Friday, June 27, 2008

Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods... and YOU?

A confused young lady stopped a taxi. When the taxi driver asked her “Miss, where do you want to go?”; she softly said “Bring me anywhere.”

The taxi driver was very puzzled; nevertheless, he decided to start the engine and started driving. After 20 meter, he stopped. The young lady was shocked and asked him “W-w-what’s wrong??”

The taxi driver said… “Young lady, this IS ‘anywhere’ ”

Whether we realize or not, sometimes we are very similar to that young lady. In life, we walk fast, even run to achieve something… that we can’t describe. The motion looks very smooth outside, but in fact, it goes nowhere significant.

“What do you want to work as in the future?” – that’s a very common ice-breaker asked.

“I don’t know.”
“Not sure.”

That’s by far the most common responds. However, there are a few exceptions.

Do you know that there was a young guy who answered,

“I want to be the president of the United States”?

Tens of years later the world knows him as Bill Clinton.

The other guy answered “I want to be the world’s number 1 golfer.”
If you were to hear that answer, you might as well say “Keep on dreaming boy.”

However, would you say that sentence if the guy who spoke that sentence happened to be Tiger Woods?

Friends, we may not always get what we want. However, if we don’t know what we want, ANY thing will get you there, and it’s very common for a lot of people to say “I work THIS hard for THIS???”

Dreaming is free of charge, no GST, no service charge, absolutely FREE. If you are like the rest of us who LOVE free stuffs, why not start dreaming NOW?''

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Hi, My name is Ben, I work for UOB Bank."

Welcome on Board!

Yes, I finally signed a full-time job contract, the first time in my life.

That means.. I officially turned down offers made by:

- Another local bank (Hint: 3 letters, starts with D, ends with S :)) under their Management Associate Programme
- A MNC which has slogan "We Challenge You to Shape Our World"
- A less well-known MNC which is a subsidiary of Tata Group
- The biggest bank in Malaysia (this one is not yet an offer, I am still in the last round of interview process)

I refuse to admit that I am greedy. That's the way the job market operates. Companies choose the best candidates, and we choose the best offer, it's as simple as that.

The million-dollar question is.. "What does UOB Bank have something to do with Mechanical Engineering?"

Eh... hmm... You knowww.. lemme think.

To be frank, I don't know. Even for a person who can compose highly-persuasive sentences (a.k.a "bullshit") to get A+ for Engineers & Society subject, I find difficulty giving a good answer.

Maybe the best explanation I could ever give: Some things in life are better left unexplained :)

However, this is what I know. We only live once, and we ought to do something that we enjoy doing. I have realized long time ago that Engineering is not my cup of green tea, and doing engineering job for the rest of my life is like asking David Beckham to be a programmer.

Maybe I will make a reasonably good engineer armed with good education from World-class university. However, I believe that if we want to excel, we ought to do what we LOVE doing, not something that we don't mind doing.

Why choose UOB?

1. It's less bureaucratic than some other banks

While another bank needed 2 weeks just to tell me the next step of the recruitment process, UOB needed a total of SEVEN days from application to giving me a job offer. I took assessment test on Thursday, and the next day, they offered me the job. Tell me, which candidate doesn't like to be treated that way? In this fierce talent-market, I don't think any company could afford to ask a candidate to wait too long unless the job you offer is to be Maria Sharapova's boyfriend.

2. It offers partially commission-based scheme

I know myself too well, that I am motivated with by numbers, figures, targets. It just doesn't make sense for me to do a job which pays me a fixed salary every month no matter how well or how lousy the quality of my work is. With partially commission-based scheme, the sky is the limit.

No boring job.

3. Their HR people are beautiful

Enough said :)

4. I believe in their products

Since the very first day I sold UOB products as part-time job (when I managed to sell a total of $130,000 in sales volume), I know that THIS is the company I would love to work at for the rest of my life.

I couldn't wait for the day when I introduce myself in a social or business function...

"Hi, My name is Ben, and I work for UOB Bank. It's great to meet you."

Yes! UOB Bank, a company that from now on I can proudly call: MY company.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

10+1 Things to Do in Jakarta

1. Visiting shopping malls.

While in Singapore, visiting shopping malls is THE only thing to do, in Jakarta, although it's still people's favourite, it's not the only one. Some famous malls include "Plaza Senayan", "Kelapa Gading", or everyone's favourite "Mangga Dua" (NO, that's not a franchise of "Mango" in case you are wondering).

Before you are wondering "Hey, am I really in Jakarta?" when you start to notice that there's very little difference between shops in leading malls in Jakarta and in Singapore or Hong Kong, I must tell ya "You ARE in Jakarta, don't worry man."

2. Giving Appropriate Tip to Taxi drivers and waiters

With relatively lower price of food and service here, it's just appropriate to give some tip. Must I remind you how low their salary is? Some people barely can survive, so if you are wondering where to throw away your rupiahs, thank me that I give you such wonderful suggestion: to their hands.

3. Becoming a millionaire
You don't need to work harder and longer. Welcome to Indonesia, a place where SGD 150 can make you a millionaire (yes, that's 1 MILLION rupiah :))

4. EAT, EAT, EAT... Slurrppp

Singapore needs a book called "makansutra" or "XX best foods in Singapore". In Jakarta, you can throw a stone and find some good local delicacies.
Some famous restaurant like "Lembur Kuring", "Ayam Goreng Bu Suharti", among others are some of the best foods I have ever eaten in 22 years of my life.

If you think Indonesian foods here in Singapore are nice, I must tell ya, don't blame me if you can't sleep for 3 days imagining the food you've just eaten because THEY ARE CRAZILY JUST TOO GOOD!!!

Some foods to try: ayam bakar, gurami asam manis, satay.

You almost can't go wrong eating in Jakarta, so if you tell me you eat McDonalds there, I only have 1 sentence for you.. "Kacian deh lu!!" (Poor you, in English)

Note: if you can't take spicy food, tell the waiter so, because the sambal (chili) there can be very, very spicy for non-Indonesians.

5. Visiting Ancol, Monas, and Sea World.

Well, my explanation might be inaccurate, coz I visited those places more than 10 years ago. But still, those places are very good even until now, according to my friends and relatives.

6. Visiting Mangga Dua.

I know I am repeating myself, but good things are worth repeating. It's a must-go place for girls whose favourite places are Bangkok and Hong Kong only because 1 thing: shopping. With amazingly cheap price (even cheaper if you can bargain), shopping-addict will find this place a dream comes true.

Famous phrase: "Aduh, mahal sekali. Boleh kurang nggak?" (That's too expensive, can it be cheaper a bit?"

7. Meeting Agnes Monica's fans in a restaurant

In Singapore, people don't care when Christopher Lee passes through them, Jakarta people will shout in disbelief when they meet their favourite celebrities like Agnes Monica. BUT BUT BUT Don't ask the person beside you "who is she/he?" because they will look at you with disbelief as if you don't have television at home.

And btw, if you meet someone beautiful with mixed accent (Indonesian and funny English), that person might be Cinta Laura (Google it :))

8. Sleeping

Don't feel strange if people sleep at 10.30 and wake up at 5.30am.

9. Macet

It's a common reason here if people are late for meetings and say "Aduh, macet tadi. Sori ya" (Sorry, just now got traffic jam). Welcome to Jakarta.

10. Eating

If you can only remember 10% of this post, the 10% is this: EAT! In this city, you can find good foods with amazingly cheap price, from Chinese food to Korean, from Turkey to Western, from Japanese to Singapore and Hong Kong food.

WARNING!!! 11. Gaining Weight
Most good things come with side effect. For this case, here it is.
When you go shopping for clothes, please make sure you choose 1 or 2 sizes bigger than your usual size, because with the food like that, I BET 1000 rupiah that your size will never be the same after you come back from Jakarta.

Alternatively, make an appointment with your gym buddies to go to gym afterwards. Don't say I don't warn ya.

Welcome to Jakarta!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Typical NTU-Mechanical Engineering Graduates! :)

1. Typical Engineer

This type of students has very clear direction in life. They want to date a computer, marry a machine, and die while holding screwdriver.

Dream companies: Shell, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, IBM, Standard Chartered Chartered Semiconductor, and other companies which end with “tech”.

2. Typical Scholar & Researcher

They are future professors and researchers. Although they have super-quality brain, sometimes it’s not balanced with good communication skill, which makes them future professors that students love to hate.

Dream companies: A*Star, A*Star… Eh have I mentioned A*Star?

3. Typical Businessman

This type of students is not necessarily bad in their studies; they just find other things more interesting (and promising). People won’t guess they are from Engineering unless they tell them; and it’s usually followed with change in facial expression, “SO WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING WITH MECHANICAL ENGINEERING?”

Dream companies: DBS and the other two local banks, Credit Suisse, and probably Boston Consulting Group for the smartest.

4. Confused

Need I say more, they are confused what they are going to do. They are usually reasonably good in too many things. Jack of all trades and master of none, that’s what people say.

Dream companies: it doesn’t matter. As long as the job title is “Management Trainee”.

My fellow graduates and graduates-to-be, no matter what job you are going to take in the future, I wish you all the good luck in the world!

Monday, June 09, 2008

4 Small Things We Can Do to Save this Planet

1. Use less plastic bags

If we ask ourselves honestly, Do We REALLY Need those plastic bags? For me, the answer is usually NO. I can just squeeze the things I buy into my bag, and that does the job perfectly.
Of course you don’t need to go to the extreme buy putting onions inside your $1000-designer bag.

BONUS: A smile from the cashier auntie :)

2. Turn on the aircon only when needed

I know it’s getting hotter and hotter everyday. But we don’t have to turn the aircon all the time right? Set the aircon-timer before you sleep, and you are on the way to be crowned Mr Environmentally-friendly :)
Instead of turning your room’s air-con when you want to read, why not going to public library instead? The aircon is FREE there, and you can make full use of your library membership.

BONUS: A smile and a good day ahead after reading the electricity bill.

3. Be a vegetarian

Why?? Because meat is BAD for your health, for your pocket, and for our beloved planet. Producing meat is a waste of resources, and it generates much more heat to the environment (see here)

If you think vegetarian people are stupid, I must tell ya: The guy above IS a vegetarian.


- A healthier and more energetic you.
I am not endorsing any vegetarian society nor am I a Buddhist. However, I can easily tell that the most energetic days in my life are when I consume a lot of veggies and fruit (and by the way, what I mean by “a lot” is not that pickle inside your McBurger)

- Your parents get the respect they deserve
I don’t have super memory to remember all the advices given by my parents, but at least I remember 3 of them: “Study hard”, “Respect your friends”, and “Eat more fruit and veggies”… Oh, and 1 more thing “Get enough sleep”… I almost forget that because I don’t think people need to remind me to get enough sleep, that’s like a second nature for me =P

4. Read your documents on the screen

Need I say more? Most of our documents we print end up in the dustbin or as a substitute for toilet paper. Use soft copy instead, and read as many documents as possible on screen.

BONUS: Your boss will thank you for saving paper, ink, and the bottom line: dollars.

Afterall, you don't need to be Al Gore to save this planet :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I speak prefetc Englsih. LOL.

Found this advertisement at 88db.

Well, for most of the time, advertisements sound better than the fact, but this one is WAY too much. You say you speak PERFECT English eh?

I never say my English is perfect, but at least I won't humiliate myself like that. LOL.

Even if my English is that bad, I am wondering if there is anyone in this planet doesn't know that there is a software called Microsoft Word to correct our spellings. Gimme a break! LOL.

LOL again. This advertisement deserves at least 3 LOLs.

I am so tempted to call him/her to know how "perfect" his/her English is :)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

B.Eng (Hons), Minor in Entrepreneurship

It's a lie if I say that I wasn't worried at all before seeing my result. I am not those smart fellows whose results are so boring (only A, A-, and A+). I got all kind of marks there.

However, I would say.. I was TOTALLY relieved after seeing the result. I couldn't do well at all in one of the papers this semester, and pass that subject will be Miracle of The Year (well, not to that extreme, but ya get my point).

- At least I graduate within 4 years.

- At least I graduate with honours.

- At least I got Minor in Entrepreneurship, something that's closer to my heart.

- At least I managed my time reasonably well, between study, ECAs, and part-time works (Love is out of the equation =P)

It's not a form of ceremony if I say that it's only by God's grace I can finish my study reasonably well. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mother Mary.

For my parents back in Indonesia, my brothers in US and Malaysia, thank you so much for all your supports. When I am tired and I have no motivation to do things I am supposed to do, YOU are my motivation. For my Mom specially, I give this degree as a present for your 50th Birthday which is only a few days from now. Happy Birthday Mom! Being your son is BY FAR the biggest blessing ever happens in my life.

For my best friends wherever you are, thank you so much. Friends come and go, but only true friends leave footprints in our heart. You know who you are. Thanksss a million.

I can't say this is the best 4-year in my life, but certainly, this will be one of the most memorable ones. I have tried my best, and I have no regret at all.

Benny Ardi Pandowo, B.Eng (Hons), Minor in Entrepreneurship