US should not politicize Internet

People pose in front of a display showing the word ‘cyber’ in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica December 27, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]


Security and other issues related to cyberspace have increasingly affected international relations, leading to a war of words among some major world powers. Openness and freedom are the two basic features of the Internet, through which information freely flows from one person to another and from one country to another, and that is why “freedom” is said to be the founding stone of cyberspace.

But this freedom cannot be limitless and should not challenge the normal order of cyberspace. As Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, once said, freedom is the purpose while order serves to protect it. Freedom and regulation are not mutually contradictory. Instead, they are two sides of the same coin.

Besides, since cyberspace, despite being called the virtual world, is intimately connected with the real world, chaos in the former can lead to disastrous consequences in the latter. The riots that rocked London, Birmingham and several other cities in the United Kingdom in 2011 after the death of a black UK citizen and flared up thanks to social networks are a good example of how lack of order in the virtual world can cause mayhem in the real world.

To prevent such tragedies from happening and since all freedoms come with responsibilities and limits, most countries have enacted laws to regulate cyberspace. But some countries, to fulfill their narrow interests, try to politicize the laws that other countries have implemented as a safeguard against the bedlam the misuse of cyberspace could unleash on society.

Take the US for instance. For the past several years, based on its claim that freedom of the Internet is a universal right, it has been trying to promote cyberspace as a public domain together with the Antarctica, the oceans and space, and has thus been avoiding the issue of national sovereignty.

The US’ efforts reek of hegemonic philosophy. In fact, the US has been spreading its ideology in other countries through many websites and social networks, so as to trigger political disputes in societies that adhere to political philosophies other than that propounded by Washington. We should not forget that countries like Libya have become victims of the US’ promotion of Western-style democracy.

Another reason for the US to talk about freedom of the Internet is to serve its trade and protectionist policies and cause trade frictions with other countries. With its modern technologies and global influence, Washington has been trying to help US-based enterprises enter other countries’ markets on the pretext of defending free trade. When Google was pulled up by the Chinese government for violating the country’s laws, the US government ironically accused China of not being a “free” country.

As a result, politicization of Internet freedom has become an obstacle to international cooperation. With the dispute over Internet freedom already a major international issue, countries with different understandings of cyberspace accuse each other of violating rules. Some of these differences have even led to trade frictions and protectionist measures.

Worse, other political issues are involved in the disputes over Internet freedom, which can easily turn into wider conflicts and make it more difficult for the related countries to resolve the existing issues.

Therefore, to boost global cooperation countries across the world should avoid pointing the finger against each other to prove whose Internet rules are better.

The author is a senior researcher in cybersecurity at China Center for Information Industry Development, affiliated to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

By Liu Quan (China Daily)


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Nobel Prize for Chinese traditional medicine expert who developed malaria cure

Developed for Communist troops fighting in the Vietnam War, Tu Youyou’s treatment was major breakthrough in global fight against malaria

Tu Youyou, right, working with Prof Lou Zhicen in the 1950s (Xinhua via AP)

Video: Nobel Prize for Chinese traditional medicine expert who developed malaria cure

A Chinese scientist who pioneered a malaria treatment for Communist troops fighting America in the Vietnam War has won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Tu Youyou spearheaded a secret programme set up by Chairman Mao to see if traditional Chinese herbal cures could reduce the number of North Vietnamese troops dying to malaria.

After sifting through thousands of different folk remedies, she finally unearthed a 1,600-year-old recipe using sweet wormwood that formed the basis for one of the most effective treatments ever discovered.

Under Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which saw academics as part of the despised bourgeoisie, her name was kept anonymous for decades, and until recently, even colleagues had never heard of her.

Now, though, at the age of 84, she has finally taken her rightful place in world medical history, with the Nobel judges announcing on Monday that she would be a joint winner of this year’s $960,000 award.

Pharmacologist Tu Youyou attends an award ceremony in Beijing in 2011 (Reuters)

The other two winners are Irish-born William Campbell and Japan’s Satoshi Omura, who developed avermectin, derivatives of which are used to treat river blindness and elephantiasis.

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“The two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually,” the Nobel committee said. “The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable.”
Ms Tu’s work created the drug artemisinin, which now forms part of the mainstay of malaria treatment in Africa. Used in tandem with insecticide-impregnated bednets, it is credited with helping to halve malaria mortality rates worldwide in the last 15 years.

Yet for decades, its exact origins remained unknown – as did the remarkable story of its creator, which could easily form the script for a Hollywood movie.

It begins in 1969, when Ms Tu – then a mid-career scientist – was recruited to Chairman Mao’s top-secret Project 523. Its task was to investigate cures for malaria, which in the 1960s was developing resistance to existing drugs such as chloroquine.

An illustration describing Ms Tu’s work displayed during the press conference announcing the winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize (AFP)

It was also taking a heavy toll on the armies of China’s communist ally, North Vietnam, who were losing more soldiers to malaria in their jungle warfare against US troops than they were to American bombs or bullets.

At the time, the quest for an effective alternative to chloroquine had baffled the world’s scientific community, which had tested some 240,000 different compounds without success.

It was then that Ms Tu, who had studied both Chinese and Western medicines, began reviewing some 2,000 ancient herbal recipes from the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing.

One of them, written in a 1,600 year old text called “Emergency Prescriptions Kept Up One’s Sleeve”, recommended soaking sweet wormwood in water and then drinking the resulting juice.

Tried out first on mice and monkeys, it proved highly effective, although it then had to be tested to see if was harmful of humans. As head of the research group, Ms Tu volunteered to be the first test subject herself. Subsequent trials on labourers who had caught malaria while working in dense forests proved that it could banish malarial parasites from the bloodstream within just over a day.

While such a discovery might have won Ms Tu considerable fame in the West, in Maoist-era China, she gained no kudos at all. At the time, scientist and intellectuals were viewed with suspicion at best, with Ms Tu’s husband having been banished to the countryside, and the idea of an individual scientist claiming credit for a breakthrough sat uneasily with Maoist notions of collective endeavour. Tu was not even allowed to publish her findings until 1977, a year after Mao’s death, and even then, her contribution remained anonymous.

News of her work only emerged in the West when Louis Miller, an American research scientist, met Chinese scientists in 2005 and chanced to ask who had discovered artemisinin. Intrigued at the blank stares that his question produced, he began investigatingin detail.

An illustration describing the research on roundworm infections by Nobel Medicine Prize winners (AFP)

Various official paperwork – much of it once secret – revealed it to be Ms Tu, who by then was living in a shabby apartment block in Beijing. At the time, she was known by colleagues as “The Professor of the Three Nos”, since she had no post-graduate degree, was not a member of any national academy, and had no foreign research experience.

While Ms Tu received America’s top medical accolade, the Lasker award, in 2011, this is the first time that any expert in Chinese traditional medicine has been awarded a Nobel.

“This is indeed a glorious moment,” said Li Chenjian, a vice provost at Peking University. “This also is an acknowledgement to the traditional Chinese medicine, for the work began with herbal medicine.”

Artemisinin-based drugs are now routinely used by pharmaceuticals giants like Sanofi and Novartis in the fight against malaria, which still kills half a million people a year.

It is not yet clear whether the ageing Ms Tu will attend the Nobel annual award ceremony, which takes place on December 10. Each winner will also get a diploma and a gold medal.


Nobel Prizes 2015

Pic: AP/Fernando Vergara

Nobel Prize for Medicine

Awarded jointly for discoveries that assisted the treatment of infections caused by roundworm parasites, and Malaria
  • William C Campbell & Satoshi Omura
  • Youyou Tu

Nobel Prize in Physics

Awarded jointly “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass”
  • Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Awarded jointly to three people for “mechanistic studies of DNA repair”
  • Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar

Nobel Peace Prize

  • To be announced 9 October

Prize for Economics Science

  • To be announced 12 October

Nobel Prize in Literature

  • Awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich
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China’s Long March-6 new carrier rocket succeeds in carrying 20 satellites to space

A new model of China’s carrier rocket Long March-6 carrying 20 micro-satellites blasts off from the launch pad at 7:01 a.m. from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province, Sept. 20, 2015. The new carrier rocket will be mainly used for the launch of micro-satellites and the 20 micro-satellites will be used for space tests. (Xinhua/Yan Yan) 

China successfully launched a new model of carrier rocket, Long March-6, at 7:01 a.m. Sunday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province.

The rocket carried 20 micro-satellites into the space for space tests.

The new rocket, fueled by liquid propellant made of liquid oxygen and kerosene, is China’s first carrier rocket that uses fuel free of toxicity and pollution, said Gao Xinhui, an official at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

“Using such propellant can cut costs by a great margin,” he said.

Zhang Weidong, designer-in-chief at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said the new rocket also “reformed the way carrier rockets are tested and launched in China.”

“Loading, testing and positioning were finished when the Long March-6 rocket was at a horizontal position, before it was lifted to an upright position for launching,” he said.

“We believe it will greatly boost the competitiveness of Chinese carrier rockets in the international market. The new model will also significantly improve our abilitiy to access space,” said Zhang.

The launch on Sunday has tested the feasibility and accuracy of the rocket’s design as well as other new technologies.
The new carrier rocket will be mainly used for the launch of micro-satellites.

The rocket is the 210th mission by the Long March rocket family. In 1970, a Long March-1 rocket sent China’s first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, or “the East is Red”, into Earth orbit. – Xinhua

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China launches new carrier rocket with 20 satellites

MH370 Debris found in Reunion may give clues on when plane part broke

The pilots of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are Forst Officer Gambar Fariq Abdul Hamid, left, and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah at right.

lkl coren mh370 malaysia airlines ceo yahya_00004318.jpg

malaysia flight 370 all lives lost mg orig_00010727.jpg

mh370 victim families lklv ripley _00005216.jpg


Saint-Denis, Reunion Island (CNN)When investigators get an in-peA policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. The two-metre-long debris, which appears to be a piece of a wing, was found by employees of an association cleaning the area and handed over to the air transport brigade of the French gendarmerie (BGTA), who have opened an investigation. An air safety expert did not exclude it could be a part of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YANNICK PITONYANNICK PITON/AFP/Getty Imagesrson view of a wingcomponent that likely came from a Boeing 777, they’ll be looking for not only a serial number but cluesas to why the part broke off the Boeing 777.

Story highlights

  • Independent group says damage appears to indicate flaperon came off while plane was in air
  • Plane debris will be sent to investigators in France on Friday, official in Paris tells CNN
  • Investigators confident debris found on an Indian Ocean island comes from a 777 aircraft
One group of independent observers said Thursday that the damage to the component — a right wing flaperon — should give authorities a good indication that the piece came off while the plane was still in the air.
The group, led by American Mobile Satellite Corp. co-founder Mike Exner, points to the small amount of damage to the front of the flaperon and the ragged horizontal tear across the back.
The rear damage could have been caused if the airliner had its flaperon down as it went into the ocean, some members of Exner’s group wrote in a preliminary assessment after looking at photos and videos of the component.
But the lack of damage to the front makes it more likely the plane was in a high-speed, steep, spiral descent and the part fluttered until it broke off, the group said.
Boeing and Australian officials are confident the debris — found Wednesday off the coast of a remote island in the west Indian Ocean — came from a Boeing 777 — and might be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a 777 that disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The plane debris will be transported to France on Friday evening, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the piece will arrive in Paris on Saturday and will be sent to Toulouse, the site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.
Exner’s group — an informal cadre of aviation experts — said that if the flaperon were still on the wing when the plane hit water, the front would have been damaged by hitting the part of the wing to which it was attached. And the rear damage looks like it was caused by stress rather than being bent and broken off when the plane hit the water.
But an aircraft component specialist who spoke to CNN disagreed.
The lack of damage to the front section “tells me that the component could still have likely been back in its original position inside the wing itself,” said Michael Kenney, senior vice president of Universal Asset Management, which provides plane components to airlines.

‘Highly confident’ component from Boeing 777

Boeing investigators are confident that debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean comes from a 777 aircraft, according to a source close to the investigation.
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, agreed.
“We are highly confident but it still needs confirmation that it is a part from a 777 aircraft,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “The only 777 aircraft that we’re aware of in the Indian Ocean that could have led to this part floating is MH370. But as I said, we still need to confirm that through closer study.”

People cleaning a beach found the debris Wednesday on Reunion, a French overseas territory in the western Indian Ocean.
The source said Boeing investigators feel confident the piece comes from a 777 because of photos that have been analyzed and a stenciled number that corresponds to a 777 component. A component number is not the same as a part number, which is generally much longer.
Images of the debris also appear to match schematic drawings for the right wing flaperon from a Boeing 777. A flaperon helps the pilot control the aircraft. It is lightweight and has sealed chambers, making it buoyant.
Despite this confidence, no one is saying the part definitely comes from a 777, much less MH370.
Finding the debris is a “significant development” in the search for MH370, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.

More debris

New debris, which washed ashore Thursday and appears to resemble remnants of a suitcase, is also part of the investigation, Reunion Island police officials confirmed to CNN.
The flight vanished March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing. So far, no confirmed trace of it has been found, making it one of history’s biggest aviation mysteries and leaving relatives of passengers and crew members uncertain about the fate of their loved ones.
A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements before the Malaysian airliner disappeared.
Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN that the assessment, which was not intended for public release, was prepared months ago and was solely based on available satellite and other evidence.
The U.S. intelligence assessment was largely focused on the multiple course changes the aircraft made after it deviated from its scheduled Kuala Lumpur to Beijing route. Analysts determined that, absent any other evidence, it’s most likely someone in the cockpit deliberately moved the aircraft to specific waypoints, crossing Indonesian territory and eventually toward the south Indian Ocean.
Malaysian investigators haven’t reported finding any evidence that casts suspicion on the pilots.
The airliner’s crew has been the focus of attention since the mysterious disappearance, but no proof has emerged indicating they intended to destroy the plane. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies from numerous countries examined the plane’s manifest of crew and passengers and found no significant information to suggest anyone on board posed an obvious threat.

Missing plate

If it does turn out to be from Flight 370, the development would reassure Australian officials that they are looking for the rest of the plane in the right area, Truss and Dolan said.
Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean

Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean 02:27
“It’s credible that debris from MH370 could have reached the Reunion Islands by now,” Truss said.
Malaysia Airlines is sending a team of investigators to Paris and a second team to Saint-Denis, Reunion, on Friday, an airline official in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, told CNN.
It’s unclear how identification will be made.
Normally identification would be aided by a small serial number plate attached to a flaperon, but the part found on the beach appears to be missing the serial number plate, according to photographs.

Other markings may be found on the part, said Kenney, the executive from Universal Asset Management.

Australia is leading the underwater search for the remains of Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, some 2,300 nautical miles (3,700 kilometers) east of Reunion. But Truss said that French and Malaysian authorities will be responsible for establishing whether the debris found off the island came from the missing jetliner.

Australia has offered its help, he said, including asking marine experts to look at photos of the debris to determine whether barnacles on it are “consistent with something that was floating in the oceans for 16 months or more.”



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American FBI’s China accusation spurred by finance, not a good idea to spy on friends!

On Thursday last week, the FBI released a film entitled The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets, which targets economic espionage. The 35-minute film features two Chinese economic spies who try to bribe a US employee with money, attempting to acquire insulation technology from the latter’s company. The two were later prosecuted and caught in the net of justice. According to media reports, the video has already been shown nearly 1,300 times at US enterprises.

An FBI official publicly voiced that “China is the most dominant threat we face from economic espionage … The Chinese government plays a significant role.”

The official also declared that economic espionage has caused losses of hundreds billions of dollars annually to the US economy.

How much is “hundreds of billions of dollars?” Say $300 billion, about 2 percent of US annual GDP.

Since the FBI believes that there has been a 53 percent surge in economic espionage in the US, and 95 percent of US companies suspect that China is the main culprit, does it infer that China has stolen 2 percent of US GDP?

Some people may ponder that given the Cold War is over, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were eradicated and the war on terror is seemingly not that urgent for the moment, and in light of US federal budget constraints, the FBI needs to find new strategic reasons for more funds. Therefore, the “position” of “Chinese economic spies” has been greatly elevated.

What the FBI has done is bound to injure Sino-US relations. But it is US society that will suffer the most. Many Americans will hence think that their economy is fine, their companies have no problems at all and the only issue is the threat from Chinese economic espionage.

It looks to them like Chinese intelligence services and civilian business spies are much more powerful than the FBI, CIA and other non-governmental intelligence forces combined. China is not capable in every category except for spy technology. This is the logic of the FBI

If we take a good look at China’s overall development in this changing world, you will see that one-third of global new technical patents are now created by Chinese companies every year. Innovation has also become China’s national slogan. China will eventually be able to challenge the West’s dominance in high technology.

China is well aware that it should learn from the West, especially the US, in terms of technology. But this is not stealing.

US universities are also attracting students from all over the world, yet this brings more benefits than losses to the nation due to the dissemination of knowledge.

Someone who always claims that his house was robbed and feels free to suspect his friend or neighbor is the thief is very annoying, and that is what the US is doing right now. The whole world knows that US intelligent agencies are the most notorious regarding this issue.

We hope that the often-silent Chinese intelligence services could expose some hard evidence of espionage by US spies, and make a spy movie featuring US espionage, providing it with a mirror to look at itself.- Global Times

Not a good idea to spy on friends

THERE’s been so much dramatic news these days – from Greece’s miseries to Iran, China from blowhard Donald Trump – that the shocking story of how America’s National Security Agency has been spying on German and French leadership has gone almost unnoticed.

Last year, it was revealed that the NSA had intercepted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. She is supposed to be one of Washington’s most important allies and the key power in Europe. There was quiet outrage in always subservient Germany, but no serious punitive action.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was also bugged by American intelligence. Her predecessor, Luiz Lula da Silva, was also apparently bugged.

This year, came revelations that NSA and perhaps CIA had tapped the phones of France’s president, Francois Hollande, and his two predecessors, Nicholas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. Hollande ate humble pie and could only summon some faint peeps of protest to Washington. Luckily for the US, Charles de Gaulle was not around. After the US tried to strong-arm France, “le Grand Charles” kicked the US and Nato out of France.

Last week, WikiLeaks revealed that the NSA had bugged the phone of Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for over a decade. Imagine the uproar and cries “the Gestapo is back” if it were revealed that German intelligence had bugged the phones of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.

A lot of Germans were really angry that their nation was being treated by the Americans as a northern banana republic. Many recalled that in the bad old days of East Germany its intelligence agency, Stasi, monitored everyone’s communications under the direct supervision of KGB big brother at Moscow Centre.

The National Security Agency and CIA claim their electronic spying is only aimed at thwarting attacks by anti-American groups (aka “terrorism”). This claim, as shown by recent events, is untrue. One supposes the rational must be a twist on the old adage “keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer”.

Ironically, the political leaders listed above – save perhaps Brazil’s da Silva – are all notably pro-American and responsive to Washington’s demands.

Why would the US risk alienating and humiliating some of its closet allies?

One suspects the reason is sheer arrogance … and because US intelligence could do it. But must US intelligence really know what Mr Merkel is making Mrs Merkel for dinner?

Until WikiLeaks blew the whistle, some European leaders may have known they were being spied upon but chose to close their eyes and avoid making an issue. Raising a fuss would have forced them to take action against the mighty US.

Besides, British, Italian and French intelligence are widely believed to have bugged most communications since the 1950’s. But not, of course, the White House or Pentagon. The only nation believed to have gotten away with bugging the White House was Israel during the Clinton years. The Pentagon was bugged by a number of foreign nations, including Israel, China and Russia.

Humiliating Europe’s leaders in this fashion is a gift to the growing numbers of Europeans who believe their nations are being treated by the US as vassal states.

There is widespread belief in Western Europe that US strategic policy aims at preventing deeper integration of the EU and thwarting a common foreign policy or a powerful European military. Britain serves as a Trojan horse for America’s strategic interests in Europe.

Way back in the 1960’s, then German defence minister Franz Josef Strauss, an ardent proponent of a truly united Europe, thundered that Europeans would not play spearmen to America’s atomic knights. But, of course, that’s just what happened.

The US still runs and finances Nato in the same way the Soviet Union commanded the Warsaw Pact. Washington calls on Europe for troop contingents in its Middle East and south Asian colonial wars in the same way that the Persian Empire summoned its vassals to war.

Many Germans and French, both right and left, would like their leaders to react more forcefully to NSA’s ham-handed spying. However, Merkel and Hollande are both political jellyfish eager to evade any confrontation with Big Brother in Washington. Maybe he has too much dirt on them.

But a confrontation is inevitable one day if Europe is to regain its true independence that was lost after World War II.

By Eric S. Margolis who is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. Comments:

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Harness STEM for engineering IR. LIM CHOW HOCK, President The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia

AS Malaysia gears up to developed nation status by 2020, there is still much to do to get there.

One of the most direct ways to arrive at the vision is to ensure a sufficient and growing number of engineers.

Increase in the number of engineering students is paramount to meet the nation’s need for engineers who would implement and maintain the many economic development projects.

During his visit to the International Bureau of Education (IBE) in Geneva in April, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin spoke of the need for Malaysia to harness skills and knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Muhyiddin also pointed out that the countries which started on the same level as Malaysia had moved much further ahead, crediting it to their wisdom in making full use of STEM to boost their country’s fortunes.

As such, he emphasised the need for human capital development in STEM, which he considers vital in the national transformation process.

To achieve this, a strategy comprising a series of actionable plans must be able to support the production rates needed for generating skilled STEM human capital at two levels, namely secondary schools and tertiary institutions, to reach the target of 500,000 STEM graduates by 2020, according to Muhyiddin.

Although the solution is apparent, its execution remains challenging.

One of the factors hindering this step to greater national development is getting students to love science, or science classes. Science and mathematics as school subjects must be made interesting, easy to understand, as well as more hands-on and exploratory. This is in line with the Government’s aim for 60% science and technology-based education by 2020.

For the engineering profession, interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in school will result in more qualified students who are eligible to pursue engineering courses in universities.

Through the increase in engineering students, the nation’s need for engineers would be met. This would translate into greater implementation and maintenance of the country’s economic development projects.

The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) lauds the Government’s effort to promote interest among students to study science in schools.

Without the large number of science students, there will surely be a corresponding limitation in the ability of universities to produce the number of engineers needed.

As a national association with the nation’s interests at heart, IEM has been actively involved in conducting school career awareness talks, arranging competitions and exhibiting interesting projects on engineering to school children to promote interest in engineering. IEM has also set up IEM Student to encourage students to choose sections in various universities in Malaysia.

Engineering students are also encouraged to join IEM as Student Members which will enable them to access IEM resources and activities such as talks and networking. IEM is one of the supporting members (together with AAET, MiGHT, Utar and NSC) for the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair, an annual programme to promote interest in STEM among primary and secondary school pupils.

We believe that career prospects will be a major factor in the students’ decision in their studies and career options.

Prospects for engineers include top level positions, attractive remuneration as well as status recognition, which will be a great motivation for students to take up STEM Education and thus pursue a career in engineering.

Students must be made aware that job prospects for engineering graduates remain bright as Government allocation for infrastructure development has supported the demand for engineers.

National development towards an industrial nation has also spurred the demand for engineers.

Students, and parents too, must realise that a career in engineering is not only limited to the five traditional branches of engineering, namely Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Chemical Engineering. Through the years, engineering has expanded into many new disciplines such as Aeronautical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Maritime Engineering, Mining Engineering, Oil and Gas Engineering, among many others, which would be exciting career options for students.

The Government being the largest employer should provide equal opportunity and create a structured pathway for all science-based professionals, in particular engineers, to take up high positions in the civil service.

Recognition of the contribution of engineering success and seeing it as a pathway to top positions in the civil service will be a great motivator for students to pursue STEM education in Malaysia.
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professional engineer (P.Eng.) with the title “Ir” as required by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM).


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The great technology transformation

AFTER a week in the Silicon Valley, California last month, I came to the conclusion that I am a dinosaur. The speed of change from technology has been so fast and so profound that we are lost in transition, translation and transformation.

The digital revolution is already upon us, but the baby boomer generation, to which I belong, is having difficulty understanding this because we still upload (read) on paper, whereas the millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) upload information mostly on mobile phones, video and communicate through social media.

Demographics say a lot. At the turn of the 21st century, the baby boomers (born 1946-1964) were half the work force, but today in the United States, millenials and Gen X (born 1965-1979) are roughly one-third each. The baby boomers may own most of the retirement funds and wealth, but the new wealth is being created rapidly by the younger generations.

A simple set of statistics says it all. The Forbes top five US companies by revenue are Walmart, Exxon, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway and Apple. Walmart employs over 2.1 million people, with revenue just under US$485bil, but profits of US$16bil with market capitalisation of US$265bil. Apple, with only 80,000 employees, had double Walmart profits of US$39bil and a market capitalisation of US$725bil, larger than Walmart and Exxon put together. Twitter, with only 3,638 employees or less than 0.2% of Walmart workforce, is valued at 9.2% of Walmart. Facebook, with only 9,200 employees but 1.44 billion users, is valued at 86% of Walmart.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that Silicon Valley is booming in terms of wealth creation, California would be suffering from the economic effects of the worst drought in years. But at US$2.3 trillion, California is growing at 2.8% per annum, faster than US real gross domestic product growth of 2.2% in 2014. The Western Pacific states of Oregon and Washington are growing faster at 3.6% and 3% respectively, thanks to growing trade and services from the boom in technology.

Two things that stand out in the Digital Disruption – speed and scale. The speed and scale of the digital transformation is so fast and so wide and deep that we are all having problems valuing what it means – which is why we have a tech bubble in the making.

It is quite normal for us to accept that the Silicon Valley is the world leader in digital change, but what was eye-opening as I dug into the data is that the next waves are already happening in China and India. This has mind-boggling implications on a geo-political basis, especially for smaller economies, such as Malaysia, Hong Kong or Thailand.

What struck me from delving into the pattern of growth in the Internet Revolution is the speed and scale of change in China and India. Who would have expected even five years ago that four out of the top 15 global public Internet companies, ranked by market capitalisation would be Chinese (Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and with a combined value of US$542bil or 22.4% of the total market valuation of US$2.4 trillion of these 15 companies as of May, 2105.

China Internet

Scale and speed

The reason for this valuation is scale and speed of the Chinese transformation, already overtaking the world leader, the United States. The rate of Internet penetration is over 80% for the United States, only 40+% in China and 20+% in India. But China already has more Internet users (618 million), double the US population and its growth in smartphones is double (21%) that of the United States (9%).

Although incomes in China and India are far lower than the United States, Chinese and Indian millenials (for that matter, millenials in all emerging markets) are beginning to spend more time on their smartphones than the advanced countries.

There are two implications from this broad trend, which the Chinese Internet platforms like Alibaba and Tencent are beginning to exploit.

The first is the ease and convenience of buying, selling and paying using the smartphone – an all service tool. Partly because of regulation, the US leaders such as eBay, Amazon and Facebook are still in their core areas of strength, but Alibaba and WeChat (part of Tencent) have developed eco-systems that are simultaneously social networks, chatrooms, trading and investing platforms combined.

When I lost my Blackberry, MacBook and camera recently in Latin America, I was staggered that using WeChat on iPhone, I could go on video and instant chat with friends across half the world for free. My only constraint was the battery on my iPhone and that I had not set up to get funds transfer in case of need.

The second implication is that traditional service providers are way behind in this technology. My credit card companies are still on outdated phone-banking, which meant that in order to report lost cards, I was frantically trying to Press one, Press two and Press self-destruct! These companies are at least two generations behind in customer service technology.

Internet Revolution

My conclusion from this survey of the Internet Revolution is that the disruption from technology on conventional businesses is yet incomplete. In the 1990s, the Internet changed the music, photography, book sales and video rental business. Today, we book airline and hotel travel on the web.

But with the arrival of the iPad and iPhone, healthcare, finance, investing, education and social communications are being combined into one gadget (the mobile phone) to do what we have to.

This disruption is happening very fast in China and India, because these late-comers have no pre-conceived legacy ideas on what cannot be done with technology.

If China is currently going through its tech bubble, watch out for the next tech bubble in India.

Those who think only in terms of risks think that bubbles are to be feared. I have come to realise that the animal spirits in us change the game through excesses. But those who learn from their mistakes will create the new.

Silicon Valley is not a place but a mindset – nothing ventured, nothing gained. That mindset is truly the New Digital Transformation.

Watch this space in Asia.

Andrew Sheng comments on global trends from an Asian angle


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