15 Minute Update

15 minutes. That is what I have today.

The last post, so long ago, was on Healthcare in Singapore and the use of the Marilyn Monroe pose to educate the women of Singapore on the importance of annual check-ups. Since then, things have been so increasingly, and annoyingly,  busy that finding time to sit and write has been near impossible. Yet for many months, I have wanted to provide the updates, the new photos, the experiences near and afar. In this brief summary, let me give you some of the highlights I hope to add over the next few weeks.

When we first moved to Singapore, I was the Tai Tai for a few months until I was asked to contract for one of my old employers. That worked out well for a year then last August, about when I stopped the updates, I took a job with a local healthcare software company running presales teams around the world. Still a very small company but having teams in Singapore, India, and the US for all those regions has meant some very interesting travel. In a period of 6 months, I have been to Tokyo, Manila (2x), Jakarta (2x), India (6x and a lot of places!), Riyadh KSA, Kuala Lumpur (2x)  all for work. Why do I think I am missing a spot or two? For fun, its been US for Christmas, Krabi, a few staycations. Wow – all the fun trips have now become work trips. THAT is not as much fun! Good news – I made KrisFlyer gold which means lounges and boarding early enough that I never worry about fitting my carryon in the small overhead bins!

Add in completeing my second Master’s in Healthcare Administration (had to finish the Thesis once we moved) and continuing to teach part time for a CA University, life has been hectic. Both of these are done now, hence I am here writing.

We are coming up on two years here this July and it has been an amazing time. We have had a lot of ups and downs, pretty much all related to our careers (let’s ne honest – ALL related to our careers), but the experience has been fantastic. As of today, we honestly don’t know if we are staying or going home, since some of the renewal of our assignment is up in the air, but I expect we will stay here. My wife has a great future here assuming politics and mosquitoes don’t get in the way.

For me, I enjoy being back in Healthcare and IT as both of these are the focus of my background. The healthcare market will be huge here in Southeast Asia. I use this statistic a lot – in the US, the average profit margin for a hospital is 1-3%. Not as big as everyone thinks, especially those who know the healthcare cost is high (so why isn’t the profit margin? 🙂 ).

Over here, many healthcare systems are privately owned and some earn as high as 15% profit annually. This is with above average healthcare outcomes, some better than the US, and lower overall cost to the patient. Hospitals are growing like weeds! One group in Indonesia is looking at another 5-10 hospitals over the next 5-10 years! How do you staff them?? Crazy!

I’ve toured hospitals in every country I have visited for work. There is a big mix between them but coming from a hospital in Newport Beach, California, each one is still an incredible thing to see, both good and bad. Some are brand new and even have used Lean methods to build the layout. Others are old and very crowded with a cleanliness level that makes me honestly cringe. But I really enjoy learning how each of their systems work. Recently, the Harvard Business Review has been publishing discussions on why India’s cost is so low compared to the US yet India’s outcomes are better in some cases. Why can’t the US follow that model, they say. This is the trend.

It is really interesting how highly regarded the US healthcare system is. I often am the only Ang Mo in the room and especially the only one from the US healthcare side. I get asked a lot of questions!

I’ve met with Doctors who perform surgeries for the outlying India communities in tents with no air conditioning and no high-cost, highly-complex filtration systems that are seen in the US. Yet, they do great. Mortality is low, outcome is high.

I’ll add more about my experiences in all the countries we have visited, both for work and fun, soon. I have lots of photos and a lot of interesting notes to parlay into full sentences!

What city has no addresses for their building?
Where do cops urinate on the side of the road?
Where does it take you 3.5 hours in a taxi to go what normally would be 45 minutes anywhere else?
Where can I still see snow in March? Actually, where can I se snow period?

All these questions and more will be answered soon. Thanks for listening and I am glad to be back!

KW

Moving Day or Moving Days….

Today was packing day! 3 movers showed up and began packing everything, from the small shot glasses to the bicycles, in boxes, wrapping, etc. We have 36 boxes ready to go by air and the rest go in storage. Amazing that a room full of stuff for Singapore is now in those 36 boxes which includes 8 horizontal wardrobe boxes. The air items went out today and tomorrow, the movers will take the rest and put in storage for the next 2 to however many years we stay.

Now hanging out at a local hotel for a few nights near South Coast. Makes it easier to do the last minute shopping on Thursday before the midnight fly out to out new home.

Lesson learned – take more time in advance to separate things out and make sure you don’t keep years of paperwork! It is amazing how much we found.