Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last ES2007S lesson

Some Photos to share:

- Bin-Oxygy -

- My funny classmates from Group 6 with Miss Goh -

A mini celebration with my team-mates of Bin-Oxygy:
- Cheers -

- The use of self-timer -

- Our Yummies -

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Final Reflection

- Bin-Oxygy after their Oral Presentation -

Time really flies!

I still remembered very vividly that my first ES2007S lesson where i see many unfamiliar faces and made a self-introduction to some of my classmates, like as if I am on my first day at work, now we became friends and enjoyed each others' accompany in class.

Before taking up this module, I thought it will be an easy and relaxed one as it only comprises of project, writing resume and cover letter, and prepare us for interviews. To my surprise, this module really taught me alot and made me realize the importance of effective communication skill, both verbal and non-verbal cues. Also, the development in active listening in this course trained me to be more attentive and sensitive towards others when speaking. I still remembered the times when we need to be the speaker, the listener and the observer, and as a listener, it is not easy to translate everything accurately from the speaker. Building interpersonal communication to be a better team player and fostering intercultural communication to raise my cultural self-awareness also summed up all the benefits of effective communication skills.

Another essential skills that i learnt in this module would be the ability to construct a better resume and cover letter as they are the first impression of "me" before my interview with my employer. Writing a good email is not an easy task too.

Writing up the survey report is a very different kind of exposure from what we, Science students, usually write for our laboratory report. We adopt the 7Cs in writing that we learnt in class to write a more concise report. Not forgetting our oral presentation that allowed us to present our "products to our distinguished guests". For this research project, i bound to many ups and downs times due to the busy and tight schedule, and at times, somethings could be done in a better way if more time was allowed. Nonetheless, everyone tried their best.

Last but not least, this is the time we show our heartfelt gratitude towards our lecturer, Miss Happy Goh, who never fail to liven up the lesson and taught us the valuable skills. She also goes an extra mile to evaluate all our reports and resumes in order for us to produce a better one. Not forgetting my fellow classmates who always so spontaneous in lesson and my two entertaining project-mates, Xinyi and Guangyi whom i learnt alot from. A Big thank you to all who read my blogs and commented. I would like to end off my this lengthy post by a quote:

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." by Auguste Rodin

*sorry for my this super long post as is the last blog post*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shao Bin's Biodata

Currently, I am a third year undergraduate, majoring in Chemistry in National University of Singapore (NUS). During these 3 years of my university life, I was given the opportunity to go for European Immersion Program (EURIP) todifferent parts of Germany. It was definitely a great eye-opener for me. This program provides a real-life exposure with the business opportunities associated with the chemical industry and hands-on understanding of the role of chemistry in Europe. Having such exposure, I have gained more insights of the different kinds of laboratories and industries; and exposed to people of different cultures and languages. Moreover, I also actively involved in Science Orientation Camp (SCAMP) as seniors who led and took charge of a group of freshies. It trained me to be a better leader.

I am all along very active during my years of education. Firstly, being the President of Theresian Co-op in my secondary school, it trained me to lead my team to come out with entrepreneurial ideas. I was also given the honour to attend entrepreneurial courses. Hence, this enhances my organizational and creative thinking skills.

I also participated in the Youth Expedition Programme (YEP) during my tertiary education in Polytechnic to Northern Thailand to help the children in the village to build a community center. It was indeed a different kind of experience i had; staying in rural area (village). My compassionate self allows me to help the less fortunate children who are so simple and innocent.

Lastly, I was selected to go for overseas attachment to University of Queensland, Brisbane in my last year of Polytechnic study. This allowed me to expose to different educational structure and interacted with people of different cultures. I was assigned to a researcher who work very closely on food; so I assisted him on the new discoveries. Having this experience, my time management and interpersonal skills had greatly improved and the ability to work independently.

I have great passion in Sports, especially in swimming. I also enjoy jogging, listening to music and reading. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reflecting on the Research Project Experience

Our team, Bin-Oxygy, had been working hard on our research project since Week 4-5 (coming out a research topic) till now (the end product of the whole research project - Communication Skills Development in FOS). Workload is getting more and more each week, especially when the times we had to tabulate our survey results. This research project had been part of our daily routine to work on from doing research on the topic, coming up with the survey questions, writing emails to ask for interviews, meeting up with the interviewees, writing up the project parts by parts in order to meet the dateline of the drafts, and lastly editing the project to make it a better one.

Every one of us was assigned to different parts of the project to work on. Every week, we will have a discussion to check on each other’s progress on our individual part before our Tuesday and Friday ES2007s small group tutorial. For this project, we had made use of different kinds of communication methods – face-to-face, emails, MSN, phone conference and even online conference.

There are several things which I have gained insights on from this research project. Firstly, communication skills and time management are really very important (not only for this project.) We may come from the same faculty but the modules we took are different. Due to our heavy workload of our core curriculum, lab reports and other commitments, we still managed to hand in our work on time and meet up for our group discussions.

Next, from this research project, we managed to apply those skills that we learnt during ES2007s lesson, i.e. writing emails with clear and concise details, attending meeting with an agenda, effective communication skills and the 7Cs. Also, ES2007s module inspires us for our research topic! We had known so much more about the Science undergraduates, how communication skill is really important in the workforce and what the employers are really looking for from undergraduates.

Lastly, I would like to thank my group mates – Guang Yi and Xinyi for being understanding and their support throughout the whole process. And, all the best for our oral presentation and work hard for it again.  And not forgetting, our tutor, Miss Happy Goh, for her time and effort to read our drafts, and to highlight our mistakes to us. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recess Week: Evaluating Intercultural Behaviours

The world today is characterized by an ever growing number of contacts resulting in communication between people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This communication takes place because of contacts within the areas of business, education, entertainment, tourism but also because of immigration brought about by labor shortage or political conflicts.

In all these contacts, there is communication which needs to be as constructive as possible, without misunderstandings and breakdowns. It is our belief that research on the nature of linguistic and cultural similarities and differences can play a positive and constructive role.

I still remember this incident which happened while I was working in some high-end boutiques where I managed to meet lots of tourist coming from different countries. Somehow, i have difficulty communicating with them especially those customers come from Japan and Korea. I need to make lots of hand signals to them so that they know how to claim their tax refund in the airport. I did tried once before. I had been explaining to one of my customers, a Japanese lady, for sometime on how to go about the tax refund, but she still don't quite understand, till i draw out the picture of the airport.

Moreover, there are two groups of customers who will keep asking for discount, they are people from China and India. While they asking for discount, they will speak very loudly. Some of them even demand for a discount. If asking discount of items failed, they will ask for free gifts. They are one group of customers who are hard to entertain. They can just come in and complain about how bad is this bag or that, and just walk off.

However, people who come from USA, Europe and Austraila, they are very friendly and easy-going when purchasing things. Smile will just spread across their faces while they shop and purchase items till they step out of the store. Sometimes, we can even have some small chats with them.

I believe that language is a survival tool that facilitates our adjustment to our surroundings. Different people who come from different country will portray themselves differently. For example, if one Singaporean went overseas, the "kiasu" attitude will be shown out too.

Humans display universal behaviors regardless of their race or cultural heritage. Moreover, parochial behaviors are bound to particular cultures. Thus, human behavior is the result of inherited pre-programmed behavior, and learned behavior from our social and physical environments. It should be no surprise that the interaction of diverse parochial behaviors may lead to misunderstanding or even conflict. From the insights gained in the view of universal and parochial behavior, some practical communication techniques, that enhance and create effective intercultural communication, were used.

Some examples that illustrate parochial language reflects the type of adaptation necessary for survival in the physical and social surroundings of each culture:

- English people: When they speak, they will continually use the words please and thank you in their conversations, and often avoid direct statements. Thus English language and behavior tends to be periphrastic to avoid offending or alienating the other person.

- Japanese: They can speak to another using a selection of many different address forms to indicate explicitly any one of a whole range of relationships - for example: intimate, familiar, polite, authoritative. This illustrates the hierarchy and ceremony of interpersonal relationships in the society.

Monday, September 15, 2008

An analysis of how well prepared are NUS students for the workforce

Research Question
Are Science undergraduates in NUS equipped with the necessary skills to prepare them for the workforce?

Introducing compulsory social skill workshops in the curriculum could better prepare science undergraduates for the work force

Problem statement
Science students in NUS may be equipped with all the necessary academic skills and knowledge during their course of studies. However, they may not be equipped with the necessary skills needed to prepare them for the workforce.

Audience / Readers
Our targeted readers are student welfare committee for the department of Science Club and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Science.

Our potential readers are Science undergraduates in NUS.

Purpose statement
The objective of this report is to find out if the academic system employed by NUS prepares science undergraduates well for the workforce.

We will be conducting a survey with 100 NUS students comprising of Year 2-4 students regarding their opinion on how well NUS prepare them for the future workforce.

In addition, we will be interviewing the dean of undergraduate studies on how the curriculum is decided and to obtain employment statistics of science graduates in different sectors of the workforce.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Potential Research Project Topics

Can the young generations of Singaporeans face the upcoming challenges?

This is one of the topics that I will want to find out more for our research project.

As we know that, there are many challenges that Singapore faces in the 21st century. With the uprising challenges, Singapore is trying to push all its way out from the economic slowdown by making Singapore a financial hub, research hub, medical hub, as well as an entertainment hub, etc. With these rising prospects, there are many job opportunities available. However, there are many opportunities that people do not like to take up due to certain reasons. For an example, jobs that are unstable yet can be highly profiting, such as, sales personals and financial planner, or service line that requires youngster to work long hours.

The question is: Are our youngster willing to take up the challenge and give it a try? Or they just want a stable job to settle down?

The feeling is very ironic. You feel happy and proud to see that Singapore have been improving well and very fast, yet you will feel quite scary that, as a small country like Singapore, it have been improving too fast that most of the Singaporeans cannot take it. The pace has been getting faster and faster, no matter in education times or work times. Can really all Singaporeans take it now or even in the near future? Hence, we must find out, especially from the youngsters, whether they are ready to face the upcoming challenges. I had read a few articles on these types of topics and find out that nowadays, parents have been over concerned with their children’s school work which made these children feel that academic work is more than anything else. And, most parents had spoilt their children by trying to give them anything as long as the children say “I want.”

I am interested in finding out how do the youngsters come about to overcome the challenges if they are to face it? And, how they can maximize the opportunities given to them, if any? Should government and school try to encourage entrepreneurship? If so, how they can do it? The survey is important for us to understand how and what the youngsters, like us feel about this issue. I feel that different people with different background will give different opinions. It will be interesting to know such opinions. I hope by doing this research, we can also raise the awareness for the youngster to be more mentally and physically prepared.