ASEAN Summits are not always the most productive affairs. Marshalling alignment across the bloc’s 10 member states presents some challenges, especially on thornier issues requiring tangible collaboration. This is why the 32nd ASEAN Summit that concluded on April 28 should be lauded in its brokering of an ASEAN Leaders Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation.


ASEAN has previously tread into the domain of cybersecurity. In 2016, Singapore helped forge an ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program (ACCP) to raise technical capacity of ASEAN countries to address the evolving array of cyber threats. Last year, the group witnessed the adoption of a new ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy. The region is also spearheading initiatives with third-party countries, with the Japan-ASEAN Cyber Center slated to launch in Thailand in June.


The recent Leaders Statement represents an important evolution because it for the first time recognizes the need for and tasks relevant ministers “to identify a concrete list of voluntary, practical norms of State behavior in cyberspace that ASEAN can work towards adopting and implementing.” The statement suggests ASEAN member states take reference from the voluntary norms recommended in the 2015 Report of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE). Given that the UNGGE process broke down last June among disagreements at the global level, the movement towards a regional set of cyber norms presents an opportunity for Southeast Asia to lead the way in contextualizing the existing set of global norms and implementing them in ways that work for ASEAN.


Why cyber norms matter to business


While voluntary cyber norms are not a panacea to addressing cybersecurity threats, broad adoption of cybersecurity norms will lend stability and security, and help promote social and economic development. Norms have a long history of reducing conflict between states, and if transposed to cyberspace, they can create flexible and shared behaviors. It’s these shared behaviors that build predictable and stable environments for businesses and citizens alike, as well as encouraging international cooperation on cybersecurity.


The 2015 UNGGE Report outlined 11 norms for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. They can be grouped into two broad categories: norms that limit what states should do in cyberspace (such as not supporting attacks on critical infrastructure), and those that speak to the positive duties of states in cyberspace (such as responding to requests for assistance in managing attacks).


As a leader on cybersecurity, Singapore has been a vocal proponent for regional cyber norms, which is why they are being addressed under its ASEAN chairmanship. We can expect ASEAN governments to take the Leaders Statement into account in preparing for the 3rd ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity to be hosted in Singapore from 18-20 September 2018, where a regional framework may be unveiled and discussed.


Business can engage in the process, and the Leaders Statement recognizes the value of enhanced dialogue and cooperation with external parties. A recent paper developed by Access Partnership and industry partners will serve as an input; the paper assesses cybersecurity policy and issues in Southeast Asia, outlines the existing efforts around cybersecurity norms and related activities in a variety of forums, and charts their development processes. It explains the benefits of collaborative cybersecurity for the region, and suggests some areas for the region’s stakeholders to continue work on norms development. Additionally, a recent paper by AT Kearney outlines cyber risks in ASEAN and suggests steps to address them.


Towards a peaceful, secure and resilient regional cyberspace

Producing strategic outcomes in ASEAN takes time, effort, and resolve. Yet progress is possible, and because the group convenes one of the most eclectic and important economic regions in the world, engagement can bear fruit. Working together, ASEAN governments, industry players, technical experts, academia, and civil society groups should all step up their engagement to improve cybersecurity resilience in the coming months, both on norms and other areas of cyber policymaking. The recent Leaders Statement offers a vision for a better regional cyberspace. It will be up to ASEAN stakeholders to make it happen.


If you are interested in cybersecurity issues in the region, Access Partnership invites AmCham members to join a workshop on “Cyber Security in Retail and Consumer Goods Industry” on 10 May 2018, at FTSE Room Level 9 Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road. The event will feature Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency, Lazada, JurisAsia and Access Partnership. Register at


Christopher Martin – Chris leads Access Partnership’s operations in the Asia Pacific that focus on technology policy and regulation.  He works with global companies and organizations to develop strategies, shape policy discussions, and access new markets.

By Karen Reddington, President, FedEx Express Asia Pacific


E-commerce is exploding in Asia, with e sales for Asia-Pacific expected to total US$1.37 trillion in 2017 according to e-Marketer1, and hitting the US$3 trillion by 2021. China took the lion’s share with 53.4% of total e-commerce sales in the region and 494 million buyers2. While numbers for Asia Pacific can be skewed by China, it’s too simplistic to put this growth down to merely the China factor and its huge domestic market. Interestingly cross-border transactions are surging with Forrester Research projecting that cross-border sales will constitute 20% of e-commerce sales globally by 2022 with Asia Pacific the largest region3.


Two key considerations have emerged in the last two years in light of this phenomenal e-commerce growth in Asia. One is the challenge of planning and optimizing operations to deal with these mega-event peak demands in addition to the traditional holidays. Secondly there is the prospect of a year of multiple peak periods as opposed to just a handful of mega sales days and the Christmas rush. We see heightened sales peaks recurring through the year with the emergence of brand-dedicated events such as Dell’s Black Friday in July sale or eBay’s long-running Green Monday sale. While these are US-centric, it would be no surprise to see others in Asia drive similar major promotions.


Planning for these one-off events must now become part of ongoing operational planning and not a one-off project. Business operations must be ready for these spikes as they become part of daily business. To best prepare for this dynamic shift in business operations, here are some key considerations to help prime your business to prepare your next peak period and drive growth and expansion.


Global e-commerce requires a highly complex ecosystem:


Whether it is peak season or not, we believe that global e-commerce must be supported by a highly integrated, scalable and complex global ecosystem which few partners can genuinely provide. This ecosystem must encompass global reach and the power to reach millions of consumers, but also secure payment, fulfillment, tracking, returns, even shopping cart management – but also the right intelligence to expand choice, flexibility, and to customize the overall service experience.


Dynamic and customized experiences:


When demand hits peak loads, then flexibility and convenience are key to ensuring an optimal experience for both the end-consumer but also for merchants.


For instance, expand alternative delivery options.  As more and more consumers shop online, having a package shipped directly to their doorstep is not always an option. So look to service providers who invest in more self-collection solutions like 7/11, locker boxes, as well as more flexible and convenient delivery options like FedEx Delivery Manager, which allows recipients to customize home deliveries.


In the world of IoT, connected sensors and smart devices, the ability to provide near real-time monitoring from inside the shipping package itself will be critical to businesses in healthcare, but also to shippers of food and other perishables, while also ensuring consumers receive their goods in prime condition


Global and robust infrastructure:


When businesses are stretched to the limit you need your people focused on the business and leave the fulfillment and delivery process to capable and trusted partners to worry about. Small and medium-sized businesses need access to a logistics network that helps them achieve profitable, scalable, global growth. That’s what services like FedEx Web Services – which recognises that businesses need help to ship seamlessly to international locations – are all about.


The hot buzz-fueled areas of AI, IoT, big data and others are all being touted by players in the industry but no apps  or innovations can replace the aircraft, trucks or other infrastructure that underpin the physical transportation and delivery of goods. For your small and medium business to be successful, you need to be supported by providers who have a global and robust infrastructure that ensures the physical process of fulfillment and delivery is executed flawlessly. So ensure your providers have the right infrastructure to help deliver a truly global e-commerce experience.


1, 2 Asia Pacific Retail and e-Commerce Sales 2016-2021”, eMarketer, August 9, 2017

3Forrester Data: Online Cross-Border Retail Forecast, 2017 To 2022 (Global)”, Forrester, April 20, 2017.


Stamford American International School is excited to announce the launch of its new Infant Care Program for children 2 months to 18 months, beginning April 2018 at the Early Learning Village. The service is open to all and is available as a 5 or 3 day option (a 2 day option is possible, upon availability).


The Infant Care Pod is an intimate space that is located within a secure floor of the purpose-built, world-class Early Learning Village which opened in 2017. The Early Learning Village is a dedicated preschool for children up to 6 years of age. This new additional service, designed for babies and toddlers, provides a stimulating safe space for children to learn, explore and grow.


Each baby and infant in their care is unique, with their own developing and changing needs, preferences and routines. At the Early Learning Village, Infant Care adapts to each child, through the creation of Individual Care Programs. These are developed in partnership with each family, ensuring the care given is as similar to that they would get at home as possible.


Each family has a regularly updated electronic portfolio using the celebrated StoryPark platform, which follows each child’s personal development and shares these moments through photos, videos and text with the family.

Here are more details on the Program and the Special Opening Offer for fees


For a friendly chat on their Infant Care Program and tour of the Pod, please contact their admission’s team


Stamford American Early Learning Village

3 Chuan Lane

Singapore 554350


My relationship to International Women’s Day (IWD) is bittersweet. I believe there are serious, overarching, and global issues that bind us all by gender; IWD is a declaration that we want a different future. But as an agent for change and inclusion, I take issue with the way people and organizations tend to approach IWD: reducing gender to a binary conversation, ignoring intersectionality, and placing far too much emphasis on raising awareness rather than building capacity.


IWD is an opportunity for transformation within our communities and workplaces. IWD events and activities can be uplifting, galvanizing. We need the energy created on this day to keep us going, because the road to gender equality is all uphill. But the year-on-year arms race between and among organizations to get ever-higher doses of “inspiration” is not the way to go. Progress on gender equality will continue to stagnate unless and until we take on systemic and cultural change.


We can go further.


To that end, I propose:


Three challenges for organizations planning celebrations for #IWD2018


  1. Live your strategy. Link IWD to organizational strategy and business objectives. Integrate IWD as just one aspect of the Diversity & inclusion (D&I) portfolio, and invest in IWD proportionately. (Or, if the organization doesn’t have a D&I portfolio, leverage IWD as the flashpoint to build one.)
  2. Make it a do, not listen, moment. Select critical behaviors, and set some outcomes and indicators: make it clear what you expect people in your organization to do differently as a result of their IWD experience and hold your IWD speakers and organizers to it.
  3. Embrace intersectionality. Make space for a spectrum of voices and experiences to be shared. Even within our commonality we are unique; ignoring our differences denies our identity and prevents the cohesion we say we want.


Originally published on the ChangeFlow Consulting Blog. All rights reserved.


The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens is the biggest celebration of rugby in South East Asia. For two days in April, joyous fans from Singapore and around the world watch epic rugby, with 16 of the world’s best men’s rugby sevens teams on show over 45 thrilling matches. Singapore is the 8th stop of the 10-city, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series held over a seven-month calendar.


Fans of the USA Eagles can excitedly look forward to their team playing in Singapore. They have just swept all-comers on their way to a title at the Las Vegas USA7s tournament last weekend. Fuelled by speedster and World Rugby Player of the Year 2017 – Perry Baker, the USA Eagles now look forward to Singapore that proved a happy hunting ground for them last year.


At the 2018 Singapore Sevens 2018 there’s an array of mouth-watering food, a new beer garden and a themed FunZone with interactive games, and spectacular kids attractions are appearing for the first time in Singapore. The Singapore Sevens is fun for the whole family.


The National Stadium is home to the Singapore Sevens. It boasts the world’s largest free-spanning dome, where air-cooled seats and a bustling concourse makes it a venue like no other. Here, spectators can walk and mingle whilst staying connected to the on-field action. With excellent public transport links, the stadium is just 10 minutes from the City Centre.


To book tickets please visit The special promo-code 18SG7EMCCUSCAN gets you 15% discount on all with an additional 5% using HSBC cards. This promotion ends 31 March 2018.


To enjoy all the fun at the stadium from our exclusive Sevens VIP Club Hospitality Lounge or your own hospitality enclosure at the Stadium Concourse, please call +65-8100-1498 or +65-6581-9228 email:


The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) regularly visits Singapore to hold their flagship International Company Directors Course. The course is based on global governance principles and covers directors’ duties, the international legal environment, risk and strategy, financial literacy and board effectiveness. The course underpins the AICD’s goal of making a difference in the quality of governance and leadership around the globe.


The AICD is pleased to announce the launch of their International Scholarship Program, offering one full scholarship place to each of the International Company Directors Courses in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, and one full scholarship place to the Fiji Directors Course.


The scholarships are designed for directors, aspiring directors and community leaders who without financial support, would not be able to attend such governance training.


Who is eligible for these scholarships?


People of all nationalities are welcome to apply. To be eligible for the scholarship, each applicant must:


  1. Be a director, aspiring director or community leader of an organisation with an annual turnover of less than AUD$1 million;
  2. Describe why without the scholarship they would not be able to attend such training;
  3. Describe the benefits they would receive as an individual in undertaking such training;
  4. Describe the benefits that their organisation or broader community would receive by undertaking such training; and
  5. Provide supporting documentation such as an endorsement letter from their organisation or professional reference


How do individuals apply for scholarships?


Applicants must complete the application form found on the AICD’s website here and submit to along with any relevant supporting documentation by Friday 6 April 2018.


Who decides who gets awarded a scholarship?


Applications will be reviewed and determined by the AICD Education & International division. Applications for the Fiji Directors Course will also be reviewed and shortlisted by our Regional Advisory Committee in Fiji.


How will people be notified they have been successful?


Successful applicants will be notified by email within two weeks of the application close date.


If a member is a highly paid executive working on a small NFP board are they still eligible for a scholarship?


Eligibility will first and foremost be determined based upon the selection criteria. Anyone who meets the criteria are welcome to apply, however they may be ruled out, at the selection committee’s discretion, during the competitive selection process.


For further information, please email or phone +61 2 8248 6600.


In his Budget speech on February 19, 2018, Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that from 2019, carbon tax will be introduced to encourage reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the first instance, from 2019 to 2023, the tax rate will be $5 per tonne of GHG emissions. The carbon tax announced will be levied on facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of GHG emissions in a year. All other companies will not be taxed on direct emissions, but may be indirectly impacted by the carbon tax through higher electricity costs. Companies are encouraged to take measures to reduce carbon emissions, and do your part to create a higher-quality living environment for all. From 2019, the Government will set aside funds to enhance support for companies, including SMEs and power generation companies, to improve energy efficiency. More details will be shared by government agencies at a later date. In the meantime, please visit the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) microsite at to find out about the existing energy efficiency incentives your company can tap on.


Click the image below for more information.

Steven Okun serves on the Board of Governors of AmCham Singapore. A member of AmCham since 2003, he served as Chairman from 2011-2014.


“It’s not going to happen unless you are extremely lucky – and I would not want to rely upon luck alone.”


That’s my standard answer whenever someone asks how to break into an in-house government relations and public policy role in Asia Pacific. Generally, I’m very supportive when offering career advice, especially to young professionals. But, I also need to be realistic. These intellectually challenging, rewarding, and rare positions are hard to come by.


As the global bull market in politics shows no signs of abating, businesses recognize the need to have public affairs professionals to protect and expand their license to operate by engaging with an ever-growing number of stakeholders. More and more, companies creating or increasing in-house Public Affairs staff.


But this rising demand nowhere near matches the increasing desire for these still very limited positions.


Breaking into the public affairs industry without experience isn’t easy. Frankly, it’s close to impossible. Companies don’t have the resources to bring on a rookie and “coach them up,” especially in this part of the world.


Some companies will hire a mix of internal and external to manage government relations. Others may identify an internal candidate with the raw skills and hire a consultant to guide them. Others bring onboard an external hire who knows GR/PA but have them do an immersion into the company for six months before starting their job.


Bottom line: companies require external hires to have PA experience.


Given my quarter-century in this industry, with more than half of that based in Singapore leading in-house functions, I am often asked for advice on how to break into corporate public affairs.


Most experienced practitioners share my belief – without direct experience with the legislative or regulatory process, one cannot navigate the often-opaque practices one faces in dealing with governments.


In a nutshell, absent a great deal of luck, you’re not going to get hired unless you’ve operated at the frontline.


But how do you go about getting this crucial experience?


Education alone won’t secure the confidence of a would-be employer.  You need to go beyond the classroom.


Government is often the best stepping-stone to an in-house role. However, not everyone can, or should, work in government.


The next most obvious entry point is through a public affairs consultancy. But, as with their in-house counterparts, most of these roles go to those with experience, especially in the more boutique shops in Asia.


To get the needed experience, novices charting a PA career need to think laterally and strategically about roles that expose one to the complex matrix that exists between corporations, governments, stakeholders.


The Stepping Stones

There are many stepping stones into the world of corporate public affairs. These come in different shapes and sizes, some with a salary and some without.


As painful as it is to hear, targeting big name corporates off the bat will be a waste of time. Rather, explore organisations engaged in the public affairs process.


International development organisations such as the World Bank, UNDP, and the ADB play a key role in public policy. These organizations will provide the experience of working with governments, and can in interacting with companies, if you seek it out.


Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are another option. Often, they are a third party engaged in the dialogue between MNCs and government. Some even have direct partnerships with companies and/or governments.


In Asia Pacific, industry and trade associations – such as Food Industry Asia, CASBAA, CAPEC and the Asian Trade Centre – are a great place to see first-hand how the public and private sectors work together. And, more importantly, how they sometimes can be hamstrung by the lack of consensus among their members. Trade associations provide the opportunity to learn about companies key PA issues. And, they offer you a chance to network with corporates for future roles.


Chambers of commerce and business groups are also big players in the PA and GR process and you should target these, too. Many of today’s top-level industry figures earned their stripes working for organisations such as the US-ASEAN Business Council, AmChams or EuroChams.


I know many who have made the jump from associations and chambers to the in-house world. Over the years, the talented AmCham Singapore staff I have worked with over the years held positions at HP, Honeywell and Philip Morris, just to give a few examples.


Often over-looked is working for embassies. Key positions are often held by “local hires,” and this experience can give one direct engagement representing companies with critical public affairs issues. If you make an effort to reach out to the business community from this platform, you will quickly learn what companies care about.


Listen, Learn and Live “The Four Ps”

Once you’ve found a role within one of these organisations, the secret to success is not to try to move too quickly. Spend time learning, building up your network, and gaining experience. Watch closely how problems are solved and conflicts are avoided. Then, take ownership of an issue and deliver a quantifiable win.


Successful public affairs practitioners must know the four Ps. For any given issue, one needs to know:

Public Interest:  How is if defined by that government?

Policy: What are the arguments as to why an action is in the public interest?

Process:  What is the route to government action?


Politics: Which stakeholders are on any given side of an issue?

Unless you know the mechanics of public affairs and have the experience in leading an effort for a policy or regulatory situation, you will not be trusted by a company to take the lead for them. Too many people looking for those same jobs have that experience and have often made the investment to get it.


Personal Networks

Once you feel ready to target an in-house role, bear in mind that your first lucky break most likely comes via someone you’re already engaged with. So, it’s important that right from the outset you start building your own personal network – the often over-looked Fifth P.

Spend time with in-house PA practitioners, go to networking nights and attend industry conferences and events. Get to know the small group of dedicated recruiters who operate in our industry.


Make sure that the networks you develop aren’t just focussed on prospective employers. The value you offer to as a PA professional lies precisely in having networks beyond the private sector.


Spend time developing relationships with your equivalents in government, NGOs, the media, and regulatory and trade bodies. Get to know the bright young advisors who surround ministers and ambassadors in Asia. As you rise through the ranks, so will they.


While many PA professionals will move from sector-to-sector — in my case from government to aviation and express delivery to private equity — show the capability to become a sector expert in a relatively short period to time. Companies may not be able to train you in public affairs, but they can train you on their business.


If you’re an expatriate you’ll need to understand Asia – and be immersed in the region. Our industry has undergone significant localisation in recent years, and the experience of Capitol Hill or the backrooms of Brussels won’t cut it here (like it did for me).


“It’s not going to happen unless you are extremely lucky is the same answer I give to anyone living in the US asking me how to get a job in Asia without first moving here (that is another column for another day), but if you are already here, you are well positioned to jump to a stepping stone.

Following these guidelines won’t guarantee you a corporate public affairs role. But those who have done it will be able to rely upon more than luck in their job search.


The article is based on: “Steve Okun: Breaking into Public Affairs – Don’t Rely on Luck Alone”, PublicAffairsAsia, January 28, 2018

Steve Vickers and Associates (“SVA”) ( have released an annual 2018 Asia Risk Assessment. The assessment will cover the major challenges facing Asian countries and the likely outcomes in 2018. This is useful reading for all companies who operate in the region or who have business in Asia.


If you would like a complimentary copy, please email SVA at or call (+852) 2528-1270.

Project Orbis International Inc (Singapore) Ltd, the Singapore office of New York-based Orbis International, is celebrating over thirty years of their sightsaving work in Southeast Asia on 8 February 2018.


Orbis International was founded in 1982 with a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and private donors. Orbis’s work in Southeast Asia started in 1982 when their first generation Flying Eye Hospital, generously donated by United Airlines, visited the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.


Orbis is currently flying their third-generation Flying Eye Hospital, donated by global sponsor FedEx. Together with their long-term in-country programs, hospital-based programs and telemedicine platform Cybersight, Orbis trains medical professionals and community workers worldwide to save sight.


Join them on 8 February 2018 at Shangri-la hotel as they celebrate their American heritage and presence in Southeast Asia. Individual seats are at SGD500 each while tables for 10 are at $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000. Please email Elaine at for more information.



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