after effects of ES2007S (part1)

Wow, i’m definitely recommending this module to my other science friends/juniors for the upcoming semesters. I can see and feel the positive effects of this module already.

Klara (also from Group 8 :D) posted on the Facebook group wall a few days back, saying that she had went for an interview for a job/internship(?) at Duke-NUS and it went extremely well! In fact, she was hired on the spot 😀 CONGRATS KLARA XD

Inspired by her and her story, I too decided to apply for an internship position at a new start-up company which happened to be calling for interns as well. The intern position was something which I was interested in, so that was another factor which encouraged me to apply. Remembering what I had learnt in ES2007S, I applied whatever I could, the only difference was the ‘cover letter’ was the ’email-letter’, since the company wanted applicants to convince them ‘why would you would be the ideal person for hire’. Of course, I had attached my resume for good measure and wrote the email as if it was the cover letter.

I was pleasantly surprised that the company reverted back to me in less than 12 hours, with a reply to invite me for an interview for the internship position 🙂 As this job had been posted up where many NUS students could see this advertisement (more than 2600 people viewed the post), I thought my chances of being called up for an interview were at best, slim, since many people probably applied for the same intern post. (even if 5% of 2600 people applied, that would 130 people :O )

Since the next step would be the interview, its time for ‘preparing and performing’ XD I am totally excited and looking forward to applying my new-found interview skills during this interview. Its not 100% guaranteed that I would be hired, but it is indeed a good step forward and a chance to practice what we have learnt 😀

*but really i should be focusing on exams instead for now XD*

official post #6 : Reflection on Learning

Time flew by way too quickly this semester, as we have come to the final official post for ES2007S, about how we have developed on a particular aspect throughout this course. With several components covered in the course, such as cover letter writing, intercultural communication, proposal writing and oral presentation, I can confidently say that I have made progress in all these areas. Personally, the segment which involved the learning of job interviews and partaking in mock interviews had the most impact on me for several reasons.

I had much less experiences with job interviews in comparison with some of my classmates.   Although I did not think that I would be at a disadvantage when it came to mock interviews, my mock interview was undeniably an eye opener for me. As I was the last person to be interviewed from my ‘human resource group’, I was slightly disheartened since the order of interview was based on the impressiveness of our cover letter and résumé. At the end of the interview, one of the most striking and memorable feedback I received was that I was very defensive throughout the interview. After the feedback, I did some self-reflection on my answers I gave and on my behaviour during the interview and realised at some points during the interview I was being quite blunt with my answers. As I felt I have brought my true personality to the interview, the feedback of me being defensive was an indirect reflection on my personality as well.

What made my mock interview more interesting was that I was involved in the peer teaching component on job interviews together with Noelle. I had learnt many new facts about the preparing and performance aspects of an interview, but when it came to the actual mock interview, I felt that I was not as psychologically prepared as I could have been. Coupled with my nervousness, I could have ended up appearing defensive and unprepared to the ‘interviewers’ and left an unfavourable impression on them. So all in all, the mock interview has highlighted my flaws and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.Ever since, I have made a conscious effort to be less blunt when speaking to people and to be less defensive (but not aggressive either). This made me more aware of what I was saying and what kind of impression I was leaving on other people. Although the results are not instant, I am still trying hard to improve in every way and I believe that I will be able to be more prepared and perform even better next time during a real interview.

post OP stuff [part 1]

My team (Team Abercrombie) has successfully and smoothly completed our Oral Presentation last Friday! Hurray!

For those who are curious, our team tried our best to coordinate the colour of our presentation clothes [White top, black pants], not sure if you noticed it XD

As some might remember, Lance introduced an article about Land Transport Authority testing out the use of LED lights on the road. As he brought a newspaper cutting, some of you may not know where you can view the article again. So I have found a link to this article:  http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1163930/1/.html

For part 2 of the OP video ( the 1st camera ran out of memory space T.T), just scroll down!

official post #5 : Reflection on Oral Presentation

Just completed my oral presentation with my team (Team Abercrombie) yesterday. We had presented our ideals, solutions and proposals about improving the standards of zebra crossings on the NUS campus.

for a short recap on the presentation (for Lance’s and Christopher’s parts + Q&A only) here it is below:

 

I apologize for the poor video quality. The camera settings were set incorrectly by accident and thus the resulting video is very poor in quality. You can still hear us properly (although you may have to turn up the volume slightly).

As for the personal reflection on my own part of the presentation:

Strengths:

  • Voice projection and clarity in words. I tried my best to be clear in my enunciation and tried my best not to mumble.
  • Spoke with feelings and conviction. Since it is something important to us, I naturally presented our cause with passion.
  • Good improvement on eye contact (from mock OP)
  • Did not turn to face the slides on the screen for too long. Such that my body was facing the audience most of the time.
  • Made suitable references to the pictures on the slide.
Weaknesses:
  • Stumbled quite a bit while speaking at the start. Too nervous again, I guess 😦
  • Spoke too fast (that I what I felt), could have paced myself slower.
  • Too much hand gestures, could have toned it down slightly.
  • I think my fringe was quite a distraction, might have impeded my eye-contact with the audience.
That is all I have for now, thank you in advance for the comments! 🙂

official post #4 : Evaluating Intercultural Behaviour

Certain cultures share some similarities, but often there are unique cultural practices specific to certain Asian countries. In this post, I will bring up the intercultural differences which I experienced last year at a local restaurant while I was in South Korea. Since our Chinese forefathers were from China and Korea (both North and South Korea in this case) was once part of China, I had assumed that Singaporean and Koreans shared slightly similar cultural practices with Chinese influence. An example would be that both cultures use chopsticks during meals.

As part of the tour, we were brought to a Korean restaurant for dinner on the first night of the tour. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I noticed a very interesting practice at the restaurant. We had to remove our shoes before we could enter the restaurant, something which was uncommon in Singapore. Of course, I adhered to this practice since I was in an unfamiliar environment and it was only polite to do so.

At the dinner table, we were served with an array of Korean side dishes. As Korean restaurant owners were known to be very hospitable, the restaurant owner gave us more food whenever she saw that our side dish plates were empty. At first, we (the Singaporeans) had not thought much of this gesture, but we noticed that the restaurant owner continuously came to our table to replenish whatever we had finished eating even though we did not ask her to do so. We were quite full towards the end of the dinner, but the restaurant owner continued to put food on our table. Since we did not want food wastage, we tried to tell the restaurant owner that we did not want any more food by waving our hands whenever she came towards our table. However, the restaurant owner took slight offence when we tried to reject her and she was even more insistent to replenish our dishes. What made the situation worse was that we were not fluent in the Korean Language and we ended up raising our voices while saying ‘No, no’. I knew that Korean restaurant owners were generous, but I never thought that it would be to the extent of forcing us to eat.

Thankfully, we had a Korean tour guide who had studied in China. The tour guide explained to us in Chinese that it was normal for the owners to provide food in surplus. Apparently, it would reflect badly on the owners if they did not replenish the empty dishes as it may appear that they were starving their customers by not letting them eat their fill. In addition, the owner had thought that we did not like their food when we started to wave our hands to reject the food and mistook our ‘No, no!’ as dislike to the food served.

Even simple hand gestures and words may have different meaning in different cultural context. As such, what we could do on our part is to try and learn as much as possible about the other culture and be aware of the situation we are in. Should anyone express disapproval of our actions or words, we should find out what we have done wrong and try and adapt accordingly. In this case, since language was a barrier, a third party who is familiar with both cultures (e.g. the tour guide) could be the mediator and communicator. Alternatively, learning a few basic phrases of that certain language would also be helpful.

sorry for the long post, this is the most concise i think i can go 🙂

American English versus British English?

Recently, I’ve read an article which really set me thinking. In the article, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had raised the point that Singaporeans should start to adapt to the usage of American English. At the opening of the English Language Institute of Singapore, he said that “I believe we will be exposed more and more to American English and so it might be as well to accept it as inevitable and to teach our students to recognise and maybe, to even speak American English”.

Being a student who was brought up to use British English, does it mean I need to start panicking and relearn the pronunciation or spelling of certain words? I don’t think so, but I should be worried about another matter instead.

After reading this article, I went on to tweet the following tweet on my personal Twitter account.

“erm, can you tell the difference if im saying ‘realise’ or ‘realize’?”

A friend of mine, who is currently studying linguistics at NTU replied : “/re-uh-laiz/ or /rear-laise/? Hehehe.” and followed up with this tweet “haha shouldnt have a diff!! Unless you’re talking abt noun-verb distinction but even so……….. :/ no diff…”

What appears to be more important and relevant to me at this time is not whether my written/spoken English is in American or British, but whether I am being understood regardless of ‘what-type-of-standard-English’ I am using. We should also be worried about the standard of English used instead, since Singlish is a very dominant part of every Singaporean’s lifestyle. In the heartlands or at home, it would be natural and totally fine to speak Singlish/Mandarin/dialects. But under workplace and school conditions, the use of proper English would be more appropriate. What we need to learn is to know when would be the most suitable times and scenarios to use which language.

 

It would not cause confusion if you used the word ‘color’ or ‘colour’  when speaking to an American or Briton, but you would definitely confuse him if you spoke in Singlish.

official post #3 : Application letter critique

*Just a note. The formatting which I did from Microsoft Word could not be properly shown here. 😦  The spacing , eg. the address, does not come out right even after I have edited it on WordPress. So I have decided to upload the picture of it instead, for more accurate visualization! To enlarge the picture for better viewing , just press on it! 🙂 *

Context: I am applying to National University of Singapore for admission into a graduate programme hosted by School of Design and Environment. The graduate programme I am applying for is the Master Degree Programme in Environmental Management.

Do feel free to leave comments as to how I can further improve on it! Thank you in advance 🙂

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