Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and experiences!

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Chinese New Year 2018

Today (2 March) is the 15th day and final day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) — Yuan Xiao Festival.

How was your Chinese New Year holidays?

My recent instagram posts provide some insights on how I spent mine. Check it out at my IG profile @ humourboi.

For the uninitiated, Yuan Xiao Festival is also known as The Lantern Festival, marking the end of the CNY celebrations. It is called Chap Goh Mei (literally 15th evening of the 1st Lunar Month) in Singapore. For the lovebirds, this is also the chinese version of Valentine’s Day!

Note: Please do not confuse it with the Mid-Autumn Festival which falls in the 8th Lunar Month which is also popularly known as Lantern Festival.

I am now at the final lap of my current course. I hope everything goes well.

I wish you happiness, good health, prosperity and great success in the Year of the Dog. Let’s work hard for ourselves! Have an awesome Woof Woof year! 🙂

Here’s my clip of the fireworks display taken at the recent River Hongbao event. Enjoy!


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Social Media Influencers & Singapore Budget 2018


Singaporeans do it almost 24/7, particularly the millennials who are born in the 2000s.

According to a 2016 annual report compiled by social media agency We Are Social, there are 3.6 million active social media users in Singapore. There are 4.65 million internet users.

The top 3 social media platforms used among Singaporeans are Whatsapp (46%), Facebook (43%) and Instagram (18%). In terms of media consumption habits, Singaporeans spent an average of 4 hours 14 minutes on internet via computer or tablet device daily and 1 hour 39 minutes on social media via any mobile device daily.

It is no wonder many service providers, advertisers, public relations agencies are leveraging on the power of social media to promote awareness of their services, products or events among Singaporeans these days.

This probably creates a greater need for influencer marketing, of which it is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on social media personalities who have a substantial number of followers; whereby they can be “tasked” to persuade or convince their followers to buy a product or patronise a service on their social media channels. Globally, it is expected to be a growing industry projected to reach US$5billion (S$6.6million) in 2018.

Depending on their own personalities, these influencers could be into arts, sports, travelling, fashion among others.

Singapore Budget 2018 falls on 19 February.

Based on current economic conditions, Minister of State for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Kiat will be delivering his Budget Statement in Parliament, announcing a number of monetary measures for businesses, and for the ordinary Singaporean on the street.

In an efffort to reach out to younger Singaporeans, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has engaged over 50 social media influencers to do an Instagram campaign to promote awareness about Budget 2018. In a press report, its spokesman said the social media campaign which lasts a month, is estimated to reach 225,000 instagram users. Its spokesman also said it paid “market rates” to the hired influencers.


Is it a good tactic for MOF to tap on the influencers to generate interest about Budget 2018 in Instagram?

I understand the Government is trying to do an effective outreach to young Singaporeans about budget and financial planning. But personally as a mass communications student and a former public service servant, I do not think influencers are the best people to create the right buzz for government policies.

Firstly, are they the right people with the relevant knowledge? In other words, are they qualified enough to be spreading word about Budget 2018? Seriously speaking, it sounds not convincing if say, one engages a fashion influencer with a performing arts background to spread word about budget/finance. The subject requires some knowledge in economics or a flair in analysing facts and numbers. Get what I mean?

Often, these influencers are perceived to be young people who are very much into branded items, clubbing, luxury lifestyles, looking fashionably trendy etc. For serious topics such as Budget, it will be more appropriate to go for an influencer who exerts a professional image. For example: a somebody whose real profession is an economist?

Secondly, the number of social media posts these influencers make pertaining Budget 2018 may not translate into higher levels of public awareness. Because they can just simply click a “like” because they like the influencer. Will these followers read those crafted messages pertaining Budget 2018? Very likely, no.

There is a high tendency that these messages could “fall on deaf ears”. This is because majority of their followers are of a much younger age group who may not be in tune to government policies. In terms of preferences, they are more likely into fashion, IT games, Starbucks, smartphone games than profound subjects such as GDP, economic forecast, inflation, and politics.

I agree totally with this statement made by Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon, Business School, NUS in the ST article titled “Can influencers create the right Budget Buzz?” published on Sunday 21 Jan 2018. She said: “If the influencer’s personality is not a (right) fit, then the buzz becomes about the misalignment instead of the Budget process”.

I am aware that this Instagram campaign could be just one of the tactics in MOF’s integrated marketing communications strategy to raise public awareness about Singapore Budget 2018.

However, I’m afraid it could putting taxpayers’ monies to waste..

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A little note of self-encouragement

self loveI was updating my LinkedIn profile when I came across this note written by a career strategist. Which I think it would be good for me to share it here with everyone.

Not just for myself.

The first post should be a positive one.

I believe the importance of self-love because we are our own best friend till the end of our lives.


2018 has just started. Happy New Year! Hope it has been a good start for you so far. 🙂

I’ve always believed that any person with a little bit of talent, a little bit of passion, a little bit of courage, some drive, and some perseverance could achieve whatever he or she could dream of.

Nothing is impossible unless you close the doors on your own.

Don’t let the whole staircase scares you, just focus on lifting up your leg to the next step. And then the second, and then the third.

Each of these steps is a completion of your milestone. And once a step is completed, give yourself a pat on your shoulder.  

This pat is actually a physical recognition of a job well done and it is a form of subtle encouragement to trigger your inner-motivation. Try it. 

Start to discover yourself a little bit more, and you will be amazed on how these little actions you take will eventually lead you to the dream you want to achieve.

Take each challenge as it comes and celebrate the successes along the way. No matter big or small. Celebrate our abilities. Work out something to overcome our weakness.

We are in control of our own efforts. Have a growth mindset.

We strive to be better persons hence we shall not compare ourselves with other people unnecessarily.

Do rest if necessary but please do not give up.

A self note – You will continue to grow if you can take whatsoever life challenges in your stride on one day, one step, one action at a time.

You are a start-up….The next great business is you —– Hugh Howey

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PeaceJam Singapore 2017


Started in Feb 1996, PeaceJam Foundation is a global movement whose mission statement is “to produce young leaders committed to positive changes in themselves, surrounding communities, and the world”. With its 2 co-founders Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, 14 Peace Prize Laureates came together to create an educational programme to teach youths across different countries the art of peace.

There is an ongoing global campaign titled “One Billion Acts of Peace”, which aims to tackle tough issues facing mankind such as inadequate access to public education, environmental awareness, extreme poverty, violence to children & women etc.

The first one was held here in Singapore last year.

The second one was held earlier this month.

I managed to take time off studies to participate in this activity.  (Coming to Term 2 of my 9-month course.)

Happy and privileged to be among the 15 PeaceJam Mentors to share knowledge about social change to a bunch of 70+ youths coming from different schools in Singapore, locals or foreigners.
I guess I am the only tertiary student who is a non-NUS undergraduate.

I mingled with them, taking interest to find out more about the course of studies they undertake.



Tapping on past training and experiences gained during Young ChangeMakers (YCM) stint, I broke ice and facilitated an exchange of viewpoints with my group of bubbly youngsters on social impact, partnering with Ms Aishwary, who is an NUS biomedical engineering PHD student.

My hearing issue isn’t much a problem to communicate with these youngsters.

Last but not least, I’m grateful to be able to listen to speech made by Nobel Prize 1996 Peace Laureate, Mr Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta, former President of East Timor.

To National Youth Council (Singapore), I thank you for this great opportunity to allow me to be part of it. 

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Quick thoughts – Exams


For someone like me, a young working adult who is back at textbooks after a good 10-year+ hiatus, it is definitely not easy. I believe this happens to many of us who are in similar circumstances. Familiar?

I had my first paper yesterday.

Yes, I do pay attention in class and do my assignments diligently but somehow the anxiety sets in during moments before entering the examination room. The mind may go half blank. A sentiment shared by a few of my course-mates in our Whatsapp group chat.

Tackling 4 out of 7 essay questions are quite a challenge.

You should be able to write fluently if you understand the lesson concepts well.

Keep cool and calm. Use pencil to scribble quick notes on question paper to remember facts.

Have sufficient rest the day before.

Oh yes, I think it is advisable to have a half-full meal before the exam paper. You would not want to have that heavy urge to go toilet halfway during the exam time-slot right?

Good luck to all those of us who are having exams during this year-end period! Fight on! Don’t give up! 🙂

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Back to Textbooks (My 9-month journey)

MDIS Studies

It has been quite a while since I last penned a blog entry.

I took initiative to apply for SkillsFuture Study Awards at the beginning of the year, and I had successfully been awarded a sum of S$5,000 to further upgrade myself.

For the uninitiated, SkillsFuture is a national movement to encourage all Singapore citizens to develop to their fullest potentials by taking advantage of a wide range of learning opportunities from tertiary institutions and continuing education trainers alike. This is also to motivate Singaporeans to develop a growth mindset for employability as well as a positive outlook for lifelong learning.

To be employable, I think staying nimble and having learnability skills is the way to go. Hence this is why I decided to go back to textbooks this year because I wanted to expand my current knowledge and skill-sets on media & communications.

This has been my area of interest, particularly Public Relations.

SkillsFuture Study Award

This is a photo of me with Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, former Minister for Social Development & Family (currently the Speaker of Parliament) at a post-event reception of the SkillsFuture Study Awards ceremony held earlier in May 2017.

I am presently pursuing my Advanced Diploma in Mass Communication studies at Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), in a tie-up programme with Oklahoma City University (OCU), USA. Over a nine-month period on part-time basis. Since August 2017. 6 modules to undertake.

I may proceed onto undergraduate level programme if I fulfill all requirements of the course.

Learning is an ongoing process, ever since the day we are born.

We are never too old to learn new knowledge.

I admit I do not know many things. I reflect and learn from past mistakes made. In fact, the older I grow, the more I understand about myself. In terms of strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes etc.

So what if I have a hearing handicap?

This is something which I can overcome, if I believe in myself. 

Positive attitude, self-awareness, teamwork, curiosity to understand new things, adaptability, perseverance are ingredients needed to succeed in anything we strive to do. Not just IQ.

I realise I like to analyze social issues, and understand the contributing factors behind them. Given the knowledge gained from this course, I can value-add by generating awareness and do an effective advocating of the social causes I care greatly about.

Being an excellent communicator is one of the requisites, to be in any industry besides media & communications.

Many things on my plate now. Need to do more readings too.
Having good writing skills is important too, so I will try to blog as often as I can… 😀

*For more information about SkillsFuture, you may check out its official website here.




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Breaking The Sound Barrier (Part 3)


As mentiond in my earlier blog post, I was interviewed for a MediaCorp TODAY article.

The survey findings collected by my NTU student mentees are expected of sort. And that is the reason why they want to do this “Breaking The Sound Barrier” project.

There are many misconceptions about the deaf community.

There should be NO discrimination. Seek to understand them and their abilities.

I feel strongly that our employers should be open-minded to look at job suitability in accordance to abilities, and re-align work processes if possible. In fact, our Government is also trying to chip in to help, providing certain schemes to defray costs of creating an inclusive workplace.

Other than highlighting more deaf role models in press/social media, I also think it is important for these special individuals to work hard on expanding their capabilities at the same time. Learnability. Adaptability. Transferable skills. A positive attitude helps.

With confidence, aim to BLOW the minds off these employers out there –

I am MORE than what you think I am.

Here I reproduce the article:

One in two employers do not intend to hire the deaf people: Survey.

SINGAPORE — When he went for job interviews, Mr Alfred Yeo who is deaf, would be asked how he would communicate with colleagues, or if he could read lips.

Many of these companies would not follow up after.

But two years ago, the 38-year-old landed a job as an accounts assistant, and his employer made it a point to email all his workers beforehand to share details on how to communicate with deaf people.

Mr Yeo’s experience is a rare one, going by a survey of 77 companies conducted by a group of final-year students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Only one in 10 employers surveyed have positive attitudes towards hiring deaf people, and one in two admit they have no intention to do so.

Some of the reasons given include concerns that deaf persons would not be able to communicate with clients, bosses and colleagues. Some of them said they had not come across any deaf applicants — perhaps by design.

Born with a dead right ear, Mr Alan Soh would struggle over whether to make it known that he was hard of hearing when he applies for jobs.

Sharing his experience, he said although he has had cochlear implant surgery done on his right ear, he remained apprehensive about writing his contact number on job applications, for fear he would not be able to clearly hear what recruiters say over the phone.

I (was) worried — will it blow my chances of being granted a job interview?” he said.

Even as they see attitudes gradually changing, deaf persons and associations that work with this group did not find the survey results surprising, noting that securing a job remains a significant challenge.

Touch Silent Club senior manager Danny Loke said: “The fear of discrimination is still very real among the deaf community as they often struggle to decide if they should indicate their hearing loss in their resumes.”

Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) executive director Sylvia Teng said the challenges facing the deaf and hard-of-hearing community can only be overcome with a “certain (level of) understanding from employers, to be willing to make minor adjustments to job requirements to engage the deaf employee in alternative ways”.

To engage with employers, SADeaf launched its job support service in January, and also found that many companies were receptive to hiring and offering equal job opportunities to deaf or hard-of-hearing persons.

Mr Soh felt that without being given opportunities, such individuals would not be able to show what they are capable of.

Many of them could be raw diamonds, having the innate potential to go far in life,” he added.

This survey was conducted by a group of communication studies students from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. Called “Breaking the Sound Barrier”, the group aims to encourage employers to adopt more positive attitudes towards the hiring of deaf persons.

The group had written to over 200 companies to take part in the survey. Most of the 77 organisations that responded were small and medium enterprises.