choose from over 40 IB courses and more than 20 Advanced Placement (AP) Courses. Every student is coached towards a successful academic outcome which is individually right for them. Stamford’s dedicated Academic & College Counselling Team works closely with EducationUSA on campus, the only SAT and ACT test center in Singapore, to provide the authoritative resources and relevant up-to-date information for admissions to leading universities worldwide.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Centrally located Campuses
With space at a premium in Singapore, Stamford’s bespoke campuses are centrally located within close proximity to popular residential areas. The campuses oﬀer world-class facilities and cutting-edge technology. With sensorial learning at every turn, the Early Learning Village is Reggio-Emilia inspired and purpose built for students from 2 months to 6 years. Located just 2.6km away, the Woodleigh Campus caters to Elementary & Secondary students from 6 years to 18 years which combines best teaching facilities for each student to maximize.
Stamford believes in introducing emerging technologies to students with the aim of developing their thinking for the ideas of tomorrow. From as young as 18 months, students are introduced to bee bots, virtual reality, coding and many more during their lessons for a progressive future mind set. The Innovation Center acts as one of the most prominent spaces in which students are given the opportunity to explore and delve into new technologies with the objective of tapping on their creative and innovative sides.
Language and Community
Arts and Athletics
A new language opens many doors for children, providing them with greater ability to gain insight into cultures diﬀerent from their own. While the best foundation for learning diﬀerent languages starts young, languages can be picked up at any age. Stamford’s culture of cultivating students to be internationally-minded is well supported by the World Language Program which includes daily Mandarin and Spanish lessons, a bilingual Mandarin/English Program for students aged 3 and above as well as the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Program for non-native speakers who wish to have specialist English learning.
As a thriving performing arts and sporting community, students are able to enjoy 4 swimming pools, 3 air-conditioned sports arenas, rooftop tennis courts, dance studios, rock climbing walls, the sports ﬁeld and our very own golf academy along with a sophisticated 500 – seat professional theater.
Children of any age can face diﬃculties integrating into a new environment. Retaining some connection to their home country becomes important and our Mother Tongue Program helps to do just that. Ever ready to welcome, honor and celebrate all cultures and languages, the Mother Tongue Program oﬀers 12 languages. Led by the parent community, the school provides support in the form of classroom facilities, IT support, access to the libraries, event and celebration space.
ATTEND OUR MONTHLY EXPERT PANELS Register at sais.edu.sg/open-events
Stamford accepts applications throughout the year. Why not come for a visit or attend one of our monthly speaker series? Visit our website at sais.edu.sg or call +65 6653 7907 to speak to our friendly Admissions Team.
21/2/2016 – 20/2/2020
Stamford American International School CPE Registration Number: 200823594D Period of Registration: August 10, 2014 to August 9, 2018
Ms. Christa Lund Herum First Danish Pastor in Thailandl
Copyright : Ian Allenden/123RF
14 Singapore hosts Unleash Innovation Lab 16 Ikea opened its largest SEA store in Bang Yai, Thailand 21 New NBAS Singapore Board elected 52 The Nong Khai oasis 58 My latest position
International Schools theme
Mr. Pasi Silander
10 Capture the growth of the frontier SEA markets
Expert on school of the future
Business Sweden report
18 Danish Tech Ambassadorâ€™s Beijing office Casper Klynge in China
19 Organisational structure change starts at dtac
Norwegian Andrew Kvalseth new CMO
20 Finnish National Agency for Education Visited China, Hong Kong
Mr. Chris Shern,
Co-author of new Nordic leadership book
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Tel: +66 2687 7800
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 5
f you are a parent, you probably remember when your little baby quickly wrapped all five fingers around your one? Your child will continue to grasp your hand throughout childhood and youth. You are your child’s first and lifelong teacher. And, as a parent and teacher, you will make important decisions for your child. Some of the most important decisions you will make are about your child’s education. You want your child’s school to meet the same goals of high academic achievement you have set. You may want your child’s school to reflect the values of your family and community. In other words, you want to choose a school that is a good fit for your child. In an increasing number of cities across Asia, you now have the ability to do so. International schools are opening up not only in the capitals but also in all major cities. In this issue of ScandAsia we try to help you navigate the process of choosing a school. We outline some steps that you can follow to help you make a wise choice, balancing the situation of your family, the needs of your child and the offerings of the schools. We even include articles directly from some of the best schools on issues of importance to this choice you have to make. Still, the opinion of other parents of your own nationality remains of course impor tantr. This is one of the main reasons why newcomers seek to join networks of other people from their own country so they can exchange advice and warnings. Not only about the best choice of school but also on matters like choice of hospital, dentist, lawyer, etc. ScandAsia has collected and keeps updating all the traditional Scandinavian networks across Asia like Scandinavian Society Siam, and Scandinavian Women’s
ScandAsia is a printed magazine and online media covering the people and businesses of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland living and working in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Who should subscribe:
ScandAsia subscribers are typically Nordic expats and companies from the Nordic countries living in and active in Asia. Another group of subscribers are Nordic people living in the Nordic countries who subscribe to ScandAsia for personal or business reasons. We also have many Asian subscribers, who for a wide range of rea-
6 ScandAsia • April 2018
Association on the website www.scandasia.com under the menu point “Contact Directory”. These associations are these years being supplemented - some would say challenged - by a vast number of online communities and social media groups of which the ScandAsia website also has the most comprehensive listing. But regardless of how much can be done online, eventually you will have to visit the school or schools on your short-list. We hope you will find this issue of ScandAsia useful as a tool to help you make an informed decisions. I wish you success with this challenge.
sons are following the activities of the Nordic expats and companies via a subscription to ScandAsia. The ScandAsia magazine is produced every month and distributed to all print version subscribers via postal services and to all eMagazine subscribers via email. Subscribing to the eMagazine is FREE - simply sign up on the ScandAsia.com website. Become a ScandAsia user/ get free digital ScandAsia magazine or paid subscription via
Gregers Moller Editor in Chief
Publisher : ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. 211 Soi Prasert Manukitch 29 Prasert Manukitch Road Bangkok 10230, Thailand Tel. +66 2 943 7166-8 Fax: +66 2 943 7169 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief : Gregers A.W. Møller email@example.com Managing Editor: Joakim Persson Joakim@scandmedia.com
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April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 7
Why are Swedes abroad locked out from security systems?
weden has internationally welldeveloped security systems, where healthcare is a part.The welfare has been built during a number of decades by taxpayers, both Swedes and immigrants. Many of these are pensioners today. In this age of globalization, increasing numbers of these retirees choose to settle, or stay longer time, abroad. A lot of pensioners live outside the EU / EEA area, which means they fall outside the security system that everyone living in Sweden has.
Pensioners without health insurance
A rather significant number of persons are pensioners who reside or stay longer time in warmer – and often cheaper – countries. It can be because you feel better in a warm climate, which is especially true for certain diagnoses. Another common reason is that you have a low pension and are having difficulty coping with it in Sweden. Two thirds of all Swedish pensioners in Thailand totally lack health insurance, according to a simple sur vey made by SAMS (Federation of Swedish Associations in Thailand).This is because the insurances are more expensive the older you are – at a time when the need for an insurance increases. Another problem is that many pensioners already have a disease / diagnosis, which means that no company accepts to insure them. However, if they had remained in Sweden, they had both been helped by Swedish health insurance and Swedish health care - at a significantly higher cost for the Swedish security systems than if they were being treated, with payment from Sweden, at a hospital in Thailand.
Unpaid debts to hospitals
The number of foreigners, incl. Swedes, who do not manage healthcare costs in Thailand are increasing. This gives hospitals – usually state hospitals with already limited resources – problems. 8 ScandAsia • April 2018
Some of the repr. fr. Federation for Swedish Societies in Thailand, fr. left: Kjell Nystrom, Swedes in Udon; Bo Jonsson, Swedes in Phuket; and Lars-Olof Fagerstrom, Swedish Association in Hua Hin Another aspect of this is that people who do not consider they can afford hospital care – refrain from visiting a hospital and try to take care of themselves at home. Sometimes with serious consequences. Annika Strandhäll, Swedish Social Minister has stated that “ever yone should be protected and the security systems should be available when and where we need them”. SAMS has the opinion that there is no logic for the government to distinguish between Swedes inside or outside the EU / EEA area. The Swede abroad who becomes ill can travel to Sweden and get care. But the cost is much higher than for those who are living in Sweden, plus the cost of the travel to Sweden. At the same time, Swedish healthcare is more congested, a healthcare that has suffered from shor tages in capacity for many years, having long care queues. Many also find it hard to understand that Sweden offers free healthcare to people staying illegally in Sweden, but the country can not offer subsidized healthcare to taxpayers who choose to reside outside the EU / EEA.
Issue about justice
Seniors residing in e.g. Thailand pay tax to Sweden. The tax system and the
benefit systems have different rules. You are forced to pay taxes to Sweden, even if you are not entitled or able to avail of the social benefits that residents in Sweden are entitled to. The system is not adapted to today’s mobility patterns and is perceived as unfair. Our legislators must understand that it is reasonable that all taxpayers also get something for the tax. For the Federation of Swedish Societies in Thailand Bo Jonsson, Swedes at Phuket Lars Olof Fagerström, Swedish Association in Hua Hin Kjell Nyström, Swedes in Udon Thani Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ScandAsia Publishing. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. Neither ScandAsia Publishing nor any person acting on its behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein. If you would like to share your thoughts and insights on this page contact Managing editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Capture the growth of the frontier SEA markets’ – new Business Sweden report
Swedish companies can, and should, despite expected challenges, invest in the ‘frontier Southeast Asia markets’ – Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The business opportunities are there – especially within four sectors that Business Sweden (BuS) has pinpointed in its new ‘point of view’ report. By Joakim Persson
n its report BuS’ Mekong office shines light on these very much emerging and promising growth markets. It also pinpoints the right way to do it in terms of entering - where of course BuS is there with its know-how, network and expertise consultancy services to help. Aside the need for a long-term approach, it also requires stamina to enter these markets. Key challenges in any venture are: corruption, finding the suitable par tner (s), finding/ recruiting people with right capabilities and infrastructure (transportation, access to electricity etc.)
ivianne Gillman, Trade Commissioner Vietnam & Thailand, and Vlad Månsson, Project Manager, have presented the repor t to the business community in both Bangkok and Singapore. They pointed out how Business Sweden helps Swedish companies reaching their
10 ScandAsia • April 2018
full international potential and it is in that setting these growth markets in Southeast Asia is of relevance. Myanmar, for instance, is as characterized by a large population, high growth and rapid development. “We all know that Asia is the growth engine of the world and a lot of the Swedish companies are looking east towards Asia for business opportunities and for growth. And on the typical markets one looks at entering, such as China or Thailand, there are great opportunities – but also fierce competition,” started Vivianne Gillman. “But in that global battle for growth there are some countries usually not looked at, and that actually are some of the fastest growing markets in the world right now.They are also somewhat white spots for many Swedish companies.” BuS’ research also shows that Sweden is behind European peers in exports and FDI to these SEA frontier markets.
Their rapid development requires investments and modern solutions
Meanwhile, Swedish industr y matches well with the investments going into the Mekong region. Introducing the markets Vlad said that they have among the fastest growing GDP worldwide. “But one very important factor here is that it comes from a very low level. Even Myanmar with a population of Thailand’s size has just one fifth of the GDP as Thailand. Absolute growth is actually still smaller than Thailand’s.” “There are many differences between these countries but some things they have in common are a very young population, high growth, ver y dynamic markets and of course many challenges.” Their rapid development requires investments and modern solutions. Key characteristics are: enormous needs of infrastructure and construction development; rising middle class: more and more consumers can afford an
increased consumption; industrialisation: Shift from basic agriculture to more industrial manufacturing; and complexity in doing business: despite high growth, these markets are still underdeveloped and pose challenges in doing business. Recently “democratized” Myanmar is undergoing urbanization and shift from agriculture to light manufacturing. It has potential to become a trade hub but lacks the transport infrastructure; roads, ports and airports. “Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of troubles politically in Myanmar and could actually see in 2017 some hesitation to enter the market due to this. But we definitely see a lot of industrialisation going on, with investment in oil and gas, the power sector, transportation, and ICT (where penetration is skyrocketing).” Laos has the smallest economy of the three but has demonstrated high growth in recent years. “In the energy market it’s seen as the battery of the Mekong region. It has an extremely high surplus of energy, partly due to our Nordic neighbours Norway and Denmark investing a lot into the power sector,” said Vivianne. Major projects in Laos include airports, railways, wind farms and hydro power plants. In Cambodia this also concerns railways, hydropower as well as commercial construction. Manufacturing (with textiles and clothing dominating the sector) and tourism are its two major economic drivers. Its government has set target of 7,5 million tourists by 2020. “Cambodia is the market of the three where BuS has seen the least interest among Swedish companies, even though it has a larger economy in size than Laos. In the garment sector, H&M and some others are present,” presented the Trade Commissioner. April 2018 • ScandAsia 11
Vlad Månsson, Project Manager, Business Sweden
Vivianne Gillman, Trade Commissioner Vietnam & Thailand, Business Sweden
There is no chance you can drive business in Myanmar from Sweden, not even from Thailand
12 ScandAsia • April 2018
uS’s repor t identifies the key industries and opportunities in the frontier SEA markets, with large demand for innovative solutions and technologies and high growth. “FDI is really booming after 2012 and what is driving this are these sectors; construction & infrastructure, transport, energy and food & beverage (F&B). These are also where we see potential for Swedish companies, and that are also leaders in these sectors.” “There is very poor transport infrastructure in these countries today. And that is where there are large needs and where global funding agencies like ADB and World Bank are funding projects in airpor ts, roads and por ts,” continued Vlad. The booming infrastructure and constant development will require various solutions, where there are opportunities for large and midsized Swedish companies with innovative and efficient infrastructure solutions. In the transport sector there is high growth across the transpor t segment, from passenger cars to commercial vehicles. For instance, Laos’ strategic position connecting China to South-east Asia will drive infrastructure and constr uction, driving demand for heavy tr ucks and commercial vehicles. And in Cambodia rising disposable incomes will drive dealership expansions and new vehicle sales.
“In the transport sector we can see very big competition from Chinese, Japanese and Korean companies but there are still good opportunities in this sector as well.“ “Companies that could have potential include Volvo and Scania with world class trucks and buses. Volvo Cars is also increasing its presence in these countries. And you have everything around it, such as smart solutions.” Think digitalization and connectivity solutions, railway equipment and systems, air traffic and maritime management solutions etc. Within energy understanding the public and private stakeholders is key to success. The Mekong markets see tremendous need for modern, high quality energy solutions as well as alternative energy solutions. “Here, ABB is involved in these countries. But we see that there are opportunities for more Swedish companies in this sector for sure.” F&B is another growth market, where world-leading companies have been present for years and are ramping up investments, with rapid growth expected in the food and beverage industry, especially in Myanmar. “We believe Swedish companies can follow and track these investments and deliver equipment and solutions for this. Companies like Tetra Pak are already quite big in the region. But there is everything related to food manufacturing.
In packaging solutions Sweden is one of the best countries in the world,” said Vivianne.
n the report BuS also give their view and what they think are key success factors to enter these markets. “The first one is to really do your homework and spend the time in understanding the market ecosystem, and work continuously to re-learn and develop the market.” Second, ensure presence or a strong, local partner is key. “This is probably the most important point; to be on the market. There is no chance you can drive business in Myanmar from Sweden, not even from Thailand.” In addition one needs to continuously: engage with the market, actively support one’s partner, and be patient and long-term oriented. “Localise your offering and educate the market. If you are going to sell a product that is five times more expensive than the Chinese you need to educate customers on factors like the benefits and total cost of ownership.” The report also includes some success cases here that BuS believes represent this learning.
April 2018 • ScandAsia 13
Singapore next for ‘Unleash’ A global innovation lab serving the planet In 2017, Denmark hosted the very first UNLEASH Innovation Lab, gathering 1,000 talents from all over the world to develop solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, Singapore will be the new host. Board Director Henrik Skovby speaks to ScandAsia. By Eva Eriksen
oard Director, Henrik Skovby, believes that the global community must embrace and collectively work to meet the SDGs for us to maintain a positive outlook on the future. The UN has formulated 17 global goals as a call action for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring peace and prosperity for all people by 2030. To help meet these goals a consortium of passionate, core partners from both the private and public sectors created this innovation lab. “There is a very impor tant need for new innovative solutions, which cannot be developed only by governments, because they simply do not have the resources to finance and scale the required solutions,” says Henrik Skovby, Board Director, Unleash, and Chairman, Dalberg Group. Through a competitive process top talents from all over the world are invited to Unleash to design new global solutions through understanding global problems, generating ideas for solutions, prototyping these solutions, and creating implementation plans to bring their ideas to life. They will present to mentors and advisors, impact investors, and corporates that are interested in partnering and supporting new innovative solutions. The lab format is designed to help a diverse group of talents work together on breaking down complex challenges and designing solutions at an accelerated pace. Talents leverage a toolkit of innovation facilitation activities, and work with facilitators and advisors throughout the week to further their ideas. After the innovation lab ends, talents are a part 14 ScandAsia • April 2018
of a global network with perpetual access to the Unleash ecosystem, both for their Unleash ideas and for any SDGfocused ideas that they wish to pursue in the future. Additionally, Skovby explains how the young talents can influence corporates and companies to be more aware of their own impact and to create more sustainable solutions. “Daily, lots of companies are producing things that have a negative footprint on the planet. At Unleash, corporates can learn from young talents about their passions, preferences, new technologies, and what it will take to partner with the leaders of tomorrow.”
Why the young generation?
There are two reasons why Unleash focuses on a younger generation of talents. First, the younger generation is the one that will live with the consequences of today’s misuse of resources and who will experience the effects of climate change. This sense of urgency provokes the youth to take action more than the older generations. Secondly, today’s youth have an appetite for new business models and a willingness to quickly adapt to new technologies. This combination of technological awareness and innovative thinking needs to be leveraged in terms of finding new solutions. “Today, there is a sharing economy paradigm that for many young people is second nature,” Henrik Skovby says. “We need to think in new business models, and so it is important to get youth involved, because young people are much more
The younger generation is the one that will live with the consequences of today’s misuse of resources and who will experience the effects of climate change
eager to share resources, to experiment and to adapt.That is essential in terms of scaling fast.”
Singapore is the DNA of Unleash
Although Unleash was born in Denmark, it is a global initiative. It is set to move around the world every year until 2030. “From the very beginning, we understood that in order for Unleash to have a global effect, we must be a global movement. Having different host countries that can bring different capabilities to the platform is essential.” This year, Singapore is the host due to its unique position in the world: “Firstly, Singapore’s track record shows immense development through a very short period of time, going from a developing country to a first world country in 50 years. Secondly, Singapore is a place which has shown commitment to leadership, innovation and science. And thirdly, it has a rich and vibrant ecosystem as a hub for many international companies and organizations that can accelerate and scale solutions rapidly, which in many ways is the DNA of Unleash,” Skovby says.
Global goals and awareness
The marketing of the global goals has been stronger than Henrik Skovby had anticipated. He thinks the UN has done a much better job promoting the SDGs, which were announced in 2016, than was done when the millennium goals were announced in 2000. However, Skovby still thinks there is a
lot of work to be done in terms of promoting the SDGs. In countries with the highest exposure to the goals, only about 30 percent of the population know about the SDGs. Therefore, Skovby and Unleash sees a great responsibility in helping to educate the broader public about the importance of the SDGs and the opportunities they bring. “We all need to know them because we all need to act upon them. We cannot expect governments and NGOs to do all the work. Ultimately it comes down to us as citizens taking action. Whether or not we meet the SDGs comes down to our own personal choices of how we live our lives and how we influence people around us.”
Should we be positive about the future?
Based on data about the health of the planet, the Board Director cannot deny that the future looks grim. Climate change is more drastic than ever before detected in a hundred million years. The amount of plastic in the ocean will in 2050 be as great as the tonnage of fish. Biodiversity is declining greatly. The list of troubling outlooks goes on. “Knowing this, the question is: do we push the fear button or do we push the opportunity button?” Skovby asks. “To keep moving forward, I think we must remain positive and really try to find innovative solutions and not give up. However, we must maintain a sense of reality and not lose sight of the work that needs to be done because I do think the situation is actually very grim.” April 2018 • ScandAsia 15
Ikea’s largest Southeast Asian store opens in Greater Bangkok
Text and photos: Joakim Persson here, Ikea Bang Yai is strategically located right next the Greater Bangkok’s ring road and next to end station of Purple Line metro, Talat Bang Yai station. And perhaps most importantly, this is the only Ikea store in the world that, with its 50,278 sqm, is fully integrated into a shopping centre. Situated right next to the partner CentralPlaza Westgate this store has no less than six access points: three directly connected to the shopping centre, and three directly from the IKEA store. Mr. Christian Rojkjaer, Managing Director of Ikea Southeast Asia welcomed all the V.I.P guests and a very large group of media in attendance. He compared the new store with the great success Ikea has already enjoyed in Thailand with Ikea Bangna and Mega Bangna. “Ikea Bangna is one of the most successful stores in the world and it’s of course our customers who deserve the credit for that. What did we do to make that happen? It goes back to being super-affordable, accessible, a great day out, and of course having the products available for instant take-
16 ScandAsia • April 2018
home,” he said. “So everything we did for Ikea Bangna we have done also here and tried to make it even better. So I am really looking forward to that. And when we open a new store it’s not only about being a retailer, it is also to be part of society, being a good citizen where we are and that means a lot to me, to our co-workers and hopefully to he societies that we are in.” “What we did we concretely do? We invested more than 6 billion baht into this building. And as a big employer we already have more than a 1000 people employed. We offer career, knowledge in many different positions – you name it, we’ve got it! We have a fully-fledged company here with all the fantastic functions and career possibilities for Thailand,“ Christian continued. “The reason that Ikea has been so welcome in Thailand is that we share this foundation of loving family and home. I think this store will be very successful and make us a successful contributor to Bang Yai, Bangkok and Thai society for many years to come,” he furthermore analysed.
Thomas Friberg, Store Manager at IKEA BangYai continued the presentation and told the press conference that they have invested in all the extra square metres to create a great and unique shopping experience for the many people. “Ikea Bang Yai is one of the first stores in the world where we have taken a few more steps to let the customer explore but also enjoy their shopping.” Customers will have more freedom in creating their own shopping journey. They can just grab and go or take the full tour of our blue box store. To further enhance the customer experience, IKEA Bang Yai plans to launch a new feature; the Ikea Store App. Customers will be able find the items they want with ease. “We also have taken to our heart how much Thais love food. Except from the normal Ikea restaurant, where we serve the famous Swedish meatballs we have invested in one
more restaurant where we serve the more sustainable and healthy choices of food – still with a Swedish touch and based on Scandinavian ingredients.” Many of the food ingredients come from sustainable sources, states Ikea. “Also core for us is sustainability. This is the first store and retail shop in Thailand that will meet LEED Platinum and Green Mark Platinum requirements, the highest qualification for both certificates, which shows IKEA’s commitment to the planet. It’s a great pleasure to introduce that to Thailand and to our consumers,” he concluded Thomas Friberg. At 10 am sharp the Swedish store manager personally welcomed and escorted the very first guest to Ikea Bang Yai, and the many hundreds of employees had lined up on every floor to welcome all the customers that that flooded into the huge store.
April 2018 • ScandAsia 17
Denmark’s Tech Ambassador opened Beijing office
n recognition of the growing importance of China’s booming tech industr y, the Tech Ambassador of Denmark has now opened an office in Beijing. As the first country in the world, Denmark has elevated technology to a foreign policy priority and established a diplomatic platform and presence to promote this agenda across the globe. The initiative is taken based on the recognition of the key role technology and digitalization plays and will increasingly play in the future for individuals and societies alike from China to Denmark and the rest of the world. “It’s interesting to see how China’s tech industr y has grown into being among the most advanced in areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud-computing. The resources and the willingness from the Chinese Government to drive and push this development together with the big tech companies is very significant, said 18 ScandAsia • April 2018
Denmark’s Tech Ambassador, Casper Klynge. “In that light, it’s only a natural step for the Danish Government to expand our technological diplomacy – or our so-called TechPlomacy Initiative - to China,” said the Ambassador, who will be in China next week to officially open the Beijing leg of the Tech Ambassador’s Office at the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing. The Tech Ambassador’s Office will have a physical presence in three time zones across the globe, in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, Silicon Valley in the United States, and Beijing. Tech Ambassador Casper Klynge and his global team will work to build strategic par tnerships and engage directly with tech-hubs, governments, international organizations, civil society, cities, regions, world-class universities and other stakeholders. “I really look forward to engaging in dialogue on a broad range of topics
with the tech-industr y and Chinese authorities. We need a stronger multistakeholder discussion on how we want these new technologies to shape our societies in the future. And with a stronger dialogue we will be better equipped to meet both opportunities and challenges new technology creates,” said Ambassador Klynge. The Office of the Danish Tech Ambassador is located at the Embassy in Beijing. Denmark is one of the most digitised countries in the world. Denmark has a relatively small and agile bureaucratic system, a robust, green and reliable energy ecosystem, and a creative and adaptive workforce, which is relatively well equipped to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution. Yet, like other countries, cities and regions around the world, we need to be ready to adapt and engage with new technologies and their adverse impacts on society, economy and labour market.
Organizational structure change starts at dtac
tac has announced changes to its organizational structure, designed to better fulfil the company’s purpose, stated a press release. The Digital Group, which focuses on digital sales and marketing, will be merged into the Marketing Group. This will strengthen dtac’s ability to use analytics and digital capabilities to create real-time personalized offers. The changes are in response to current Chief Marketing Officer Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr’s resignation. During his time at dtac, Mr. Sitthichoke was instrumental in revitalizing the dtac brand thanks to highly visible campaigns, innovative products (chief among them Go No Limit) and the dtac rewards program. He leaves dtac in a position of great strength and will stay until March 1. Former Chief Digital
Officer, Andrew Kvalseth will be the new Chief Marketing Officer. The Commercial Group will integrate and streamline the product management; Post-paid and Pre-paid into the core distribution and channel management, allowing greater endto-end ownership of daily revenue generation. K. Panya Vechbanyongratana will continue as Chief Commercial Officer. “By bringing closer teams that currently share the same focus yet are divided across group lines, the new organization will allow us to dr ive customer engagement and value creation through increased personalization,” said Lars Norling, dtac CEO. “It positions us to do a superlative job of connecting our customers to what matters most.”
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April 2018 • ScandAsia 19
Finnish National Agency for Education in China, Hong Kong
irector General of the Finnish National Agency for Education, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen, has visited Shanghai and Hong Kong. In China there is an ever-growing interest towards the “Finnish education miracle”, further fueled by the recent high-level visits between the two countries. This visit by Mr. Heinonen – who was traveling together with a business delegation of Finnish education technology companies and education exper ts – was aiming at solidifying education cooper ation between Finland and China on many levels. The delegation’s visit was a continuation to the visit Finland’s education minister Ms Sanni Grahn-Laasonen made to China in autumn 2017. The visit was part of the operations for Education Finland, a national government-level programme aimed at boosting Finnish education export. The delegation comprised twelve companies and organisations representing various branches of Finnish educational solutions: learning environments, digital learning solutions, education tourism, learning contents, early childhood education and care, and higher education. As a new approach the Finnish organisations (in addition to both private 20 ScandAsia • April 2018
and public sector organisations, such as Shanghai Education Council and Hong Kong Education Bu) also met Chinese educational investors. As a par t of the busy three-day schedule in Shanghai, educational collaboration between Finland and China reached an important milestone: 22 upper secondar y vocational students from Shanghai Commercial Accounting School received a Finnish vocational education cer tificate after completing a study module in Marketing Communications. Mr. Heinonen awarded certificates to the students.The certificate was the first of its kind in China. The study module in Marketing Communications forms a part of the Finnish Vocational Qualification in Business and Administration.The training was carried out by Jyväskylä Educational Consor tium Gradia in co-operation with EduCluster Finland, an education expertise organisation. Export of Finnish vocational qualifications has been possible since 2017, when 11 Finnish education providers received a pilot license to provide qualifications outside Europe. Gradia was one of the licensed education providers. “Finnish education has a great reputation in China. Our countries share a long track-record of fruitful
collaboration in educational issues. I am pleased to be here to witness how also Chinese investments in Finnish vocational qualifications are bearing concrete results. This is a major milestone for Finland and Finnish educational business,” said Director General Heinonen. The Finnish vocational qualification programme received excellent feedback from Chinese students. In par ticular, they enjoyed the experience of learning together in teams, having close dialogue with teachers and learning by doing. “What was new to the Chinese students was learning outside of school, and the fact that evaluation was based on practical competence demonstrations and an evaluation discussion,” said teacher Johanna Ärling from Gradia. The investment in education in Shanghai was Gradia and EduCluster Finland’s second education expor t collaboration in vocational qualifications. In Shanghai, Mr. Heinonen also visited for example the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. For the business delegation there was a separate pitching event with Chinese investors interested in education business. Sources: Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai, Finnish National Agency for Education
New NBAS Singapore Board 2018 elected
fter a successful Annual General Meeting held at the Norwegian Seaman’s Mission Norwegian Bu s i n ess Associ atio n S in gapo re introduces the following new members of the NBAS Board for 2018: • Gustav Heiberg, MD, Hydro Aluminium Asia • Hege Raade Solstad, Regional Director, Asia Pacific Wilhelmsen Ships Service • Torgeir Willumsen, Resident Partner, Simonsen Vogt Wiig • Karoline Riis Rigault, Commercial Manager, Orkla Asia Pacific • Jan Fredrik Skjeltorp, Head of Asia DNB • Christian Gleditsch, Shipbroker and Head of Singapore Steem1960
The remaining Board consists in: • Leonard Opitz Stornes, President, Managing Director of NHST Media Group Asia (re-elected) • Dag Rømmen, Honorary Treasurer, Owner of Rommen Pte Ltd
• Tor unn Aas Taralr ud, Honorar y Secretar y, Director of Innovation Norway in Singapore • H.E. Anita Nergaard, Ambassador, R oya l N o r we g i a n E m b a s s y i n Singapore • Håkon Br uaset-Kjøl, Senior Vice President, Head of Group Public and Regulatory Affairs at Telenor Group • Magnus Grimeland, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Antler • Erik Strømsø, Managing Partner and Head of Pareto Securities Asia • Tom Zachariassen, Head of Shipping, Offshore & Oil Ser vices - Asia at Nordea (re-elected) • NBAS Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2018 was followed by a Lunch Talk on Norwegian Personal Taxes by Erland Nørstebø, Head of Global Mobility at PwC. Source: Norwegian Business Association Singapore
YOUR First step toward
Industry 4.0 A modern demand driven planning system, giving better control over variability, less inventory dependence and more working capital
April 2018 • ScandAsia 21
Thailand’s first Danish pastor Christa Lund Herum was on 18 March 2018 officially installed as the first Danish pastor in Thailand.
tarting a church from scratch is not a small task. There’s the administrative process, rooms to be found, furniture to be installed, raising funds, creating logos, building a website and setting up social media. People need to know you exist. Christa Lund Herum is currently experiencing all this first hand. Since November last year she has been the only, and also the very first, Danish pastor in Thailand. “Before I came here there was no Danish Church in Thailand. We had to build everything from scratch with help from the local network of Danes, such as the Church Council, who made an enormous effort to get me here and help me get settled,” she says. We are sitting in her recently decorated office inside The Church of Christ Thailand (CCT) between BTS stations Siam and Ratchathewi.
Finding their place in society
So by now the church is more or less settled, but there’s no church without visitors. Therefore a lot of work has to be put into making the Danes aware of the presence of the church. At the same time it is important to detect what there’s a need for – what Danes in Thailand actually wants from a church. As of now an intern, who arrived mid-March from Denmark, is planning on hosting a bi-weekly youth café for Danish backpackers in Bangkok and also Christa is planning on slowly starting up confirmation preparation classes. “Many of the Danish kids who live here may not have much of an understanding of their cultural background in Denmark, and that could be a role to fill for the church. We could host afternoons where we introduce kids to the Danish culture, language and food, something the church undeniably has been a big part of,” Christa says. Christa does not expect the Danes to attend her church out here more than they attended the church when living in Denmark. “As I see it, it isn’t in the spirit of Danes to go to church every Sunday. For them, the relationship with God is private and is something you might as well find in the forest or the beach,” she says. However, on the special occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, confirmations etc. the Danes do come to the church in larger numbers, proving that under the surface there is still a strong bond between the Danes and their church. 22 ScandAsia • April 2018
Christa Lund Herum has decorated the first office of the Danish Church in Thailand in Scandinavian style. The location at the entrance to CCT between BTS Siam and Ratchathewi is extremely convenient for the Danes in Thailand.
I performed my first beach blessing recently and I have also been visiting a Dane in a prison here. I can visit someone when they are scared or sad or I can be part of some of the greatest moments in their lives.
The ups and downs of a pastor’s life
Being a pastor is not just about holding Christ services. An important part of the job is to be by people’s side during the hard times in their life. “When someone is very ill or has passed away, the embassy will ask if the family would like a pastor to pay them a visit. Many say “Yes, please!” Christa Lund Herum says. When asked whether the job is hard, she says it is balanced out with the joy of being a par t of the most important moments of a person’s life: “I performed my first beach blessing recently and I have also been visiting a Dane in a prison here. I can visit someone when they are scared or sad or I can be part of some of the greatest moments in their lives.” “There are many things I wish I could do for those in need, but I’m not the embassy and I can’t help with legal matters. But I can be by their side and listen to them for a moment, and that brings great comfort to some. I’ve recently met with a very ill man. He told me that he hadn’t spoken a word Danish for several months. That little thing alone meant a whole lot to him,” she says.
From Egypt to Thailand
Christa graduated in 2003, but didn’t become a Pastor until she moved to Bangladesh in 2015. Prior to that she had worked for Dan Mission in Egypt, but it was not until she moved to Bangladesh with her husband and their two children that she began working as a volunteer pastor. Meanwhile the Danish Church Council was looking for the first Danish pastor in Bangkok. When that opportunity came up, Christa took it. Her family still lives in Cambodia, the country they moved to prior to Christa moving to Bangkok. She is officially employed by DSUK – Danske Sømandsog Udlandskirker – a fusion between Danish Seamen’s Churches and Danish Churches Abroad. The Danish Church in Thailand is hosted by the international organization Church of Christ in Thailand, an umbrella organization for protestant churches from all around the globe. This is where she is currently setting up a small office by the entrance, the office you may from now on meet the first Danish pastor in Thailand when she is not out and about meeting people in special need. Pastor Christa Lund Herum was officially installed on Sunday the 18th of March. April 2018 • ScandAsia 23
Festive installment of first Danish Pastor in Thailand
ome 80 members of the Danish community in Thailand gathered at 7 pm on Sunday night, 18 March 2018, to take part in the first Service of the Danish Church in Thailand and the elaborate ceremony that marked the instalment of Pastor Christa Lund Herum as the first Pastor of the Church. The service was conducted by Danish Bishop Marianne Gaarden and Dean and Secretary General of the Danish Church Abroad Pia Sundboel and of course the new Danish Pastor herself, Christa Lund Herum. The instalment service was also a musical experience. The Church organ was played by Mr. Okechukwu and during the service there were three musical intermezzos by Okafor Band, Asbjoern Kroell on guitar, Ofek Tal on piano and with Jakob Dinesen on saxophone and Yasmin Kierkegaard as the vocalist. The instalment and inauguration service took place at Christ Church, which is well-known to most as the Church on Convent Road / Satorn Road, where the Swedish Pastor Lars Ryderstad every year holds the Christmas Service. Leading the new Danish pastor into the Church was also Danish
24 ScandAsia â€˘ April 2018
Ambassador Uffe Wolffhechel, the Chairman of the Church Council Bjarne Tvilde. Among the honorable guests was also the Danish Pastor Anders Skaaning Andersen, Swedish Pastor Lars Ryderstad, and Norwegian Pastor Ragnvald Seierstad. In recognition of the many non-Danish participants in the service, Pastor Christa Lund Herum held her first sermon in English, just like much of the ceremony took place in English and most of the Hymns in the service were published in dual language. The congregation seemed to have forgotten most of the hymns that were selected for the service, but did know how to sing the last hymn, Amazing Grace, so when the new Church Songbooks get dusted off there is hope for the future, where Christ Service will be held every second Sunday in the Chapel at the CCT near the BTS Rachathewi. The first service in Pattaya will be this Sunday 25 March held at the Norwegian Church there. After the service, the Danish Church hosted a reception with canapes and drinks in the meeting room next to Christ Church.
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 25
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How to choose the right school To decide on something as important as your child's education and well-being might be the toughest part about moving to another country.
By Gregers Moller hoosing a new school when moving has become increasingly difficult for parents. There are more and more schools established all the time, and each institution h a s i t s ow n u n i q u e p h i l o s o p hy a n d attributes. Comparing what they offer with the needs of your child is no simple task. A good star t is to ask other parents of your own nationality which school they have chosen and why. You will find many associations and institutions for your nationality in your country on the website www.scandasia.com under “Contacts Directory”. You will find that they have chosen different schools and for different reasons but if you ask why, you will find that they all can be analyzed in the triangle “child needs - family needs - school offerings.”
Local vs International
First choice is if you are looking for a local school or an international school? In most countries in Asia, a local school is an option - although certainly a more challenging option for your child. If you child is mixed Scandinavian - Asian this may, however, not be so frightening a prospect. And mostly it will have an economic silver lining as local private schools are less costly compared to international schools. However, physical punishment has not been abolished in many Asian school systems, so talk to the school how they administer physical punishment and ask if they can make an exception for your child if you are not comfortable with this. If you go for the International school, consider that international students grow up and evolve in a cultural environment that is vastly different to that of your own. Known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs), they often develop a very different attitude to many issues compared to their former friends back home and even you yourself. If you are uncomfortable with this prospect you may prefer to look into the option of choosing a local school or a boarding school back home. Once this is said, most expat families decide to go for the international school, at least through primary school up to grade 9, where other options may come into play. At
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this point, not only boarding schools in Scandinavia but also boarding school in Asia may be considered.
In the triangle “Family needs - child needs - school offerings” the situation of the family must necessarily come first - even when you always say “the child comes first”. These include your family’s financial constraints, your need for child care during non-school hours, transportation, coordination if you have several children under education, etc. Every family brings different capabilities and constraints to the table. Be honest with yourself about your family’s aspirations and requirements. You must start with a true and clear picture of your family needs, and trust yourself to balance these with your child’s needs and with your search for a good quality school. April 2018 • ScandAsia 27
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Now, your child’s needs must be considered. Ask yourself what strengths, challenges and other characteristics really stand out about your child. Consider (a) what your child likes or is able to do well, (b) what your child does not like or has difficulty doing, and (c) how your child works and interacts best with adults and other children. All children need a school that will appropriately challenge and nurture them to succeed in core academic subjects, but research shows you can significantly improve your child’s life and school performance by choosing and working with the right school, so you have plenty of reasons to give it your best effort. There is also the curriculum to consider - what your child should learn and achieve at school - and how it fits with the school system back home if you should ever go back to Scandinavia.
School offerings is the third element in the triangle. Repeated, unbiased research shows that all truly outstanding schools adhere to certain principles. While all are important, the two most important factors are: 1. The school has high expectations for all students. It means all students are expected & helped to meet high minimum goals; goals are raised for individual students as soon as they are ready to learn beyond grade level Avoid schools that make excuses for kids who are behind academically. If your child struggles, they may make excuses rather than help your child, too. Also avoid schools that pretend none of their students struggle. All schools have more than a few students who face learning challenges at some point.You need to know in advance how the school will respond 28 ScandAsia • April 2018
2. The school monitors progress and adjusts teaching. It means the school assesses individual student progress often and changes teaching approaches to ensure that every child locks onto learning. Avoid schools that say, “Our grade level work is tough enough for all students” and schools where everyone makes grade level, but few kids score far above grade level. Both academically gifted children and motivated “typical” kids miss out in a school that is focusing on grade level only. Here are a few more suggestions to help you make up your mind: Talk to people as much as possible to learn about a certain schools reputation. If many say the same it is probably true. But don’t listen to opinions expressed by people who have no children at the school themselves those parents are often quick to seek confirmation of their own choice by adopting opinions about the competing schools. The age of the school is no sure indication either. Nothing guarantees that the reputation of a hundred year old school is better than a one year old school. Is the native language and culture of your child taught as optional learning. It is important for your child to keep his or her ties to your cultural background. It is also important for you. Ask questions about the tests and exams which are offered and used as evaluation method. If your child is already a secondar y school student, ask how well the graduating students do in getting accepted into major universities both in your current country, back home and elsewhere overseas. Talk to some of the existing students if possible. Are they happy there? Do they look motivated to learn? How will
Top Ten Signs of a Great Fit Between Your Child and School
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the school help your child get started? Do they assign socalled “buddies” (another student from the same country) for new students? How is the relationship between the school and the parents? You will obviously not be able to monitor your child in school. The teacher will have to be your eyes and ears. You must be notified of your child's functionality regardless of grade, and regardless of whether it includes bad behavior or progress your child has made. Make sure that you can get informed as often as possible. You may join a parents' volunteer program if available. Some schools may offer activities for the whole family as well.
Watch your child!
Never mind how diligent you do your homework - and maybe the above list is a bit excessive - you will never be able to foresee if your child will thrive at the school. It is therefore impor tant that you make a habit of spending more time than you used to be back home talking to your child about how school was today. What they did in class, and what they did outside. Let her or him tell about their new friends. Listen. All may initially sound fine and uncomplicated, but that may just be a honeymoon period.This is the most important step of them all. If your child develops in any way you find disturbing or even develops signs of discomfort with going to school, you should think twice before you tell your child that “this is life - it is not always pleasant!”. A change of school at the right time might be the single most important decision to make to put the future of your child on the right track!
1. Your child is eager to go to school and energized and happy at the end of most school days 2. Your child regularly has to work hard to learn and perform in school work 3. Your child regularly experiences success learning and performing in school work 4. You see big progress in your child’s overall development – academic, social, emotional and physical 5. Your child is learning and performing academically at the level of which you think (s)he is capable 6. Your child’s teachers really understand and appreciate your child’s strengths 7. Your child talks about school positively, using words like “fun,” “interesting,” or “cool” 8. You and your child feel positive about your child’s health, behavior and personal well-being at school 9. Your child has friends and acquaintances who like, accept and treat your child kindly at school 10. School work and friends are impor tant, but not allconsuming, parts of your child’s life
Top Ten Signs of a Bad Fit Between Your Child and School 1. Your child is hesitant to go to school or worn down and unhappy at the end of most school days 2. Your child has made little progress in the past year — academically, socially, emotionally or physically 3. Your child is not performing as well academically as you reasonably think (s)he can 4. Your child says “school is boring” or expresses little interest in what (s)he’s learning 5. Your child learns more in a core subject outside of school than in school 6. Your child’s teachers do not seem to understand your child or appreciate your child’s strengths 7. Your child doesn’t seem to have any close friends or friendly acquaintances at school 8. Your child regularly makes poor choices at school, such as befriending bullies, choosing work of little interest, focusing on weaknesses rather than strengths — and school staff does nothing to intervene 9. You or your child are worried about your child’s health, behavior or personal well-being at school 10. Your child shows symptoms of stress only when school’s in session (e.g., sleeplessness, fatigue, excessive clinginess and whining, new nervous habits, regressing to younger behaviors) Source: Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child’s School with Confidence, available as at PickyParent.com at $13.57
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April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 31
Constructing the Future
ask predicts performance. You’ll often hear this phrase when speaking to Prakash Nair, the Founding President and CEO of Fielding Nair International, an educational architecture firm that has earned accolades around the world for its innovative school facilities projects. His approach is unique among architects, reflecting a strong belief that space within schools tells a story to that community about learning and the impact that learning has. Does space convey student agency? Does it encourage autonomy? In Prakash’s experience, the answers are all too often no. In 2012 the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) in the United States published a history of school design, tracing the changes in design and form over the past 150 years. Spurred by calls for standardization of schools, those built through the first half of the 20th century were frequently “utilitarian spaces that were designed to house as many students as possible, maximizing classroom space”. Interestingly, though later research began to demonstrate the importance of environment on student learning, few innovations occurred in the decades that followed, with most changes occurring in minor improvements in lighting, ventilation and acoustics. What did not change was the design. Prakash describes the blueprint of most existing schools as a structure made
32 ScandAsia • April 2018
for control, with a single teacher set as the focal point of a row of desks, reminiscent of a factory, and long corridors of empty space that served only to funnel students from one point to another. This model served a singular purpose: encouraging compliancy and respect for authority, while also drowning creativity and disconformity. Those of us who spent our formative years in schools such as this can easily recall the weariness and frustration felt when sitting in uncomfortable chairs in a stuffy classroom, listening to a teacher lecture before robotically shifting to the next class at the sound of a bell. The reality is that learning has long since escaped the walls of those classrooms, and often of schools themselves, which are woefully unequipped to prepare students for the future. Two years ago, the World Economic Forum suggested that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist”, a staggering figure that highlights just how much work traditional schools have to do. Students graduating from high school and university frequently do not have the transferable skills being sought by employers, who cite communication, critical thinking, innovation and similar areas as being crucial for new hires. Clearly, a disconnect exists between these expectations and the way in which schools continue to shape their facilities and learning. In The Atlantic article Reimagining the
Modern Classroom, Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, described the way in which this model will begin to shift: Students will learn in student-centered environments— perhaps we’ll call them learning studios—where each student’s learning is personalized to meet his or her precise needs. It will be critical to rearrange the physical space and furniture to align with the principles of student agency, flexibility, and choice that are the core of new learning models. Because these models will leverage multiple modes of learning, they will need spaces built for different activities, which can occur individually through digital media or in small interactive groups. Task predicts performance. If schools and educators have any hope of preparing students for the challenges of a highly unpredictable future with challenges ranging from climate change to ideological extremism, they must begin change not only how learning happens, but also where it happens. Inculcating soft skills and cognitive flexibility first and foremost requires the creation of spaces within schools in which students can practice those skills. Most importantly, this must be a process that involves the entire community, drawing on the insights from the learners themselves. The NCEF report, despite its critical view, offers hope for the future and arguest that a “reflective, open, and honest
design community with robust feedback loops is critical to learning what works well for educational environments.” The appeal has already been met by many institutions scattered across the globe, and Prakash is currently working with NIST International School in Bangkok to bring this collaborative approach to life. From his perspective, NIST represents the “best of the old” and from this point of strength can capitalize on its strong community to become a model for a new educational paradigm. In early March, Prakash and his team visited the school and led interactive sessions with teachers, staff, board members, students and parents to gain a sense of the community’s culture, as well as the common understandings of teaching and learning. The shared ownership helps develop the key drivers of the later designs in the process, leading a final blueprint that will be wholly unique to NIST. The reimagining of the physical space in the campus will in turn drive the creation of authentic learning opportunities that mirror what students experience outside of the school. To Prakash, change is imperative: “schools will either fade out of existence or reinvent themselves to give meaningful experiences to students”. Education must begin producing learners who are not simply good at tests, but rather are agile thinkers who can navigate a complex world and enrich the lives of others throughout their journey. April 2018 • ScandAsia 33
The Many Benefits of Learning Outdoors Alexander (Coke) Smith, Environmental Systems and Societies Coordinator, Bangkok Patana School
he benefits of a student getting outdoors and putting their learning into practice are vast, not only can it cement their knowledge but also inspire and ignite their interest in cer tain subjects as well as making the curriculum more engaging. The unique, on-campus Outdoor Classroom at Bangkok Patana School allows students from all Year groups the opportunity to participate in true experiential learning in a natural setting, exploring and investigating the wonders of biodiversity that only a fully functioning ecosystem can truly provide. This insight and understanding about the world around them not only has academic implications but more importantly arms students with the knowledge to make considered, educated choices with regards to safeguarding their local and wider environments. Rather than use text books or a search engine for research, Secondary Biology students have been exploring the flora and fauna to find the creatures they wish to study. By taking their learning to the Outdoor Classroom to research living creatures and in turn produce technical, biological illustrations as part of the curriculum, the fresh air and hands on learning deepened their understanding of the topic to a level unlikely to be facilitated in the classroom. Understanding an ecosystem and the nutrient cycle is a key element of science, for the Year 5 students being able to get amongst the trees and see their ‘Rainforest’ learning in action was critical to cementing this fundamental component of science and inspiring them to delve deeper into how plants adapt to their environment.
34 ScandAsia • April 2018
In Bangkok Patana School’s continuing quest to offer the best learning facilities in Asia, the current Outdoor Classroom will be expanded to include a new building to be completed in the next 12 months. What makes this classroom building more unusual is that it is being designed by a group of Year 13 Environmental Systems and Societies students who are applying their classroom acquired knowledge to this very practical, very real project. Drawing on everything they have learned both inside and outside the classroom and adhering to their commitment as global citizens, the building will be made from 100% sustainable materials. Outdoor learning is a unique experience that has many benefits from encouraging curiosity and nur turing a love of science to developing empathy for the environment and deepening classroom learning. We sincerely hope the Outdoor Classroom will fur ther student’s development as passionate global citizens, concerned with the world and environment around them and committed to its protection. Alexander (Coke) Smith has been an environmental educator for thirty years with experience teaching in many schools in such areas as Washington, California, China and currently in Thailand, where he is an Environmental Systems and Societies instructor at Bangkok Patana School. Coke is also an avid wildlife photographer and writer with publications in dozens of magazines and books worldwide, including such publications as BBC’s Planet Earth Two and Science Magazine as well as many others.
Celebrating 60 Years
A proud tradition of learning excellence
Residential visits form an integral part of our British style curriculum for all students from Year 3 upwards. They are one of the many tools our teachers use to develop global citizens who shape their world through independence, empathy, creativity and critical thinking. 643 Lasalle Road, Bangna, Bangkok (BTS Bangna or Bearing) www.patana.ac.th firstname.lastname@example.org +66 (0) 2785 2200
Bangkok Patana School is a not-for-profit IB World School, accredited by CIS and NEASC April 2018 â€˘ ScandAsia
What would you like to know about KIS?
ost expat families looking for a (new) international school for their children will do online research, make a short-list, then, if they are able, visit the 3 to 5 schools that look most promising to ask questions and see if the school would be a good fit for their children. If you are considering KIS International School in Bangkok, here are some things you may want to know. KIS International School is a full IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes for children from 3-18 years old. These are the IB Primary Years Programme from the Early Years to Grade 5, the IB Middle Years Programme from Grade 6 to Grade 10 and the IB Diploma in the last two years of high school, or Grades 11 and 12. The IB is an international curriculum framework that is offered in schools all around the world. It’s international and focuses on developing well-rounded students who know how to think critically and be involved global citizens. Each of the programmes teaches students to think for themselves, to take control of their own learning, to have a global perspective and to make positive differences to the world. The children aim to achieve this through the IB Learner Profile. IB students aim to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. These attributes make the IB Learner Profile and help our students be successful. That this works well is seen through KIS’s strong academic track record with graduates scoring well above average on the IB Diploma, going on to attend top universities around the world, and receiving on average more than US $1,000,000 in scholarships per year. KIS has always been a full IB school and has strong links with the IB Organisation.The Head of School, Sally Holloway, has served on the Board of IB and many of KIS’s staff members have roles within the IB, such as examiners, workshop leaders, accreditation visitors, etc. This brings the most up to date and proven educational practices directly to your children. 36 ScandAsia • April 2018
The school was established 20 years ago and currently has around 700 students from 55 different countries.The school’s medium size and strong community help your child to be recognized as an individual and ensures that there is ample personal attention for each student. The campus is spacious and green and includes amongst its many facilities: libraries, sports courts, swimming pools, auditorium, canteen labs, art- and dance studios, playgrounds and a sports field. A new building with additional indoor sporting facilities and learning spaces will open this August. These inspiring spaces help your children learn and grow in a safe and purpose-built environment. Despite the fact that the school is located in a quiet area, it takes less than 30 minutes (by MRT and the school’s free shuttle van) from Asoke intersection to get to school making the KIS easily accessible from most areas in Bangkok. KIS offers students the oppor tunity to learn many languages. In addition to the languages offered as a standard part of the curriculum (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Thai), the school supports mother tongue languages such as Swedish, German, French, Hindi, Japanese, Norwegian and many more, encouraging our students to maintain their mother tongue and ties to their home country. There is an elaborate after school programme with exciting offerings in the fields of competitive sports, arts, crafts, dance, music, MUN, drama, and academic challenges, giving all children the opportunity to engage in their passions and live a well balanced life. Last but certainly not least, for international families who are not able to afford the full school fees, KIS offers the option of financial assistance, allowing students to enroll at reduced tuition fee rates. Hopefully this article has answered some questions about KIS. We would like to invite you to come and visit the school and experience our special blend of Knowledge, Inspiration and Spirit first hand.
nspiring ndividuals At KIS International School all students can shine. The midsize, caring community allows KIS students to be confident and to be appreciated as an individual, with unique dreams and strengths. The school is a full IB school, offering the International Baccalaureate Programmes for all age groups (IB Primary Years Programme, IB Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma), ensuring an academically rigorous curriculum that not only prepares students to be successful at university, but also teaches important life skills. KIS, it’s all about Knowledge, Inspiration and Spirit.
“With the power of imagination, characters can actually fly off the page” Jun, Grade 11.
Check out the students’ videos to learn more about their passion www.kis.ac.th
Tel: +66 (0) 2274 3444 Email: email@example.com April 2018 • ScandAsia 37
British International School, Phuket - where ‘exceptional’ is commonplace
fter his victory in the Asian Faldo Golf Series in Vietnam a student from the British International School, Phuket was invited to play with Sir Nick Faldo in a team competition in the USA. No one at his school batted an eyelid at the news. It would seem that the school is well used to such exceptional success. In the same month a fellow pupil won the China Boys HSBC Open Golf Tournament in Guangzhou by 11 clear strokes, and a single swimmer won 10 Gold medals in the Penang State Championships.
BISP students to represent Asia-Pacific at MIT LaunchX Global finals The British International School, Phuket has some of the most impressive sporting performances of any school in the world and you could be forgiven for thinking that this is what the school is all about. This is far from the truth, and Headmaster Neil Richards will argue that sporting success is merely the most outwardly visible manifestation of the school’s approach to education. He points out that a team from the school won the MIT LaunchX challenge for the Asia/ Pacific region and will compete in the global finals in Boston later this year, while another student represented Thailand in the British Council sponsored Public Speaking competition in London. But in reality, even he would have to agree that it is hard to get away from those sporting statistics. In all, 28 different student athletes from the school have represented eleven countries in major international competitions over the past three years, in such sports as
Football success for the boys teams at BISP’s annual International Soccer 7s event - the largest of its kind in Asia for school teams 38 ScandAsia • April 2018
Football, Tennis, Golf, Triathlon, Swimming, and even including Wakeboarding and Alpine skiing! Ten footballers have signed professional contracts with clubs including Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Angelholms and Johor, while five other students won US College soccer scholarships. Surprisingly, it is not a big school; there are fewer than 440 secondary age students out of a total school population of 830 and just for good measure it has an outstanding academic record in IGCSE and International Baccalaureate examinations, with direct university matriculation averaging 93% over the last four years. In 2017 its senior class of sixtyone students matriculated to universities across thirteen different countries, with the highest percentage going to the UK and Australia, but with US universities also well represented. The curriculum is geared towards producing well-rounded individuals and every Middle School student learns to play a band or orchestral instrument and to read music, and all undertake external Voice Examinations of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). In recent years two of its students have won Top in the World awards in Art and Design in the Cambridge Outstanding Learners awards programme.
Musical ‘Guys & Dolls’. The school produces 4 musicals each year across the school As Headmaster Neil Richards explains: ‘It certainly helps to have a beautiful 44 acre campus and some outstanding boarding and sporting facilities, but there is a vibrant pulse to this school that is very difficult to explain. With an extremely low staff turnover, it is easy to develop and strengthen shared values across our community. It is a very happy place.’ Universities seem to agree; since the start of this current academic year 151 universities from 17 countries have sent representatives to the school with both Russell Group and Ivy League institutions well represented – the Headmaster smiles wryly, ‘I don’t believe it is solely to do with its tropical location, but I have no doubt that it helps.’ It is probably this happy mix of realism and idealism that grounds the unique philosophy of the school, yet somehow for the young people in its care it also seems to make all things possible.
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 39
The benefits of nurturing a child’s native language
ultilingualism and multiculturalism are significant assets in our increasingly interconnected world, and open doors for careers, study and friendships. Extensive research around the world into the impor tance of native language maintenance and development has shown clear benefits to an individual’s emotional well-being, and that a strong native language suppor ts the acquisition of additional languages. Children who are able to maintain and develop their native language generally enjoy a significant advantage in school and throughout life. At International School Bangkok (ISB), our community is extremely multilingual and multicultural. Our students come from over 60 countries and many of our learners speak more than two languages fluently. Across the school, from Pre-K to Grade 12, there are more than 40 different languages spoken. We recognize the incredible value this brings to our learners, to their families, to their overall development, and to our entire community. ISB offers
numerous languages for both native and non-native speakers, many up to International Baccalaureate level.
It’s beyond vocabulary, grammar and textbooks
At ISB, we believe that language is at the heart of human communication, thinking, and feeling and that it is a marker of identity and culture, helping us to make sense of ourselves, our perspectives and our world. We believe that it is the right of our students to maintain their own language and be empowered to acquire other languages whenever possible. Independently and through par tners, ISB offers robust programs that focus on language and culture, and we work closely with parents to develop strategies to best nurture their child’s native language. “We have lived overseas now for more than 7 years, and we’ve always found it very important for our children to stay up to date with the Dutch language and culture,” ISB parents Roel and Emilie Huisman shared. “We’ve found the classes at ISB, through the Dutch Cultural Society, to be really great. Many of our Dutch friends have returned to The Netherlands from ISB, and their children have entered the Dutch system with no problems. One day, if we return to The Netherlands, we want to know that our children could do the same.”
Language learning happens best when learners:
• Understand the nature of learning and how it connects
40 ScandAsia • April 2018
across and between languages • Understand the concept of their own culture and how it compares/contrasts to other cultures • Display cultural sensitivity to diverse perspectives • Actively dialogue with others through effective listening, questioning, and responding • Use metacognitive skills to monitor and direct the process and product in pursuit of a goal • Engage with high cognitive, authentic, language-rich learning experiences • Are exposed to engaging, challenging and culturally inclusive practice • Have oppor tunities to access their native language during their learning in other classes, as appropriate to the task at hand • Experience a strong home-school partnership
It takes a community
As with any program of study, ensuring that all the needs of the child are being met is the strategy for ensuring growth and success. Emotional and social support, alongside acceptance and a sense of belonging, form the foundation for this success. “We are so impressed that the school is so inclusive, and the families are really a part of the school. Also there are so many people that care about our kids from assistant teachers, teachers, specialist teachers, and coaches to counselors; and classes and groups are small. ISB does a great job with the counselors helping students to settle in, and the kids at the school are so used to people coming and going that they are all very welcoming.” ISB’s diverse community is not lost on the learners either. “I like ISB because everyone is from different countries,” shared Emilie and Roel’s Elementary aged son. A multilingual environment not only helps to nurture students and their language learning, but it also provides the setting for rich and powerful intercultural experiences. These experiences foster acceptance and understanding and help to develop one of ISB’s key aims for our students: global mindedness.
Start where you are
When families join ISB, their native languages are at varying proficiencies. Some come to Thailand directly from their home country, and their native language learning is balanced with English language learning. Some have been abroad for some time and are conversational with limited or no written proficiency. Some have acquired a non-native language in an immersion setting and exhibit proficiency in that language at a native level. Whatever the level at which students begin, we encourage families and provide support to nurture and develop the native language—because the benefits for all of us are overwhelming clear.
International School Bangkok We love ISB because of its rich educational program, its inclusive community, its facilities and its caring staff. We love that our children can ride their bikes safely in the community and that they can take part in Dutch language and culture classes. Wij zijn heel erg blij op ISB!
Huisman Family, from the Netherlands, (Part of the ISB community for over 2 years)
Phone: +66 (0) 2963 5800 | www.isb.ac.th
April 2018 â€˘ ScandAsia 41
Bangkok Prep Secondary Campus Officially Opened!
he new Secondary Campus situated just less than 3km from the Primary campus, which opened at the start of the 2017/18 academic year, offers fantastic opportunities for student learning through technologically advanced classrooms, ‘break-out’ learning spaces and Sixth Form study areas. A 400+ seat auditorium and the smaller ‘black box’ drama facility with professional lighting and sound equipment have been prepared for full scale musical and theatrical productions. In line with our goal of developing high achieving yet well-balanced students, our new campus provides Bangkok Prep students with a wide range of facilities to support their well-being. Such as the FIFA regulation Football pitch that also has a four lane running track on its rapid draining AstroTurf. Tennis courts, an Olympic sized swimming pool and an indoor Sports Hall that can accommodate two fixtures with its double courtspacing can support basketball, badminton, volleyball and netball. The Fitness Centre, Dance and Gymnastic studios add to the breadth on offer. Besides these excellent facilities, our teaching is tailored as much as possible to accommodate individual learning styles and needs and encourages our students to flourish, grow in self-confidence and, above all, fulfil their potential. Bangkok Prep employs high quality teachers who are well qualified and 42 ScandAsia • April 2018
experienced in the delivery of the English National Curriculum, GCSE and A level. All our staff members are dedicated to the promotion of high quality learning. Our favourable teacher-student ratio and excellent resources help ensure our students’ success, whatever their age or ability. Students and teachers have now settled into the new campus and are enjoying the amenities on offer at T77, Bangkok Prep Secondary campus. The future looks bright. We welcome all prospective students for a visit anytime.
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 43
A New Campus and New Beginnings Starting August 2018, your child will be able to learn and grow at our brand new purpose-built campus on Dairy Farm Road! We have age-specific learning pods to foster a sense of community, language clusters for an immersive learning experience and more. GESS is an international school in Singapore with a long tradition of developing confident, forwardlooking students through a celebration of respect, openness and inclusiveness. GESS offers a choice between the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and German curriculum and has a robust language programme. The school caters to students aged 18 months to 18 years.
German European School Singapore 72 Bukit Tinggi Road, Singapore 289760 http://info.gess.sg/international-school-insingapore-new-campus
! g n i v o are m pus cam w e n r Ou ugust A n i s n ope
CONTACT US NOW! Admissions Hotline
+65 6461 0881
WE ACCOMMODATE DREAMS
There is space for all big dreams on our new campus!
The contemporary facilities will enable our multi-talented student body to breathe life into ideas, push the limits of their athletic training and expand the possibilities when performing. Key Facilities: • Indoor Sports Hall • Olympic-Sized Swimming Pool • 400-Seater Auditorium • Design Technology Studios • Visual Arts Studios • Cooking Lab • Black Box Theatre German European School Singapore
2 Dairy Farm Lane 677621
Hillview Station (DT3) Downtown Line MRT
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
CPE registration number: S72SS0010G | Registration period: 22 June, 2017 – 21 June, 2023
OUTDOOR LEARNING RULES AT CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
utdoor learning plays an integral part of a student’s education at Canadian International School (CIS) in Singapore. No matter the age or subject, CIS aims to extend lessons into the outdoors whenever there is the opportunity for students to learn in a purposeful manner. Amanda Saunders, Junior Kindergarten teacher at CIS’ Tanjong Katong campus, explains why CIS is so passionate about outdoor learning and what it looks like at the school.
Why outdoor learning is important
Sharpening brain development, creativity, teamwork, independence and social and gross motor skills, are just some of the tremendous benefits children gain from learning in a natural environment.The experience also creates memorable and authentic learning experiences (if you think back to your most memorable childhood experiences, I bet most of them were outside!), and generates a greater awareness of the environment. Unfortunately however, modern-day distractions and limited natural environments in residential areas, often mean children miss out on these huge learning opportunities.
CIS’ outdoor learning programme
At CIS we are committed to giving each student from grade 1 right through to grade 12, the chance to enjoy the benefits of outdoor learning. The length and focus of our programmes varies depending on the age group. In Kindergarten, outdoor learning is inquiry and play-based and takes place most of the time in our Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC). In the older grades, it involves lessons in our ODC as well as field trips, excursion week and Open Minds – hands-on learning experiences in settings, such as
46 ScandAsia • April 2018
Fort Canning, Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve and the Eco Garden at the Science Centre.
Outdoor Discovery Centres
A key feature of our outdoor learning programme is our enchanting Outdoor Discovery Centres located at both our Tangjong Katong campus (east of Singapore) and Lakeside campus (west of Singapore). These centres are used as an extension of our indoor classrooms and support learning in ways that extend far beyond a traditional playground. Our children love everything about these spaces, but here are four extra-special features: #1 Mud kitchen: It’s here that our kindergarten students slip off their shoes and get mud between their toes. In doing so, they explore math concepts such as pouring, measuring and capacity and develop sensory and language skills. #2 Herb garden: By tending to the gardens, our students learn about the importance of health, nutrition and the role the environment plays in growing food. #3 Eco pond: From the soothing waterfall to the colourful fish, turtles, dragonflies and plants, children develop an understanding of the importance of water ecosystems. #4 Sound garden: Our students discover wonderful sounds made by playing with chimes, plastic buckets and other items attached to the purpose-built walls. Outdoor learning at CIS is a fundamental par t of our approach to providing our students with a balanced education. It is not just something we do every now and then, but instead what we try to do every day! To find out more about CIS’ outdoor learning programme feel free to sign up for our next Open House on 26 April. Alternatively, you can contact our Admissions team on +65 6734 8088.
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 47
A revolutionary Finnish model to create the school of the future
For sure, all the digital disruption and changes of all business models and the way we will go about our lives in the future is putting pressure and new expectations on the education and schools. The solution comes from Finland.
By Joakim Persson
inland is spot on when it comes to education that fits today’s increasing digitalisation and the skillsbased future. Many of its schools are on their way with this, embracing what is called phenomenonbased learning. And such a path in fact requires systematic change to our schools. In focus is the book ‘How to create the school of the future – Revolutionary thinking and design from Finland’, written by Pasi Mattila and Pasi Silander, experts in learning environments and digitalization. It provides a vision and the basis for development as well as ways of leading a change when moving from a traditional school towards the school of the future. It states that
48 ScandAsia • April 2018
while Finnish schools prepare students well for their future technology and internationalisation have changed the nature of the work. Education and the school must be continuously developed so that they can keep up with the times. In this way, they will continue to offer a basis for future work, in which thinking skills, social interaction and information processing and production skills are emphasised. The task for all educators worldwide is to provide kids with the adequate skills they will need in their life. “Education is a global issue and the challenges are quite similar in all the countries. In that sense we think it’s very important to publish the book based on some basic ideas we have done in Finland and give innovative ideas to other
It’s is not just about the teacher in front of the classroom – we have to have a totally different learning environment
nations and schools.The situation is quite similar for example in neighbouring countries,” says author Pasi Silander who has background in learning psychology and pedagogy as well as in computer science. “Education system change and curriculum reform are topical issues everywhere.” Among other things, Paso has led the digitalization strategy process of the Helsinki City school district. “We had so many visitors from the U.S. wanting to come to Helsinki and learn about our digitalisation and this phenomenon learning and build up the schools of the future, and we could not take them all. Then I decided to build the website, phenomenaleducation.infos.”
n Finland, he says, the timing is right because of the new curriculum: “Teachers are very willing to change pedagogy and the education. And the main reason is that they see that students need a new set of skills to survive in their future
working life and in the future global society. Critical thinking, problem-solving and design are the type of skills you cannot learn by reading books or by just having teachers telling you.” Teachers, he says, are also excited that they can utilize different kind of skills. “These 21st century skills are something we have to learn in collaboration with other students. And I think teachers and our societies see that students must learn these skills, where the old-fashioned way isn’t the right method,” Pasi continues. So, a different kind of pedagogy is needed, as a kind of deep learning giving real understanding. “The human being is a good example of phenomena: you have to understand biology, psychology, physiology, something about language and social sciences. It should be in the real authentic context.” “The school of the future is based on the idea that the students develop their skills. The education system is
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro April 2018 • ScandAsia 49
The school of the future is based on the idea that the students develop their skills
competence-based so we need to really change the existing school culture if we want to promote the learning of these new competences skills,” he clarifies. And the change needs to be systemic:“It’s is not just about the teacher in front of the classroom – we have to have a totally different learning environment.”
etting going is “quite easy” using the following method: “The best one is when teachers get to work as teams, designing teaching and learning together in multi-professional teams. And within the existing curriculum it’s very easy to find different competences and skills. I would encourage the teachers to collaborate and think together about what are the competences the kids will need in the future.” “A practical way to experience phenomenon based learning is to combine and integrate various kinds of school subjects, for example mathematics with arts, history and geography.”
Photo: Riitta Supperi 50 ScandAsia • April 2018
Also students get empowered to set up the own questions and goals. “They have to be involved in the process; to define what we do not know yet and what we want to know and learn, and need to learn to understand some phenomenon. Then one can continue using for example the case-based learning, project-based learning or students working in teams.” In the example of Helsinki’s 130 schools almost all has implemented phenomenon-based learning to some extent. “Of course some are totally into this kind of model. Then we have some schools just taking their first couple of steps. I always say: It’s not just about the model; it’s about the pedagogical knowledge and the philosophy behind the model. So, it’s not just something that you implement as it is but it’s a philosophy of all learning and teaching.” “The trickiest thing is that teachers sometimes have a sense that they will lose the control, because they must change their own profession and own mind-set; that it is more them being coaches and experts of learning and pedagogy,” says
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Pasi, in terms of the change implementation.“The information could be in the newspapers and the information is not in the teachers’ heads anymore or in the school books and this is the big transition so teachers have to change their mind-set that it’s no longer so much about them being experts in the subject domain anymore.”
ven in Finland this is nothing short of challenging: “In fact it has meant a huge shift also there, because Finnish teachers are very traditional and our education system is very traditional – way more than in for instance Sweden. Still, we have managed to change it step by step. It’s not any easy process and of course it takes time.” “Eventually teachers will need to have different skills in the future in order to provide the students with these. In Finland we have a nice model how we help the teachers with in-service training.” As for information technology it can be used to enrich teaching and increase its methodical diversity. “But it’s also about how to use the technology. A big question is what kind of pedagogical processes we can enable via digital technology. And what is the pedagogical added value? And I always say: We do with the technology something that is impossible to do with a pen and paper. Then we get the new idea how the technology can be a tool for our thinking and learning and is more or less a cognitive tool.”
The book phenomenon-based learning book helps with the decision to develop schools and learning environments. It is even more important to know how to take the first steps in development, how to start the development and what to invest in – so that the change process can begin, states the authors. “You cannot copy the system as it is but it can give you ideas and new tools how to develop your own school or school district. That was our idea: to have tools for thinking, a base for the development of new ideas and making the local development. I believe that we have to empower the schools to develop themselves. Anyone else cannot develop; it has to be the teachers and principals in the schools,” states Pasi. The on-going digital transformation is really the trigger. “And it’s a really big issue because we also realise that with the existing education methods and system we train our kids to compete with computers in the future, but will lose that competition. So we have to think up some skills that the kids will need in order to do something that computers cannot replace. I am a bit worried that not all realise how big he change from digitalisation will be and how much it will be change the professions in the future.”
April 2018 • ScandAsia 51
The Nong Khai oasis
By Henrik Vinther Nielsen he signs outside doesn’t necessarily give it away. Pale green background – a bit faded - with white letters that spell out Park & Pool Resort and may as well belong to a small motel with a dirty pool in the center and pay-per-view channels. That is far from the truth though. On the outskirts of Nong Khai, just by the train station, lies a big, isolated green oasis away from the public eye. Numerous trees surrounds the central features of Park & Pool – a pool, a restaurant and outdoor dining hall, fountains, small lakes and a general sense of seclusion even though it’s but a five minute drive from the city. As of now, the place is managed by the couple Peter Arne Jensen and Siraprapa “New” Jensen and it isn’t necessarily suited for every tourist making their way to Thailand: “This place is not for the kind of people who want to relax on a beach for two weeks. You can do that anywhere in the world.This is for those who want to see what life in Thailand is really like,” Peter says. The resort lies about a kilometer from the border to Laos – and thereby also to the enormous Mekong River.
From fisherman to entrepreneur – and fisherman again
Peter Arne Jensen is originally from the city of Esbjerg, 52 ScandAsia • April 2018
This is for those who want to see what life in Thailand is really like
located in the southwest of Denmark. It’s a harbor city relying mostly on maritime industries such as off-shore energy, freight and fishing. And Peter used to be one of the fishermen occupying the harbor – and in a sense he still is. Back in 2005 he was offered to broaden the knowledge of a certain type of fishing in Bangladesh, a type the country desperately needed to expand the seafood industry. For the first couple of years he traveled between Denmark and Bangladesh, always spending a bit of time in Thailand. But after a while he decided that the trip back to Denmark really wasn’t worth it, and he moved to Thailand for good. As he met his wife, more and more business opportunities began to emerge: Her family had a certain milk-drink recipe, which they began producing for other shops, and as the production grew, the couple also began distributing and selling clothes in shops around the area of Nong Khai. And meanwhile the small business imperium grew in the northeastern Thailand, Peter was still a fisherman – one month in Bangladesh, one month in Thailand.
Only a few months ago, the couple decided to rent and take over the Park & Pool Resort to see if it was possible to turn it into a profit. “We thought we could do better than the previous
owners and it’s looking like it. Yesterday a bus of 140 guests arrived, and generally the resort has been very well visited over the last couple of months” Peter says and gives credit to his wife “In truth New is the mind behind all this – branding the resort, managing it and making sure that it’s a place people want to visit. In reality I don’t do much around here,” he laughs. And since the couple moved in, there has certainly been some improvement. Way more staff has been added to the list, the Thai huts have been finished and overall the place is very much more efficient, than it was before – even though it takes a little while to get the food, something that’s going to change as soon as the new kitchen is ready. And they do have whatever a tourist desires, a blend between traditional Thai food and Nor thern European food. Everything from traditional phad thai to a large and greasy wienerschnitzel with potatoes can be found in the kitchen. “We aren’t making a profit from this place yet,” Peter says, “but things like social media has already increased the amount of visitors, so I hope that we should be able to turn this place into profit around October, when the season begins again.” April 2018 • ScandAsia 53
HR: The return of the Vikings
Chris Shern, Managing Director, IME (International Management Education)
Return of the Vikings
Nordic Leadership has never been more relevant “Hygge”, “fika” and the happiest people. The Nordic countries are trending internationally and taking the lead in many different categories. So, what is it that make these Viking heirs succeed in business and – apparently – life itself? And is it more than just a passing trend? By Sara Brun Nielsen
54 ScandAsia • April 2018
h r i s S h e r n , M a n a g i n g D i r e c t o r, I M E (International Management Education), together with Mr. Henrik Jeberg recently released a new book: ‘Return of The Vikings – Nordic Leadership in Times of Extreme Change’. On that occasion, Chris Shern visited Singapore to join the discussion on Nordic Leadership in the evening of March 14. But to really understand Nordic Leadership you have to understand its roots. According to Chris Shern it can be traced back to the Viking era. So, let us start with something very central to the Vikings. The Nine Noble Virtues: The virtues are derived from ancient Nordic Mythology. It is believed that the Vikings lived their lives according to this set of values.Values of which each can be found in many religions and cultures, but somehow, when you combine them they form a unique basis for leadership – and a way of living. Chris Shern interviewed 50 very different leaders with very different perspectives on Nordic Leadership as part of his research for the book. And what he found for them to have in common were qualities similar to the Nine Noble Virtues. But we will get back to that later.
When I left SAS in 2014, I started to reflect back on my career path and if there was some way I could utilise that uniqueness. I started to realize that I have a very unique insight into Nordic Leadership
“The interesting twist to Nordic Leadership is looking at the Vikings and thinking is there something deeper? The traditional association when you think of the Vikings is that they were brutal ruthless warriors and rapists, and they were that, but that was more characteristic of the time. But it was also a relatively small area that dominated a great part of Europe the north African coast, in to the middle east, deep into Russia and all the way to North America, which they discovered long before Christopher Columbus. And this is what we see in the Nordic countries today – relatively small countries that are punching above their weight and leading the way in many categories,” Chris Shern explains.
Chris Shern is no Nordic himself. He was born and raised in the farming country of Wisconsin, USA. But as a student he went to Denmark on a brief and returned 15 years after. And today, more than 30 years after, he has become a culturally integrated citizen of the North. Or as Chris Shern would put it: An outsider-on-the-inside. For more April 2018 • ScandAsia 55
Chris Shern presenting his Nordic leadership thoughts, based on the new book. than 20 years Chris Shern worked in a truly Nordic company – Scandinavian Airlines, and he also worked internationally and promoted the entire Nordic region. His last position in SAS was the General Manager for Italy and the Eastern Mediterrenean. He has worked under Swedish, Danish and Norwegian bosses and has himself supervised Swedish, Danish and Norwegian employees. This outsider-on-the-inside perspective has given Chris Shern a unique opportunity to reflect upon the qualities of Nordic Leadership. And to strengthen the book’s shades and perceptions on the topic, his co-author, Henrik Jeberg, works in the opposite position in America as an insider-onthe-outside. “When I left SAS in 2014, I started to reflect back on my career path and if there was some way I could utilise that uniqueness. I started to realize that I have a very unique insight into Nordic Leadership,” Chris Shern explains. And Nordic Leadership is indeed a hot topic these days. The Nordic countries rank first year after year when it comes to being the happiest people on Earth. Dozens of books are being written about Swedish “fika” or Danish “hygge”. For Chris Shern the question was really: Is this just a trend or is there something more going on? Maybe the Nordic approach bears more relevance to the times we live in – the Times of Extreme Change. And so, to understand why Nordic Leadership is more relevant nowadays, you will 56 ScandAsia • April 2018
need to understand what is meant by Extreme Change. “Some people maybe call it a VUCA world – volatile, uncer tain, complex and ambiguous. You also hear about a Post-Industrial era. We are entering a different time, a digitalized, globalized and connected world and all the opportunities and challenges that that can create. There is not a single industry or business model that is neither being disrupted or has a threat of being disrupted. And one thing is certain: Things will never be going as slow as they are right now – we will be entering a time where the rate and speed of change will only be increasing in the amount of complexity,” Chris Shern explains. To Chris Shern the thinking was, that the Nordic approach to leadership is better equipped than others to meet the challenges of a chaotic future. Gone are the days when a boss could sit back and hold on to all the knowledge and information and you repeatedly had to go and ask him whether you can or cannot do something. What Chris Shern saw among the Nordic leaders was courage to delegate great responsibility to their employees, and for the employees to have the discipline and self-reliance that is needed to handle great tasks. This kind of corporation is depending on fidelity and for everyone to take an honour in their work. Chris Shern also found that all the people he interviewed were driven by something more than just making money. It was about having a purpose and giving back.
Fr. left: moderator Dar yl Dunbar, Horst Wasel (Atlas Copco), Sigrid Margrethe Shrødter Teig, Søren Kvorning (Danfoss), Minna Rouru (Kone) and Chris Shern at Nordic Leadership event in Singapore.
And now back to the Nine Noble Virtues.
“The Nine Noble Virtues was not about right or wrong or punishment from God, it was more about trying to be the best person you can be. The Vikings were very innovative and very good at incorporating other cultures, even the countries that they conquered. They were good at incorporating that to their own culture and also bringing it back home. And women played a very important role in Viking culture, also on the battle field. The virtues are not uniquely Nordic in any way, but maybe the combination of them is,” Chris Shern explains. In Nordic Leadership today, you can find the same flair for incorporating other cultures and adapting the Nordic culture to the environment in which the business exists. This allows the companies to get their business on the international market successfully. You could call it hospitality.
Trust is essential
Being an American, Chris Shern is very familiar with the opposite kind of leadership. Rigid management control systems and strict hierarchical leadership. A highly efficient way of working in industrial times. But that kind of approach requires simpler societies and is no longer compatible with the world of today. People in business today – from top to bottom – need to have an entrepreneurial mind-set and
to have some level of industriousness and perseverance, and a key word here is trust. Trust is essential for the low power distances that characterizes Nordic Leadership. And this is where we see the virtue truth. Trust is completely depending on people to be honest about their abilities and challenges. “One of the most important aspects is a high level of trust. A high level of trusting society, a high level of trust within leadership. And that is why you have low corruption and you pay your taxes relatively willingly,” Chris Shern explains. While being the strength of Nordic Leadership, this may also be Nordic Leadership’s weak spot. When you trust, you become vulnerable. Chris Shern tells, that many of the people he interviewed had been taking advantage of, exactly because of their high level of trust. Still the basic approach of trusting people, delegating and allowing others to be creative within structure has proven so extremely effective, that it is worth taking the risk. And in times of Extreme Change, it might be absolutely essential. “What we want to do with this book is to inspire. It is all about personal and business development. And we are going to be faced with the necessity to continue to learn, unlearn and relearn. This kind of continuous development is going to be more necessary now than ever before. It is not a trend,” Chris Shern states. April 2018 • ScandAsia 57
HR: My latest position
Previous position: Senior Complex Program Manager, IBM Asia
Previous position: General Manager Hotel Royal Bangkok @ Chinatown, latest 4 Star Hotel in Chinatown with 290 rooms.
New position: AVP, Head of Agile Transformation Asia, Manulife Asia
y role is as executive responsible for top to bottom organizational-wide transformation to a new agile way of working, to suppor t the transformation to drive Manulife to become a leading health and financial services technology company. What is/will be most challenging with your new position? Getting people to adopt and embrace the new agile way of working and reorganization of the whole organization onto focusing on product rather than projects Who should contact you in your new position? Fellow Agile and Digital Transformation practitioners and leaders How is working in Asia different from back home in your profession? In the western world Agile is common sense to most teams and organizations, where in Asia it is very much a buzz word in the market at the moment.
New Position: General Manager Oakwood Residence Sukhumvit 24 Bangkok, contemporary property consisting of 112 modern and stylishly apartments.
he proper ty is under higher rate and competing as well with higher standards, which I find better fit into my previous experience; DM for better exposure of the property to attract new guests is under my responsibility as GM. What is/will be most challenging with your new position? Most challenging is that the previous General Manager left nine months ago and the employees have been without a manager for a long time. This is showing in guest feedbacks and expected maintenance in the property areas, so now its time of an urgent change and everyone need to be onboard. Who should contact you in your new position? Everyone who needs a room, advise of the area or other; agents, direct reservations, anyone in need of a talk. How is working in Asia different from back home in your profession? Time, nothing will be done within an hour. Learning of the culture and whom I’m working with, understanding the team members’ knowledge and experience, their loyalty, as well as team members’ expectations and impression of me as manager is different between my work in Europe and Thailand.
Let ScandAsia know if you would like to be featured/started a new position! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 58 ScandAsia • April 2018
April 2018 â€¢ ScandAsia 59
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