Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Oral Presentation

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow research group mates, Wee Siong and Sau Yeen. Both of them being very helpful and provided me with many ideas and advices regarding the oral presentation. During our rehearsal, I was not feeling well and cannot come up with good ideas to present my part. Fortunately, my fellow group mates had assisted me, giving me precious guidance. Before the oral presentation, I was very nervous as this was the first time where I was required to perform an assessed oral presentation. I was so panic and my mind had gone totally blank during the presentation. All the points that I had memorize the night before was forgotten. I forgot to have eye contact with the audiences and I did not “blank” the slides which was an act that I was supposed to do in our presentation. At some point of the presentation, I was struggling to find the correct word to say and convey my main message to the. I was very disappointed with my overall performance and I think that I can perform much better if I able to control my emotion well. I will learn from this experience.

Final Reflection (Post #7)

As time flies, we have come to the last post for this module. After reading through my first post, which was written three months ago, my understanding of the value of effective communications skills certainly had changed. Initially, I used to think that an effective communicator is someone who can fully express themselves to others and at the same time understands by them. On the other hand, I never thought of an effective communicator should also be an active listener. Through this module, I have learnt that communication is always a two way process.

Personally, I think that blogging exercise do help us in forming interaction and bonding among us. If we were only attending classes, I am not sure that I would ever have any chance to learn so much about my fellow classmates. Through each post, I have a chance to share my point of view with them and at the same time get to know them better.

Next, report writing skill was another useful skill that I have learnt from this module. It was not easy to propose, conduct survey, analyze data and write a report in three weeks time. From setting objective and hypothesis to writing conclusion and interpretation, as well as following the APA format of citing references for the report, this project taught us everything in order to produce a piece of professional writing. Through the effective group communication and teamwork, the three of us were able to make it!

Furthermore, the process of learning how to write excellent resume and cover letter prepared me for my future job searching upon graduation. The peer review section where we went through each other’s resume and job application letter was very effective as I had the opportunity to see how well others had wrote and also received many valuable inputs on how to improve my resume and job application letter. Nevertheless, the mock interview was also very helpful as it exposed me on what type of questions I should be expecting when I go for the real interview.

Through this module, I have learnt a great deal about interpersonal skills, resolving conflicts and practiced active listening. I am now more aware of non-verbal gestures when talking to other people and learning on how to tackle awkward situations caused by interpersonal and cultural differences both at home and at school.

Overall, ES2007S was a very useful, fun, interesting and fruitful experience as I was exposed to various way of communication. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Malaysian partners who encourage me to take this module together. I am very glad to have Brad as our tutor for this module. He has been very helpful and approachable for consultation especially when my project group was encountering some difficulties with the research study.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Biodata (Post #6)

My name is Chan Hwee Cher. I am currently a 3rd year Life Sciences undergraduate at the National University of Singapore. This degree provided me with opportunities to develop laboratory competency and learn research techniques. However, I did not restrict myself to research in the life sciences or teaching. I decided to further my studies in Physiotherapy in Australia after I graduated in May 2009.

Besides studying, I joined various Co-Curricular Activities to enrich my university life.I was appointed by NUS Singapore Anti-Narcotic Association as Public Relations Manager during 2007/08 and as Secretary during 2008/09. As a member of the main committee, I organized various activities such as seminars, bazaars, and exhibitions. From these activities, I gained leadership skills, organizing skills, and interpersonal communication skills. I do believe these experiences will benefit me in my future career.

During vacation, I worked as a sales executive where I learned to serve customers and some of the basic daily operations of a company. During the summer of 2008, I worked as a Food Host in an amusement park located in Ohio, USA. Due to my impressive performance, I was promoted as a Team Leader. I learned to deal with administrative matters, liaise with suppliers, and work peacefully with people from different background.

Next, I also enjoy playing sports since I was young. Among all the sports I played, archery is my favorite. My proudest achievement would be being selected as the district representative and winning second runner up in the Johor State Archery Tournament 2004.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Speak Their Language #Post 5

In general, people who speak a variety of languages are regarded as great communicators as they are able to break down language barriers. As they have ‘the gift of the gab’, they are never shut out from a relationship. To learn a language is the beginning of a road in learning the country, the culture and the people.

It is a general custom to learn some useful foreign language phrases and expressions when we are going on a trip to a foreign country especially when English is not the common language. This is particularly helpful when dining out at a restaurant, asking for directions and even on a shopping trip. From my past experiences, if you are shopping in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown and you happened to be a non-Cantonese speaker (which is apparently the local dialect of Kuala Lumpur), then most likely you be regarded as a foreigner and will be charged double the actual price. Thus, speaking their language may save you from these undesirable troubles.

I would also like to share with you some of my experiences where I fully utilize my ability to speak several languages.

It all started two years ago when I was staying in Prince George Park Residences. One afternoon, while I was washing my dishes in my cluster kitchen, a Malay cleaner came and began to clean the kitchen. To break the ice, I thought she might like to be greeted in her own mother tongue; I greeted her with relatively simple Malay. We began with self- introduction and some tips on living in Singapore. Then, I excused myself as my phone rang. When I was back, my previous unwashed dishes, to my surprised were all done. She did not begrudge the trouble of helping me with the dishes, which I am grateful to her. Since that day, we became close friends and often talked about our families back in Malaysia.

Besides that, I wish to explain another incident which happened last December during my trip to Penang Island, Malaysia. On our second day, we visited Penang Hill which is the highest point in Penang Island. As we were waiting for the train, I observed a Caucasian couple who were in theirs fifties were talking to each other in French. I greeted them with "Bonjour, comment allez vous aujourd’hui?", which means “Good day, how are you today?”. They expressed their surprised to meet someone who can speak fluent French in Malaysia and not even a French. We continue our conversations about places in Malaysia and they felt like they were back at home..

Lastly, all the appreciation and benefits that I gained when I speak their language are the main forces for me to learn up a new foreign language. I cannot forget their astonished faces when I greeted them in their native language and dialect.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Evaluating Intercultural Behavior #4 Post

For this week’s post, I would like to share with you some of my experiences about intercultural behavior. During last summer, I joined an oversea exchange program called Work & Travel in USA. In this program, we were allowed to take on challenges of working abroad, experience new lifestyles and have the opportunity to travel in USA at the end of the program.

I decided to work as a food host in Cedar Point Amusement Park, Sandusky, Ohio as I love cooking and enjoy unlimited rides of roller coaster. For three months, I was placed in a cafeteria which sold Mexican food. I was in charged of preparing Macho Nachos, a famous local food that basically looks like a nachos salad bowl. It consisted of nachos chips, minced beef, lettuce, cheese, onion, tomato, black olive, jalapeno (hot pepper) and served with salsa and sour cream. Our food was prepared with fresh ingredients and customer was allowed to make special order that suited his/hers needs. I would prepare the food when customers placed their orders at the cashier

An event occurred during my third day of working in that cafeteria. A little boy ordered a Macho Nachos with jalapeno on the side. As that was my first day working on my own without any assistance from my other colleagues, I carefully spread every ingredient on the top of the nachos chips as told by my colleague at the cashier. Then, I placed some jalapenos exactly on the right side corner. To my surprise, my colleague who came and collected the order questioned me why was there jalapenos on the Macho Nachos. With a righteous voice, I explained to her that I did place the jalapenos on the side according to her order. She laughed loudly and explained to me that when an order required a specific ingredient on the side, it meant that particular ingredient should be placed in a small plastic container and handed to customer separately. I was so embarrassed about my ignorance and thankful that she had corrected me so that I would not repeat the same mistake.

This event actually enlightens me that different field of culture require different interpretation of words. We should be more alert and cautious to prevent any unwanted misunderstanding and embarrassment.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Business Correspondence Critique #Post 3

The following is an email which I have chosen to critique on.
From: XX
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2009 1:59 AM
To: Jeremy Tan
Subject: AAA Volunteer Recruitment

Dear Jeremy,
As mentioned in our conversation yesterday, we are able to set up a booth to recruit volunteers for AAA during our upcoming bazaar.

The brief proposal would be as follow:
1) we are going to give out leaflets and brochures on the ASPIRE camp and BADGE scheme which are organized by AAA.
2) each and every interested person may sign up as a volunteer of AAA and his/hers contact details will be recorded.
3) In addition, we will have a poster about AAA

President of NUS AAA

This was an email which I have received last month. It was send by XX to Mr. Jeremy Tan; the Head of Volunteer Management of AAA headquarter. NUS AAA is going to help AAA headquarter to recruit volunteer during the upcoming bazaar. After reading, I realized that there were some mistakes which should be avoided during writing.

The first error is lack of courtesy which is very important to improve the reader’s impression of the writer. For instance, the writer should address the reader as ‘Mr. Tan’ instead of ‘Dear Jeremy’. This is a common mistake and should be avoided. The inappropriate wording may cause misunderstandings and confusion between the reader and the writer.

The second error is lack of clarity which tells reader exactly what he/she needs to know after just one reading. The writer should include the details about the bazaar such as the date, time and location for the information of the reader.

Another mistakes found was the lack of conciseness. Necessary words and sentences help reader to have a better understanding while wordy expressions and redundancies tend to cause reader to lose concentration. For example, ‘each and every interested person may sign up as a volunteer of AAA and his/hers contact details will be recorded ’, it should be’ each interested person may sign up as a volunteer of AAA and his/hers contact details will be recorded’.

Next, I noticed that there is also the lack of completeness, which can be found in point three. The writer only mentioned that there is a poster about AAA. The writer should include adequate information regarding the poster. When the writer failed to provide adequate information, the reader may get the impression that he/she is not very important to the writer.

In the process of effective writing, 7Cs (Courtesy, Correctness, Conciseness, Clarity, Coherence & Cohesion, Concreteness and Completeness) should be adopted. Furthermore, it should be implemented by revise, edit and proofread.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Resolving Interpersonal Conflict Post#2

Interpersonal conflict is defined as a situation in which one or both persons in a relationship are experiencing disagreement or collision in working or living with each other. At this point, we can decide whether to confront the conflict directly or to ignore its existence by suppressing it. However, conflict is not necessarily being destructive as the process of recognizing conflict usually strengthens relationships.
Below is an example of an interpersonal conflict that happened between Estee and Ann.

Estee and Ann are friends since high school and three months ago both of them have enter the same University. During high school, Estee is a very active student in sport and music while Ann is a very clever but passive girl. Due to her character, Estee is always surrounded by a big group of friends. However, as Ann is the only friend who enters the same University as her, Estee began to pay more attention at Ann. Estee will ask Ann out for meal whenever she is free and try to introduce her new friends to Ann as she wants to broaden Ann’s social circle. However, Ann seems to be very cold and not interested with her ideas. Even if both of them are having lunch with other friends, Ann acts very weird and she don’t even have the courtesy to wait for others to begin the meal. All her friends commented on Ann’s behavior as she is getting more passive and always alone by herself. As Estee is Ann’s only close friend in this foreign land, Estee thinks that she has the responsible to help Ann to adapt to the University life better. Sadly, Estee has no idea how to bring up this topic to Ann as she afraid that it will eventually hurt Ann and affects their friendship.

In this context, what are the feasible solutions for solving the interpersonal conflict between Estee and Ann?