Alan Soh

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


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Fragility of Life – Passing of a NS friend

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Buddhist funeral wake in Hougang.

We have not been seeing each other for years since National Service. But still, I didn’t expect receiving the news on Facebook last Sunday afternoon (30 June 2019) when I was having my late lunch after a volunteer activity.

Your young sister had tagged you to her funeral notice FB post.

To me, it was a big shock.

I was under you during my NS days at Sembawang Airbase (SBAB). You often teased/bullied me but I knew you meant no ill intention. Although our Admin Registry In-Charge Mdm Owyeong often said, “Hey you ah, can you don’t always bully Alan, can or not?! Can you be nice to him, OK?!”.

On that very night, I decided to come visit you with another SBAB NS mate, Paul.

I spoke to a few of your family members. They shared with me that you could have suffered a heart attack. They felt it was so sudden that you left no words behind. Yet the most comforting thing is, as I told them, you were at home with your family last night when it happened.

The funeral send-off was Wednesday 3 July.

I hope you had entered your parents’ dreams to say something to them before you leave this world.

愿你一路走好、毫无牵挂。

Rest in peace. I will remember you, Tom Lim.

Note: It has been ages since I last met my NS mates. Almost 10+ years!
It’s high time now to round up a few of them for a good catch-up over a casual meal one of these days.

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Remember this discussion in which I’ve did a blog post last year (see post dated 15 July 2018), sharing my thoughts about it? Read on for its report done by a co-organiser.

Having concluded the “Bridge the Gap” youth discussion on inequality and the class divide in Singapore in mid-July last year – and hence, in very overdue fashion – here is the executive summary and some accompanying thoughts.

via “Bridge The Gap”: Executive Summary And Post-Discussion Report — guanyinmiao’s musings Continue reading


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Anyone still using voicemail?

voicemail

Yesterday, I received a voicemail on my smartphone.

It was a number I couldn’t recognise. I simply ignored it because I think it could be a call coming from a telemarketer.

It is year 2018. Who still uses voicemail these days, I wonder.

Is it redundant?

To communicate with someone, more than 90% of people of whom I know prefer SMS texting to voicemail. If you were to use voice mail, you have to go through a few steps in order to get that message. So why the inconvenience?

I believe texting is the most preferred mode of communication among people these days, other than telephone calls.

I think there are 5 reasons why most of us prefer texting over leaving a voice mail.

1. Time-consuming

We all want to get things fast.

Voice messages are not very long yet, however the bit of extra time and the steps required to retrieve that little piece of information from the voice mailbox could be a big turn-off.

Having said that, there is still a slight chance that there is an important message waiting for you yet you turn it off before the voice message starts playing.

 

2. Impersonal

Who are the people who would leave you voice mail?

There’s your mother – maybe your grandmother – who rambles on about how she just wanted to check and see how things are going on with you? But wait, mothers these days are quite IT-savvy. They know how to text us over Whatsapp!

Or it could be that financial services consultant whom you met at a roadshow recently, hoping to do a follow-up call with you, after completing a form.

When someone close to us wants to get in touch, they either message us on social media or text us. As such when you see a voicemail, you know that the caller who left you a voicemail, is someone whom you hardly knows, and this person is outside your social circles.

At that point, so why bother getting back to that caller?

3. Difficult to hear

How many times are we self-conscious about others overhearing our calls and voice messages, or we had to leave a room because it was too noisy?

Texting is so much easier. Furthermore, it is visual communication. People understand better when they could read words.

How many times do I have to replay a voice message to understand totally what was said, or to write down an important phone number? This is a big hassle, and text messaging provides a simple EASY solution.

This is difficult for people who are hearing-challenged like myself. 

4. Still makes you write a message

A message should be something which upon receiving it, you can instantly run along with, not something which you have to replay 3 or 4 times ,and still have to take notes.

Wheras on the other hand, if somebody texts me, I already gotten a written record of everything which I need to know, and the number to contact that person. In addition, I can also keep an unlimited number of texts saved, instead of dialling the voicemail number to clear my voice mailbox messages frequently.

5. No urgency to retrieve voicemail

Haha. If it is not urgent, I think most of us are just going to forget about it. Totally.

If someone can’t answer your call, there is a HIGH chance that they won’t be listening to your voice mail soon either.

Most text messages are read within 3 minutes, and hence the receipient can decide whether to pay attention to that message immediately or leave it for replying later.

In short, I won’t be sad if voicemail goes one day. It is not helpful in our daily lives nowadays. 

 

 


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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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Helping people take flight in 2017!

taking-flight

It is a brand new year.

It is time for us to take charge of our lives, and strive to equip ourselves with new skills so that we can be independent and fly high.

A friend of mine has founded a new social enterprise called Taking Flight 启飞, which aims to help provide fair employment opportunities and personal development for disadvantaged youths in Singapore (which includes physically challenged, at-risk and those below the poverty line).

This is achieved through business process consultations with small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to clearly identify portions of the value chain that could be undertaken by these Singaporean youths.

 

Together with the job match, Taking Flight will look to value-add to the persons in the following areas:

i) Personal Development (such as On-boarding, Workplace training, Continuing Education)

ii) Financial Development (such as Coaching/ Mentoring by experienced volunteers, financial literacy skills)

iii) Career Development

 

The social enterprise has currently started efforts in the financial industry to take on a few different roles starting March 2017. This pilot effort will provide part-time employment for a duration of 3 months before review and scaling.

Looking for Singaporeans or Permanent Residents who are:

– aged 18 years old and above,

– able to speak simple English with anyone outdoors,

– can be from disadvantaged families, physically-challenged, deaf, or youths-at-risks,

– IT savvy enough to use a smartphone or a tablet PC.

If you or know any fellow Singaporeans who have a keen desire to break out of their cycles to become someone strong and independent one day, would like to occupy free time slots to earn some income on part-time basis, this is the place for them to start embarking on a journey of personal transformation.

Working hours are flexible. The jobscope is doable and it pay wells.

The founder has more than 15 years of prior work experience in conceptualisation, implementation and reviewing of the Youth Sector Development Framework and establishing grant relations with many non-profit organisations in Singapore.

He is not looking at 20 individuals, in fact more than 100.

To find out more details via a non-obligatory chat over a cup of friendly coffee, or to express interest, you may e-mail me at alan.soh@hotmail.sg or Mr Yap Keng Hwee at yapkenghwee@yahoo.com.


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Breaking The Sound Barrier (Part 1)

It has been several months since I rejoined Young ChangeMakers 2.0 at National Youth Council, as a YCM project curator aka mentor.

I am presently the YCM Project Mentor behind a group of enthusiastic undergraduates from Nanyang Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

The team is planning a campaign, titled “Breaking the Sound Barrier”, which hopes to help the deaf community in Singapore.

1 out of every 1,000 babies born in Singapore have severe or profound hearing loss, and the team found themselves being drawn to this issue and hence, would like to do something for the deaf Singaporeans.

The main partner of this project, Singapore Association of the Deaf (SADeaf) has served the deaf community for over 61 years. To the team, it has highlighted the problem of deaf Singaporeans having difficulty in searching and getting jobs despite having the same qualifications as others. As such, there is an increasing importance to help create an inclusive workplace environment for the deaf.

The objectives of this 7-month campaign are:

  1. to heighten awareness among employers of the potential of deaf community as ABLE employees,
  2. to change employers’ perceptions towards hiring the deaf,
  3. to encourage more local employers to hire the deaf.

The key message here is; to break employment barriers for deaf Singaporeans – they can be valuable employees and excellent contributors to our workorce.

The deaf are just like you and me.

By supporting and dispensing advice to this project, I am indirectly helping similar Singaporeans like myself. Therefore, I stepped forward to be their mentor, offering help.

 

Presently the team is carrying out a survey to better understand the current situation.

I will be very grateful if you could help us to spread word about this online survey to people in your network connections, of whom you know who are managers, particularly Human Resource personnel, or anyone involved in the hiring procedures.

Responses are kept 100% confidential, and the information collated will be very helpful to this campaign.

Here is the Breaking the Sound Barrier – Online Survey

I hope you can assist us, in helping this group of Singaporeans, building a more inclusive Singapore.

Thank you very much! 🙂

breaking-the-sound-barrier


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A random Sunday thought

On top of my hearing impairment condition, I always make it a point to mingle more and try to understand people from their point of view. Especially from the best smart ones. Although I admit that my critical thinking ability may not be very good. Okay, perhaps it means I need to read up more?

It is another separate issue if people are not willing to share.

At my current age, I already learnt not to pre-judge people first. These days, I understand things by listening and observing, and then try to understand why things are done in a certain pattern.

Until today, I am still trying to understand what is my unique standing position in Singapore and this world. Why am I born in Singapore? Why am I in this current state? Why do I exist? What is my purpose? Is there something I can help to change in this world? How do I go about doing it?

I somehow think that purpose is getting more clearer and clearer to me.

The challenging part is often about how one can look beyond surrounding naysayers say and follow what he or she wants to do wholeheartedly.

I think sharing perspectives can help to broaden my mind further.
I like talking to people, to understand their thoughts on an issue.

Hmm..maybe it is time to come up with my own version of MediaCorp Channel 5 “Let’s Think About It” conversation with some friends over coffee?