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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If-others-need-me ... Gift Wrapping and Card Making etc ...

Lately, I suddenly received a numbers of enquiry on Gift Wrapping and Card Making Workshop. 

If the request is for a half day  (pm or am) course, I will usually propose a 3 to 3.5 hours crash course on Gift Wrapping as Christmas is in the seasons. 

If the organization is able to set aside 3 days for staff training, I would think that a combined "Gift Wrapping and Card Making Workshop" should be beneficial to participants, especially the staff at the retail outlets who are required to do gift wrapping for customers.  Yet, time is a big short for most to plan courses and workshop last minutes.

As the demand on courses and workshop I offer via INNO HANDS-ON, vary from one organisation to another, I think if they are short of time, a new 10 hours course which combine Gift Wrapping ideas with 3D and pop up card should be able to meet their needs without long hours of commitment.

Currently I am working on course outline for a few organisations, and after fulfilling their requirement, I will re-organize my thought an create some comprehensive course on Gift Wrapping and Card Making which takes only 10 hours, instead of 3 full day training workshop.
Once I have course outline done to answer to general enquiry, I will post it on
The 10 hours Gift Wrapping and Card Making Course can be 1.5 days or  3 half days i.e., 3.5 hours + 3.5 hours + 3 hours.  It maybe held on week days or Saturday/Sunday.
I have conducted a 3 days course on Gift Wrapping and Card Making Course, just need some time to compress it.
As my commitment at LAS/WSQ and other training assignment keep me busy some months, I just treat my INNO HANDS-ON business as an extension of my personal hobby.

Hence, even I am doing course planning without actually conducting them in some cases, is still an enjoyable process.  The process fulfils my joys in learning new ideas up to the level of being a trainer. 
I am would said it is enjoyable to be able to do things this way!  I am sure readers who enjoy art and craft work would understand the approach I took : "If-others-need-me" ... , and that is why, many friends I have who are great in their art and craft skills are not interested to commercialized them.
I am having IINNO HANDS-ON as a business to pursue my hobby. I do it the way most of my librarian friends would do in their work: "If-others-need-me ..."  I will create something interesting for them to share the joys of my knowledge and impart the skills of art and craft.
I do not like to repeat ideas all the time, unless clients insist. 
Hence, you may look at of which I collected many workable ideas for future exploration and workshop.
Yet to adapt the ideas from youtube to a course for local groups, I need to look at materials used, logistic and other training setting...  It becomes an administrative tasks and it is very demanding on my time and energy.   
Presently, I just use the approach of "If-other-need-me in these kind of courses, I will make it happen at your request."
Having this approach, the world of art and craft I teach and library courses I conduct will be expanded and become bigger or endless and life will not be boring even I commercialized them.
I will post more course outline on my blog: next year!

Dexterine Ho Soo Miang

Intelligence without love

Responsibility without love makes us inconsiderate,

Power without love makes us cruel,

Belief without love makes us fanatics,

Intelligence without love makes us dishonest.

*** Lao Tzu (604 BC - 531 BC) Chinese Taoist Philosopher ***

Maybe I will learn more about the above saying by Lao Tze in greater depth in future.

At this moment, I understand the last line best --"Intelligence without love makes us dishonest."

During the past weeks, I was quite puzzled by an encounter of an intelligence liar.  The reasons for an intelligence yet dishonest person to lie is because he/she is "lack of love". 

We see it on news in TV and newspaper all the time, yet having it encountered personally give me more insight of this Lao Tze's quotation --
"Intelligence without love makes us dishonest."

I think without care and love, intelligence people may choose a dishonest path in his/her life journey!  The end path is he/she may set a wrong example for their children to follow!  I just hope many intelligence parents have wise children who are able to distinguish the act of intelligence without love may make one dishonest, sometimes! 

It is great to be intelligence and that is the gift from your parents, yet to apply and use the intelligence, do add "love" in the path you take!

You do not lose out in this journey of "intelligence with love" as your gain in the future will make you a greater person in many dimensions. 

Dexterine Ho

Saturday, November 17, 2012












Source of information:














Source of information:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore

As I had promised Ms Quek Tze Guek, Senior Librarian/Asset Management from NUS Libraries who was the co-ordinator of the visit to pen down my thoughts, I think it is good to have it written now with some photographs extracted from the LAS Facebook album.

Mike Fenton, VP and Director of Global Operations, Executive Director 
gave an overview of the company

Dexterine Ho and LAS group listen with interest on John Wiley Europe and John Wiley Asia deal with issues related to the Privacy Act of Internet Data.

LAS group re-entering the reception area.

LAS members engaged in a discussion with Mr David Fisher, Director, Sales and Marketing, Asia.

Photos credits: Courtesy of Library Association of Singapore (LAS)
Source: LAS Facebook Album

Our visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore in the month of October was organised by the Programmes and Social Committee, LAS. The details were as follows:

John Wiley & Sons Singapore
1 Fusionopolis Walk
#07-01 Solaris South Tower
Singapore 138628.

Date of visit: 31 Oct 2012 (Wednesday)

Time: 2.45 to 5.30pm


2.45pm  to 3.00pm -
Access via level 1, main lobby for security check, then proceed to level 7 for attendance to be taken by LAS representative.

3.00pm to 5.00pm -
Presentation by Wiley staff and walk around office
Content covered: Introduction of Wiley, Wiley's role in publishing, education and research.

5.00pm to 5.30pm
Quiz and "High Tea"

Our registration started in early October via 

Maximum no. of participants: 25

Non-LAS members were welcomed, however, priority was allocated to LAS members. From the actual number of participants which was close to the maximum number of 25, I think there was overwhelming response at the time of registration and latecomers probably had to be turned down to keep the number manageable. If LAS is holding a second visit to the same site, I would strongly recommend those who missed the first visit to sign up for it.
How to get there:

Maps for directions to Wiley:

Details were given so it was not hard to locate the site, although there was heavy rain that afternoon, not many participants were late.
The car park rate for Fusionopolis (by sgcarmart) was also provided for members who drive:

Mondays to Fridays: $0.50/30min from 6am to 6pm.
A reasonable rate indeed!

An Overview
The visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore provided me with valuable insights. I gained a lot of from the briefing, guided tour and the interaction with the Wiley staff on site.

I am grateful to many staff of John Wiley & Sons Singapore, who spared their afternoon hours to share with us their in-depth knowledge of book publishing.
They are:
Mr Mike Fenton
VP, Director of Global Operations, STMS & Executive Director,
John Wiley & Sons Singapore

Mr David Fisher
Director, Sales and Marketing, Asia

Ms Ho Sze Ein
Marketing Manager
Professional & Development

Mr Trevor Armstrong
General Manager
Global Education

Mr Thecla Teo
Director, Global Institutional Marketing
Scientific Technical Medical and Scholarly 

John Wiley & Sons Singapore occupy three floors in Solaris South Tower. I like the reception area where we can read about the long history of the company.

It was a raining day, I was a bit late yet most of the participants was there before me.

I think I had never see so many staff briefing visitors in any of my LAS visits.  That was warm hospitality and unique welcoming way from John Wiley. I think they were about 8-10 of them supporting the two briefing sessions, one before the tour, one after it. 

The tour of the new office premise over 3 floors of the Tower took about 30 minutes.

Most of the LAS participants enjoyed the talks by Mr Mike Fenton (VP & Director of Global Operations) and Mr David Fisher (out-going Director, Sales and Marketing for Asia) about Wiley’s publishing role in Asia and Singapore.

I like the last talk on Wiley's marketing strategies and we are able to meet many of the staff who were in charge of different division.

Throughout the two sessions, there were the representatives from Professional & Development, Global Education and Scientific Technical Medical and Scholarly division to support the various speakers.
The last part of the afternoon was Q & A, and we asked many questions to clear our doubts and issues on publishing pertaining to copyright laws, customer surveys, e-books, etc.

We were all very impressed by the detailed answers Wiley staff given us. The visit end with some quiz and I was being lucky to be one of the three sporting librarians who bagged a token for answering correctly during quiz time.

The question I answered is:
Q: What is the first Title of John Wiley Dummies Guide
A: DOS for Dummies

Though, the event ran slightly beyond the scheduled hour, many of us still stayed on for informal chats with Wiley staff during the networking session.

Some additional notes:

This was my first visit to a book trade company.  I think LAS  Programme Committee would be encouraged by the reception of our host and response of participants which made this event a memorable and successful one!

For those who did not have a chance to visit this time, the web links may give you some information:
Wiley Empowers Teaching and Learning
Offering quality, variety, and value to serve all learners

Resources for Librarians:

Some Highlights of the office tour:

Being a knowledge creation company, John Wiley's office is extremely quiet. When we toured the three floors, we hardly have a chance to talk or interact with any staff in the first ten minutes.

Toward the end of the office tour, we were fortunate to have a Q & A session with the marketing manager and gained some insights into Wiley's marketing operations. The cheerful marketing manager gave us a detailed narration of how John Wiley Europe and John Wiley Asia deal with issues related to the Privacy Act of Internet Data.

In Europe, in order to comply with the law in European countries, all the email alerting services are opted-in by customers. In Asia, most are opt-out. Databases of customers' preferences are kept individually in different regions/countries and global communication is still not at the touch of one screen. It is de-centralised and keeping up with changes and updating of databases in each country is not an easy job for marketing staff.

Following the tour, we have another presentation session in the seminar room by Wiley staff. Content covered included: Introduction to Wiley, Wiley's role in publishing, education and research.

The information in the presentation gave us a better understanding of the wide subject coverage of John Wiley's publications in Printed and E-format etc and how John Wiley satisfies customers all over the world.

My reflections after this visit:

* I see John Wiley as a great "manufacturer" of knowledge, and myself, an ex-librarian, a trainer and assessor now (LAS/WDA courses for support staff of the libraries), as a minor knowledge cataloguer and secondary knowledge disseminator.

* We, librarians or lecturers/trainers/assessors, play a minor role in the knowledge chain. John Wiley & Sons Singapore, or the publishing industry at large, are shouldering the main tasks of knowledge collection, knowledge creation, knowledge packaging and knowledge distribution.

* A librarian's role in disseminating knowledge is not at the first tier, and sometimes, not even at the second tier. Nevertheless, being a professionally trained librarian, the significance of our job in the world of learned institutions and the world of knowledge is well recognised by the readers and users we serve. On the other hand, publishers' work and contributions may not be recognised as they are seen as a profit-making commercial entity.

* Many of us view publishers as commercial entities, generating profit through publishing, and so treat them as library "suppliers". A win/lose game is played when we negotiate with publishers for better discounts or good rates for journal subscriptions.

* To librarians, publishers charge a lot for journal subscriptions and academic publications and librarians have a difficult time balancing collection development and the library budget.

* With this visit, my mindset has shifted a bit and now I will view the relationship from a different angle. As I gain some insight into publishing work, I can understand publishers really need well- trained professionals to get the job done. Most of the staff they engage are qualified professionals, and the job is not easy to handle, from a librarian's perspective.

* We think books and journals should be made more affordable and accessible for the library and the readers. Yet, nothing good comes cheap...

* If librarians who perform a relatively minor task of disseminating knowledge are getting good and reasonable returns in salary, publishers need to pay editors, contents management groups etc who go through difficult tasks, a handsome remuneration package.

* John Wiley, and many other publishers, need to justify their expenses, rewarding their staff and keeping their business going. Hence, the publications, especially good academic ones will not be low in pricing. Even publishing e-books is not a low-cost operation.

* Being a reference librarian for many years before I took the teaching and training path, my work is just a small inter-link in the world of knowledge chain. It is not as significant as the role of the publisher.

* If there were no publishers who publish books and "can" all the knowledge in the printed or e-format, we have nothing convenient to bridge the knowledge gap and serve our readers. We are a go-between, and have no role to play if there are no knowledge products created by publishers.

* The publishing industry anchors their role in knowledge creation. Without their hard work in sourcing for good authors, getting good manuscripts, editing good content and publishing books at affordable or not so affordable prices, knowledge is not easily accessible.
* John Wiley & Sons Singapore, is a giant in the publishing industry and I view my role, be it as a Cataloguer, Serials Librarian, Reference Librarian or Lecturer in Poly/NIE or Trainer/Assessor for LAS WDA courses, as a small cog in the knowledge world.

My notes at the end:

This is the first time for LAS members to visit an internationally renowed publisher and book trade company.  The organizing committee was encouraged by the response of the member and the keen interest shown by members in this visit.

Cheers to our host too, for making this event possible and successful!

A big "THANKS" to all the staff of John Wiley, who made an efforts to be with us throughout the whole afternoon!  Their general sharing and enrich our understanding on book publication and distribution. Their warm reception made our visit a memorable one and now when we think of John Wiley, we think of them in person, and not just a commerial brand name!

This activity is eligible for Professional Development Scheme (PDS)

This activity attracts 36 points under the Industry Knowledge
Development (ID) category - "Participate in product/services briefing
and demonstrations by vendor organised or approved by LAS"

Monday, November 05, 2012

Passing the baton at Aberystwyth: 100-word story

On 4 June 2012, Ms Shirley Khew, wrote me an email and told me that she is volunteering at LAS for the IFLA 2013. One of their projects is to publish about "Librarians in Singapore". 
Her job is to contact librarians who are not in the mainstream libraries, but still in the library community providing support in one way or another.
She gave me some ideas on what to contribute, and attached the following template "Your contribution" as a guide:
Personal details -  Name (as you are known in the library community), Contact email. Library related qualification, year, institution.

Duration of service and associated organisations you have worked in or are working in.

Brief overview of career in relation to the library industry.

Most memorable/significant/impactful events – e.g. first big project, first big break, etc.

What would you do again/do differently if you had an opportunity to do so?

Some thoughts on the future of librarians and libraries in Singapore
In my write-up, I may provide anything else I think is relevant.  Photographs or news articles about anything related to the write out are also welcome. 
She also suggested interviewing me via Skype and recording the it as a movie clip.  As I thought I did not have anything significant to say about my library career at that moment, I just shelved the invitation for a while.

The first deadline given was end of June, and I had it extended till months later. Yet, nothing happened till the second week of October as I found it too hard to use the template to organise my thoughts.
Perhaps it was too organised and being in Doc format, it is linear, and I find it difficult to view and link my library experience that way...
Now, I finally produced a 500+ word story with the help of Mr Yit Chin Chuan, who initiated the following first "100-word story" on 11 Oct 2012, a few hours after we had tea at the end of the NLB Professional Talk by Director, Library of Alexandria on "The rebirth of the Library of Alexandria & the future of libraries".
I think the professional talk by Dr Ismail Serageldin, Director, Library of Alexandria, was so inspiring that I saw the meaning in recording personal memories of the past decades. This trigger on that spur of moment suddenly kick-started my thoughts on how to create the first few lines of my library memory...
Lin Mui, my former classmate, was there among many librarians who stayed back for tea after the talk and we started to share our common journey in librarianship with Mr Yit. With that 15- 20 mins conversational content, the quick-working Yit produced the following 100 word story in an email at 10.18 am the next morning:
Hi Dexterine,
(I am cc’ing Ngian and Lin Mui as their names were mentioned).

Thanks for your sharing of an interesting aspect of librarians’ development, here’s a rough draft of a 100-word story for your review and consideration (it would be great if you could also provide us a resume of sorts about your personal library career (we are planning to also set up a website that host information about Libraries and Librarians in Singapore – this will ultimately be like a directory of library and librarians of sorts):

 “Passing batons at Aberystwyth” – by Dexterine Ho

We  (Ngian, Lin Mui and myself) did not attend the course at Aberystwyth for our professional certification altogether, but at different times, and I for one found that this "turn-taking" created a beneficial hand-me down effect. 

I remember fondly the marvellous notes left by Ngian that helped me in my studies and the winter clothing Lin Mui passed to me that kept me warm through the winter months.

Passing the baton not only meant the support given unconditionally but the unspoken trust and encouragement that said, “I have done it, so can you!” Likewise, we can only pay forward the benefits that we have received to those who come later – both librarians and users.

Story and librarian context: Dexterine was amongst many who went for overseas training for professional librarianship certification during the 80s. To find out more about Dexterine and her library experiences please visit



After a few rounds of editing and verification of facts and figures, on 23 Oct 2012, the full write-out with 500+ words were produced, and now I just follow Yit's suggestion to publish it on my blog:

Hi Dexterine,

Please post your full story on your blog (it’s your content after all!) – for our printing purposes, we will use of the 100-word version (otherwise it would be weird to have different lengths for different stories) – if you could share a permalink to your blog post – we could state that the 100-word version is an abridged form of your original story and link to it.

“Passing the baton at Aberystwyth”
– by Dexterine Ho Soo Miang
We (Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Ms Wee Lin Mui and myself) did not attend the Postgraduate Diploma Course in Librarianship at College of Librarianship, University of Wales, Aberystwyth for our professional certification at the same time.  Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to be in the unofficial loop and took the same course in turn and greatly benefited from the unofficial baton relay. 
In 1981, when I attended the PG (postgraduate) course, I was naturally not a librarian yet and did not know Ms Ngian.  As a History degree holder who aspired to be a teacher but was not selected by the Institute of Education, librarianship seemed to be the next best choice.
Ngian was the pioneer in this Aberystwyth relay, Lin Mui, my university classmate, the second, and I was the third. Most of us are self-sponsored library science students. I think our aspiration to be a professional librarian connected us through CLW (College of Librarianship, Wales) and the link amongst CLW Alumni is the bridge that spans over three decades.  
This bridging created a hand-me down effect. I fondly remember the marvellous notes left by Ngian that helped me in my studies and the winter clothing Lin Mui passed to me that kept me warm through the freezing winter months.
Passing the baton not only meant the support that was freely given but the unspoken trust and encouragement that said, “I have done it, so can you!”
Likewise, we can only pay forward the benefits that we have received to those who come after – both librarians and users - sharing with them the wealth of knowledge that enriches our lives. I think they, too, will "pass the baton" in many unknown ways to benefit and warm the hearts of others!
* I would like to thank Ms Ngian and Lin Mui (now Mrs Law Lin Mui), not only for the help they rendered when I was an "infant" librarian, but also for their continuous support and friendship throughout my library career.

Ms Wee Lin Mui, in front of the Padan House, Aberystwyth on 1 Feb 1981
* Amongst all the winter clothing I received, the woollen overcoat from Ms Loi Sai Bay (Studied in Liverpool Polytechnic in 1979, retired in 2009 from NIE Library) was the most appreciated item during the winter months.  (My ex-colleague Ms Yvonne Yin, also from Aberystwyth, would like to add this sentence: When the wild Welsh winter winds whistled and howled down the valley, I was well-wrapped up!)

  Dexterine Ho Soo Miang wearing the woollen overcoat
from Ms Loi Sai Bay, at the hill top, in front of the castle, Aberystwyth in 1981
* Thanks also to Mr Jim Davies and Mr Ng Soo Kwee, two ex-IE/NIE Chief Librarians for their guidance and their support in my being granted the NIE staff development scholarship in 1989/1990 for the Masters Degree in Information Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

* A big thanks to Mr Yit Chin Chuan for initiating the first edition of this 100 word story, and Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Mrs Law Lin Mui and Ms Yvonne Yin for their editing and new input. 

* Many thanks also to other librarians, friends, teachers and people in my life journey who have guided and helped me to grow from an infant librarian to a lecturer/trainer/assessor in library and information studies. My first dream to be a teacher finally realised in my library career.
Story and librarian context: Dexterine Ho Soo Miang was amongst the many librarians who went for overseas training for professional certification on her own during the 80s. She has recounted her experience in a heart-warming manner. To find out more about Dexterine and her library experiences please visit: 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I always thought that success was something that you went after.

Then I found out that if you turn it around, he was right.

Success is something you attract by the person you become.

--- Jim Rohn
Letting go means to come to therealization that some people are a part of your history,

but not a part of your destiny.

---  Steve Maraboli

Saturday, November 03, 2012

3 May 2009 outing with niece and nephew

Just a few minutes ago, I had a short conversation with my friend Yvonne, and now to my delight, I accidentally opened a folder and found these lovely photos at my home office before starting some serious work.

The photos record our joyful visit on 3rd May 2009 to Yvonne's residence at Dairy Farm Estate. I remember it was a Sunday afternoon. The three of us (myself, Wei Wei, my nephew and Gwyn, my niece) had high tea and played some games before posing in front of the castle pretending that we were having a good fight!

Now Gwyn is in secondary school and Wei Wei is a handsome young guy. The visit to Yvonne's apartment was a fond memory for us to recall and these two photos truly capture the blissful moments we shared.

I look forward to a return visit in the near future with niece, nephew, grand nieces and grand nephew!


Dexterine Ho Soo Miang

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Reading vs thinking

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge;

it is thinking that makes what we read our own.

---- John Locke