Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In recent weeks, there are lots of news articles (online and print) on how difficult it is for fresh graduates to get a job in today's declining economy. Of course, more than often not, they are referring to the local Uni students and not so much of graduates from private universities. 

A lot of controversies spun around the lack of skills that fresh graduates are equipped with, thus they are often offered a job that they are "over-qualified" for. In a way or another, local Uni grads do have a competitive advantage over private Uni students because as much as we find it ridiculous, many people regard local uni grads smarter and more capable. Indeed, there are certain truth in this mentality - in academic context if you were to ask me. 

It almost seems like a debate that will never come to a conclusion: Local Uni Grads Vs. Private Uni Grads and the all-time hot debate, JC Students Vs. Poly Students. Each to his own I would say. 

Before I continue this post with my own personal point of view of this topic on hand and shamelessly going on to telling you guys what I feel Private Uni Students should do, let me conduct a short introduction of my personal academic background. 

I am not the smartest dude you would identify in a class, most probably just slightly above average, who scored a decent PSLE score, attended Temasek Secondary School, score a relatively ok O-Level results and attended Tampines Junior College. Well, from the schools that I've attended, I guess it gives you a good summary of how "smart" I am as a student. Of course, everyone's final stage would always be attending University, likewise for me. I managed to get myself a place in NTU's Wee Kim Wee School of Communications, reputable for its communication courses in Singapore. 

However, I took a plunge into design and attended LASALLE College of the Arts and studied Interior Design, just to realise after 1 year that it is taking up way too much of my family and personal time (I spent everyday, 7 days a week in school from morning to night), and so I gave up and went to Murdoch University in Kaplan to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Communications, in specific Public Relations. 

Yes, I went one big round just to let you guys know that I am a Private Uni Student. 

A lot of my friends often got frustrated at me for not going to NTU, which many people want to land themselves in but could not do so, and decided to place myself in a private institution. My point of view is very simple: Experience matters more than the piece of qualification. 

Of course, I cannot deny the fact that most governmental jobs or major organisations require a local degree as a pre-requisite for a job, even as an executive. Thus, if you are looking at joining big corporate such as Changi Airport Group, do strive hard to get into a local Uni. 

The reason why I mentioned that I feel that experience matters more because I have personally witnessed for myself, how incapable some local Uni grads can be when it comes to work. Actual work in the society. Indeed, they have high IQ, but in many occasions, resolutions come with higher level of EQ thinking than IQ. This is especially so when it comes to Comms field. It almost seems like it boils back down to the JC Vs. Poly comparison, where the former is academically smarter and the latter is regraded as street-smart and those who knows how to work smart instead of working hard. 

Not to forget that, what we learn in school, may not necessarily be applicable to real-life working situations. Often, we learn only the theories behind the practice and in actual fact, it is the hands-on experiences that we garner from working that will truly shape us into a survivor in the corporate world. This brings me back to my point that, being the disadvantaged, private Uni students like myself, got to step up our own game and work extra harder. 

Here is how we do it:

1. Find a Full-Time Job/Intern At A Company of Relevance

We often lose out as most private institutions do not provide internships for their students. But that doesn't mean that it should stop us from being pro-active in looking for one ourself. If you are able to, find a full-time position! 

And that was exactly what I did. 

It is worst as I was a JC student and that means that I have ZERO internship or working experience at all, unlike my counterparts who studied in Polytechnics. Of course, many people would question the viability of working full-time/interning at a company while studying part-time. Oh, just to clarify, part-time students basically meant that your classes are conducted at night or weekends for some and in my case, it is 7-10pm for each lesson. 

It is definitely tiring and exhausting to juggle between work and study at the same time. But trust me, this will do you more good than harm. The experience teaches you how to manage your time and shapes you into a mature adult that is responsible for their individual's work, be it at work or school. From my own experience, that has totally shaped me to be what I am today and i am grateful for the first step that I've taken 9 months back, with the support of my love ones. 

2. Connect With Your Classmates

That is one great benefit that part-time students in private Uni has - you get to connect with your classmates who are essentially working adults in various companies! 

The classroom is where you connect with people from various aspect of the industry. For me, I managed to meet a lot of people, working in big corporates to agencies, teachers and even entrepreneurs. With the diversity of classmates that I have, I realise that I actually manage to learn  lot from them as well through many informal chats. Experience is something that you can never buy, much less working experience, something that you can never lay your hands on through textbooks or lectures. 

Building relations and forming connections is very important, no matter which field you are pursuing a degree in or working in. Because, you never know when you will ever cross paths and need their guidance or assistance. It pays to be nice, so be friendly! 

3. Make Full Use Of Your Top-Notch Professors!

In private institutions, professors with rich industry background are usually hired to conduct classes. This is a very good advantage to make use of, in a sense that you are in no way less privileged than those in local universities! 

Similar to Point 2, make use of their knowledge and talk to them. I am sure they are more than willing to share their personal experiences with you and even give you advices on the dos and don'ts! Trust me, their attitude towards academic achievements is far lesser than those in local universities. To me, they are more realistic, as they themselves know that academic achievements is not everything in today's society. Achieving a First-Class Honours also does not necessarily meant that an individual is able to survive in working life and succeed. 

And I feel that this mentality is very important! 

These are the 3 simple "survivor" tips that I have for Private Uni students, and the most relatable one would be Point 1. Getting yourself involved in hands-on experience and job is the greatest lesson that you ever need. 

Also, do not despise yourself just because you could not make it to a local university, because it does not mean much, at most being the fact that you are not hardworking enough or are just simply academic inclined, BUT, it does not mean that you are stupid or not going to make it in life. 

Trust yourself and work hard, because we are all born to do something that will change the world, society and our love ones, in a way or another. 

Cheers and let's build a better life for ourselves, our love ones and Singapore! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

It is always a pleasure to be able to dine at PS. Cafe, although I gotta admit that their food are rather pricey. Let's make it an occasional indulgence then! Out of the many outlets that they have, I love the one at Palais Renaissance followed by the one at Dempsey Hill. 

I feel that food might play a big part in ensuring customers' returning visits, the ambience itself is crucial too. The atmosphere sets the whole 'feeling' to the dining experience, which at times might make the food taste yummier (a psychological effect that it). 

Recently I met up with Jody and Kiyomi (or Cherie) for a meal at PS. Cafe @ Palais Renaissance. It has been a long long time since we met up and they are the 2 friends whom I hardly meet due to our busy hectic schedules, yet we never run out of topics to catch up on every time we meet. It has been a good long 5 years since we know each other back in our blogging days. 

Jody and I decided to make this a birthday lunch for Kiyomi as well! 

When you visit PR. Cafe, you should NEVER leave the place without trying their truffle fries! It is $15 for a mega huge portion of fries, engulfed in truffle oil. Yumz! My must-orders will always be their Truffle Fries and Iced Mocha. 

We settled for these 3 main dishes: St. Louis Ribs, PS. Burger and Spicy King Prawn Aglio Olio! If your wallet's budget allows you, do order their Miso Cod! It is the best item on their menu as the cod is so yummy. There is no better word to describe the taste other than #FoodPorn and #MouthGasm!!! 

It is highly recommended paying a visit to the cafe in the afternoon where the sun shines right into the cafe, lighting up the whole place! It is definitely a great place to take photos (of food and ourselves of course). Totally a sucker for glass interiors and architectures, and of course, natural lightings. 

Of course, the birthday girl (Kiyomi) was not expecting this surprise at all. I have a feeling that she feels that we don't even know when is her birthday haha. No expectations, lesser disappointment yea? But in this case, obviously it was a major surprise for her and she even teared. 

It was such a nice and simple catchup and I do realise that as we grow older, not only our priorities change. Many small aspects in our lives, such as mindset, attitude and behaviour go through some sort of evolution. At the end of the day, I believer everyone of us are changing for the better, a better us compared to the day before. 

In life, happiness comes in many forms, and most of them don't really have a price tagged to them. Search deeper within your hearts and I am sure we can all find the happiness we want. Happiness that is always there, just that we've been too engrossed with many events happening in out lives. 

Treasure those around you people! Have a great weekend ahead! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Everyone who knows me well enough, will know that I am a sucker for cafes, especially those with good ambience and coffee! I am no and expert in roaster or coffee, but of course we all do have our own preference. So, what is good for me might not be what your taste bud are looking for. Nonetheless, I do love to share my experience as I go around Singapore exploring different places for good food or hangouts!

Today, the cafe that I'll be featuring is THE Laneway MARKET. 

This lovely cafe is located at 266 Tanjong Katong Road, a lovely estate area that is great to hang out if is not scorching hot. The interior is nicely decorated and done up, with dried flowers occupying the space and serving as the centre of attraction of the cafe. 

Personally, I love dried flowers compared to fresh ones because of the everlasting beauty and the neutral tone of color and elegance that exudes from them. The beauty of the place has definitely captivated me and all that is left to impress me would be the food itself. 

Sat down and ordered this beverage, which captured my attention that most amongst the list of late, mochas or cappuccinos - Laneway Cuppa ($6). It is their own unique blend with a hint of coconut in it. Definitely worth a try. It is coffee, yet it has a strong scent of coconut aroma that lingers with every sip. Love it! 

Food wise, it was fantastic as well. Simple ingredients with some seasoning, and poof! You get a dish of artwork. No exaggerating because they are truly amazing to taste. 

Pardon my lousy memory but the dish above, is simply a platter sort of meal. You get to have a taste of a few dishes in one, with different sausages, scrambled eggs, hams and sauteed mushrooms! The portion was right too, even for a guy with big appetite like mine. 

This is their Soft creamy Scrambled eggs, Caramelised Onions, 12 Sautéed Mushrooms, roasted peppers and Chicken Chipolatas ($12). I am very picky when it comes to scrambled eggs and I must say that theirs was one of the better ones that I've tasted so far in so many cafes around Singapore. 

To me, scrambled eggs must be slightly runny and buttery to the taste. It must NEVER be dry, like those that we cook at home ourselves. 

Overally, I would say that THE Laneway MARKET is definitely worth a visit. They might not have the best dishes around, but their service is more than enough to make me want to revisit them. They do not impose any device charges but their waiters and waitresses are always on a lookout for you, wondering if your drink has turned cold or would like to have a refill.

Good food brings people to your cafe but with good services, I am sure it will go a long way!

Share with me where you would like me to explore in the future 
and I would be more than glad to do so.

Love you guys!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I have visited Melbourne TWICE in 2016, over a span of 3 months. 

I really cannot deny the fact that I am totally in love with the city! Previously, I have a dream of moving to Perth for retirement, as it is a really wonderful place to be in. That dream lasted long enough, before Melbourne happened in my life. I love the whole coffee culture of the city, needless to say the nice and friendly people that are always greeting you on the streets, in stores, cafes or anywhere for a matter of fact. 

To me, it is the ideal city to reside in, a good mixture of town and city, Sydney and Perth. 

For the most recent trip in July, I stayed in a serviced apartment. It was such a lovely apartment and cosy enough to snuggle in for the cold weather! What can you expect when two guys bunk in together right (or rather, I am the messy one actually haha)! Luckily we had an extra room where we can dump all our loots and clothes in. Can you imagine the mess our room will be in if there was only ONE room?! 

We arrived at 5:30am on a Monday morning as we took a red-eye flight. Unfortunately, I have an essay due that very Friday, thus I managed to sleep in a bit, before I started working on it. Spent my first day in the apartment doing my essay, which was not that bad! Motivation to finish my essay was very high, surprisingly. Guess I have to start flying overseas whenever there is an essay due haha. 

In the evening, we head off to Smith Street for dinner! A lovely street with a lot of shops selling household items and bistros, one of our favourite streets from our previous trip. And coincidentally, it was the period where they have this Lights Festival going on, so almost overbuilding was lit up with different lighting effects and displays. 

Of course, after finishing my essay, I have to reward myself! So, I dressed myself up and head to the city the very next morning for some great shopping!

Lucky star must be shining on my side because it was their great sales period! Everything was much cheaper, take COS for example. In Singapore, it would have cost me a bomb to buy their apparels, even a tee. But in Melbourne, with the 70% discount, I can go on a shopping spree!!! Brands like H&M or ZARA are all having sale (actually all the shops are having sale). So I would say, going to Melbourne in July will be the best. 

Walked around the city a bit, practically just basking myself in the sun while the cold breeze blew against my face. Shopping can be a bit tiring, especially so when you have to carry your own loots. Bought some macarons, which tasted HEAVENLY, and went back to the apartment. 

I decided to be more cultured the very next day, by visiting the Melbourne Museum. If I insist, I can address myself as a design student as well, since I studied Interior Design before. I was captivated by the whole architecture layout and design of the Melbourne Museum. 

It is definitely my style of architecture, simple and clean, and with lots of natural lighting. Minimalist is what people would call it. 

Before heading to the museum, I had lunch at this cosy cafe by the road side - tasted their beetroot salad and my my, there is not a single thing/item in Melbourne that I have deemed as below expectation. Even with such a simple dish, it sent me all the way up to heaven hahaha. Not exaggerating at all. 

On the fourth day, we met up with some friends who happened to be in Melbourne as well. Ok, not really coincidentally, but we kinda planned to meet up since we are all in Melbourne! Rented a car and we drove around Melbourne to places like Mornington. Nice road trip I would say and the experience was marvellous. 

We landed ourselves (the whole group of us) in South Melbourne Market the next day! OYSTERS came to our mind the first thing when we reached the market. Come on, you guys gotta try their oysters, which were amazingly fresh and not fishy in taste at all! Of course, they were very cheap, that I had a dozen to myself wuahahaha. 

Luck couldn't be better. We even managed to visit Finders Keepers for this trip. It is like a major flea market, with a lot of local designers selling their products and workpieces and a lot of cafes have their pop-up stalls there as well. According to our friend who works in Melbourne, this event is deemed as one of the major highlights in Melbourne and it is a MUST-ATTEND for tourists. 

The advantage of living in a serviced apartment is that you get to cook your own meal! We, or rather our friends, decided to cook dinner. We popped by their apartment and that was where all the cooking magic happened. 

Good times always fly by us... Soon enough, it was the last day of our stay in Melbourne. And, there is no better way to end this off. Of course I have to pay Lune Croissant a visit again, even though we were heading for breakfast! YUMZ YUMZ. I even brought some back for my friends and family, whom love the pastries so much too!

Managed to get Business Class seats for our fight back to Singapore. Definitely a great experience but I really wouldn't pay so much just for a flight.. Hmmm... Nonetheless, it was great fun and I would love to go back to Melbourne again soon! 

Can't wait for my year end trip to Osaka and Kyoto for countdown!!!! Talking about Japan, I have yet to even blog about my Japan trip LAST DECEMBER. Guess i can forget about it hahaha. #DamnLazy

Till then,
Thank you for reading my post!