Kuanyi’s 2016 Resolutions

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In recent years, it has been cool to look at New Year resolutions as a waste of time.

I remember reading an article awhile back that said actually verbalizing and sharing your goals with people releases a chemical in your brain that makes you feel like you already accomplished said goal, making you less likely to actually succeed in doing so.

But because I am disgustingly hipster, it is exactly because New Year resolutions are considered lame that I am going to make some.

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Monsters Of The Sea- Deeply Disappointing

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This weekend I attended the ‘Monsters Of The Sea‘ exhibit currently going on at the Science Centre. Two years back I went to a dinosaur exhibit they had, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. They had tonnes of real and replica dinosaur fossils, plus a huge-ass animatronic Carnosaur (maybe it was a T-Rex?) that’s sheer scale and movements really left a deep impression with me.

So when I heard that the Science Centre was doing a similar exhibit with prehistoric sea monsters, I wasted no time in asking my friends to join me. To summarize how I feel about the exhibit right now, let me lead with this- I know that I can never return them the time wasted at the exhibit, but at the very least I should own up to my mistake and reimburse them for their $20 entry fees (Marian and Evelyn, if you’re reading this, don’t hold me to that).

Why I wrote I’m a ‘public nuisance’ on my LinkedIn

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こんにちは~

That’s the last bit of Japanese you’ll see in this post. I feel like I’ve got some quota to meet for posting in Japanese, but whatever I’m a rebel.

Let’s kick off this post with a quick look at my LinkedIn profile (mobile version.)

It's up on the web and everything, so don't worry about privacy. Yeesh.

It’s up on the web and everything, so don’t worry about privacy. Yeesh.

Anyway, there it is, clear as day. I’m calling myself a public nuisance on a site for professionals. How bold.

I caught a bit of flak for it. My friend posted the following on Facebook a couple of days ago:

“Writing public nuisance on LinkedIn is career suicide… and please don’t ever say you work in Marketing.”

Harsh.

So I thought, what better way to justify my LinkedIn than through a handy dandy blog post!

Singaporeans, you terribad at self promotion

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I represented my company at a recruitment fair yesterday, where fresh graduates were applying to work with us.

However, it was more than just a place for the fresh young things to drop their resumes off; they got to chat with us and hear more about what we do, and hopefully make a good first impression.

And while I am no HR personnel, it was easy to tell from a one-minute impression who had a chance of getting hired with us and who didn’t. The ones with no chance at all would sabotage themselves in the most cringe-worthy ways possible. The kicker? 9/10 of the time, those kicking themselves were Singaporeans.

I have to say, Indians are exceptional at self promotion. They would walk right up to me with a firm handshake, and immediately start telling me why they are the right fit for working at our company.

Maybe they didn’t have the best English, but they would tell me how many years of experience they have, and show a high level of enthusiasm. China Chinese were one tier lower, but they too didn’t do too bad of a job selling themselves. While not as eager to show off that they had the right stuff, when asked if they had the skills we were looking for they were quick to say yes, and why.

However, absolutely disgraceful were the local Singaporeans. I’d ask them how proficient they are at C or C++, and they would immediately declare that they are not very good, or that they have no confidence in their abilities. I asked one girl how good she was with those programming languages, and she straight away said she was terrible, right in front of me and my boss. And then she dropped her resume off. Sad thing is, you could tell she really wanted the job too. It was painful to watch.

So for about 4 hours, I watched Indians, Chinese and Indonesians sell themselves, while Singaporeans indulged in self-degradation and flushed their chances down the toilet. And I’m not talking about people who said they did not have the skills we were looking for and then walked away- these are people who told us they suck, and then asked where do I sign up.

And the funny thing is, if we’re talking about skill, there is no way I could have known who actually had the right stuff and who didn’t. That is something we would have only found out much later in the interview process, where we test the applicants for their skill in C and C++.

I mean… it’s mind boggling to me. I know I wrote about something very similar in this post, but seeing it up close and personal was really disheartening.  I don’t know if Singaporeans are being humble or if they truly do suck, but it’s easy to see why foreigners are getting hired over us. Come on guys, step it up.

Survive! Mola Mola Walkthrough

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For a game that’s quickly gaining popularity among people with nothing better to do who are awesome at everything forever, there isn’t a single English guide to be found anywhere. I’m the kind of guy who loves filling niches, so I threw together this quick and dirty guide to raising the ultimate Mola Mola.

Even Asian Bosses Don’t Want Asian Mindsets

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I think that, at least in Singapore, there is a disconnect between what Asian bosses want in new employees, and how Asians position themselves during job interviews.

Simple example. Let’s say you’re a baker. You’re pretty damn good at it too, and one day you apply to work at a classy French dessert shop, which is perfect because you specialize in French desserts!

So you’re interviewed by your future boss, and he’s firing all kinds of questions your way. So far, you’re doing great. But then he asks you if you’ve ever made macarons before.

Crap. Your one weakness, your one Achilles heel, is macarons. So what will you say?

What we have been trained to say is something along the lines of, “I’ve never made macarons before, sorry. But I’m willing to learn how.”

And that’s a problem. Why? Because:

1) You’re now less desirable of a hire than people who can make macarons

2) You’re tied with people who gave the exact same textbook answer

Pretty much the only people you can beat with an answer like that are the people who don’t show any interest in learning to make macarons, but they’re probably idiots who’ll fail the interview regardless, so let’s just move on.

I don’t even really like macarons.

There is actually another answer that, while not as good as being “I make macarons for a goddamn living”, will let you beat out the category 2 people. It’s something like:

“While I’ve never made macarons before, I am familiar with the baking process, and I have vast experience working with a wide variety of other similar French desserts, such as (NAME THEM). I’d love the opportunity to work more with the dessert in this company.”

Some of you may be cringing, thinking, that sounds cocky and prideful. But don’t you think that, since you’re trying to sell yourself in an interview, it’s your job to sound as impressive as possible?

Now I’m not saying you overdo it and just go all, I’M THE GOD OF MACARON MAKING. And I definitely don’t condone lying on your resume, even though I have lost out in jobs in the past because I didn’t lie on my resume, while my competitor, who has the exact same qualifications, did(don’t ask me how I know, I just do).

I’m just saying, in this scenario, your boss isn’t looking for someone humble, he’s looking for a macaron maker. Or at least, someone who looks like he’d be able to make macarons.

I know that, as Asians, we are raised to be humble and to never appear proud. The problem is, the rest of the world has been, and in the context of a job interview, we don’t stand a chance against people who dare to make themselves sound impressive.

I got corrected by my Australian boss this morning for an email I sent to a large number of overseas IT security experts, particularly for this line: “We are honoured to be added to this mailing list. ” He said, by saying we are honored we are lowering our own value. We want to be seen as being on the same playing field. He then drew me this simple diagram:

What my boss learned working at a call center. When talking to a customer, you ideally want to be talking to them from one adult to another, and not like a parent talking to a child, or vice versa.

What my boss learned working at a call center. When talking to a customer, you ideally want to be talking to them from one adult to another, and not like a parent talking to a child, or vice versa.

It was then that I realized, this is the cultural gap. While we have been taught all along to bow our heads, others have been raising them high. That’s a problem.

Taking a step back, I know people who undersell themselves even in their resumes. I used to do so myself. I thought, I don’t want to land a job that is beyond my capabilities, and then get fired later on.

3 years later, I realize that’s stupid thinking. Jobs are all very different, and companies are all different. You could have been a macaron maker for 10 years in one bakery, and switch to another and find out that their baking process and even ingredients are different, and you’ll have to learn how to make the dessert from the ground up.

I entered my current job with zero understanding of data security, and now I write 1,200 word articles daily about the subject. Even I am surprised that I now have a working knowledge of credit card payment systems, and data security standards.

So all I’m saying is, at least in the context of job applications, let’s be proud of the skills we have. Let’s not be afraid to flaunt our knowledge, or to appear confident in ourselves. Because the guy in first place gets a new job, and the guy in second gets to keep looking.

Handphone-less Day 2: Optimism

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Day 2 of my week-long life without a cellphone. Feelin’ pretty good. The lack of entertainment while on commute is probably the biggest bummer, but otherwise everything’s pretty normal.

Today’s observations:

1. I thought not having a cellphone would make me more productive at work, but sloth always finds a way.

2. My cellphone doubles as an alarm clock, so I had to find an alternative. http://onlineclock.net/ is the most annoying way imaginable to wake up. Probably a good thing.

I anticipate my optimism will run out soon enough, but for now I’m feeling  surprisingly less dependent on my phone than I thought I would. 5 days to go.

The Handphone-less Chronicles: The Blackest Night

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I gotta go a week without a cellphone. I’m going to try and post how I feel about it every night, so you can all watch my descent into insanity.

It’s my first cellphone-less night, here are my observations so far:

1. I check my phone for the time even though I wear a watch. Only found out because I caught myself looking for a phone that wasn’t there, while wearing a watch. Idiot.

2. I think in Facebook status updates. This was very sad to realize. Like my inner voice literally narrates like a status update, phrasing things in a way that sounds the most fun and interesting. I should really stop thinking about what I should post on FB to entertain people, and think about myself a bit more.

So far, I’m a little more irritable than normal, but I’m still optimistic that I can do this. I refuse to believe that the 15 year-old me who was perfectly fine without a cellphone is more well-adjusted and less dependent on technology than I am now. Fuck that little bitch.

The First Post

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Beginnings are always interesting.

As a species, we love beginnings and origins, as apparent by the number of Batman and Superman movie reboots.

However, this blog’s beginning is not intended to be particularly interesting.

This photo-less piece of shit post is less than a drop of water in an ocean of thoughts we call the internet.

It’s not interesting, but it is special. Because it is a herald for things to come. Maybe many super interesting posts will come after this.

Maybe my next post will be about curing world hunger. Or I might post definitive proof there is a God.

But not today, and not in this post.