Talent Ecosystem Conference 2017

We were at the Talent Ecosytem Conference 2017 today. The topics covered for the conference in forum style format include:

- Defining the Future of Learning
- How to a Harness the Power of Multi-Generational Workforce
- Design Multi-Generational Employee Experience Journey for Transformation
- Future of Work: Preparing Organizations for the 21st Century Workforce
- Digital HR: Transforming the HR Delivery Model
- Build Value in Employer Branding

Having a forum format is quite a good way to go about it because it's more candid and when the forum lead is a good one, it keeps the topic interesting with the forum speakers and audience engaged. 

Here are some of my takeaway from the sessions:

- when we go digital in HR, we have to consider the digital literacy of our employees, which may be viewed by age group. And what we in HR need is simply patience.

- the Millennials need a safe environment to express their thoughts and ideas. They want a safe space for them to share their mind without the stigma when things go wrong. This is interesting because this is almost an opposite from what Gen-X would expect and behave. 

- companies who put aside their annual employee performance appraisals have brought it back. It is still useful and needed. 

- an organization who wants to build on their employee engagement experience has to start from the CEO. The CEO has to lead, no question about it. Without the CEO, you can either forget it or you leave. It won't happen without an active involvement of the CEO. 

- the HR department is sadly still being mostly regarded as a cost center, a support department when it should be a mission critical center, involved in all strategy and business undertakings of the organizations, not as an after-thought. 

- the HR department has to now be the Marketing department as well, albeit internally. It needs to build its strength in communication and service delivery. 

There is much to done. 


See what Air Asia gave me for my birthday

I received an e-Gift voucher from Air Asia for my birthday. They called me ahem, a Big Shot and so I was really curious as to what they will offer me. 

So I filled in my details to find out. 

I wasn't expecting much since I have not been traveling at all. But what they offered was quite a joke.  Here is what they gave me:

A RM5 voucher? Haha. Are you kidding me? I am not sure whether to laugh or to cry. 

I asked several people to guess the value of the voucher and the answers I got was RM100 and RM200, which means I'm not alone in thinking this is funny. 

Seriously, I am not expecting anything at all but if they want to give me a RM5 voucher, they might as well not give me anything. It's not even enough to buy a pack of nasi lemak in the plane. 


Steven Chow BBQ Rice @U Village

I went out for lunch with my boss and colleagues today. We went to U Village Restaurant in Sungai Wang for its barbecued pork, which is really good but without realizing what we ordered, we ended up having a meal called the Steven Chow BBQ Rice. 

I was told that it was based on a movie starring Steven Chow who made a dish with roasted honeyed barbecued pork, a sausage, a sunny side up egg, with some greens and rice. 

It was scrumptious, especially the pork. My tummy is growling right now thinking about it. 


Having confidence makes a difference in what we set out to do

I attended a meeting where a vendor was presenting a proposal but I felt it was not very well done. She seemed lacking in experience in making a presentation but it may be because of a lack of confidence as well. 

How can we be more confident in what we do? 

I find that experience count a lot and we have to believe in what we do, but I feel that the best of all, we have a faithful God who undergirds us with his presence when we do what we do with his strength and not our own. 

He is our confidence. 

And I found these sayings encouraging;

Confidence comes from discipline and training. 
~ Robert Kiyosaki

Confidence comes with maturity, being more accepting of yourself. 
~ Nicole Scherzinger

Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it. 
~ Stan Smith

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. 
~ Marie Curie

Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live. 
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. 
~ Martin Luther

I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God. 
~ Robert E. Lee


The song you must have in your Apple Music Library

My hubby sent me this link and it was exactly what I was looking for: Buy This Song Now. It's the Best 99 Cents You'll Spend All Week

If you are a Apple Music user, this is for you. And since I subscribe to Apple Music, I didn't have to buy it. I have just added it to my music library. Even if you don't purchase any songs, but upload songs into your iPhone to play, this still applies to you. 

That song for me was Ed Sheeran's The A Team. I loved it but I got so sick of it I had to delete it from my library. I can now finally add it back. 


Beethovan's Mighty 9th by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

The last time I was in Dewan Filharmonik Petronas to watch a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra was in 2015. I got another belated birthday treat by Melissa this year. 

This time the performance was Beethovan's Mighty 9th, conducted by Naohisa Furusawa with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the MAX Philharmonic Orchestra. 

The vocals were Ranko Kurano the soprano, Kaori Kurano the mezzo soprano and our local stars Yap Jin Hin doing the tenor and Chi Hoe Mak the bass. 

The choralists were from The Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, Dithyrambic Singers and the MAX Philharmonic Chorus. 

Thanks Melissa! I enjoyed the performance tremendously. 


I haven't had a fringe in so many, many years

I had my fringe trimmed short recently and much to my delight, I've received quite a number of good reviews about it. Some did not even recognize me!

All is great until my brother said to me today: why in the world would you cut it. It looks bad. 

Sigh...that's my brother. 


Book Review: The Korean Mind

The Korean Mind, Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture
by Boyé Lafayette De Mente

I was looking forward to digging into this book when I laboriously finished the last book I was reading, except that I am very, very disappointed with it. 

I have only just begun reading it and I already have four reasons to stop reading but I'm still hanging on, for now.  

One, for a book that is about the culture of the Koreans, I wasn't happy that the author decided to print names in a westernized way, first name and then last name when all Korean names begin with the surname and then the given name. This really irritates me. Thankfully, there aren't many names used, so far, but when they do appear, I keep having to take note and make effort to read it in the proper Korean way. Come on, it is a book about the Korean culture! 

Two, the book presents the subject using distinctive Korean words following the Korean alphabetical order. Well and good except that it would be much easier to read if it were thematic instead. For example, I was reading the section on 암흑기 (am-heuk-gi) The Dark Period and the next section is on 아내 (a-nae) Wives: The Inside People. My mind has to take a few minutes to make an adjustment to move from thinking about the dark ages to thinking about wives. 

Three, the spelling of Korean words in this book is atrocious to say the least. The author made a mistake right at the very beginning in the first chapter when he wrote about fathers. The right spelling is 아버지 (a-beo-ji) but the author spelt it 아보지 (a-bo-ji), which is incorrect. In writing the previous paragraph above, I just found out those two words are also spelt wrongly. I have spelt it correctly above: 암흑기 instead of 암훅기 and 아내 instead of 안애. This is really unacceptable. Would you read a book in any language with multiple spelling errors? 

Four, the author is not accurate in his writing and presentation of facts. He wrote, "This was the infamous k’ou t’ou (kowtow) long associated with China. K’ou means “head,” and t’ou means “bump” or “knock”". He got it all mixed up. In actual fact, it is k'ou that means to knock or to bump and t'ou means head. What other inaccuracies are there in the book that I don't know about, which will cause me to learn the wrong things?

This is the first time I have ever come across such a badly written book, and I should abandon it already. 


Guilt and Shame Culture

I have been exposed recently to the concept of guilt and shame culture of societies and I found it both fascinating and disturbing. I am only beginning to grasp the concept and finding it quite a deep subject to consider. 

It all began when I encountered a person who is steep in the Chinese culture and I thought since I need to understand him better, I started reading a book on Confucianism (which I need to get back to as I only just read the first few pages!)

I also began reading Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture by Boye Lafayette De Mente, and there is this brief section on the Shame Culture, where "The one transgression that Koreans cannot accept is being shamed."

I see that quite a lot in the few Korean dramas that I watched and being brought up in a Chinese family, I can see it prevalent in the Chinese culture as well. 

However, I am not a very Chinese person to begin with, if I can say it that way. I was not schooled or brought up strictly in the Chinese way of life. I take on a more westernized way of thinking as I exposed myself to their writings and thinking, albeit still from an Asian perspective. 

I am also brought up in a Christian family and from a very young age, I am more exposed to the concept of guilt rather than shame. 

So when I am now reading and thinking about the shame concept, I am a bit disturbed about this way of life. 

I found this an interesting article, Guilt and Shame in Chinese Culture: A Cross- Cultural Framework from the Perspective of Morality and Identity by Olwen Bedford and Hwang Kwang Kuo, National Taiwan University. 

It is a long and technical paper and it is not an easy read. But it made me realize that I am probably a hybrid of having both guilt and shame culture. 

There are many questions swimming in my head right now that I am not even able to articulate. I need more time to think this through and a lot more reading to do. 

But more importantly, does the Gospel sound different to each of these cultures, guilt and shame? 


A tapestry of prayer

I was in church today when pastor introduced some visitors from the US and he shared with the congregation how they have supported the church in prayer all these years. 

The topic of prayer has always been a mystery to me. But I take it as a commandment from God that we pray and to pray fervently, and so even if I don't understand it fully, I obey and I pray as much as I could, as best as I could, though it isn't actually as much as I wished or as well as I wished. 

When pastor told us about the prayers of our counterpart in the US, this picture came to mind:

I imagine prayer is a connection of the people of God as we pray for one another we connected with each another in the Spirit and in love. It's like weaving a tapestry of love and brotherhood across the whole world. 

We all belong to God and even if we don't pray for others, He will never forsake any of us. But yet, we are to pray for one another. We need to be connected to one another in Christ and prayer is the perfect way of doing so as we remember each other, we love each other in the Lord.


A good catch up with a good friend

I spent the day with a good friend visiting her at her house and she made lunch. 

Doesn't the plate of pesto spaghetti look delightful?

It was a good catching up we had and a nice one for me since it's ages since I've visited anyone at their home. I usually catch up with friends going for lunch or dinner in restaurants. 

And it has been a long time since I've had any heart to heart talk with close friends including showing anyone my secret old photos!


Book Review: Jealousy, The Sin No One Talks About

Jealousy, The Sin No One Talks About: How to Overcome Envy & Live a Life of Freedom
by R.T. Kendall

I finally finished reading this book today and upon logging it into my Goodreads account, I noticed that the last time I completed a book was 3 months ago! I have really been slacking in my reading, but it's only because I was stuck with not a very good book that I want to finish before I started another one. 

I bought it because I needed it. It is a reality that all of us go through this and I had to admit to myself that I was going through a bad bout of jealousy. 

I went hunting for articles and books to read but they weren't many except for this one that looks more promising. I've read R.T. Kendall before but I don't like his books that much. 

And my assessment was spot on, for me at least. 

The only parts I found useful was the first and the last. I could not agree with his treatment of the subject when he wrote it from the perspective of the gospel in Gospel Jealousy, which in my opinion he belittled the gospel in doing so.  And I do not agree with his interpretation of the Cain and Abel account. 

And of the portions I found useful, he kept repeating himself. But it's good that he does conclude everything in 13 ways to overcome jealousy in the last chapter. 

Here are some excerpts of the better sections of his book:

Jealousy is an easy thing to fall into. This is because it plays into our insecurity. Like it or not, we are all insecure.

The envy described in Ecclesiastes 4:4 emerges in one of two ways (or both): (1) productive envy is the desire to outdo what has preceded you (what motivates vates athletes in the Olympics); (2) counterproductive envy is the wish (consciously or unconsciously) to make another feel envious, although God may overrule and turn this to good.

Counterproductive jealousy is what eats our souls and leaves us bitter and impoverished. It is one of Satan's favorite vehicles by which he brings us to despair and destruction.

This is why jealousy is so bad. It has the very breath of Satan in it.

...the worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready.

Envy is inevitable; jealousy is envy that is manifested. Envy is the thought; jealousy is the obsession. The rule of thumb: deal with envy while it is only in your thoughts. That is the best way forward.

Holy Spirit never promotes us to the level of our incompetence. We may promote ourselves, others may promote us, but not the Holy Spirit. He knows what we are good at, what we are not good at, and what the Father has called us to do. The way we guarantee we will not be promoted to the level of our incompetence is that we truly look at ourselves soberly-with ruthless honesty, knowing that we all have only a "measure" of faith. This means that each of us has a limited measure of the Holy Spirit. You do not have all of God there is. Don't let anybody tell you that you do. Only Jesus had all of God there is (Col. 1:19); only He was given the Holy Spirit without any limit (John 3:34). It is our responsibility, then, to admit humbly to our limitations. Nobody can do everything. Quit trying to do everything! Do not imitate another's ability.

We may be envious or jealous of another's anointing or calling, but if each of us comes to terms with what God has called us to do and accept it without murmuring, we may lessen the likelihood of jealousy. King Saul became jealous of David's anointing (1 Sam. 18:12). And yet, sadly, we all tend to have problems with what God has called others to do. I repeat: Jesus said that it was none of Peter's business how John would die; He replied to Peter, "What is that to you? You must follow me" (John 21:21-22, emphasis added). So it is with all of us. We may ask, "What about him? What about her? What are You asking them to do?" And God says to each of us: "None of your business-you follow Me."

The grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence, but it seldom is.


Pearlie, I have something to tell you

I had an interesting encounter and chat with a language partner today. I got connected with him a few days ago through www.italki.com, a language community that connects people who wants to learn languages from each other. 

Our language exchange is quite engaging so far albeit just via texting. But what's interesting was today's chat.

Midway through our conversation, he said to me, in English, "Pearlie, I have something to tell you."

My internal siren went off. Metaphoric red flags flailed wildly. 

What does he want to tell me? 

I felt worried wondering what would warrant such a serious question. And what more, it began with an address using my name. 

I imagined having this question posted to me by my parents or husband or manager. 

I'd freak out. 

I was hoping it was due to his English being a second language and that he didn't realize the weight of the question and that it was nothing but an innocent statement of wanting to tell me something. 

Thankfully, it was...phew!

It was about his encounter of connecting with a fraud in www.italki.com and how he stopped it in time and hope that I'd not put myself into any of such traps as well. 

That was when I told him how I felt when he sent me that statement and I explained why we don't say that very often, if at all. 

He was quite embarrassed and of course I told him not to worry about it. 

It was after all a direct translation from his native language and he had asked it naturally wanting to tell me something of interest. 

This really shows me how different cultures are, even on the basis of the different languages we use. The nuance of what we say in our languages is not easy to pick up. 

But it helps that we are allowed to make mistakes and learn from it. 

I have made many myself. 


Crazy Karaoke

I haven't been to a karaoke in ages. There is a free entry pass in our U Mobile Subscriber Rewards and a few of us took the privilege and went this evening. 

If you are a U Mobile user, check this deal out in your MyUMobile app. 

I didn't get to sing much. I am not familiar with enough songs to want to sing them in public! That's why. Haha. 

These are the few that I know, beginning with...

And this one is not easy to sing. And I am bad with timing but I managed to figure it out though. 

I did try this Mandarin song but I had to use the hanyu pinyin lyrics in my Apple Music. She sings the verses too fast for me to follow the lyrics in Chinese and what more, the lyrics shown in the karaoke screen was in traditional Chinese. 

I also tried a couple of Korean songs!

Well, the craziest one we did was Abba's Dancing Queen, which was recorded but I would never ever show it to anyone, not even myself!


Why am I drawn to sad things?

I don't know why I seem to like sad things: sad movies, sad songs, sad stories. And since I've started going Korean lately, there are many, many sad Korean movies and dramas to go round. 

They are so sad and yet I'm still consuming them. I managed to finish watching Train to Busan recently and I already told myself it's time I stop watching them. 

But I'm back to watching sad Korean dramas like Marriage Contract and Uncontrollably Fond. Why? And I knew they were sad to begin with.

And I'd feel so sad when I hear this song sung by Kim Woo Bin from the Uncontrollably Fond drama. But I find it an excellent song. Vocals wise, he does have a nice rich deep voice here now doesn't he?

Do You Know? - Kim Woo Bin


Learn why things are what they are

I have been using the Anki flashcard app for language, and it is very well suited for that, but when I read this article, Anki Tips: What I Learned Making 10,000 Flashcards, I created another deck entitled Learn Anything.  

The tips that the writer provided are very good ones, including the advice to put everything in one deck, regardless of topic. He quoted the theory of Hebbian learning - "neurons that fire together wire together" and that "mixing everything is superior". He says that when everything is carefully partitioned, we limit the opportunity serendipity, and that applying ideas across disciplines is precisely where the insights are likely to be most fertile.

He also advised to add whatever, anything that interest you, whether you think useful or not.  It can be anything you find interesting, any random thoughts, anything.

I have created my Learn Anything deck a week ago but it was empty until today. I was watching a criminal drama and the central topic was the Statute of Limitations, which one may find unfair to put a maximum limit of time to initiate legal proceedings. The drama did irritate me a bit because the limitation to the murder case was just missed by mere minutes and the murderer walks free even though there was clear evidence that was comfirmed minutes after the limitation period. 

I stopped the drama and did some reading in Wikipedia and thought hey, this could be my first Learn Anything entry.

And unknowing I did what the writer of the article implied as one of the most important tip: "Cards that answer the question “Why?” are more valuable than factual cards." It's easy to memorize the what but it is better to understand the why. And that was precisely what I put into that card entry, because I was more curious as to why should there be statute of limitations. If you are curious, check out its purpose here.

There you go, my first Learn Anything card when the writer already has 10,000 or more by now. But we all have to start somewhere. And now is good. 

I need to also build the habit of noticing things to add into my deck. There are so many things to learn and remember and connect.