I have never felt more popular in my life than on the 24th of February, when I loaded my replacement SIM card into a laoya pok pok fit-for-military Nokia phone to find 7 missed calls (from 7 different people) and a deluge of texts. The night before I had meet Cheryl for a preview screening of Man On the Ledge (surprisingly funny for a psychological thriller movie, and too much Hollywood cheesiness by the way), and as I sat on the steps near Citibank waiting for she-who-is-never-punctual, I received a phonecall from Aanchal about Howe having kickstarted the bidding process for ET 9104 – Web Marketplace business simulation, our second last module for our Minor in Entrepreneurship.

I picked up the call and quickly explained that I was running low on cellphone battery.

A couple of exchanges later, struck by the immediacy of the situation, I figured I’d volunteer myself to be leader then worry about whatever-will-happen, when it happens. My rationale for my then decision was very straightforward, I can deal with ambiguity and uncertainty – But I like things to go according to my plan as much as possible. And as your average aspiring-4-hour-work-week, Timothy Ferriss-ish, sensitive about productivity, allergic to diminishing marginal utility (work reaches an optimal level, and then time is better spent on leisure and rest) kinda person, I had in mind the teammates that I want, to optimise.

I will go into excruciating details for the Individual Report that we have to submit, about this past week of immense learning and hell. Suffice to say for now, that it has been an invaluable time getting acquainted with different leadership styles, work cultures, system rules and interpersonal dynamics. And I am that much more inclined to enter business in its aftermath. *blushes* Truly a module of practical, immersive learning compared to all that report-writing and uninteresting-lectures.

The way that I see it, I have always revelled in business problem-solving because it involves people and the results are very tangible, as can be seen from the changes in your bottomline. Putting quantitation aside, the qualitative dimensions of business are as dynamic as it is far-ranging in its effects – How do you put a value to your human resources? Social networks? Goodwill? How do you account for the trade-off between winning in the short-term vs. the long-run ramifications of a decision? I have these big ideas about the War of Ideas of our Generation inside our head and I’m trying to develop my own vision of the place of business in society, and I consider myself to have a life well-lived if at the end of it I had played a role in shaping these critical conversations between cultures in collision and cooperation… Because truly, my heart is thrilled at the thought of it. 😀

In retrospective I have never doubted the quality of our team’s brain capacities and we had made some awesome strategic maneuvers. But we lost out in terms of Public Relations and gaining trust. Admittedly I started switching off bit by bit after the day of the VC fair and having seen to it that the alliance document gets signed; because by then, like a Sim in The Sims, my Social need is at an all-time high, inhibiting my ability to fully function. In conclusion the past week had confirmed what I’ve always known about myself, and made me learn so much more as well.

Rather than winning (perhaps I’m saying this because we did not win in the end), the time at The Quad spent with 2 other teams was truly my favourite part of the week. Getting some alcoholic drinks after a crushing fall from grace and cracking silly jokes at each others’ expense – How can you even compare winning at a virtual game to the happiness of a great time shared with awesome company? I HAVE NEVER LAUGHED AS HARD IN YEARS. Our joint discovery about how no human is truly vegeterian since we’ve all drank breast milk at some point is EPIC epitomised. Competition definitely resumed later but at that point in time, our interests were all aligned. I believe in the spirit of competition to spur us on as we battle our wits, but I believe that success needs to be rooted in fundamentals for it to be meaningful at all as well. Such as, coming out top by playing fair. Then and again, the definition of fairness varies from person to person, eh?

So the only times I managed to head out was going out to Meijie’s birthday celebration and inducting her company into the awesomeness of Guanaja cake from Rive Gauche (though I had to rush home for a leaders meeting on Facebook rather than linger in Clarke Quay) on 24th February, finally watching The Artist after a bottle of Kronenbourg with Bingyun the Sunday before my minor module officially started (after tuition in the morning and a meeting in school in the afternoon), and hitching a ride from Ryan into town to meet Mann Mann, Meijie and Bingyun last Friday night cause I needed to destress and get out of campus OR I’D DIE…

My first-person, accurate to 0.0001% error margin reading of my personal stress level is that I have officially reached my brim (I will endure some more just for the sake of getting done with things). And I look at the 20-30% HE204A (might as well be named Greek Studies) quiz due on the 20th, case submission due on 22nd, the need to finalise summer plans, 2 economics reports waiting to be done, and so on and so forth… And I’m dying, craving, for-the-sake-of-my-own-sanity YEARNING for a vacation. To just empty my mind, take photos, learn songs on the ukulele, and read, party, read, party. Seen from another perspective, it’s good that I’ve been too busy to bother with, how much of a particle (utterly tiny and devoid of Hellenistic logos and affective resonance) I am in another’s life. :( In my head I carry this image of my self massaging my ego, my pride to sleep, every day and every night. Heh.

On the side of good news, our team submission to Ideas Inc made it to Top 57. And I remain full of optimism about the future. I. JUST. NEED. TO. GET. OUT. MORE. Zzzzz. I can’t wait to travel back home to China this summer, to see how much my baby cousin’s grown and make my (poor) attempt at connecting with kids, to see my maternal grandparents, to experience new sights, to recharge!

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