Thursday, November 13, 2008

Since it's almost goodbye, a little something to help us remember better =)

Now how can you blame Darren for pouring cold water while Derek was sleeping.. Haha..

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Looking back and looking ahead..

When I bided for this course, I was looking forward to developing effective communication skills, to improve my on EQ, and to learn how to write an outstanding resume for my job applications. At the start of this course, I felt that it was important to develop such a skill as it would not only prepare me for the working world in the future, but it would also help me on every level of communication that I would encounter in my everyday life.

As communication is everywhere in the world and it determines the relationships between people and between organizations for example, it is hence a very important skill to have. By saying this, my views on the value of effective communications has not changed and I still feel that effective communication is of high importance.

Working together with Stephany and Joanna on the group report and oral presentation has helped me learn to communicate effectively. With the knowledge of the 7Cs and active listening, I attempted to use these new skills throughout my interactions with them during the group meetings and class discussions. It is because of having paid close attention to these aspects of effective communication that working together with them was efficient and enjoyable.

The experience of the oral presentation that we had has taught me that I have a lot to improve on. Having more confidence in myself and being able to remain calm would help me keep my train of thoughts, thereby remembering the key points I was set out the present, and finally organizing the sentence structures in my head before answering questions.

Apart from the report and the oral presentation, when it comes to emailing my professors now, I pay closer attention to the choice of words used and the sentence structures to avoid any miscommunications. Also, having seen some video examples of good and bad job interviews, I have a better knowledge now of what I have to pay closer attention to and what I should avoid when it comes to an actual job interview.

Personally, I feel that I lack EQ skills and there have been occasions where I have offended people through my choice of words, and not being sensitive to other people's feelings. In addition, due to my poor command of the language, I feel that I am unable to convey certain thoughts and ideas effectively across to people during conversations or meetings. After having gone through this course, though I have yet to perfect these skills and have a long way to go, I would have to say that at least I have a direction to work towards to and improve as much as I can through everyday experiences from paying close attention what I have learnt from this course.

Finally, I have to say that the experience and knowledge I have obtained from this course is golden and it would benefit me ultimately in more ways than one. I have to thank Miss Goh for all the guidance she has given us in this course and to all my classmates for your support and patience with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tan Rui Sheng's Biodata

I am currently en route to graduating from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. In the 4 years of my tertiary education, I was given the opportunity to go on an exchange program to Boston University, USA. Having studied in a foreign university, I have been exposed to the different educational structure and teaching styles, as well as interacted with people of different cultures and languages.

Apart from the academic education that NUS has provided me with, I was highly involved in extra activities such as being part of NUS Eusoff Hall's Dance production. I was the dance director of the Dance production where I was in charge of 60 dancers. Being an avid sportsman, I played badminton, sepak takraw, volleyball, softball, handball and swam for Eusoff Hall and took part in the inter-hall competitions. I also played competitive badminton and was the captain of the NUS badminton team, which has taught me both management and organizational skills.

The work experience I have to date include doing an internship at ST Aerospace, where I dealt with the structural defects and maintenance of the Boeing 737-300 series and Airbus A320/321 aircrafts. I also worked as a relief teacher and an educational assistant with Kumon International.

I have a strong interest in sports and my other activities include diving, cycling and playing the piano.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Looking back...

Apart from learning that NUS students have a positive attitude on the idea of having a Powernap House, I have had a great time working together with Stephany and Joanna on this project.

Briefly, the way we operated is described as follows. As instructed, we had to submit draft reports of our project at the various stages. For example, when we had to submit our first draft with our introduction up to the methodology, our group split the work up into three parts: the introduction and objectives, the scope and limitations and finally the methodology. When this was done, each of us would take one part, work on it and we would then look at each other's parts, edit and give our comments.

By working this way, we were able to split the work equally among the 3 of us. Not only were we able to achieve the main objective, we were committing a reasonable amount of time for this project and not neglecting our other modules. Also by working on individual parts, we avoided getting in each other's way and helped prevented conflicts. There were times when the work could not be split equally, but this was not much of a problem for us as we took initiatives to volunteer to take on the heavier loads, covering for each other when one of us had other more urgent things to attend to. I would hence like to commend on this as I find it pretty amazing that we could work this well together in a team for us who just got to know each other for not more than 3 months.

On my part however, I feel that I wasn't able to convey certain ideas across well enough, there would always be times when I would not be able to find the right word to use to describe what I was really thinking. From this, I feel that I really need to improve on my command of English and to organise my thoughts before trying to sell my ideas. This is important not only for the upcoming oral presentation but also in the future when I enter the workforce.

On the whole, I must say that working with Stephany and Joanna has been a great experience, we have complemented each other well, with Stephany being resourceful in finding most of the literature reviews and journals, and Joanna with her excellent knowledge of using Microsoft Word and Excel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Intercultural Differences

Not too long ago, my family and I took a trip to Hong Kong in a tour group. It was my first time there and Hong Kong is a really nice place, with great food, shopping and friendly people in general. After touching down, the tour guide took us to the hotel to check in and to take a short rest as we were early for lunch. As it was June, the weather was scorching hot and I was feeling uncomfortable and sweaty all over. Hence, I decided to take a quick shower and change into my bermudas and slippers before heading out again.

As we were walking along the streets of Hong Kong, I started to notice that there were some people who were staring at my brother and I who were in slippers. As Chinese Singaporeans, we looked almost like the locals but we were unsure why people were staring and after a while we started to feel a little uncomfortable. I was starting to question whether I had something on my face or if I had worn my shirt in-side-out. After getting on the bus, the tour guide could sense our discomfort and he explained to us the reason for the glares and we finally understood why.

In Singapore, people wear slippers everywhere they go. Even along Orchard road where you would think that people should be well dressed, you would find a larger number of people in slippers than in shoes or any other footwear. However, according to the tour guide, people do not wear slippers to move around in Hong Kong as wearing it would mean that you are poor. Apparently, your appearance from head to toe is very important in Hong Kong and after the tour guide made this point, I did notice that people there really do make an effort to dress up.

The next day, my brother and I were in bermudas and shoes to avoid the stares.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Final Research Topic

Have you ever experienced coming to school early in the morning for 8 am lectures, then having to wait for 6 hours for your next lecture at 4 pm? Based on this observation and problem that some students face, our group has proposed to research on having a 'Powernap House' on campus.

The 'Powernap House' is an air-conditioned lounge where students can visit between lectures/tutorials for a short nap to recharge their batteries. There will be chairs (as shown in the survey) where students can sleep on in 2 rooms one for males and one for females. We believe that by doing so, students would be able to concentrate better in classes and hence absorb the new knowledge more efficiently.

However, although we feel that this concept house may benefit students in general, we would like to limit this project to NUS at the moment. Also, to enhance the development of this concept house, our group would like to conduct a survey and research to find out if this idea is generally welcomed by NUS students, and what ideas/suggestions others could give us to improve on the concept. Lastly, we would like to obtain answers to our queries on certain issues through the survey.

Proposed Title
A Powernap House within NUS

Research Question
What are NUS student's response to a proposed Powernap House? Do they think it is feasible and benificial to them?

NUS students welcome this idea of a Powernap House and it will provide students a place for rejuvenation, hence helping them concentrate better in class.

Problem Statement
The objective of this study is to determine if NUS students welcome the idea of a Powernap House and whether they are able to concentrate better in class after taking a power nap.

Mr Joseph Mullnix (Deputy President, Administration), The Dean of various Faculties, NUSSU, any other student welfare societies.

Tentative Purpose statement
One of the objective of this report is to inform relavent management and welfare committes of the student's views of having a Powernap house. The second objective is to convince these targeted readers that having such a concept house enhances student's productivity in class and the final objective is to encourage the implementation of this service.

A survey would be conducted to obtain student's opinion on this idea. We would like to obtain a target of 100 surveys. Apart from the surveys, our group would conduct research through the internet on the benefits of having power naps.

The tentative survey

Click here to take the survey


Sunday, September 7, 2008

The effectiveness of ERP.

Just this Monday, I had to travel from school to Yio Chu Kang sports stadium for my badminton tournament. My doubles partner who drove, decided to take AYE and then CTE, the most direct route using the expressways. While we were driving up North along CTE, we were shocked to find that we had to drive past 2 ERP gantries, one before the Bradell road exit (ERP 31) and one between Bradell road exit and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (ERP 35). These gantries I believe are separated not more than 3 km apart and my friend had to pay a total of $2.50 to get through them. I did feel that the traffic was moving rather smoothly at an average speed of about 60 km/h, however i feel that 2 gantries situated so close to each other is unnecessary.

In 1998 when the ERP gantries were first introduced, the traffic conditions was improved with smoother traffic flow along the major expressways. However the population of cars on the roads grew over the years and the problem of congestion resurfaced. To solve this problem, the government has not only increased the number of gantries (a total of about 55 to this date and 6 more by November 2008), they have also raised the charges and extended the operating hours of these gantries.

Quoting the Home section of Saturday's (6/9/08) Straits Times page B6, "before ERP came to the ECP in 1998, vehicles there were crawling at 36 km/h between 8.30am and 9am. Today, the average speed is above 50 km/h during that half hour." From this report, I start to question whether this 15km/h increase in average speed over 10 years is justified.

Like many other things in life, having too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. Similarily, I feel that the ERP in singapore is only effective up to a certain point. Although traffic flow has gotten better, my question is whether having additional ERP gantries would help with the congestion at present and in the future. Being a driver myself, I would like to find out if increasing the number of ERP could still effectively solve this problem. Also, I would like to find out if there are other Singaporeans who share similar views of ERP and what their views are on alternative solutions to the problem of congestion in singapore.

In the future, I believe that most NUS graduates would own their own cars, hence being aware of this situation does benifit the students. In addition, from the planned survey and report, not only will myself, but fellow students, professors, parents etc would also have a better feel on this issue.