Preserving his Canadian-ness

June 28, 2014 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Toronto Star (June 27, 2014) Preserving his Canadian-ness Re: Suppressing vote of expats latest Conservative court battle, June 24 Suppressing vote of expats latest Conservative court battle, June 24 The attempt by Minister of State Pierre Poilievre to deny long-term expats the right to vote shows a small-minded view of the world. I left Canada in 1999 after completing university to pursue doctoral studies in the United States. After graduating I have since lived and worked in Europe, East Asia, the U.S. and now in Dubai. One thing that has always been true is that I — and many of the expat crowd — have maintained strong connections to Canada while living in our host countries. (The hockey beer league in Dubai in which I play is 70 percent Canadian and we frequent the local Tim Hortons and smoked meat restaurant here.) In the digital and globalized era borders have become less relevant. Living abroad is a great experience that every Canadian should try at some point in their life if they are able to. I found that my “Canadian-ness” increased after leaving Canada as I was then able to appreciate much more how great a nation…

A Fairer Pay System?

April 6, 2014 Articles, Letters
Letter to the New York Times (April 5, 2014) To the Editor: Re “Can We Close the Pay Gap?,” by Deborah Hargreaves (“The Great Divide” series, Sunday Review, March 30): One of the problems of tying the pay of chief executives (or other senior management) to that of the typical or lowest paid employee of the company (such as capping C.E.O. pay to 50 times that of the median worker at the company) is that it creates incentives for senior management to artificially elevate the median pay. As Ms. Hargreaves mentions, a greedy C.E.O. could improve his remuneration by outsourcing, offshoring or even eliminating low-paid positions. A better stick to engender greater social responsibility by senior managers might be to tie their compensation to the national median income. In this way captains of industry — who hold a lot of political sway — are motivated to think about the greater society, and what is good for corporate America would also be good for the nation as a whole. KAI L. CHAN Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 31, 2014 Letter as it appeared in the NYT © 2014 New York Times Company

The vital link of education and prosperity

January 22, 2014 Articles
This is a cached copy of the WSJ report (which is no longer available online). Published 11 September 2013. Data from 50 countries over half a century reveal how even a small education gain can mean a big economic payoff. Americans are aware of public education's many failures—the elevated high-school dropout rates, the need for remedial work among entering college students. One metric in particular stands out: Only 32% of U.S. high-school students are proficient in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. When the NAEP results are put on the scale of the Program on International Student Assessment (PISA), the world's best source of information on student achievement, the comparable proficiency rates in math are 45% in Germany, 49% in Canada, and 63% in Singapore, the highest performing independent nation. The subpar performance of U.S. students has wide ramifications—and not just for individuals. On an individual level, of course, the connection between education and income is obvious. Those with a college degree can expect to earn over 60% more in the course of their lifetime than those with a high-school diploma, according to U.S. Census data. But there is a nexus between educational achievement and national prosperity as well.According to our calculations, raising student test scores in this country up to the level in Canada would dramatically increase economic growth. We estimate that the additional growth…

Learning poor

November 22, 2013 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Globe & Mail (November 19, 2013) Reading this essay (What I learned in law school:  The poor need not apply (Nov 17, 2013)) made me think of my own story of escaping poverty and the challenges that are common for those of lesser means to overcome institutional hurdles. Poverty meant I worked long hours in part-time jobs at restaurants and supermarkets as a student, while peers could devote themselves to studying or socializing. The part-time income disqualified me from student financial aid, even as less honest and affluent peers found ways to milk the academic loan system. Coming from a family where my parents had just primary education and scraped by on minimum wage, I was clueless about the workplace for university grads, while my peers could rely on their family social connections to help them secure good employment. Nevertheless, my story had a happy ending – I graduated with a doctorate and found gainful work that took me to Singapore, New York and now Dubai – though I know many capable people who were not as fortunate. As reader Dianne Cooper (Talking Point, Nov. 16) notes, it should come as no surprise that fairness is not embedded…

More thoughts on diversity

October 9, 2013 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Princeton Alumni Weekly (October 9, 2013 edition) In response to: Seek only the best, brightest Why are Asian-Americans always singled out in the conversation about over-representation in higher education compared with their national number (e.g. letters in the July 10 issue)? Jewish Americans form an even smaller percentage of the U.S. population (about 2 percent) and have just as large numbers in elite schools in the country, where they number roughly 25 percent at leading schools, and about 13 percent at Princeton. If former President Tilghman and those who support her ideas are so committed to the notion of bringing about skin-deep diversity, would they advocate that Jewish Americans form just 2 percent of the student body at Princeton? That idea is a non-starter, as it should be. As letter-writer Russ Nieli asserts, the only principle that should matter is talent, and we should do away with notions of skin-deep diversity when it comes to assembling the student and faculty body of Princeton. Kai L. Chan *08 Dubai, United Arab Emirates October 9, 2013 PAW letters section




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