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National Race Village to Offer River Cruises in Upcoming Tourist Season

Plans are underway for visitors to tour Union National Race Village in Thar Kay Ta Township, of Yangon Region, by taking a cruise on the Yangon River and Bago River during the next tourist season, said San Hlaing, deputy director of the village. A pontoon bridge has been built at the village where boats can harboured to cruise along the famous Yangon and Bago Rivers.

As such, boats from villages along Bago River can be used in transport of visitors to dock at the newly established pontoon bridge of the village and jetties at Pansodan and Botahtaung. During the upcoming tourism season, the Yangon River and Bago River cruises will offer visitors the chance to explore the Union National Race Village and participate in programmes allowing visitors to learn to cook and enjoy ethnic foods.

Xinjiang and Beyond

One would be forgiven if the only thing ever heard about Xinjiang is on how China abused its power, denied human rights to Uyghur muslims there, and according to wikipedia, Uyghur genocide! Lamentably, that’s how the western media and propaganda go these days. Simple and naive conclusions were drawn having never visited Xinjiang or through interviews with less than 26 people out of Xinjiang 26 million population, in a vast area occupying 1/6 of the whole of China.

Even for visitors to China, free and easy or otherwise, Xinjiang would not be on your top 10 list of places to venture out in China. Unless you are directed specifically to go there, in a country where travelling without knowing Mandarin can really be more handicapped than being in a wheel chair, you would not be journeying towards the West.

Then there is the ‘insignificant’ issue of costs. To comfortably travel to either of the two Westernmost provinces of Mainland (Xinjiang or Tibet) for a week or so, would set you back by at least $10,000 per person. Not a tiny sum for 99% of the world population.

Yes, we have been there!

Not only the capital of Xinjiang (Urumqi), but also the cities of Karamay, Ili and Hotan.

The flight from the Capital of the North (Beijing) takes close to six hours, probably akin to flight time from Singapore to Shanghai. It’s all exciting to be going to the place where most parts of the Silk Road 2,000 years ago existed, yet gazing down from the plane only greeted you with miles and miles of desolate dunes of the desert, devoid of decent settlements down there. We wonder how the traders from Constantinople managed to cross such an enormous and empty expanse, unaccompanied by contemporary modes of transportation that we are so accustomed to, at this moment.

But not all is lost here! Once you reach the town of Karamay (in Chinese, Ka La Mar Yi), you would realise this third or fourth tier town is many times bigger than most cities in other parts of the world. Karamay is an oil city. You would certainly be impressed by the power of Chinese infrastructure. Suddenly, pristine freeways leading into the city popping right out of the barren wasteland. High rise residential towers are within your next visibility, followed by a couple or so  refineries. We were told there there are two or three universities even in this faraway and lonely place, making sure that even inhabitants of one of the remote parts of China can still enjoy the essential public services to help them stand tall.

Ili (in Chinese, Yi Li)

The city of Ili is near the border with Kazakhstan. A sizeable portion of the city population speak can Kazakh language better than the urban dwellers from Kazakhstan itself (who speak Russian). Their traditions are safeguarded in full in a country where 95% of the population is Han Chinese.

We visited the Shaanxi Great Mosque of Yining city, that highlighted the historic mix of cultures of Uyghur Islam and ancient Chinese civilisation. Just outside of the mosque, there exists a ward for residents, where the majority are of Kazakh ethnicity. The houses are of Kazakh design, fused with customary Chinese hereditament. Their foods are unique and their hospitality is distinctive. Nearby of that district is the touristy and much frequented Six Star Street, the Centre of a historic neighbourhood, whose name literally derives from six main roads radiating outwards from a central point.

Ili city is also home to the only Xibe language newspaper in the world – Qapqal News. Xibe people are another ethnic minority group in China, descendants of Tungusic peoples, originally inhabitants of Siberia and Manchuria. Those wondering if this area had ever been a subject of emperors of China past, they only have to see the Xibe Ancient City surrounded by magnificently towering city walls, comparable in sight with those of Xi’an from afar.

Hotan (in Chinese, He Tian)

Hotan is essentially an Uyghur city, where 97% of the city population are Uyghur Muslims and the Hans are the minority. You can observe the long-established arts and crafts of the traditional family businesses such as making paper from the pulp of Mulberry trees. Even in a province where the universal development is behind times, comparatively speaking, infrastructure investment and government dedication to this far-flung region is at par with over the rest of the provinces in the central plains, especially in education and transport and utility infrastructure.

Urumqi (in Chinese, Oo Lu Mu Chi)

Finally we are at the metropolis of Xinjiang, Urumqi. The history of the city can be traced back to the times of the Silk Road merchants – stopping for an over night stop at the Grand Bazaar, listening to the accordion opera performers made up of Hans, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Dungans and Manchus. The former two are the dominant populace in a city of 3.5 million. Uyghur language is widely spoken here in addition to Mandarin.

Just like in countries such as Myanmar, where the western media, NGOs, their agendas and propagandas, contributed for the better part of igniting conflicts between the ethnic Muslims and the State, China has been subject to serious threats and acts of terrorism within this territory. And China has been successful in bringing peace and prosperity to this land formerly known as Uyghuristan. Absence of western social media, NGOs with ulterior motives, purportedly independent western mainstream media, helped contributed to the speedy crackdown of terrorist and those with separatist ideas.

In conclusion, most us would never truly understand something until we experience them. And experience is the best teacher for all of us. Most of the commentators on Xinjiang have never visited various parts of this great province, or met sufficiently large pool of people to disseminate the truth. In this world full of fake news, mis and dis-information, conceivably this short piece of personal encounters would serve to offer a counterbalance on the world view of this great state of Xinjiang and its friendly and peace loving populace.

Minimum Wage Increased Through Allowance

Myanmar is circumventing the potential increase of the minimum wage through an allowance. National Committee on Setting the Minimum Wage kept the daily minimum wage unchanged at 4,800 Kyats. But the cost of living increases were catered for through an allowance of 1,000 Kyats per day, starting from October 2023.

The new rate is applicable for all employees in all workplaces and factories across the country, starting from October 1 in the calculation of salaries for workers.

“The minimum wage of 600 Kyats per hour and 4,800 Kyats per day for eight hours of work have not been changed. Workers will only earn an additional 1,000 Kyats of daily allowance. If there are thirty days in a month, it means that they get their salary plus 30,000 Kyats of allowance. Some private factories have already increased their allowances months ago and they do not need to increase again now. Only factories that have not yet increased their allowance fee must comply with the scheme,” said Htain Lin, a member of the Thakayta Industrial Zone Management Committee in Thakayta Township of Yangon Region. Many of the factories in Yangon Region’s industrial zones have already practised the minimum wage of K5,800 per day well before the announcement.

Myanmar Rich Spreading their Homes to Thailand

In the ranking of top purchasers of Condominiums in Thailand, Myanmar is making its presence felt. In the first half of 2023, Myanmar ranked 8th among the countries with the highest number of condominium purchases, according to the Bangkok Real Estate Information Centre. In Thailand, the number of condo purchases by Thai citizens is going south, but purchases by foreigners are on the rise.

Among them, Chinese nationals are the most likely candidates. The value of condo in the resale markets has risen steadily since the second half of 2021, driven by a surge in purchases due to the overall re-opening of the country in the second half of last year after Covid. According to Bangkok real estate information, condominium ownership of foreigners has increased 20% over the previous year, especially in Pattaya and Phuket. In the first half of this year along, 7,338 condo units were transferred to foreigners.

China ranks the first, followed by Russia and the United States. In 2022, Myanmar ranked 6th in terms of condo purchases, and this year, it ranked 8th among the top 10 countries. According to the list published by the Real Estate Information Centre, 182 condo units were purchased by Myanmar  nationals, with an average value of seven million Baht per unit. In Thailand, Myanmar people buy condos as second home. Most purchasers prefer Sukhumvit, in Bangkok, close to MTR. Some choose a location near healthcare services, while other opts for places close to universities for their studies, said a Myanmar broker in Thailand.

Mission Impossible – Ridding Online Scams across Borders!

Unfortunately, Myanmar is now paying the price for the successive governments indetermination on getting rid of EAOs and being soft on them. Allowing them to co-exist with the Union under self administration to allowing them to build up their own armies to sanction them to go without any central government audits or monitoring may not have been an acceptable idea on the hind side.

China is also paying a price, as its hardened criminals went offshore, to avoid ID based checks at every mode of travelling and stay clear of a horde of CCTVs larger than the population of China itself. Continuing to maintain cosy relationships of EAOs such as KIA (Kachin Independence Army) and Wa in the past two decades also allow these delinquents to travel freely between vast stretches of borders, jumping in and out of the two countries at will.

Most of them are holding duel IDs, illegal in both countries. All ringleaders speak Chinese as their mother tongue. Yet EAOs in Myanmar are providing a safe heaven for them.

MI spoke to outbound tour guides in both Beijing and Nanjing. The first thing that both mentioned was that Myanmar is unsafe for Chinese tourist to travel right now. Tour guide Michael from Beijing went as far as saying that Chinese (tourists) have been kidnapped and released only after their body organ e.g., kidney has been removed. Some have disappeared. John Wu from Nanjing was slightly more diplomatic. He said he heard stories about Chinese gangs operating freely within Myanmar and Chinese visitors are advised not to go there. Both of them do not seem to acknowledge that these misdeeds happened only in the border areas and most parts of Myanmar are generally safe.

Minister Aung Naing Oo spoke recently about the same fact. He told a Chinese news agencies that the rumours are exaggerated and Myanmar is safe for Chinese tourists to visit. His statements would probably fall on deaf ears, based on our general inquiries with tour guides.

Action Impossible

Chinese government has been pressuring Myanmar to clamp down on these cross border felons. Every high level visits including the ex-foreign minister Qin Gang highlighted trans-border cyber crime. Myanmar team of top MOHA officials, including Chief of Police, headed to Beijing in September, probably to discuss how to effectively cooperate on this matter.

Yet it is easier said than done. Myanmar has no reach over the areas in which these cyber crime headquarters are located. KIA in Kachin State has no peace agreement with Myanmar government. Neither with TNLA (Tanaung Liberation Army), near Koe Kant. The government may have some control over Koe Kant but the coverage is limited due to lack of resources. Wa is totally inaccessible, not allowing any of Myanmar government personnel, let alone the Army, to pass through its checkpoints. On the southern front, the Mya Waddy border town has been a refuge for runaways from Cambodia, after the latter crack down similar online scams and casinos operating there. Mya Waddy town is partly controlled by KNU (Karen National Union)and under constant state of clashes involving the PDF and KNU. (PDF, so called People Defence Force, are part of NNCP terrorist group). How could Myanmar government stop these lawless activities in areas where it neither has reach nor could venture without committing serious military resources!

The police did take some actions by arresting some Chinese gangsters, operating out of the capital. The mastermind did escape, probably due to some tip off. People under him, including ten or so local Myanmar supervisors and staff have been arrested. Even this operation is notable, involving sting operations in U Chit Maung Road, Tamwe township, a rented accommodation in Diamond Condo along Pyay Road and an office unit in Times City Office Tower.

This only came after Chinese police raided a hotel, occupied by a group of suspects visiting a festival event in Yunnan province. Those on the run were served with arrest warrants. They include two ministerial level personnel from Wa region, including one politburo member of UWSP (United Wa State Party) and a construction minister and another a mayor of a district in Wa State.

The crimes and the victims

The online skulduggery include advance fees fraud, online gambling, fraudulent investment schemes and love romance scams. The victims are not only those conned out of their hard earned savings. The people working under the godfathers are also victims too. They all get cheated into coming to these border towns lured by better paying non-existing jobs, forced into signing contracts that they could not possibly repudiate.

We heard of so many Myanmar people, being inhumanely chained to their beds at night (so that they will not escape). We have seen videos of them being tasered with electric shocks, for being lazy or unable to meet targets. Some of them were caned like livestocks, at regular intervals. Many Indian nationals have been rescued too, in coordination with the Indian Embassy in Myanmar. They also have been tricked into coming here under the disguise of high paying job offers. Many mainstream press from the region has also reported many cases of Chinese nationals falling into the same trap. They were conned into coming here. Forced to work as slaves to con unsuspecting parties of their savings, they would be forever traumatised, even may be to the point of ending their own lives. We would never know.

This brutal and sadistic modus operandi has to be stopped. China would not be soft in law and order. So, what is the solution for Myanmar?

Resolving EAO problem is the Key

If EAO all lay down their arms, there would be peace in Myanmar. If Myanmar military lay down their arms, there would be no Myanmar anymore. We could all start from this fundamental concept.

We have tried NCA, yet as we observed from KNU, a couple of millions from NUG or possibly CIA could make the NCA agreements all disappear into thin air. The government has given them the chance to be in line, for the sake of the country. May be the time for the soft talk and meetings is over.

How can we call ourselves the sovereign government if we cannot even venture into regions or areas that are definitely within the boundaries of our country’s map! It is time to finish up the world’s longest insurgencies once and fall all. As Chairman Mao stated, “Throw one hard punch NOW, to avoid taking a hundred punches in the future!”

What a Way to Remember Provinces of China!

China has 23 provinces, including Taiwan. For a non-native of China or non-Chinese speaker, it looks like close to insurmountable to actually know all the names and locations of all of these 23 provinces. Hence, with much credit to my wife, an easy way to remember has been discovered.

But before you jump into the ‘I want to know now’ scream, a few critical points that you must know before we start – Bei, Nan, Dong, Xi, or simply North, South, East, West. Know these four words and half of the provinces are down! You can even learn a bit of Chinese words by knowing these four words and combining with Jing (or capital city). Beijing – capital city of the north, Nanjing – capital city of the south, Xijing – capital city of the west (now named Luoyang), Dongjing – capital city of the east (Tokyo or the old name of Kaifang).

Ok, shall we start? Out of the 23 let’s remove Taiwan first. There are only 22 left now.

The map of China is like a Chicken or a hen. The head of the chicken is occupied by three states (provinces); Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. 19 left now. Then we go for north south states of four; Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan. Then we are left with 15.

We then head to east west combos; Shanxi, Shangdong, Guangxi, Guangdong. Add one extra ‘a’ to Shanxi and we have a neighbouring state Shaanxi. Five more down and we are left only with 10.

Now we hit the gang of 4 Jians; Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Jiangsu, covering the east coast. Add similar sounding Gangsu to this and we are down to five.

Finally we remember starting from our neighbour Yunnan, heading northwards towards, Sichuan, Guizhou, Chongqing and Qinghai. Finally just memorise the last one, towards the east, Anhui. Hey you listed the last six instead of only five! Thats because Guanxi, in the east west combo, does not belong under provinces, but instead under five ethnic autonomous regions together with Inner Mongolia, Xinjian, Tibet (aka Xizang) and Ningxia.

Hopefully, that would give you an easier time to remember the names of provinces of China. Don’t forget the two self administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau too.

First Time in Beijing

If you are travelling to the forbidden city of the world for the first time, no amount of preparation would be adequately lay the ground work to comfortably settle yourself upon arrival. Especially if you do not speak mandarin, nervous tension and distress would undoubtedly add to your additional anxiety of going to a foreign land.

The eagle has landed

It is noteworthy for China to be able to remove Covid restrictions after a couple of painful years of zero Covid policy. Yet health declaration of travellers is still required, probably due to contact traceability requisite. That’s when the mess starts for first timers. Once you got out of the plane, the first obstacle appeared. A QR code needs to be shown to an official at the initial point of contact. That QR code is the code you get after you do the health declaration. Most of the travellers are neither informed prior to arrival nor through the airline staff of this requirement, hence the chaos begin.

In order to do the health declaration there and then, you need to first scan the QR code posted on the a couple of notice boards, past the aerobridge. By the way, all the instructions are written in Chinese! Competency in spoken Chinese is simply inadequate. In order to activate the scan to forward you to a site for completion of your health and related details, one needs an internet access. Clearly, the airport free wi-fi would be stressed out during that time from jam-packed demand, resulting in you unable to get access for a considerable period of time. Even if you activated roaming of your home country mobile, the website may not work with your domestic mobile set up. About to give up? Don’t lose heart. After most of the traffic has gone through with the required QR code, the officials at the first point of contact will hurriedly guide you to the machines that could be used to do the same thing above, with significantly lesser amount of stress. In fact there are staff there who would assist you to speed up the declaration entries on the machines. If truth be told, they were so fast filling and clicking the relevant details on the screen that I even thought they entered me as ‘female’ on the declaration.

The second point of hassle could be the police fingerprint scanning done through the machines. The process was simple enough yet the sensitivity of the finger print scanners left many frustrated after repeated attempts. There were helpers there too. Those who are not successful doing the scan were asked to move along rapidly and move onto the immigration counters. One surprising factor is the need to scan the fingerprints again regardless of whether you have done it at the previous station. All in all, travellers requiring visas would have done their fingerprint scanning three times before setting foot onto Beijing; one at their local embassy, one at police fingerprint scanning machines and for the last time, at immigration counter.

After clearing the immigration, you really began to feel like you have done yourself proud. Yet you might end up biting your lips in vexation, as you proceeded with caution down an escalator to a mini tram station, wondering aimlessly if you are in fact on the right tract. Yes, you are! Travellers have to take the tram to another terminal where the baggage collection station sits. The train stopped at one station prior to the destination, which makes a lot of passengers wonder which station they should alight. There were announcements in both English and Chinese too. Plus helpful airport personnel informing people not to alight, at half way point.

The airport was large, clean and functional. People are generally helpful despite being abrupt sometimes. Baggage collection and custom clearance were a breeze. Finally, the eagle has really landed.

Where eagles dare

Now that you are in the centre playing field of the governing body over nearly 20% of the world population, you cannot help your curiosity running amok to explore how this is effectively done and how it could be applied to other developing countries of the world.

Yet the stuff that you get yourself so familiar in the digital world is not present in this great State. No Facebook, no YouTube, no google search, gmail, map, or services, no telegram, etc. You learn how to live with WeChat. You learned that vpn (virtual private network) does not always work, especially on wifi connections. It works better on 5G mobile networks. China is the first country in the world to successfully run 5G networks. So, do not even bother to delay buying a local SIM card. This would be the first step to your enjoy digital affinity back.

The next important step is to open a WeChat account. Opening one while you are overseas or in China could itself be an anxious adventure. There would be verification requirement to be performed by an existing WeChat user, the account is device-specific and you cannot use back the same phone number or a previously used email to open a new account. If you verify your email account late, or if your WeChat friend did not react to your verification request on time, you cannot reuse that email account. May be WeChat is punishing you for being late! In fact, based on my own opinion, WeChat is probably the most difficult app account to set up. It would at least teach you the value of patience and how there would always be rules that you must follow, or else.

The pan ultimate dare is setting up a bank account, to enable WeChat pay. While it is illegal in China not to accept cash as payment, shops prefer either WeChat pay or Alipay. Especially for Myanmar nationals, it is close to impossible to open a bank account in China, at the time of writing.

Last would be the language barrier. Although most residents of Beijing can speak broken English at a minimum, from road signs to top up instructions to notices are written only in Mandarin most of the places. Restaurant staffs also speak Mandarin only. You need to grow up fast in learning one of the core languages of the world. After you challenge yourself to get all the above done, you would have exuberant feeling of having achieve some measures of success for surviving in Beijing. And the journey has not even started yet!

Obviously, if you are to list issues with any airport or immigration operations, or unique shortcomings of a country, there would be aplenty. Many of them would be more challenging than  those described above. You have to see in the context of how would any other government do it if it were to manage 1.4 billion people. China has time and again has proven its way worked. This article aims for travellers to better psychologically prepare for the upcoming trip to the capital of the middle kingdom. For a civilisation as old as the discovery of modern humans, we have many things to admire on how one could go for stability in lieu of chaos and peace and organisation instead of discord and lawlessness.

And Then There Were Seven!

If you find the first Republican debate awful, the second one being assessed as cringeworthy would be an understatement. Viewers and reviewers alike are flabbergasted by candidates talking over one another, in some cases, three candidates talking at the same time, resulting in none of them getting any message across at all to the audience. Viewers are unable to comprehend any of the words coming out of their mouths, all caught in a competition of who can outspoke the other. Similar to the first debate, moderators exhibit little or no control and their instructions went unobserved by the candidates. Candidates imply would not shut up and no one with a coherent or cogent thought were given time to express his or hers.

Other than the Donald Duck pre-scripted joke, Chris Christie impact is minimal and this second debate confirmed another wasted opportunity for him, despite being the only Braveheart to hammer the cartoon character from the beginning.

Tim Scott and Nicky Haley, both from South Carolina, performed slightly better the first debate, other than sparring between themselves over some expense claims! Both looking anything but presidential.

Pence performed the worst, even his jokes falling short on laughs from crowds. North Dakota governor Doug Burgum complained about the absence of time for him to discuss on energy issues on stage, afterwards, despite his state being among the top sellers of energy in the country. But based on his lacklustre performance encore, it would be highly unlikely for him to be able to continue for the third debate.

Vivek surprised his counterparts with his fiery and ceaseless gibberish and claims, but they all came prepared and this time was he not. He was out talked by most this time round.

The first runner-up nationwide in polls, Ron DeSantis, did reasonably ok for this debate. Rather than starting fights of his own and allowing others to attack him, he stuck to his memorised talking points on immigration, China and the economy, while bombarding Biden administration and democrats.

The smartest man turned out to be Donald Trump, who sat out the debate of the children fighting among themselves. His omnipresence was there without being actually present. Probably he be thanking them all!


Skills for New Economy

Since the heydays of Adam Smith, the importance of labor in Economics has been highlighted. We not only need to have a sufficiently large quantity of labor, but also a qualified and a quality labor force, to efficient fuel the economy forward. Countries without a large labor force, such as Singapore, or UAE, ended up importing a large pool of all categories of labor. Even developed countries with sizeable populace, such as Japan or Korea, would import, especially unskilled and semi skilled labourers to augment their professional and skilled personnel. Besides adopting suitable policies to combat the shortage on the quantity front, countries all around the globe are also doing what they can to augment the skills of their human resource.

As Lee Kuan Yew described succinctly, ‘we do not have to invade countries to rule over or enslave them. We just educate our population high enough and people would come and work for us.’ Considering even within ASEAN, unskilled workers from poorer countries such as Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar ended up working as menial labourers (maids, dish washers, construction workers, etc) in richer countries. Without developing the skills needed for the new economy, we would continue to work as maids or modern slaves forever, in the foreseeable future.

The current skills development situation in Myanmar is one of the worst in the region. The ranking among the higher educational institutions globally, is at a miserable point (6500+ for University of Yangon). Without significant changes and improvements, the ranking could only fall south. Take note that all these rankings, despite being carried out by the West, is not solely occupied by the universities of Western Hemisphere. And yes, it is possible to improve. Thirty years ago, top university in China, Beijing University or Beida, was among the top 1,000 only, i.e., its ranking was not even within top 500 universities in the world. Now Beida is #14 in the world, according to last year ranking.

Our graduates come out of universities without employable skills, short on technical expertise and modern technologies, deficient in self improvement and self learning and with much orientation towards memory works. There is considerable mismatch between the skills of our graduates and level of skills and expertise that global enterprises need. As empirical evidence of that, even in the not so complicated construction industry, HAGL/Myanmar Plaza was completed by construction workers from Vietnam. In the Dala Bridge construction, Korea main contractors outsourced the services to a Vietnam construction team, instead of team Myanmar. If all of us do not examine this to improve ourselves, we would be in the world of servitude class within the next generation.

What skills do we actually need

To be specific to Myanmar, every Myanmar citizen need a second language skills, IT, presentation and public speaking skills (in a second language). Without being able to express ourselves properly at the international level, how can we ever aspire to be managers. Our companies and economy are not like Japan, Korea, China or even Vietnam. We cannot rely on knowing our language alone. The first tier languages of English and Chinese is a must for everyone.

In terms of specific IT skills, at the basic level, the set up and use of basic IT applications, gmail, telegram, WeChat, hotspot must be familiar with everybody. We still have graduates who does not know how to install telegram or WeChat or set up a gmail account. Unbelievable!

At graduate level, applications such as word, excel, presentations, the use of ai apps should be a piece of cake. Those wanting to reach higher, programming skills are not bad either.

In countries such as Singapore, even the 6th graders are preparing their own slides and doing their own presentations in front of their classes. Most of our graduates would graduate without doing one proper report or presentation.

In addition to the hard skills mentioned prior, soft skills such as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving (not just identification), effective communication and collaboration, and knowing how to balance between speed and perfection are the key skills that employers value.

How do we develop such skills

The hard skills have to be taught and learnt, from the secondary school onwards until the end of university education. That formal education has to be augmented by self learning and education though the freely available online learning tools.

For soft skills, practice makes perfect. Read and read a lot. And sharing of the skills that you have developed with others i.e., knowledge sharing and transfer, would also ensure that the skills are passed on to the next generation of workers, who would propel our economy into the future.

Interview with Shankar Ojha, Founder & CEO of QHRM Myanmar (HR Software with 130+ Clients and 30k+ Users)

What is QHRM?

QHRM is an HR software solution passionately engineered to enhance HR functions across a wide range of organizations.

At QHRM, we offer a comprehensive HR solution that covers every aspect of human resource management. Our software is equipped with a range of features designed to streamline and optimize HR processes, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity.

Performance evaluation and management are made seamless through our Performance module, allowing organizations to set goals, assess employee progress, and drive growth.

Attendance module simplifies the tracking of employee attendance, making it easy to monitor work hours and ensure compliance.

With Leave module, managing employee leave requests and balances becomes effortless, while Payroll module automates payroll processing, reducing errors and saving valuable time.

Task module facilitates task delegation and tracking, enhancing collaboration across teams. Employees can easily claim expenses and loans using our Claim and Loan modules, and Travel module simplifies travel request and approval processes.

Training module ensures that succession management and employee growth are maintained at the correct level.

For seamless talent acquisition, Recruitment & Onboarding module streamlines candidate sourcing, selection, and onboarding, ensuring a smooth and efficient hiring process.

With QHRM, you have a comprehensive HR solution that caters to every HR need, empowering your organization to thrive.

What are the reasons for an organization to consider investing in HR software

In this digital age, opting to invest in HR software represents a strategic decision that can provide a plethora of compelling reasons for any organization to consider. Here are some key points to ponder

  1. Efficiency and Productivity: Automation streamlines manual HR tasks, increasing efficiency and allowing HR professionals to focus on strategic initiatives and employee engagement.
  2. Accuracy and Data Integrity: Minimizing human error ensures accurate record-keeping and compliance with labor laws, tax regulations, and industry-specific requirements.
  3. Centralized Data: A single database for employee information improves data integrity and eliminates redundant data entry.
  4. Compliance and Reporting: Automated compliance reporting minimizes the risk of incurring penalties due to non-compliance, and management can easily access crucial reports with just a click.
  5. Streamlined Recruitment: Applicant tracking features simplify hiring processes, from posting job listings to candidate progress tracking.
  6. Employee Self-Service: Self-service portals empower employees to access pay slips, update personal information, Request OT and time off, reducing HR’s administrative burden.
  7. Performance Management: Tools for tracking goals, conducting reviews, and facilitating feedback contribute to employee development and engagement.
  8. Employee Engagement: Features like surveys and feedback mechanisms gauge employee satisfaction, informing HR strategies to enhance the workplace experience.
  9. Cost Savings: Over time, automation and improved accuracy with Reduced printing requirement will lead to cost saving.
  10. Data Analytics: Insights from data analytics inform workforce planning and strategy will make HR Data driven.
  11. Scalability: The system can adapt to your organization’s size and evolving needs.
  12. Improved Communication: Built-in communication tools facilitate better interaction among HR, employees, and managers.
  13. Security and Data Privacy: Robust security features protect sensitive employee data with role-based access mechanism & encrypted security system.
  14. Competitive Advantage: Adopting modern HR technology can give organizations a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.

You should try QHRM, we provide 30 days free trial

Can you tell us about the mission and vision of QHRM?

Absolutely. Our mission at QHRM is to revolutionize the way organizations manage their human resources. We envision a world where HR processes are seamlessly integrated, empowering companies to focus on their people and business growth. QHRM is designed with this vision in mind, to simplify HR operations and enable companies to unleash the full potential of their workforce.

What sets QHRM apart from the competition, and what unique features or benefits does it offer?”

What sets QHRM apart? It’s our dedication to innovation, our flawless HR software implementation rate, and the adaptability of our software to fit your exact requirements.

Our all-inclusive HR software is your complete HR solution, seamlessly covering every aspect from flawless hiring to efficient offboarding. This empowers you with not only unmatched flexibility but also the remarkable ability to customize your HR processes to your unique specifications.

But that’s not all. When you partner with us, you gain access to our renowned customer support, a testament to our resolute dedication to your success. And as the icing on the cake, our software has a library of over 3000 ready-made HR process documents. Imagine having each document meticulously crafted by experts.

What trends do you see in HR Industry, and can you elaborate them briefly for our reader?

In the world of HR, change is the constant driving force, making it a dynamic and ever-evolving industry. While we may not cover every trend in this interview, there’s a tangible sense of optimism as we eagerly anticipate the impactful developments on the horizon. Here are some of the notable trends.

  1. Transformative Work Models: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work. Many organizations are now embracing hybrid work models that offer employees more flexibility in where they work.
  2. Employee Well-Being: The pandemic highlighted the importance of employee well-being and mental health. Companies are increasingly offering resources and support in this area.
  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): DEI initiatives continue to be a top priority for HR departments, with a focus on creating inclusive workplaces and addressing systemic biases.
  4. Enhanced Employee Experience: Organizations are concentrating on enhancing the overall employee experience, from onboarding to offboarding, to attract and retain top talent.
  5. AI and Automation: HR departments are using AI and automation for tasks like resume screening, scheduling interviews, and analyzing employee sentiment.
  6. Skills-Based Hiring: Instead of focusing solely on degrees and qualifications, organizations are looking for candidates with the right skills for the job.
  7. Remote Onboarding: As remote work becomes more common, companies are rethinking their onboarding processes to accommodate virtual experiences.
  8. Data-Driven Insights: HR departments are using data analytics to make more informed decisions, such as predicting employee turnover and identifying skills gaps.
  9. Learning and Development: Continuous learning and upskilling are becoming essential as job roles evolve rapidly. Companies are investing in employee training and development programs.
  10. Flexible Benefits Packages: Companies are offering more personalized and flexible benefits packages to meet the diverse needs of their employees.
  11. Talent Mobility Strategies: Instead of just hiring externally, organizations are focusing on internal talent mobility, allowing employees to grow and advance within the company.
  12. Integrated HR Technology: Organizations are adopting integrated HR technology platforms that cover multiple HR functions, simplifying processes and improving data accuracy. Just like QHRM.
  13. Managing Contingent Workers: Companies are finding ways to manage and integrate contingent workers and gig workers into their workforce effectively.
  14. Agile HR Practices: HR is adopting agile methodologies to respond quickly to changing business needs and to enhance collaboration within HR teams.

In your opinion, what makes a successful HR software partnership, and how does your company foster strong partnerships with clients?

A successful HR software partnership is built on trust, collaboration, and a shared vision. At QHRM, we see our clients as partners in innovation. We foster strong relationships by actively listening to their needs, providing continuous support, and evolving our software based on their feedback. Our client success team works closely with each client to ensure they maximize the value of our software, making them an integral part of our product development process.

What should my company have in readiness before opting for QHRM implementation?

As a SaaS software company, there is typically no need for additional hardware or software on your end. However, you will need to ensure that your HR department is prepared with all the necessary employee-related data. The rest of the implementation and management will be handled by our team.

What future developments or enhancements can clients expect from QHRM in the coming years?

We are excited to announce the upcoming release of Version 2 of the QHRM mobile app, featuring significant enhancements. Additionally, we will be introducing a cutting-edge AI-driven job portal seamlessly integrated with QHRM, taking our HR solutions to the next level.

How do you see the future of HR software evolving, and what role do you envision your company playing in shaping that future?

QHRM is well-prepared for the future of work. We understand that work arrangements are evolving, with an increase in remote and hybrid setups. There’s also a growing emphasis on data security and sustainability. Our software is fully equipped to adapt to these changing dynamics.

We are deeply committed to safeguarding data, ensuring robust security measures, and using AI technology responsibly. This means that organizations using QHRM can have peace of mind, knowing that their data is in safe hands and that they are using advanced technology in a responsible manner.

We are excited to be a part of this journey towards a brighter future. Our goal is to help companies thrive, support employees in their professional growth, and enhance HR processes to be more efficient, equitable, and engaging. With QHRM, you’re not just getting software; you’re getting a partner in your success story.

Finally, what message or key takeaway would you like to share with our readers about your HR software company’s mission and values?

At QHRM, our mission is to empower organizations of all sizes to unleash the full potential of their human capital through innovative HR software solutions. We believe that in the heart of every thriving company are engaged and motivated employees, and our software is designed to facilitate that.

Our values are deeply rooted in a commitment to excellence, integrity, and continuous improvement. We strive to create HR software that not only meets the current needs of our clients but anticipates the challenges of tomorrow’s workplace. We’re dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within our own company and in the organizations we serve.

Our message to your readers is this: In a rapidly evolving world, the success of any business hinges on its ability to adapt and thrive in the face of change. We’re here to be your partner in that journey, providing the tools and support you need to build a workforce that’s not just prepared for the future but shaping it. Together, we can create workplaces that are not only efficient but also inclusive, where every employee can reach their full potential.

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