Give but be gracious in receiving as well


IT’S a common enough scene at restaurants, diners fighting to pay the bill. Some say it’s a Malaysian thing.

We also know that some people give the impression of wanting to pay and are able to cleverly ensure that the wallet would conveniently stay in the pocket when the bill arrives.

I was having lunch with my wife at a restaurant recently and two gentlemen at an adjoining table, after finishing their meal, did just that. It was quite a scene, though in a good-humoured way, with the waiter caught in the middle.

I was quite tempted to tell them that if they were both so keen about paying, how about settling my bill as well.

I am not sure who paid in the end but it got me thinking about the joy of giving and receiving.

You cannot have one without the other.

And while we may say that it is better to give than to receive, without the act of receiving, you cannot let the other person experience the joy of giving.

Let me be clear here that I am not talking about bribery where it is absolutely wrong to be either the giver or the receiver, even if the corrupt think there is much joy in the process.

It is part of our human nature to give, be it of our time or our money. We feel good when we help someone who is going through a bad patch, donate to a charity or volunteer to teach at an orphanage.

And it is even better when we do all this without drawing attention to ourselves.

A wise saying puts it this way: “When you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

But what about receiving?

People who are very generous in their giving are sometimes highly uncomfortable when it comes to receiving.

Perhaps they think there is an ulterior motive involved.

So, instead of simply saying thanks, they give us the impression that the reason for our giving is suspect.

And then there are those who, even if they receive your gift, will take the next opportunity to give you something back, often of equivalent value.

So, the true spirit of giving and receiving is totally lost here.

A general rule of thumb when we are blessed by someone is to pass on the blessing, not to reciprocate or pay for it.

Because of my stints as a full-time househusband and also working for a charity organisation, it is quite normal for my friends to pay whenever we have a meal together.

Perhaps, out of habit, they still do so and I have to remind them that I can now afford to pay the bill.

Normally, to avoid a scene, I would leave my credit card or money with the waiter ahead of the meal.

Last Sunday, I was having breakfast with two dear friends when an elderly man at the next table recognised me although we had never met before. He was reading The Sunday Star and we had a nice chat.

He said goodbye and then the waiter came up to us and said our bill had been settled. Thank you Mr Wong, I certainly receive this breakfast treat from you with a grateful heart.

So, friends, today as you go out for a meal, remember this. Though it is better to give than to receive, be gracious in receiving as well. You could make someone really happy. There really is no need to fight over the bill.

> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin appreciates being on the receiving end of kind words, sincere fellowship and heart-to-heart conversations, underscoring the fact that the best things in life are not only free, but priceless.

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FCC Proposes:Fine for Google Wi-Fi snooping ‘obstruction’


By TheStreet Staf

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission has proposed fining Google(GOOG_) $25,000 for obstructing an investigation into the company’s collection of data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in 2010, according to a published media report.

 Although the FCC has decided there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the data collection violated federal rules, the commission said Google deliberately impeded the investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The probe looked at whether Google broke rules designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping when its Street View service collected and stored the data from the Wi-Fi networks, the newspaper reported.

The FCC proposed the fine late Friday night, the Journal said.

Google may appeal the proposed fine before the commission makes it final, the Journal said. The company has said that it inadvertently collected the data and stopped doing so when it realized what was going on, the newspaper added.

Shares of Google closed Friday down $26.41 at $624.60.

FCC proposes fine for Google Wi-Fi snooping case ‘obstruction’

By Zack Whittaker

Summary: The U.S. FCC has proposed a $25,000 fine after Google “impeded and delayed” an investigation into collecting wireless payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is proposing a $25,000 fine against Google for “deliberately impeded and delayed” an ongoing investigation into whether it breached federal laws over its street-mapping service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The FCC initiated an investigation in 2010 after Google collected and stored payload data from unencrypted wireless networks as part of its Google Maps Street View service. Its intended use, Google says, was to build up a list of Wi-Fi network hotspots to aid geolocation services on mobile devices through ‘assisted-GPS.

The U.S. followed suit after many European countries, including Germany, which has some of the strictest data protection and privacy laws in the world. But the European nation went one step further and told Google to withdraw its Street View cars from the country altogether.

Google also drew fire from the UK’s data protection agency after it was told it committed a “significant breach” of the UK and European data lawswhen it collected wireless data from home networks. It was audited by the regulator and was told it “must do more” to improve its privacy policies. Google said it had taken “reasonable steps” to further protect the data of its users and customers.

But the FCC stopped short of accusing Google of directly violating data interception and wiretapping laws, citing lack of evidence. The federal communications authority did not fine the company under eavesdropping laws, as there is no set precedent for applying the law against ‘fair-game’ unencrypted networks.

The FCC took the action after it believed Google was reluctant to co-operate with the authorities after the scandal emerged. An FCC statement added that a Google engineer thought to have written the code that collected the data invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to prevent self-incrimination.

Google can appeal the fine. Despite the fine being a mere fraction of the company’s U.S. annual turnover, not doing so until its legal avenues are exhausted would almost be an admittance of guilt.

The search giant eventually offered an opt-out mechanism for its location database by adding text to the networks’ router name. But further controversy was drawn after another Silicon Valley company offered an opt-out only solution.

Facebook also drew fire from the regulators after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission allowed the social networking giant to settle, allowing users to opt-in to its sharing privacy settings, rather than opting-out; seen as a major win for U.S. users’ privacy on the site.

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The best job in America is software engineer


(Credit: Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)
 
I am about to make quite a few of you feel slightly smug inside.

For all of you who happen to be reading this — and who happen to be software engineers — you have the best jobs in America.

This would not be my own verdict. For the idea of being a software engineer would turn my heart to molasses.

However, a company called CareerCast, which turns out to be yet another of the fine sites where one can find a lovable job, has no doubts that software engineer is where it’s at.

I am grateful to the Huffington Post for revealing the existence of CareerCast’s 2012 Jobs Rated Report. For it is full of edification.

You might wonder what criteria CareerCast used to reach its perhaps foregone conclusion. Well, Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook were its 5 pillars.

As all you software engineers dance your highland fling, while supping on a bottle of fine 15-year-old malt, might I toss a little ice cube your way?

You see, the second best job to have in America is actuary. Which would seem to me akin to living with a large, sharp pencil inserted in both your ears and nostrils every day of your life.

Third, improbably, was human resource manager, which is surely little more than a low-grade psychiatrist who didn’t manage to pass any medical exams.

Fourth was dental hygienist, the very smell of which would surely put many off.

A mere fifth was financial planner. I have never met one of those who could do more than map out entirely unrealistic projections, based on figures plucked randomly from the numbers line of their laptop keyboard.

It seems, therefore, that software engineer has little to beat — although lurking at number 8 is online advertising manager, at 9 computer systems analyst and at 10, mathematician.

There is something preternaturally delightful about mathematicians finally being recognized in the top 10 of anything — except least the Least Likely To Be Found Sexy list.

Even physicist appears at number 27. Yes, 8 places above parole officer.

Sadly, hair stylist is merely at position 105. So I thought I’d reach for the depths and see which jobs were deemed the worst.

Have once been one myself, I felt depressed to see garbage collector down at number 160. It was, however, still 6 places above photojournalist.

But your bottom 5, those you software engineers are supposed to most look down upon, stacks up like this: number 196 is reporter (newspaper). At number 197, oil rig worker. At number 198, enlisted military soldier. At number 199, dairy farmer.

And, finally, propping up the world of employment, we have lumberjack.

So it seems that working outdoors doesn’t rank highly for this survey. What does is being at the forefront of finding as many different ways possible for people to share their bikini shots.

by Chris Matyszczyk

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