Week 2

Week 2 lesson:

We were introduced to the job scope of programmers and non-programmers in a working team and I must say that the programming side looks really challenging. I feel that each department have their own challenges and it might be difficult to understand the situation on either side. As they say, the grass is always green on the other side. However, for the first assignment, the workload is surely heavier on the programmers’ side and the boys have been putting in lots of hours; even burning the mid night oil. Thus, I got to do a good job in terms of user feedback and marketing when the application is near to its launch date! And not to worry as marketing is actually already on-going😉

Framing up key features and validating concept idea with users:

For this week, my focus is on validating the idea with users. The problem we want to solve is to help exchange students find other exchange students who are going to the same university. Thus, I have done face to face feedback with ~20 students on whether this is an application that they would use before their exchange.

I feel that face to face feedback would be better than online surveys at the start so that we can understand what customer really wants (for the features) and build an application that will suit their needs. The response has been positive thus far with all interviewed students wanting to use the application when it is launched.

Looking forward to more developments this week and once we are functional, it’s time to get hands on!

Week 1

The journey begins.

It all started with an introduction by Dr Collin about his life moments and his near death experiences. He is an adventurous young man and it reminded me about my Exchange Program adventures when he talked about his unique travel experiences, except that I did not get charged and ramp by a bull.

Following which, we formed groups and I was in a group with 3 other year 2s. They might only be year 2s but they have years of coding experience and I admire their determination to pick up and follow through these sophisticated language during their free time.

Biz kids never felt so wanted before because most of the startup competition that I joined were full of non-technical people unlike this course where non-technical people are like the endangered animals.

We met up soon after our group is confirmed and discussed about the ideas that we could work on. Knowing that I was involved in a project that aims to improve the lives of exchange students around the world, my group thought of creating a Facebook App to further improve the lives of exchange students. We came up with a lot of ideas and thought about its feasibility of completing it in 4 weeks before deciding. Want to know more? Keep a lookout for our updates and join us in improving this application. Let the new application do the talking J.

As I could not help much in the back-end and the technical aspect, I will be heading the project management role, research and test the features and do the documentation so that the guys can focus on building the app that gives values to exchange students.

That’s all for this week folks, Ciao!

The prelude to CS3216

“What do you hope to learn in CS3216?”

Mannnnnnn, I’m pretty sure most of us would have gotten strike by some sort of Pikachu electric bolt when we received the “Welcome” email from CS3216 coordinator, Dr Colin Tan. My initial reaction was “Whoa siao sia GG , no life…. “. Oh yes, the requirements do look daunting but well, I guess the rewards wouldn’t be as fulfilling if there aren’t any hardships yep!

I look forward to this challenging module because we can get to learn and experience practical skills and scenarios that would be relevant to us who intend to start something. “Something” what is this something? Well you’ll find out as the course progresses. Speaking of that, I would hope to take our project to the next level if there is REAL potential in it and I hope that my team will be keen to follow through it too!

After trying 2 projects in the past – which didn’t succeed – and learning from friends who have succeeded in their businesses, my greatest learning point is that most success stories revolved around the team. It is important for the team to have a common goal and an aligned vision. Honesty, trust, team efficiency plays an integral role as well. Definitely, we cannot overlook team dynamics and that is what make projects fun. The people we work together with, the sacrifices gone through together, and the milestones conquered together. These experiences define the process and thus, through my little experiences, here are some skills which I hope to learn and become a better team player.

  1. Work efficiently in a complete team, a team with technical and non-technical expertise. (work place efficiency, communication)
    1. What is the most efficient workflow practice?
    2. How to communicate well with people from different field of expertise?
  2. Acquiring the first 25,000 users (user acquisition)
    1. How to build a massive inflow of traffic?
    2. How to get up the organic search in Google?
    3. SEO?
    4. How to get maximum outreach with minimal cost?
  3. The first $1 profit (sales)
    1. I always believe that a business needs to be sustainable, regardless of whether it’s a profitable or non-profitable organization. It is important for survival and progression.
    2. They say that money is the root of all evil but I think that the real evil isn’t money, but rather the greed for money which is the real evil.
  4. Digital marketing
    1. Effective social media management – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?
    2. Email marketing?
  5. Understand the concept of coding

Yeap! These are the 5 pointers that I hope to learn. Of course there are more things that I would love to learn but I guess it would be more effective to prioritize them if not I will just get nowhere.

Looking forward to the journey ahead! Bye peeps!

Glimpse of 2015

Before the end of 2015, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me. Family, friends and sometimes lady luck. I’m extremely grateful to all of you and I cherish every memory.

 

2015 is a year filled with juicy juicy juicy experiences. Time spent with family and friends, achievements and disappointments. Certainly there’re good times, but it hasn’t been smooth. There’re times when life gets overwhelming. Problems hit. Ouch. But it’s okay, we’ll just have to learn from it and move on.

 

Sometimes, the outcome isn’t favourable despite the effort. Sometimes, what we thought isn’t what others think. Sometimes, we try, we try to get things right, but trying isn’t good enough.

 

My three biggest takeaways from 2015 are Gratitude, Attitude and Priorities. Looks like CAP but its GAP. I’ve learned to be more grateful to the small actions that we receive. Be it from our loved ones or strangers. I’ve learned the importance of attitude. How it changes our perception and its effectiveness in driving us forward. I’ve learned that everyone have different priorities. Be it commitments or relationships. Through these all, I hope to fill up the GAP to become a better person.

 

However, I’m lucky. I’m fortunate to have experienced the rocky side of the road as it has taught me much. Everyone’s experience is unique and how these experiences turn out depends on us. There are people out there who got it worse, but that doesn’t mean that they’re worse off. It’s only worse off if they leave it as it is instead of looking at the positives of these situations. Let’s take what we’ve experience in 2015 and learn from it.

Here is a glimpse of my life in 2015! There are certainly more than this and I’ll be digging them out for my reference!

2015 in review
Thank you everyone and 2015 for the amazing experiences. Looking forward to a more exciting and better 2016!

The Marathon Experience

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Photo credits : dailydosemd.com

“Guys let’s go for a marathon!”

“No way!”
“Siao ah!”
“I don’t wanna waste money to pay for a run”.

These are some of the responses we might get when we invite others to join a marathon. My marathon experience wasn’t pleasant, but it has definitely taught me a lot and I hope to share my experience so that others can be better prepared, or get to know how it was like attempting one. Not only will it test our physical and mental endurance, it will allowed us to understand ourselves better, develop resilience and allow us to appreciate the compassion of others.

I used to think that all we need is mental endurance to complete a marathon. It isn’t entirely wrong but proper training would have made the journey less painful. Many a time my mind would  shout “let’s go” yet my body “please give chance”. Till now, the back of my knee have been aching since the run 2 months back which might be due to over exertion. Thus, proper training would have accustomed our body to withstand the fatigue and prevent injury.

Apart from fatigue, the most challenging part was from the 10 to 18km stretch.
The calling of my stomach that it was “business time”. During that eventful stretch, I was praying for a portable toilet but unfortunately  there wasn’t any nearby. It was so bad to the extent that I wanted to let it go in the bushes along the route but had second thoughts because it’ll leave  me overly exposed. Without any choice, I endured with short jogs and walked till I reached the 18km mark. Step by step,  a portable toilet finally came into sight and my morale got an extra boost as I would finally be able to discharge. The medic worriedly attended to me when I reached the portable toilet. I guess my facial expression exposed the painful process. To add-on to the epic event, there were no lights in the toilet and had to settle a “big business” based on instinct.  “Phwee”.

Understand ourselves better

During the run, I’d ask myself ” Why did I sign up for this?”, “How long more?”, etc. Self doubt arises during certain parts of the run. These thoughts can be quite demoralizing, however, we should use this opportunity to understand ourselves better by finding out the reason which made us doubt ourselves. The experience differs from individuals and I’m glad to have undergone this process. By thinking about the end state in mind, it gave me confidence and made me optimistic about the run. For instance, the image visualization of the satisfaction for completing the run reinforced my determination to complete it as compared to the negative thoughts of ” Why did I sign up for this?”, “How long more?”, etc (complaining thoughts). This is applicable to life where  we should picture the end goal in mind and not let short term hurdles dampen our confidence.

Mental Resilience of Singaporeans.

During the run, I came across Singaporeans of different age and sizes. I’m a guy of average fitness and it’s expected that participants my age will be faster than those in their 40s or above. However, that was not the case. Many times I was overtaken by older participants. This highlighted the determination and drive our fellow counterparts possessed and it’s an attribute that we could work on.

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There are many touching moments throughout the run. There was a foreigner carrying a speaker on his back and blasting music to motivate other runners. Furthermore, there were numerous pit stops where Singaporeans stationed themselves to cheer the participants on. The most memorable would be the 21st and 36th km mark where Singaporeans distribute isotonic drinks, food and cold spray on their own accord and expenses.

 

” Is it worth it?” Well, it definitely is. Not only did I get to understand myself better, it reminded me about the little kindness which we might have overlooked everyday.

“Will I attempt a marathon again?” Well, probably not anytime soon but we’ll never know about the future!

Life is like a marathon, there are challenging and down moments, but along with them, are successes and joy. Embrace it and we’ll lead a life filled with fulfillment!

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University Life : Freshman Year

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Which University is better? What should I choose? How is life in University like ? These were some of my thoughts prior to my journey in NUS business. After going through a year in University, some of these questions which I had were answered and I hope that I can help clarify the doubts some of you may have regarding University life.

Which university is better?

As an NUS student, my opinion might be biased but I feel that all Universities are similar and the difference lies in ourselves. It’s about being proactive and cherishing the opportunities. I’m sure the other Universities provide similar opportunities as well and it depends on our effort to step out of our comfort zone and cherish them. Ultimately, how much we want to develop ourselves depends on our willingness to go the extra mile. The environment  should be considered in deciding the choice of university because it influences our thinking and behavior. Thus, it is imperative to understand yourself better so that you can identify the environment that suits you.

Why NUS ?

I chose NUS because of the NUS overseas college (NOC) program. My interest in entrepreneurship attracted me to the opportunities NUS offers that allows students to intern at an overseas startup. This aligns with my goal to own a startup by the end of the course of my studies. Furthermore, NUS encourages independent ownership of academics whereby we can plan our timetable and allows us to take modules out of our faculty; though it is dependent on bidding.

Academics

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Sem 1 was not smooth sailing for me. On top of academics, I had to balance my time between hall CCAs,  startup interest , part time job, and not forgetting time for family and friends. As I was still new to University life, it was difficult getting everything in place. There were times when I felt overwhelmed, when I felt like giving up,  and when I started to doubt on its worth. However, at the end of the day, it’s not about how long we take, it’s about whether we are able to reach the end goal.  How much we can achieve depends on how we tackle these barriers. Obstacles are good as they allow us to learn more about ourselves, grow and develop, which leads us to our destination.

Here are the modules that I had for Sem 1 :

  1. Marketing ( MKT 1003)
  2. Business Analytics ( DSC 1007 )
  3. Microeconomics ( BSP 1005)
  4. Business Communications ( ES 2002  )
  5. Introduction to Public Speaking ( GEM 2027)

Sem 2 was much better for me in terms of time management. I’m sure it was better for most of us too as we had gotten used to the curriculum. I had the same level of commitments without a part time job and pursued my interest in startups . The difference between Sem 2 and Sem 1 for me was the mods that I took. Sem 2 mods were more writing based ; meaning that there are mid terms and finals which is unlike my Sem 1 which were mostly based on projects.

Sem 2 Mods :

  1. Financial Accounting (ACC1002)
  2. Business Law ( BSP 1004)
  3. Management and Organization ( MNO1001)
  4. Operations Management ( DSC 2006)
  5. Introduction to Cybercrime ( GEK 1531)

How is the grading system like?6052.community.jpeg-550x0

In my course, grades aren’t solely determined by written papers or examinations, but a collective effort throughout the entire Semester ranging from group work, class participation and examinations. Group work is an interesting aspect as you’ll get to work with people of different skills and background. It’s similar to doing 4-5 Project Work that we had in Junior College  and completing them all in 1 Semester. I feel that group mates are really important because whether the project takes flight depends on the collective effort of every group member.

Furthermore, it is an avenue to learn more about myself and about my strengths and weaknesses. Instead of thinking it as a “burden”, we should take this opportunity to understand ourselves better and learn to work with people who are different from us. I believe that every individual has their own work strengths and weaknesses and thus if we understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we can delegate work which matches that. There shouldn’t be an issue producing quality work when every member’s priorities are leveled.
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Should we join camps ?

Yes! Camps are a good way to get to know more people. Furthermore, it allows us to step out of our comfort zone. The camps in University are more tiring than those in Junior Colleges. I wouldn’t say the difference is due to the activities but it’s the late night talks and get together that makes it more tiring as we had less rest. It’s uncommon to have this experience  when we get older and there’s no harm trying so it would be good for potential freshman to participate in camps with an open mind ! With that said, we should also keep our limits in mind as we wouldn’t want to be involved in any incident that has a detrimental consequence.

How is hall life?

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I stayed in Kent Ridge Hall. People often ask me how is Kent Ridge Hall and which hall should they join. I feel that Kent Ridge Hall has a supportive culture with a repertoire of activities and events. Hall residents would help one another when in need and it’s always important to know when to have fun and when to focus back on academics.

Then, to the second question on which hall is better, I feel that each hall has its own culture and it is subjective. Every hall has their own unique culture and whether hall life is enriching depends on the environment and the individual. If we allow ourselves to be more involved in hall and interact with the residents, hall life will be more exciting as compared to an individual who doesn’t. Furthermore, it is quite unfair to judge based on the “old generalization” as every batch is different.

Staying in Hall gave me an action packed life for my first year in University and I don’t regret it. There are a lot of events you’ll be able to participate in ranging from welfare supper, performance nights, hall bash, sports etc. The number of events might get a bit too much at times and my advice would be to participate in events that we want to and not that we are obliged to. This is because by going for things that interest us, it brings us more joy and this energy contributes to the experience of others as well.

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Another plus point about living in hall is its supportive community. I am fortunate to have met great friends in hall. After a hectic day, my neighbors and I often hang out together to relieve stress and have fun together. In addition, block mates are also open to conversations with one another and seniors would share their wisdom with the younger ones.

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Hall stay for the subsequent academic year is based on the number of points accumulated and points allocation is based on the level of commitment in the CCAs a resident participated in. This issue might influence our decisions in choosing what to join because there is a limit to the amount of points we can get from a CCA and thus “the more we join, the more points we get”.

My take is to join what we like, and what we are interested in. This is because there might be clashes in your academics/ CCAs schedule and this leads to an issue of which to go for. Sometimes, more might not be good as having too many commitments limits the learning potential. I’ve learnt it the hard way and it’s better to join a few than many. By focusing on a few, there is better quality in learning and it allows us to spend more time with the people from each interest club. On the other hand, joining a lot dilutes the quality of our input and prevents us from maximizing our contributions. Furthermore, it reduces the amount of time we can spend with our peers.

I was in 5 CCAs. Basketball, Road Relay, Hall Promotional Board, Business Committee and Block Committee. It looked like I’ve over committed with so many stuff on top of my academics, but it is manageable. However, I do feel that I kind of over committed. Haha. Through this 1 year, I’ve learned much from the CCAs that I’ve joined. From the community CCAs that I participated in, I got to experience organizing camps, canvassing, promotion of the hall, organizing block events, cooking, managing the block funds, planning events to generate profit and many more. On the other side of the coin, in sports, I got to exercise and strived to get a masculine body, which I have yet to achieve but still trying to do so!

My day usually starts at 9am and ends at midnight. I would prepare for lessons/assignments when my day officially ended and also use the snippets of time in between my commitments. Occasionally, my weekends will be mobilized and it can get overwhelming. Thus, to prevent overworking, I would plan my schedule a week in advance! Google calendar is a useful tool which I used to keep my tasks on track. Haha so yes! There’re tradeoffs in our decision on the level of commitment we intend to be involved in but whatever decision we make, we should make the full use of it and never look back ! It was fulfilling 1st year and I’ve learnt much about time management  through the balance of my commitments. I had a great time and forged many great friendships along the way !

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Epi-LASIK Experience

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I’m pretty sure many of us who wear specs had considered or are intending to do LASIK at some point of time in our life. I’m not an expert nor a profession in this field but I hope to share my experience so that it can clarify the doubts and help you guys make a more informed decision on whether to do Epi-LASIK or not. I went to Clearvision to get my Epi-LASIK done!

For more information on Epi-LASIK, check out this link from Clearvision website : http://www.Epi-LASIK.sg/LASIKinfo/

However, do note that there might be biasness in their comparison of Epi-LASIK with the standard LASIK procedure thus I would recommend that you check out the other viable sources of information or your eye doctor.

There are risk complications difference between the 2 but what would concern us consumers most would be the vision after the surgery. To narrow it down, I’ve read that people see clearly immediately/ 1 day after LASIK while for Epi-LASIK it ranges from 5 days to months!

Why I decided to undergo myopia correction surgery?
1) Specs inconvenient and limits our vision
2) Contacts are troublesome especially when worn for long hours (plus I have astigmatism in one eye thus contacts are kind of expensive.) Although Epi-LASIK is costly, it might actually be cheaper in the long run if it’s able to last me for about 8 years.

Reason for choosing Epi-LASIK over LASIK :
1) I’m a sporty person hence I wouldn’t want to risk having cornea dislodgement as Epi-LASIK doesn’t cut the cornea to make a flap
2) I foresee myself doing enhancement  when I get Presbyopia (Lao Hua) in my mid 40s maybe? Found out from Dr Ho that enhancements are possible after Epi-LASIK, as it only involves the surface epithelium cells hence leaving more tissues for further enhancement.

Evaluation Day ( 6/5/14) :

The whole evaluation took about 2 hours which includes waiting  and preparation time. Undergo machine test for eye power, pressure, cornea shape and cornea thickness. Afterwards, eye drops were dropped into my eyes to “dilate” the pupil and a repeat of the cornea shape and thickness test was done. Once the tests was done, I was led into a room and the nurse explained the details of Epi-LASIK on the suitability, outcome, risks and complications. My cornea was average in thickness and I’m a suitable candidate. Then, I was sent to see Dr Tony Ho who will be carrying out the Epi-LASIK procedure.

Day 1 : Surgery Day ( 9/5/14) :

Numbing eye drops were put into my eyes and here I go! Was instructed to focus on the red blinking light . The entire surgery took about 10-15mins. There wasn’t any pain during the surgery but it’s still pretty scary. Bandage lens were placed on each eye after each procedure. Once the operation was done, I could barely open my eyes as my eyes were very sensitive to the surrounding light. I was led to a dimly lit room and was given a drop of 4 different medications at regular intervals of 10mins.  4 different eye drops were given. Once done, I went back with my mom. Next appointment with Dr Ho is on the next day. Reached home and things are a bit visible. As a good patient, I just rest, listen to audio tapes and sleep. (RLS) There’s a stingy pain in the eyes.

Before the surgery :

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During the surgery : Ah hope there weren’t any hiccups because of this!

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Posing after the surgery!

Clearvision EpiLasik

 

Day 2 ( 10/5/14 ) :

I could barely open my eyes at times and went for my check-up. Dr Ho said that my eyes were healing great and my next appointment would be on the 12th to monitor my healing. Stingy pain is mild. RLS.

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Day 4 ( 12/5/14) :
Stingy pain gone, and vision improved but still blur. Dr Ho said that my recovery is about 70% and the bandage lens can be removed on next appointment. Next appointment, 14th, 2 days later. RLS

Day 6 ( 14/5/14) :

Was expecting better vision after removal of the contact lens but unfortunately, vision is still blur! Can only see about 3-5m. Next appointment on 21st. Was given a new solution of eye drops, FML, which is to be taken after the usage of PREP MILD. Instructed to apply the antibiotics till Sunday, 18th.

Day 7  ( 15/5/14) :

Read online that recovery usually takes 3-5 days. Not sure if they meant healing or regaining of vision. Vision is functional but still blur when I look far. Hope that it isn’t a case of under correction.

Day 8  ( 16/5/14) :

Went back to Clearvision to purchase antibiotics as I’m running out of it but was told that it’s not necessary and hence didn’t purchase them. Asked about the “blurriness” of my vision and was told that it’ll get better with time. However, if it’s still blur after 3 months then it’s an indication that something is wrong. Sigh, 3 months is quite a long waiting period eh:/. Nevertheless, still hoping that my vision will improve as the days go by!

Day 12 ( 21/5/14) :

3rd follow up . Machine tested my eyes to be perfect, no degree at all but my vision is still quite blur when I’m looking far. Dr Ho say that it’s normal for this to happen as it takes time for the cells to heal and I’ll be having progression improvement of eyesight in the coming weeks! He reassured me that things were going well and my cornea is healing well too. His confidence gave me assurance so yeap, hopefully my eyesight gets better in a few weeks time! Next appointment on the last week of June.

Day 38 ( 16/6/14) :

4th follow up. Machine tested my eyes and the result is zero. However, Dr Ho mention that I got a bit of UV scarring which could be due to too much sunlight exposure. Probably due to the camps that I’ve been to. Dr Ho prescribed me with a new eye drop to help ease the scarring and waived for the charges for this follow up despite it being a month after the surgery!  Gotta be a good patient and avoid the sun for the time being!

NOTE:  REMEMBER NOT TO EXERT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON THE EYES. I participated in blindfold game and  lost my vision for about 4 hours. It’s probably due to the pressure exerted on my cornea by the blindfold.

Day 62 ( 9/ 7 /14) :

5th follow up. My degree is still zero and my eyes are recovering well. Dr Ho advised me that it would be safer to avoid sunlight for 1 more month as it’s not 100% healed . Next appointment would be an open date appointment and I would officially be discharged then! My eyesight is good but there are limitations to how clear my vision is. It’s much better compared to the previous check up and it’s not possible to have extremely clear vision so I’m satisfied with the result. Will probably visit him again during my school term break in December.