Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mid Autumn Lantern Festival

Also known as the Mooncake Festival, this festival is celebrated through dances, night festivities, a light show at Chinese Garden, and ofcourse, the sale of mooncakes. This year's theme was world monuments, so giant lanterns were made of the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Spinx and other wonders. The turtle museum was also fun...they sure know where to swim for food!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Working At BLUE

BLUE is marketing consulting company (our CEO is Canadian!) We have offices in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Sao Paulo (California), and New York and do business in 42 countries. How exciting is that?!

Companies like HP and Johnson & Johnson hire us to help them do market research, design a marketing strategy, create ads and promotions, and retain their customers. Most of our focus is on interactive campaigns, (website development, databases) but we also do other forms of media like print ads.

Right now I'm working on research in the "game industry" so I'm researching the people who make video games for systems like Nintendo Wii, XBOX 360 and PS3.
A really cool link; the university I'm staying at (NTU) actually has a computer lab that makes video games right here on campus. They've done some cool stuff to help kids that can't walk feel like they "virtually" can.

People here are really great; the CEO takes the new people out for lunch every month to explain how the company works. Sounds like they have great customer service, and awesome HR. They really care that you're happy here and seem to do a lot to make sure you are! (Except for the intern pay that NTU students get through this exchange, I think I'm going to like this job)

Kenny, the managing director, got a surprise birthday celebration yesterday. We each wrote something on a sticky note, and they decorated his office. Made him chug Heineken, eat sushi loaded with wasabi, and then try to find the hidden card in all the post notes!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Culture Shocked!

In the last two and a half weeks, there have been quite a few things that have caught me by surprise, to say the least.Travelling in a place that's so different from North America or Europe is exciting, and I am so glad I'm here, but it's strange how it's the smallest things that make a huge difference:

Things I love:
  • Fresh fruit: Tastes completely different here; so much sweeter, rich tasting. It comes washed, cut, and in a cute little bag with a stick to eat it for 50 cents.

  • Shoe shopping: Clothes are regular price...but shoes!!! Wow, so artistic, so different, so cheap!
  • Location: We are so close to sooo many countries I've never been to. Travel plans ahead!

Things to get used to:

  • Cappuccino Withdrawal: I've got myself down to one espresso a day, sometimes none, mostly because they are $4 or $5 here & not available on campus. Real Italian coffee only lives in the business/tourist areas .
  • Not so chocolately chocolate: You all know I'm a dark chocolate fan: the real, Swiss, bitter chocolate. Japanese imported chocolate just doesn't taste the same; I'm down to the occasional Toblerone.
  • The Gym: Ok, I cracked...couldn't stand NTU's tiny, old, little home-sized gym. Working out is really not a big thing here. I have joined what I like to call an "ex-pat gym"-- Planet Fitness in Raffles Place. Brand new, huge, awesome fitness classes, weights...and, surprisingly empty.
  • Veggie Food: Not so available on campus here. Rented a mini-fridge to grocery shop and cook in the mini "kitchen"
  • I Miss the Snow?!: Well, a cold breeze would be nice at least. Step outside and you feel like you're walking through a fog of heat; soaked in sweat in just 5 minutes. Luckily my office has central air conditioning!

Monday, September 25, 2006

NTU: Campus Life in Singapore

Before I got here, I thought all uni campuses were somewhat similar...your standard dorm, tons of hall activities, parties,a small variety of cafes & restaurants, a campus bar, etc.
Turns out this campus has a different culture entirely! A good experience...there will be many stories! The dorms here are very basic and quiet, lizards and cats run freely,and food is extremely cheap but comes from a simple canteen (Chinese mostly). Very little for vegetarians!
The Pics: Fellow Travellers: Joanne, Dennis, Eugene, Mandy
My dorm room, thanks to IKEA.

People study hard, have a few small activities, and don't frequent the campus bar, where drinks
are $8 (60% cheaper than most places). In fact, the bar is called the "Staff Club"and students don't know where it is---they kicked us out at 12:05. Saturday night's quest to find a bar was quite the challenge; seems we have to stick to the "ex-pat" areas; $15 beer anyone?