Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Final Reflection

Finally, this hectic semester has to an end and it is time to do some self evaluation. I must say that apart from my core modules, I have gained a lot of useful knowledge and skills from ES2007S. Although it has been an extremely taxing module, I feel that I did not make the wrong choice for spending few hundreds of bid points on it.

My understanding of the importance of effective communication skills has increased after completing this module. Twelve weeks ago, effective communication skills to me is just simply conveying the intended message with good verbal skills and also receiving the intended message with active listening skills. As for now, I realized that effective communication skills comprised of not only just that. I have learnt that non verbal cues play an equally important role as verbal cues and it is important to take note of the intercultural differences before communicating.

In my first post, I wrote that effective communication will be important for me when I am looking for jobs as I will be required to give impressive interviews or presentations. I am glad to say that I have developed skills of not just giving good interviews and presentations, but also writing convincing application letter, resume, minutes and research report.

Although doing the research project has taken up much of time, I feel that I have learnt the most through this process. This is the first module that I have taken which has graded presentation and thus, I have developed presentation skills like using attention grabbers, simple slides and meaningful gestures in order to appeal more to the audience. Furthermore, I have learnt to adopt a formal language and the 7Cs when writing the research report. Also, being a good team player and an effective communicator have allowed me to gain a enriching and fulfilling experience with my team members.

Lastly, I would like to thank Ms Goh for the help and comments she gave us to improve on our project. Many thanks to Madeline and Derek for being so irritating and fun and of course, to all my classmates who have given me a wonderful learning experience

Friday, October 24, 2008


I am Mongshi and is currently a year 3 NUS undergraduate pursuing my Bachelor of Science, major in Life Science with concentration in Biomedical Science. Since young, I had found great interest in Science Subjects. Out of the three Science subjects that I took in the past, my favorite was Biology. This was why I chose to take up biomedical Science in NUS. Most importantly, I hope I can use what I have learnt to contribute to the healthcare sector of Singapore. Apart from having great interest in Biology, I also enjoy outdoor activities like playing netball, cycling and many more. I was the marketing Director of NUS Netball Club and I had a great time working with my team to organize activities and tackling any problems that came along. Through the process, I picked up leadership and communication skills and they will be put to good use when I start working. I love traveling the most because I am passionate to know more about the cultures, people and landscapes of different countries. I wish to earn enough money to travel around the world before I get old.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reflecting on the Research Project

Overall, I had a great learning experience when doing this project. I learn a lot about the Marriage and Parenthood package in Singapore and also packages in other countries to attract a higher birthrate. Most importantly, I learnt to write up a formal report which I have never done before. This is something that will be very useful for me in the near future.

Throughout the whole experience, I am very grateful that I have two really responsible team mates. I must thank Derek for being such a good leader too. From them, I learnt that having clear communication is very important. We often have to split the work because we are too busy to meet up with each other. Therefore, we constantly update each other on our latest progress. This has greatly helped us to communicate with each other effectively as we are all clear with the latest happenings in our project.

It is also important to have good interpersonal relationships with teammates. I have heard from my friend in other class that she cannot get along with one of her team mates and she really had a hard time completing her project. In my opinion, it is important to show concern for your team mates. For example, if one of them is busy with tests and assignments for the week, then he/she will be assigned with less work or more time will be given to him/her to complete his/her part. Little gestures like this can build up a friendly and comfortable environment for us to discuss issues and to do our project together.

Most probably, we will be meeting up outside lessons to prepare for our oral presentations. I hope that all of us can come prepared for our meetings. I also hope that we can stay focus and not get distracted to playing mahjong or surfing Facebook so as to get things done fast.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Evaluating Intercultural Behavior

Few years ago, my family and I went to Bali during my holidays. Bali was an extremely cultural rich country and the Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture. A large proportion of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism and thus there were numerous magnificent temples in that country. I remembered I was in a sleeveless top and shorts when we were brought to visit a temple by the tour guide for the first time. When I was about to enter the temple, I was declined entry. The man that was in charge refused to let me in, he said that I was inappropriately dressed, in other words, I have exposed too much of my skin. He wanted me to get a cloth from a nearby stall and to cover my arms and legs before I could get in. At that moment, I felt really awkward and that man was really angry with the way I dressed because he felt that I was being rude and disrespectful to their religion. Being dressed in a sleeveless top and shorts is a norm in Singapore, it did not occur to me when I was packing my luggage that this dressing can be deemed so differently in another country. During the journey, the tour guide also warned us that the Balinese eat with their right hand, as the left is considered impure which is a common belief throughout Indonesia. The Balinese also do not hand or receive things with their left hand and would not wave at anyone with their left hand. I kept those things in mind throughout the whole trip as I do not want to be mistaken for being rude or disrespectful again.

I realize that an ignorance of the culture you are visiting can lead to development of stereotypes and occasionally the causing of offence to the native culture. By having intercultural awareness can help us as tourists to understand the boundaries when visiting a foreign country and promotes good relations with the native culture. As we can see, being sensitive to intercultural differences is a need for many people. In a world that is constantly shrinking, coming to know and appreciate the cultural differences between us is paramount so as to ensure peace and harmony. A good thing to do before visiting another country is to get to know their cultural norms and their dos and don’ts through internet or other ways so as to ensure a higher chance of having a good experience there.

Monday, September 15, 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.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Potential Research Project Topic

NKF and Ren Ci charity fraud case had definitely left a deep impression in Singaporeans which made many felt cheated and disappointed. Thinking that the hard earned money they donated to NKF, did not went straight to the needy but to T.T Durai to buy a gold tap and to lead a luxurious life really anger them. The always humble venerable MingYi of Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre was also involved in fraud, forgery and giving false information. Although both cases have tone down, Singaporeans have already lost confidence in Charity organizations and are not so willing to make donations anymore. From what I have read online, many Singaporeans have stopped their monthly donations to charity organizations. Furthermore, Youth Challenge, the Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association and the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped were also hit by riveting controversies involving murky practices and misspent funds. Thus I truly can understand why Singaporeans have become so wary and stop their donations.

I think Singaporeans making fewer donations can pose a problem to our society. Although the management of charity organizations is at fault, the needy under them are innocent and they still need donations from us to survive. So if we stop donating, then what will happen to these innocent people? Thus, I think we can do a project on how can charity organizations be more effective to help the needy people. The NKF case had revealed that only 10 cents in every donation dollar go to patients. This goes to show that charity organizations are ineffective in making use of the donations. By finding what how can charity organizations be more effectively help the needy also mean that we can find out ways they can do to bring back the confidence level and make Singaporeans more willing to donate. Therefore a attitudinal survey enable us to know what is keeping Singaporeans from donating and what they think charity organizations should do to bring back the donations.

All in all, I feel that the society is facing a problem because charity organizations are leaving a bad impression of not being effective and honest when making use of the donations. This is leading to a smaller amount of donation which in the end, the ones that suffer are those that are in pain and need help. The objective of the study is to find out how charity organizations can operate to bring back the confidence level of Singaporeans to donate while our report will show some feasible solutions to this.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

resolving interpersonal conflict

In my opinion, interpersonal conflicts that occur with people you want to maintain good relationships with are the hardest to resolve. It is very difficult to express your displeasure without provoking the other party. Below is what I have experienced, please provide suggestion if you have any.

During the NUS netball club AGM meeting last year (an event where a new committee is elected by the seniors), B gave her speech and promised to stay committed to the club. She said, “Actions speak louder than words. There is no point if a person gives a perfect speech but do not carry out actions after that.” Impressed by her speech, the seniors appointed her as the deputy marketing director. After that election, I was the marketing director while B and two other girls became the deputies. Everything changed after B was successfully appointed as she did not practice what she preached. Right from the first marketing meeting to the last meeting, B did not attend any of it. She did not reply to majority of the handphone messages we sent. Furthermore, she failed to do the works assigned to her. In other words, she did nothing for the club.

Once, B offered to help us by editing and adding some necessary changes to the proposal that we did without her. This was after she had failed to attend the meeting where the other deputies and I did the proposal to be sent out to various companies. I felt that it would be rude for me to go ahead to use the proposal without her opinions in it and I did not want her to feel left out. Thus I agree to B’s offer and gave her a deadline for it. But one month after the deadline, I still did not receive the proposal. Throughout that whole month, I sent her handphone messages to ask about the proposal. Either she did not reply or said that she had email it to me. All along, I have been giving in and waited for her to no avail. In the end, I decided to go ahead to use and send out the proposal without B’s consensus because time was running out.

Doing marketing was really tedious and there was a lot to be done. We need to send out numerous emails, reply enquiries, call up companies, travel all around Singapore to meet companies, prepare documents, collect sponsored items and many more. Although we have openly expressed to B during general meetings that we are having problems coping with the heavy workload, B did not help. Finally, the day of our event was approaching and everyone was extremely busy with the preparations. B again, did not help at all, she even stop coming for meetings. B only appeared at the day of event.

We had tried to approach B to talk things out. But she always appeared to be bubbly and very nice to us, like nothing had happen before. Thus I just let the matter rest and give her some more chances. Thinking back, I should have show more concern to her and know the reasons behind her actions.

On one occasion, C approached me. He was the founder of the club and thus holds quite an amount of respect in the club, C knew what was going on and requested me as the marketing director to sack B or do not reward B with any CCA points. I was caught in a difficult position as I knew that it would be unfair to my other deputies if I do nothing. This was because the other deputies have put in a lot of effort while B did not and yet B could have the CCA points. But I did not want to make things difficult for B and I did not want to sour this relationship with her. Meanwhile, C is giving me pressure to sack B. Can you suggest what should I do?