Arrived in Singapore!

I can’t sleep. I’m getting this first day of school jitters. While I’m not actually going to school tomorrow, I’m going to work at HootSuite’s Singapore office for a week starting tomorrow. I’ve been to Singapore many times when I was young, but I’ve never been here for work or let alone, by myself. So everything feels anew. 

For one, I’m staying at a small condo I found through AirBnB. It’s my first time renting through AirBnB and I must admit, I had my doubts. But as soon as I met the host, I felt home. She kindly carried my heavy luggage up the stairs, gave me a tour around the condo, and gave me so much information – where to go, where to shop, where to eat, and how to make my way around the area.

And tomorrow.. Tomorrow I’ll be working at the Singapore office with some of my favourite HootSuite folks. But I have one thing I’m quite worried about – what should I wear? Such a girly question, but seriously. I don’t know how people dress for work here in Singapore and I don’t know much about the office – do they have AC? 

So many questions, so many excitement! The last two months have been quite exciting, from travelling to Austin, to Jakarta, and now to Singapore. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me tomorrow.

Be Proactive

Be that one in the seven thousand. That was the title I chose for my talk at Simon Fraser University’s Interactive Design course last week. It was a repurposed title from another presentation I did last year, but I thought it makes to bring it back to a group of students that are eager to know what’s out there for them.

As a student, I was a fairly quiet one. I never raised my hand in class. I choked every time I gave a presentation. I skipped a few labs here and there. So I felt really honoured to be invited by Andrew Hawryskewich to be a guest lecturer for his class of 50 students.

In the slides (below), I touched upon the advantages they have as students and why they should start using social media to leverage their own brand today. I started the presentation by admitting to them that I did an experiment. In my conversation with Andrew weeks prior to the lecture, I told him to let the students know they can reach out to me directly with questions so I can address them during the lecture. Only one did.

Unfortunately that’s true for the real world too. I’ve heard many of my friends complaining that they couldn’t find a job and when I sat down with them to see what they’ve possibly done wrong, I realized that none of them have tried to be proactive. So the million dollar question I always ask them is… How do you stand out?

Down the runway

When I was younger, I did a couple fun runway modelling. I wasn’t exactly the leanest nor tallest girl in the cohort, but I had this huge confidence in me that led me to be chosen. I modelled a few children’s clothing and the last time I modelled, it was for an Indian fashion show.

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It was one of the most memorable high school activities I’ve ever participated in. It was my first time putting a Sari too and I felt wonderful in it. I love the soft silk and the bright colours. I love walking down the stage, popping my hips, and smiling widely to the audience. Above all, I love being silly and being someone else for a change.

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Earlier this month, I wrote an article about confidence and how it seems to decrease as we gets older. That’s just the sad truth. We’re all so busy thinking about what others might think of us, but what’s the fun in that? So when I was presented with an opportunity to put on some fancy clothes from Holt Renfrew, I took it.

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Before going out to the mini “runway”, I asked myself if I want to be mediocre and walk out quickly, or if I want to make an impression. I chose the latter. I channeled the confidence young Stephanie had and I walked down the runway with confidence. I played with the outfit and I teased the audience with my poses. I’m not quite sure if it’s very chic or Holt Renfrew-y, but I knew I accomplished my mission when a throng of women from the audience just came to say hi to me afterwards and complimented my style.

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They liked how cheeky I was and how much fun I expressed. I liked that too. For a few minutes, I wasn’t the introverted emo Stephanie. I was the confidence young Stephanie. I like that side of me and please don’t mind me if I be more cheeky more often.

Flights booked!

After not travelling much for the last 2 years (just to Indonesia), I’m finally getting back into it and booked my flights to Austin for SXSWi in March, Singapore for work, Jakarta and South Korea for fun in April, and Los Angeles for Dwell on Design in June! If all goes well, I will also be visiting the Magic Kingdom in October!

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Now when can I find time to do research on all these destinations? If you have any suggestions, please do let me know via Twitter, comment below, or on this crowdsourced South Korea spreadsheet.

Too busy

It’s been awhile since I last wrote. There’s no good explanation why and I’m not going to make one up. I’ve been lazy and even that’s an understatement. This new year has been pretty amazing so far, with all the great opportunities it has presented me and I have been feeling pretty blessed. 

To start with, I won an award. Not just any award, but a Lifetime Achievement Award. Never knew I’d receive such a great honour like that when I’m 24 years old. As surprised as I was to receive it, I was actually already expecting it. Days before the nomination was up, I asked many of my coworkers and friends to nominate me. It sounds pretty selfish but over the last years, I’ve learnt that I have to create my own opportunities, not wait around for it to knock on my door. What was amazing too is that my name appeared on three other awards. It’s a remarkable feeling to be recognized I tell you.

Last week, I found out I’m going to SXSW. I’ve been helping out for the last two years and this year, I get to personally go and enjoy the experience itself! Now, there’s a lot of hard work that’s still needed to be done but I’m quite flattered knowing only 21 people from the company were chosen, out of 450 of us.

In the midst of these all, I also set aside to rediscover my talent in videography by filming the inaugural CMHootUp, gather a group of friends together to help plan my trip to Korea, give my love and support to Vitae Juice, support my driven YWiB mentee, play games night and maintain my long distance relationship. See, I have so many things I could write about. 

I guess I was just procrastinating and I kept telling myself “I’m too busy” to even write my thoughts out. It’s a vicious cycle. Being busy is very relative and I know I have a lot of down time for myself, but instead of writing a blog post , I chose to catch up on Modern Family.  

New Year Goal

This year, I have a simple goal for myself. Be present.

For the last few years, I have always been looking. Looking for courses, looking to graduate, looking to get a job, looking to get recognized. While I’m very thankful of where I am today and love my ambition, I think it’s time for me to stop looking and start living. I often find myself distant from what’s happening in the present because I was already thinking about the future.

Honestly, it wasn’t easy to transition to living with my family again and sometimes I wished I was somewhere else, but it hit me today that I should really be thankful to have them here. I come home to hot meal every day and I wake up to morning greetings instead of the silence lull. When I first heard Kingsley was going away in a few weeks, I shrivelled and pushed him away instead of embracing the moment we still have together. 

So if I have to choose a quote to live by this year, then I know exactly the perfect one for it:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.” - Oogway, KungFu Panda

Happy new year everyone! 

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New vision

It’s been a month since I had my LASIK eye surgery and my eyes have never felt better.

I first went for LASIK examination back when in 2009 and although I was already qualified, I decided to wait a few more years until my vision fully settled. In August of this year, I decided I was ready so I went for my exam once again and they said I’m a good candidate, just need to keep lubricating my eyes because they’re quite dry. 

The day of the surgery came faster than I expected and the two days following to it, I was getting really excited. I felt I was so much more productive because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use my eyes a week after the surgery. I started thinking to myself, I should really treat every day as if it’s my last day before a surgery and that way, I’d get so much more stuff done! 

I got to LASIKMD by 10:30 am and I was out by 1:30 pm. The surgery was so quick (+- 7 minutes total) and I didn’t suffer from any pain. As soon as I got up from the surgery table, I could already see far, though it was a little blurry. 

The next few days I spent at home and I had a lot of time having conversation with myself. It’s funny that I freed up so much time just because I wasn’t allowed to use my computer nor phone. The hour went so slow and I could see my body started to get restless. The rest was great though. I painted a matryoshka for the first time, cut a pomelo for the first time, ate dinner at the dining table, had conversations with my mom and sister. It felt like I was introduced to a world I haven’t tapped into for a long time. I felt calm and very well rested. 

Going through this surgery didn’t only give me perfect 20/20 vision, but also a new perspective in life. I learned the beauty in the darkness, the humming of the silence. I wake up every morning feeling thankful for my new vision and ready to take on the world, calmly and compassionately.