Mega update 3 2017

After we returned, we had to go through a dreary 1 week of induction about prudential products. We spent most of our time having fun on our iPads instead. Pru then organised a “Rave at Pru” event at Zouk, supposedly to pull people in with free drinks and convince them to be FCs. It was my first time there and though the space was quite big, it just felt quite meh. We had a series of drinking games but the whole party ended at 11pm. Some of them had their own fun later and that was when shit got real. Apparently J got so dead drunk that he had to be sent to hospital and YF had no idea what was happening to her the whole time. The worst thing was that we had to meet the supervisors for some charity bazaar discussion thing or sth the very next day and they were like zombies.

At that moment, I was starting to feel conflicted feelings and disappointment due to many factors. I became somewhat morose towards certain people out of fear/jealosuy etc wtf. This actually continued all the way for quite some time until I accepted that I had no more fking chance anymore. sometimes seeing them got me triggered and i didn’t want to be there as much as i could. for our charity bazaar, we bought flowers [roses, baby’s breath] from far east flora and sold them at an inflated price for $10 each to show one’s appreciation. it felt quite despicable, but we were surprised that people were willing to buy them! in the end, we earned close to $700 worth of profit and thus earned the most points at the end of the whole internship, allowing us to receive $1000 worth of taka vouchers lol.

there was also HI tutorial and the studying for the tests and i managed to pass it without a hitch. being able to pass all exams on the first try was no mean feat and i was genuinely surprised at myself. as july drew to a close, we realised that we enjoyed each other’s company throughout the internship and we were really sad to have to part after 24 july. the graduation was held at f.club and this time there was no free flow drinks after what had happened at zouk. there were 2 dance floors at f.club but the music for the event area wasn’t that good. we sort of took our first and last group photo since previously there were missing people. YR was specially chosen to give a speech along with 3 others about their ‘metamorphosis’ journey lol.

we actually met up early in august to spend our vouchers and distribute them. it was spent at the barrage having a picnic, before we went all the way to punggol for some rounds of pool. when kw flew off a few weeks later, we went to the airport to see her off and i finally conceded. it was worth skipping training for this [despite being the only one wtf], even if i had to travel form one end of the country to another lmao. so it’s october and we are caught up with our busy schedules, which is bound to happen to almost all groups. i had been fretting about how the people would be like but i’m glad it turned out to be the better even though we didn’t have too much time together.

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Mega update 2 2017

It’s been so long since I had a proper holiday so this period is somewhat a time of rest…

Hall trial camp was right after finals even though it was on the weekend. The bus that brought us to the beach freaking crashed into a car at a traffic light-there was this shuddering and a rather jarring bump. The driver was probably travelling too fast to stop in time and the road was wet due to the rain. Incredibly, only the number plate was slightly damaged but the poor car in front had a utterly ruined rear. The car driver was trembling when he was taking a photo of the damage. This didn’t really affect us for the beach games as we had fun right before it started to pour.

As a proggie, we tried out the games for the hall foc, including the infamous NG100. We managed to complete it (sort of) lmao. I was in charge of an ‘escape room’ station where the people had to find some clues first before using them to solve the question. Somehow, I had to reveal where I hid it since nobody could find it. I was also assigned as a proggie for pool games, and it was the first time sitting on the back of a lorry…for a moment I felt like a foreign worker lulz. Other than that, it felt like a waste of time, especially when I had to move out of hall that day.

The next week was spent looking for a job/internship, which have me some amt of stress as no one had gotten back to me. Fortuitously, I was contacted by Prudential on a Monday, but I was only aware of it on a Thursday lmao. After sending my resume and etc, I was told to come down for an interview the very next day. It turned out to be a very chill session and I agreed to go for the internship.

The first day was rather cringeworthy, with a rather failed cheer leading session and an amazing race. My reaction was one of disbelief as it felt like a joke. I quickly realised that the internship was more learning than doing work, and that the pay was shit–one only gets a maximum of $1000 for passing 3 exams and the extra amount was only when you sold products to people. I did not forsee myself selling anything, and thus the net amt is less than $500 per month wtf! We had to take 3 papers: M5, M9 and M9A which were all MCQ type papers luckily. However, the amount of content was very dry and intensive: it was like learning 1 sem of content in 3 freaking days. We were given chapter reviews and 4 mock papers for each subject. I have no idea how I managed to pass all 3 in one attempt as some papers were rather tedious. We had different trainers for each paper: M5 was done very factually due to the sheer amt of content, M9 was more interesting and M9A was sth that I found rather relevant as it was about derivatives and options. I admit that these papers were really useful as I learnt about the insurance industry and financial terms that finally made sense to me when I come across finance related news etc.

The internship ppl were split into groups so that everyone would be more motivated to do well for the various activities, which leaned towards the entrepreneurial side (business pitching, talks). We played darts as part of team bonding on the first week, where we had free flow beer and a darts competition. Somehow, I managed to hit 3 consecutive bulls eye but still I busted like srsly?! For one of the talks, we managed to see Irene Ang wew! Our group pitched the idea of adjustable and detachable heels, even though many patents already existed. I was rather nervous during the pitch (based on feedback given), but I really appreciated the chance to do sth that I had not done before. We also did quite well surprisingly. I would say that the ppl on my group are a bunch of wonderful people: each of us has our strengths to complement each other eg talking well, idea generating and even slide design. However, given that we are from different unis, it would be hard to keep it going once the internship ends.

We also have our own agencies to report to ie superiors who are in charge of us. In a company like Prudential, various groups/agencies exist. All of them are working under the makn company, but each agency differs according to the remuneration and benefits. Even their office layouts and amenities are different.

I still think my agency isn’t too bad even though I heard that it didn’t get as many interns previously. On the first week, one of the leaders treated us to lunch. He drove us in his BMW and brought us to some Japanese restaurant, where the 3 of us had a $20 meal each. We were a bit surprised by his generosity but concluded that it was normal for them to do so given their wealth.

Of course, being in the company, they would try to convince you to join them etc. I admit that being in sales is very lucrative but it is rather hit-or-miss: it really depends on how you are able to sell the products to ppl. For every successful individual, there are many more that fall by the roadside. For some reason, many ppl become insurance agents without any financial background, showing how versatile this industry is. The agency contract that I signed was rather lengthy but it allowed me to get a basic pay every month if I were to make some amt of sales.

We went to Desaru Tunamaya Beach Resort at the end of June and it being my 2nd time to Malaysia, it was really refreshing. The best thing there was setting off fireworks late at night at the Desaru Fruit Farm and taking a boat to watch fireflies along the river. Us city bumpkins really felt out of place with this rustic life and it felt really good to destress for a while. We returned to the bar for some drinks before retiring to XM’s room for a HTHT of our relationships lmao. Even after the whole internship was over, I still miss the times when we opened up to people we only interacted for about a month–it was surreal and amazing.

Mega update 1 2017

So long since I wrote something…

Come to realise it, we’re alr seniors even though it does not feel like it. Exams have come and gone and even though I thought it was decent, results fell far short of expectations. So many presentations: IT, bizops etc and all the modules were not as easy as I thought.

IT project was quite unique as we had to create a website, and then utilise various strategies to get ppl to visit the website. We learnt about search engine optimisation/marketing and how to use them well. Our website was about food in all the universities and in the end, it turned out ok I guess?! Most views were fueled by the group members’ friends and compared to other groups, I felt ours was the least outstanding in terms of content and views. Yet the IT finals was one that I was somewhat confident about.

Accounting was really bad as I wasn’t sure of some questions, and somehow the concepts didn’t seem to stick to me well. It was really demoralising to do the worst even under the best teacher. Yet, Mrs C was really nice and made the effort to explain things clearly…I felt bad by letting her down ehdjfjde

Bizops was also another subject that I struggled with especially the part on capacity and process analysis. How is it possible to produce x amt of product per day when the question states that it can produce a lesser amt daily?! It just didn’t make sense to me and despite finding the prof who was nice enough to explain, it still remains unclear. The finals was ok enough but still not good enough to do well in it, probably due to the 2 quizzes. However, I appreciated how it is relevant to our daily lives: you could apply such knowledge to the cai fan stall or a restaurant and it boils down to the capacity of the serving process.

Biz law was really fun, from learning about the various statutes and acts to the different legal analyses based on the cases. I really appreciated how it allowed me to understand legal language and its relevance in daily life. It was the first time that I heard of the Holidays Act, which is the shortest Act in all of SG’s laws. We were focused more on contract law and a bit of tort law. However the application to the questions were the toughest and I had trouble doing them right. Even trying the past year papers didn’t seem to be enough. Our prof was very knowledgeable and was a former lawyer, so sometimes he would regale us with some cases he encountered previously. The same story happened during finals as I didn’t manage to complete a qn.

FM was a mod that I was attracted to because it was maths related. I admit this was really useful for me to learn more finance related things eg stocks, bonds and WACC. The questions were rather tricky especially the MCQs as the options were quite similar. However, with much practice I didn’t do as badly as I expected.

This concludes 1 year of schooling life and I can’t believe I’ve managed to come so far lmao. Yr 2 is going to be an even wilder ride and I really don’t know whether I will be thrown off.

HBD

It’s been a long and arduous journey but hocc has finally ended I’m so done with it

When wx asked me whether I wanted to participate in ho, I unhesitatingly agreed. Joining hall dance at the start of the semester was sth I had wanted to do ever since going for the hip hop classes during work. During the open house, the dance item was not bad and I just put down my name. Yet, I didn’t feel connected with anyone, partly because I did not know anyone in the og who joined. During the exam welfare practices, there was a disconnectedness as I was always slower in learning the dance moves. It was not as easy as i thought because the songs weren’t hiphop music. I pulled out of the performance as I only went for 1 practice (lol) and coincidentally i had a test that day.

However, I had also heard of hocc and how it was a big thing among the halls. Since this was the main event, i decided to sign up for it. After all, how often do you get to perform in front of so many ppl?! I knew that other halls were already beginning their practices in dec, but ours happened on like the 3rd last day of the month. The theme was Odyssey and our concept was a train journey from pasir ris to bugis, city hall, redhill and ending at nanyang audi. Throughout the practices in January, we learnt the moves and i admit I was often slower than others. I was chosen to dance the contemporary item to Gentle Bones’s ‘Sixty Five’ and the finale item of hip hop (Icona Pop’s ‘We Got the World’). The couple item was ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ and the waack/lock item was surprisingly an eurodance song ‘Around the World’ by ATC. There was also a street jazz item featuring some pseudo-chinese traditional music. I never expected one to be able to dance to such classics. It was demoralising to see how other ppl could pick up the moves almost effortlessly. This caused a lot of frustration for me and also for other ppl as they had to teach me slowly.

It was only in February when we actually stepped out of 64fr to other places to practice. I had once hitched a ride on I’s “magic school bus” (an 8-year old yellow Honda Jazz) to nanyang house and had asked her about her driving experience. On another day, 8 ppl actually squeezed into the car: 2 ppl in the boot, 4 behind and 2 ppl on the front seat. There was this time where we didn’t really progress much during practice when we saw hall 12 doing their full run. It left us speechless at how precise and good their moves were. We gathered in a circle, demoralised, and the seniors started to cry. They were saying about how we were too bad compared to the other halls and how they were also quite bad last year (2nd last). We also had sharings with some other halls where we rate their item and they would do likewise for us. Comments were somewhat mixed but generally they liked our concept. For some reason, props development moved slowly due to lack of materials and uncertainty of the design. It was only the deadline that got us sourcing for photocopy paper boxes and painting of the backdrop. There were structural problems w the backdrop and we experimented with bamboo poles before we got ppl to hold for us.

As all evenings were occupied for dance, grades took a tumble and I found out the hard way during the quizzes. Despite being on track for the lessons, it seemed that I wasn’t as prepared as i expected myself to be. It got me hating dance and many times I asked myself why I was in this shit. There were instances where i left class halfway to go to the auditorium, but I resolved not to skip classes totally like what some people did–i could not bear to not know anything about the class. We sneaked into nanyang audi at 1am once to mark the stage and we had to be silent since it was clearly illegal. Furthermore we had received news that 15 had been caught not long before. Upon reaching the stage, i was awed by its size. I remembered looking at the silent rows of seats and thinking how surreal it was to perform in front of so many people.

On the last week before ho, we did full runs with our props. The choreographers had unexpectedly changed the order of the items, catching us off guard, but we decided to see things with “an open mind.” It was a bitch carrying them as they were rather unwieldy and there were teething issues with costume changes. We had to sort it out by coordinating our quick change partners to make it in time for the next item. We had practices everyday and very soon it was D-day.

For the morning run, we had to tell the helpers what to do as we were unable to find sufficient ppl to help us. The afternoon run was good and before the actual one, we ran through some minor modifications. As the hour drew near, nervousness kicked in-it was all or nothing. I was pleasantly surprised that the Christians in the team, including I/C actually got together to pray for good luck and for “23 jesuses to dance with us” lol. However, as N succinctly put it, stage fright meant that you still have emotions which was good. In the dressing room, we wished each other well amidst cries of “let’s do this”. When hall 10 went up to perform, we were on standby backstage. The cheers of the audience got so much more real and tbh it was nerve-wracking. It was too late to do anything else alr so we just went on. I must admit that it was only during the actual performance that we were able to feel each other and feed off each other’s energy. It was unfortunately marred by a costume malfunction, which may or may not have affected by the final score (last place). The other halls were indeed better, but our concept was markedly different from the rest–a particular judge failed us for some reason and it was what killed us, even though other judges gave us average scores. We were in disbelief as we had wanted to get a position better than 2nd last–the seniors had left abruptly to clear props and we surmised that they were also upset by it. Yet, we agreed that it was the best run we had. I went to look at the video recording and i admit i fked up some of the moves-it was shockingly glaring. The lights, the cheers, the music–it was an incredible feeling but bittersweet knowing that the sweat and tears for the past 2 months were gone in a mere 7 mins. The audience will never know what we sacrificed to be where we were that day.

Even though all of us were a crew, I still felt that the divides between different ppl came back to haunt us. It was made worse by the presence of alpha individuals who were unable to de-clique when necessary. I never felt close to anybody and the seniors didn’t really make an effort to bond us closer, except for I, the dance captain, who actively tried to engage everyone. Our choreographers (I’s seniors back in poly) often complained about the lack of vibes. We started having suppers after practices but it was too little too late. There was also this letter writing thing for each other that died as soon as it was born. We were just too disparate for us to be tighter. It was probably the difference in personalities, but if you want to succeed as a team, you should start by working together and be more tolerant of others as well. It was a small regret for me and maybe everyone but oh wells. For some reason, our jcrc wasn’t very supportive of us, especially during the back to school dinner. There were conflicts with the scheduling, props and even on the day itself, we had to ask them to shift the tables for more space. Also, they failed to provide sufficient helpers and they only came at the last minute. Compared to what other halls received and even the hall cheer team, we were disappointed at how we were regarded. This made us change our mindset to dance for the other 22 ppl with us rather than the hall.

I certainly had enough of hall dance and I don’t forsee myself joining next year, especially as a non-dancer. Yet, dance has been somewhat therapeutic and I will have withdrawal symptoms of not going to 64fr after class every 7pm. I’m also surprised to see myself liking dance in itself and N also said that you will always be a dancer by virtue of having performed before. It has also increased my knowledge of dance lexicon (blocking, cleaning etc) and the various styles as well. This is really a case of 台上一分钟,台下十年功 and the effortless moves on stage comes with much effort off stage. I’m still proud of being the pioneer batch of HBD (H13D if you dk, the seniors had changed the name). I/C would always like to conclude practices by asking someone, “so what do you want to say?” and the person would reply, “thanks for coming!” I don’t know how this came about but i would still like to thank the rest of HBD for coming for this HO. It has been a crazy odyssey, but “it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.”

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its so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself against others–isn’t it human nature from the time we lived in caves? what’s more insidious is how your mind/consciousness seizes on your doubts to twist it into horrible stuff.

i have seen far too many travel posts for comfort and i’m constantly reminded of how circumstances have not availed me of this chance to take a break during the holidays, either through lack of lucre or companions. i have seen far too many friendships and i wonder why they have so much more connections than i do. i see the fun they had and i also wonder. i see musicians and wonder how are they able to memorise songs and their chords. why do they have so much more fun than i do? the ideal, politically correct ans is not to think so much and to be grateful for what you have. easy to say, difficult to do though. many a times i have visualised myself going overseas to take street life [shopfront with ppl/cars in the foreground]. i could say i’ve become self-conscious abt this and it keeps grating at my mind. to sum up this sad state of affairs, i started to read next sem’s stuff alr ha.ha.ha.

i’m also reminded of the unspoken privileges that we have as chinese and christians as well. we can talk to each other in mandarin even though other races feel left out of the joke or commentary. even during christmas, how we celebrate differs wildly from gatherings, dinners to just reflecting on what a birth 2000 years ago signify. ‘xmas’ has become an ubiquitous greeting, but then christians would argue why is christ removed from christmas all because of a social/economic/linguistic need to  simplify/abbreviate everything? see, with the added knowledge of our races and religions, we view the world through many lenses that may or may not cloud our perceptions. will we see the world as it plainly is one day? maybe not in this lifetime, not ever, unless the human condition undergoes a drastic change.

also i find it quite interesting to see what others think of you. this has been evident in the many detailed birthday wishes. being a welfie who plays the harmonica and ‘steady’/onz abt the og/funny when drunk etc is alr v common for me. there is this social condition where the well-wisher would try to think of sth they share in common or have seen in their wishes, and the birthday boy/girl would show appreciation in like manner. so one could see how much you thought/regarded the person and in reverse, what the birthday person felt abt you as well. of course there is a difference in length of the wishes. on one hand you could be heartened by what the person thought of you during normal-time interactions, or you may feel that the person may not be sincere enough. ppl would comment if it were exceptionally good but how often can that be? it can be interesting to think of what to say to each well-wisher but you would have a tougher time for those whom you’re not close to. somehow or another someone would remember its your birthday and everyone follows suit–idk why i’m caring so much and somewhere deep inside it would be better off to not forcibly remember birthdays–if you’re close enough a private message can mean the whole world to the person. well fk this superficial shit.

how fast is 2016?

have things turned out the way I hoped for at the start of this year? after finishing army and getting a job, have i really fulfilled what i set out to do?

from the start of 2016 to the middle, i unwittingly found employment in iras. first real-time working experience–what more could i expect? it was scary at first, listening to real people talking about their taxes–sensitive topic! most were quite reasonable and there were a few memorably kind/nasty ones. tbh, very soon i would be like them calling in abt my taxes, but hopefully there won’t be any need to be nasty as well.

i still wonder what it could have been for us–so many firsts for me and yet it was neither here nor there. and that trip incident is still there: like a mole that reminds you of its existence. it hurts to see things turn out that way but so far things are ok for all of you i believe? it was a first for me and i believe it isn’t the last.

learning driving was a whole new ball game. of course men are expected to operate w 3 pedals, but there lies difficulties too. varying instructors left impressions on me and i’m grateful to have experienced friendly ones who were more tolerant of mistakes. driving the 2014 toyota vios was a blast despite failing the practical test once. i guess i got lucky on the 2nd try as i still made mistakes but scraped through fortunately–thank you mr TP! now i haven’t touched a vehicle in 4 mths and i’ll probably shit bricks if anyone asked me to drive now.

i didn’t know how i ended up on the apsn project, but though it wasn’t as successful as we hoped, i was impressed at yl’s dedication to see the project through. i wasn’t on the actual exco, but i was privy to many intricacies of the prject which culminated in a carnival. interacting w mentally challenged clients was nerve-wracking as i didn’t know how they would be like. life lesson: people are nt what they appear to be! however, their actions sometimes felt too familiar and hit home repeatedly to the point where i felt displeased. after all was over, i also found that it was my emotional detachment that prevented me from doing more. but could i have done thing differently? i felt overwhelmed by the various tasks but it was an important lesson in project planning. being exposed to a hidden side of society was a humbling experience.

now on to ntu…

first contact was actually cru. it felt comfortable to learn each other’s struggle and encourage each other onwards. also my first experience staying up late to play resistance [another first]. going for pre-camp right after cru was a sigh moment and being absent for the first part, the revelation of fake freshies was lost on me. i genuinely felt uncomfortable and didn’t stay [cos also need to submit hall camp video bleh]. i had felt better during hall camp–first experience communicating w others intensively and exposure to orientation games/traditions/cheers etc. sp date was tense–i may have committed certain faux pas but was v surprised that i had guessed who she was at the first try. yup and throughout hall camp the nbs chat was noisy af–i couldn’t be bothered to care about what they said.

it was only during 2nd pre camp that i felt better? they turned out to be a great bunch of ppl to be with, from mud games, pool games, esp beach day [telematch was shag af]. we also had to rehearse the dance and be initiated up to 4am the next morning–> had to be up at 5 freaking 30am?! i remembered we were zonked out for the rest of the day, performed our item and managed to win 3 awards but no best og why?!!

credits to D who ensured the og’s continued survival w a series of activities. how we were tighter than the rest i have no answer but the crucial difference was that everyone played a part. of course the cracks started to appear a month later but hey, who ever said that such a thing won’t happen? it’s not like everyone would gather in a circle and sing kumbaya lol. personality differences are certainly the main cause. i won’t say 2016 was a perfect year, but i made myself interact w the quieter ones. things didn’t really work out with A as much as i hoped. but, using snapchat was somewhat effective in striking up convos which i would find trouble to initiate.

schoolwork? heh. i guess its true that group A suffers first and chills later and vice versa. the few of us were in the same group so we naturally got closer and stuff. it also helped that we were in the main comm so we knew about foc and shit. tbh, being somehow admitted into the main comm was a serious stroke of luck–i fear to imagine how peripheral i would become if that had not happened [and this is alr happening to some others]. seeing how others managed their workload was quite interesting. being in nbs, it is v natural to be a small fish in a  big ocean. yet, the most stressful part of sch was actually the avalanche of assignments that threatened to wipe you out of your miserable existence. you learn how to finish essays/projects that usually take a much longer time to complete back in jc within record time haha. coupled w teachers who are not v helpful to you, i guess why uni is called the wilderness at times. friends do play a part in keeping you sane, but have i remained so myself? i also took up quite a few commitments which i seriously wonder whether i could pull it off especially w one hell of a semester coming.

one qn which a friend asked me was my persona. who do i want to portray myself as? shockingly, i wonder who i am. an nbs student? immature? fking strange? i do despise my identity but changing it is another issue altogether. how do i reconcile my inner self w what i display to others? i do realise that being in the main comm only helped to push my prominence up slightly and many times i fantasise being a deputy to govt ppl coupled with remarkable entrances and departures. so who tf am i? i wanted to see the number of wishes i could get without sharing any info but that would be hard with well-known J right after me 😐

i hope the finals treat me well and i’m so fking envious of those who can travel overseas. background is so different huh. you never know what its like to be less off than your peers.

can i say 2016 is a good year? in some aspects maybe. do i hope for a better 2017? i just want to survive and build relationships one by one on solid ground let’s hope it’ll be better.