Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bye All!

I really love this class and it didn't take me too long to draft this simple list of "thank you's". Ultimately, I hope all of you will give me good marks for peer review. Just kidding. Miss Happy please do not mark me because I know my tone is so informal here.

I thank Guangyi for your enthusiasm in every class, for being so animated whenever you make a comment. It still tickles me when I think about your "deal or no deal segment". Shaobin and oxy for adopting me when I had to split from my research group during one of the class.

Jiawei for your comments for what seems like all of my (and the whole class's) blog posts, Alicia and Szemin for reviewing my groups paper.

Jean for impressing me with the power of hand movements (I do not know if you rehearsed your hand movements but the way they did during the presentation, I swear you looked like you were a seasoned hand model), Darren and Viviane for entertaining Madeline from my group so that I could have fruitful discussions with Mongshi while Madeline goes to your side to gossip.

Joanna for letting me (I still think it’s “us”; I feel Madeline was much more scary) terrorize you during your mock interview (It’s heartwarming to know that cap 4.5s are humans as well), Ruisheng for being Madeline’s eye-candy and distracting her for most part so that like I mentioned, I could make meaningful discussion with Mongshi. Stephy for an impressive resume; you were my choice for the mock interview but the two girls were more interested in how Joanna did her 4.5.

Jinyi for your sarcastic remarks that livens up the class, Timothy for your sexing up the class with your sexy low bass voice, Xinyu for letting me substitute you when we were first choosing our group mates.

Mongshi for helping buy my curry chicken puff whenever I come late for meetings or class, and doing up such a beautiful template for the presentation. Madeline for being the “ah lian” of the class, for being the loud mouth that shoots everyone everything and for being true to yourself and your somewhat skewed values. Thank you both for an otherwise difficult research project. I am glad we managed to agree on most things!

Last but not least, Thank you to Miss Happy Goh for your wonderful guidance over this semester. It was unfortunate you had to take medical leave, I hope all is well with you!

Each and every one of you I can remember unlike my engine module mates, simply because we have crossed path in our own special ways. May all of us find luck in our future endeavors, and may communication be as easy as 1, 2, 3 for all of us. Stay Happy!

Final Post 7

It was not so long ago I was struggling to find words for my first blog post. Now, having had the privilege of attending this module on professional communication, I have developed and honed my ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner. Looking back at my first post, I realize that I have achieved what I set out to and a bit more as well. Skills like choosing the best medium for communication interested me the most. Different situations require different mediums, and miscommunications can easily arise if words were not chosen carefully through emails or letters. When addressing senior members of the team, it is always best to write a formal letter followed by a face-to-face to show our respect for his/her experience.

The portion on culture awareness was the most relevant now that globalization puts us in constant contact with other cultures. I never knew there were so many unwritten rules of communication that we had to observe when interacting with people from another culture. The fact that the thumbs up hand sign were considered vulgar in Iran really taught me to pay attention to cultures from around the world.

I felt that the resume and interview skills were the most important takeaways from the module since these were the practical skill that could determine our future. Ultimately I have learnt that any interview takes with it a huge slice of luck, so it is best not to read too much into all the rejections but focus on the positives from all the interviews.

I am grateful for the opportunity to do a research project, and to really have my presentation skills tested. The way engine modules are conducted, there is rarely any interaction between classmates, much less any presentation skills. I would not have known better to start my presentation with an attention grabber (I personally thought my old mother joke was good, but I guess my delivery fell really flat!) or that I need to be more enthusiastic when addressing the audience. Looking back, if I was given the powers of Hiro Nakamura, I would go back to the day before we were to submit our surveys and do a proper one. I did not know that the whole project would rest so much on the creation of that insignificant piece of paper with 5 questions.

Overall, this module has been fun and enriching, albeit a bit too taxing. Thank you all for such a wonderful time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Me, Myself and I

I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore. An extrovert by nature, I hope to bring positive changes to the lives of my loved ones through my aspirations and zest for life. I enjoy representing my hall in various sports, am the head of the External Relations Committee, and I acted and danced for my hall’s Dance Production. I have a strong interest in music and I consider my time spent with the NUS wind symphony as food for my soul. I recently completed an internship with Singapore Technologies Kinetics and gained a good insight of how the engineering industry works.

p/s: I thought people might want to comment so I'm posting this as a post. Good luck to everyone for presentation!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Research like a professional

As I start to draw the curtains on my research project, it is time to look back and reflect on my learning experience. For me, the most important lesson that I have learnt is the benefit of a good and effective meeting. I have learnt that meetings should only be called when there are things to be discussed and that preparation for a meeting is very important. When members of the group turn up for a meeting unprepared, he or she has effectively single-handily wasted the whole meeting. This is especially evident in a small team where there is even more reliance on each other.

Throughout the course of the research project, my group has had many meetings since lessons were set aside for discussions. I remember vividly that our first few meetings were feeble attempts at trying to put a report together because we did not have the required research done. Instead, we spent the time surfing the Internet and comparing which girls in class were prettier (I’m sworn to secrecy about this). It was only towards the deadline when we started doing our own preparations at home that the meetings became more productive, as we were able to discuss about what was lacking in our report.

I have been able to apply this lesson to my life. As head of my hall’s committee, I have learnt to call for a meeting only when I have an agenda. Even so, the agenda should require the physical presence such that an email cannot suffice. Not only have I learnt about the Marriage and Parenthood package in Singapore, I have also learnt many intangible lessons about communication. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my group members for a wonderful time spent learning together.

Talk Properly!!

A Japanese was walking out of the lift when he bumped into an American. Out of courtesy, he immediately apologized.

"I'm sorry."

The American knew it was not his fault and so apologized as well. "I'm sorry too."

Not wanting to lose out, the Japanese immediately said "I'm sorry three."

At this juncture, the American was puzzled. He asked, "What are you sorry for (four)?"

Moral of the story: Next time you knock into someone, do it the Singaporean style and just walk off to save trouble.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Intercultural Situations

I recall this incident from my backpacking trip last year. During this trip, one particular incident in the capital of Laos, Vientiane, taught me the importance of good and effective communication as well as a good understanding of the host country’s culture. As it was, my partner and me had just arrived in Vientiane after a marathon bus ride of twenty hours from the Cambodia-Laos border and I was in desperate need of a toilet.

Since it was the early hours of the day and we had to find suitable lodging for the Vientiane leg of our trip, we proceeded to check out the numerous motels around the area first. In one of the particular motel, I took the liberty of using their guest toilet after taking a look at the rooms. This was where the whole problem lied. As we were leaving the motel after having found the rooms a bit too dusty for our liking, the receptionist, whom I presume to be the owner of the motel, stopped us at the door. She was yelling at me in Lao and a mixture of her limited knowledge of English. It turned out that she believed I was taking advantage of her toilet with no intention of staying in her motel at all when the truth was that I had conveniently used her toilet after checking her available rooms. Apparently the Laos believe that the first customer of the day was the most important and they try as much as possible to seal the first deal that comes by. In this unfortunate episode, I was her first customer and in her devastated mind all I really wanted to do was to take a quick pee. She insisted on charging me 5USD for the use of the toilet. Each. The result was that I had to pay 15 Singapore dollars in order to relieve myself when I had the Mekong River right next to her motel.

This episode taught me the importance of understanding foreign culture and the powers of effective communication. I could have explained my actions to the lady if only I understood her.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Research Project

After much deliberation, our group decided to do a research on the topic of delayed parenthood. This topic was brought up during this year’s national rally and has been a mainstay of much of our national discussion for some time.

The title for our research project is “Delayed Parenthood among NUS Students” and for our research question we would like to know why the higher educated population of Singapore are not willing to procreate. Besides this, we would also like to find out what would be a good incentive for NUS students to have children in the future. Our hypothesis is that with better employees’ welfare, we can encourage NUS students to have babies in the future. With our project, we have limited ourselves to just NUS students because we know that in a few years they will be joining the workforce and their current attitude towards having children will be important if they were to start parenthood early. Besides this, we are excluding cases of unwanted pregnancies. We want to do a research case whereby both mother and father are ready and willing to step into parenthood together.

Problem Statement

The objective of this study is to analyze if having better employees’ welfare will encourage NUS students to have babies.


The target audiences of the research project are the relevant authority in Ministry of Manpower and NUS students.

Tentative Purpose Statement

One of the objectives of this report is to inform the Ministry of Manpower the attitude of NUS students towards having children. We also hope to inform them of the positive effects on our birthrate with better employees’ welfare.
The second objective is to encourage NUS students to have babies in the future.


Survey will be used to gain NUS students’ opinion regarding the issues on delayed parenthood. One hundred survey forms will be distributed to 3rd and 4th year NUS students randomly.
We will also be working with literature review found on websites, newspaper and relevant advertisement, etc.