Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Full Review with Tips! Part 2/5: Day 1

It’s the D-day to board the Voyager of the Seas! Since our boarding time was in the afternoon (3 pm), I only took a half-day leave and worked from home in the morning. Everything has been packed nicely into our luggage and the luggage tags have been secured. In my previous post, I mentioned that there are two options to bring your luggage on board. Quick tips, if your boarding time is early (e.g. 11 am), you can choose to hand-carry your luggage or check in the luggage and pack some clothes such as swimsuit for changing. However, the queue at the custom may be long for a foreigner (non-Singaporean and non-PR), so bringing a luggage (or more) may not be too convenient. Our boarding time was written as 3 pm but in the trip reminder email, it was stated as 2.30 pm. So we went to the Marina Bay Cruise Center at 1.30pm and reached at 2 pm plus. (See the last part of my previous post on how to get to the Cruise Center)

marina cruise

Boarding the ship!

Upon reaching the cruise center, the bag drop counter was very obvious. There was staff to guide us as well. No scanning required, as long as you have the luggage tag attached, you can just pass the luggage to the staff in charge. As we went into the center, there were signage and staffs along the way to guide us to the immigration checkpoint. You have to get your Set Sail Pass ready. If you book the cruise through a travel agency, they should have done the online check in for you. Otherwise, you may do so yourself at the Royal Caribbean website.

Make sure you empty your water bottle in your hand-carry bag before passing the custom. Also, do not bring prohibited items as well as opened food items. You may check the RC website for the “What Not to Pack” items. There are two lanes at the immigration checkpoint: one for foreigners and one for Singaporeans and PRs. After passing the immigration, we were guided to the boarding area. We had to fill in a health declaration form as well. (Tips: if you are unsure where to get water on the ship, refill your empty water bottle now at the boarding area.) Though the queue can be quite long, there were a few counters in operation. Basically, they need to see your passport and the Set Sail Pass. The staff will take a photo of you and issue you a Sea Pass Card.

Once that is done, you are set to board the ship! Woohoooo! 🙂

In the ship!

The embarkation area was on Deck 4. The crew scanned our Sea Pass Card and we walked into the giant ship! It was so huge that you won’t feel that you were on a ship. It’s more like a shopping mall instead. Royal Caribbean (RC) Voyager of the Seas is 15 Decks tall and 1,020 feet long. Some of its highlighted facilities include 10 pools and whirlpools, basketball court, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, mini-golf course, rock-climbing wall, Casino Royale, arcade, theater, dining room, bars, and lounges. Its guest capacity is 4,269 and it has 1,176 international crew! It’s really amazing to see people from all over the world working together on a ship! (Reminds me of Pirates of Caribbean)

Deck 4 is an ideal spot for some nice photographs. As the ship was at the port, the Casino Royale was not in operation. We took some photos before finding our way to our rooms at Deck 3.

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Our bags were already at the door when we reached our room. That was fast! However, one of the bags was misplaced at 2 rooms away. We entered the room using the Sea Pass Card. It was a small nice cozy room with a round window facing the sea. The room could fit 4 people as there was 2 additional bed on top of the ceiling which can be pulled down.

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4 pm: Muster Assembly Drill

We didn’t stay in the room for long. We went to Deck 5 to explore and we found the Café Promenade packed with people. We had a coffee in a paper cup and there was an announcement made. All guests were required to gather at the assembly point on Deck 4 or 5 (where the rescue boats are) for the Mandatory Muster Assembly Drill (for emergency evacuation). At the sound of the ship’s whistle and alarm bells, we proceeded to our muster station. The muster station number is printed on the right-hand side of the SeaPass Card, where it’s written as an alphabet and a number, e.g. B11 for us. We had to mark our names and room number with the crew in charge when we arrived. I think we were standing there for more than 30 minutes waiting for all the guests to gather.  There were old folks who couldn’t take the standing and heat and have to sit on the floor. Poor them. 😦  There were some missing guests who didn’t assemble at the location and they were given serious warning. Some people commented that the announcement was made in English and probably the missing guest couldn’t understand it. (From my observation over the few days, most of the guests for this cruise were from India, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, and China.) At last, the crews demonstrated how to put on a life jacket in case of emergency.

Then, back to the room! We were greeted by our friendly room attendant and we got our Cruise Compass! Well, not exactly a “compass”, it’s just a piece of paper which includes all information you need to know on board. Cruise Compass includes information such as:

  • Featured events of the day
  • Weather forecast
  • Sunrise and sunset timing
  • Open Hours of facilities, cafe, and restaurants
  • Timing of different activities

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A sample of the Cruise Compass cover. It has 4 pages. Not showing you the full thing as a spoiler.

We went through the Cruise Compass and mark down some key activities to do. (Tips: bring along a pen or highlighter!) 

So, here’s what we do on Day 1 for the rest of the day.

5 pm+: Promenade Café and Royal Promenade at Deck 5

We wanted to grab some snacks at the café but it turned out to be even more packed than just now. We saw some crews dressed up in colourful costumes and kids looked excited! It’s time for the DreamWorks Move It! Move It! Parade. It was full of fun and laughter with the familiar Madagascar, Shriek, Kung Fu panda and other characters dancing and parade along the Royal Promenade. (Tips: To get a up close view of them, especially when you have kids who love them, try to standby at Cafe Promenade area at least 15 mins before. The characters will standby at the stairways quite early and you can be sure curious people will start crowding there too. To get a full view, I would recommend you to go up to Deck 6 or 7 balcony where you can look out at the whole stretch of Royal Promenade.) We were quite late when we found out about the show (~5 mins before show start) and even the balconies are full. So we went up to Deck 8. We get a pretty good view too!

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5:45 pm: Dinner Time for Main Seating at Deck 4

The official dining time for Main Seating is at 5.30 pm. As we were watching the parade, we were slightly late. The Sapphire Dining room at Deck 4 was already quite full but not to worry as everyone has an assigned table number. Note that some of the tables may be at Deck 3. The crew will check your Sea Pass Card before you enter the room. There were 2 waiters assigned to our cluster of tables and they served us for the other days as well. The main waiter is from the Philippines and the assistant waitress is from Russia. We were served with bread first and given a menu each. Basically we had to choose 1 appetiser and 1 entrée. But the waiter told us that if we were still not full or did not like what we had, we can have another course. We waited quite a while (about 20-30 mins) before getting our food. It turned out that one of the orders was wrong and the waiter quickly get the right one for us, so we ended up eating 4 courses for 3 pax. 🙂 When we were done with the main course, we were given another menu for dessert. Yumz! If you are not keen in the dessert, you can always order a fruit platter or coffee and tea. If you have kids, you could try ordering something the kids would like… like pizza, cakes, muffin… as long as they could find it in their kitchen, they would try their best to fulfill your request. The Waiters and Waitresses are generally very friendly and helpful!

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 6 pm: Complimentary Ice Show Tickets Distribution

While waiting for our food, I went to collect the Ice Show tickets with our Sea Pass Cards at the Studio B, Deck 3, just right below the Dining Room. (Tips: 1 representative to collect for all members will do, but remember to bring along their cards as well) There were a few timing options to choose from (both on Day 1 and Day 4). The best for us was at 8.30 pm. There was also a complimentary Welcome Aboard Pack given out at the Art Gallery, right outside the Dining Room. The pack includes 1 piece of printed art and other art auction information. You can also get a ticket for art raffle happening at 7.30 pm.

We went back to our room for a quick rest and bath.

7:10 pm: Welcome aboard show starring Duck Cameron the Magician

We missed it due to dinner. 😦

8:00 pm: Get ready for the Ice Odyssey! An Ice Spectacular

So we had our tickets ready and head to Studio B to watch the Ice Show. Studio B is at Deck 3 but it was disconnected so we had to go up to Deck 4, pass through the Casino, and down to Deck 3 again. The door opened at 8:00 pm and there was a long queue! At last we managed to find some good seats and can’t wait for the show! (Tips: Bring along jacket as it was really cold at the ice rink) I don’t remember how long the show lasted, probably 60 mins. It was so enthralling and captivating. My mom enjoyed it a lot! 🙂 We rated it 10/10. Oh, the best part is, try sitting at the left side, on the front facing first or second row. You might get invited by the performers to sit on the “throne seat” and you will be among them in the middle of the ice rink. They will interact with you and you will be the star of the night!

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After the show, we went to Cafe Promenade for some supper. They have nice muffins, cheese cakes, pizzas, coffee and tea. They serve different range of snacks at different timing and open for 24 hours! When we came back to Deck 3, La Scala Theatre was showing 3D movie – Martian. We watched for 10 minutes and fell asleep. So we went back to our room and have a good night sleep.

Extra Tips for Day 1!

  1. If you are keen to go Casino, go for the complimentary gaming lesson at the specified timing. You may place a bet of $1 to enter into the $500 off your folio raffle.
  2. There were 2 sessions of Outside Movie at the Poolside. Great experience, but can be quite cold at night.
  3. Casino Royale is not smoke-free! As the casino is the “connecting point” between the front and rear deck of deck 2 and 3, it can be quite irritating if you are not into gambling and don’t feel comfortable with the smoke (with elderly and kids around). You could choose to go via Deck 5 as well.
  4. If you were to purchase beverage package, purchase it on Day 1 to enjoy the most. There are a few options. I think if you are getting the Soda package, you get a free bottle as well. They had a booth to sell the package before the boarding area. Not sure if they accept SGD though. You can also purchase it online.
  5. Explore and familiarize yourself with the Cruise Compass – check out the timing of different shows, dining timing. It’s really useful!
  6. Internet package is available too. But why don’t you just get rid of your Facebook for a few days and really spend some good time with your loved ones on the ship? 🙂
  7. Explore the shore excursion options online or at the Guess center at Deck 5. 

 

Stay tuned for Day 2! 🙂

Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Full Review with Tips! Part 1/5: Getting Ready

As I was doing my “last minute cruise” preparation, I couldn’t find an updated review about Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas journey from Singapore. The latest one was way back in 2014 and there wasn’t much on Cruise Critic neither. So I have decided to write a full review here to share with you the exact experience on the cruise (and shore).

My family thought of going on a cruise earlier this year but hesitated slightly as we have never been on one, and never really heard the details from our other family members and friends about their experience. It was until our aunt told our parents how big the ship is, how fun it could be, and how nice and ample the food is, and we have decided to explore further.

After doing some basic research (which cruise line and where to get the best deal), we bought the cruise ticket from a travel agency (Transtar Travel) in March. It was a 4 night Penang & Phuket Cruise from Singapore and our departing date was on 15 May 2017. It cost us about SGD 1800 for 3 pax. There were some deals for senior citizens, children, and additional pax (third or fourth guest). We chose this cruise line as it seemed to be the best of all as the first trial: 4 nights aren’t that long nor short, the season is just nice, and we get to explore 2 new places – Penang and Phuket!

Cruise line

Tips: avoid raining season in Penang and Phuket, and avoid the school holidays! I think August or September is the best time and you should avoid October onwards as the weather is getting wetter and school holidays are starting. 

Once payment was done, we get our invoices through email. The agency phoned us to arrange a date to collect our tickets and to do a briefing with us. It was a month before the sailing date that we collected our tickets and attended the briefing.

Briefing by agent: what they tell you, and what they don’t tell you?

We arranged an appointment with our agent and have to physically be there to attend the briefing and to collect the tickets. Not all the passengers have to be there, you can just send one representative. It’s good to take down notes though the briefing is simple and you think you will be able to remember everything. It’s one (or more) month ahead, you might forget something nearer to date!

When passing us the tickets (the Set Sail Pass), the agent also handed us the “luggage tags”, a set of printed and folded paper which we have to manually hook on our luggage and staple it with our names and room number facing upwards.

luggage tag

Well, no worries if you lose it because you can request for one at the bag-drop counter on the day itself. But why the hassle, right? Just keep your Set Sail Pass and luggage tags properly!

You will be also be issued a “Guest Ticket Booklet” which you will find your deck number, your room number, your dining time, packing list, and ticket contract. The agency has helped us to secure a Deck 3 (front) stateroom with Ocean View. (Spoiler: The good thing is, it’s near to the theater, 24 hours cafe, and disembark area. Our stateroom is at the front deck while the dining area is at the rear deck, separated by the Ice Rink. So, we have to go up to Deck 4 or 5 to go to the rear and go down to Deck 3 again. See the floor plan here for reference only.)

Here are some tips given by the agent:

  1. “Get your dinner at the specified timing.” Our dining time was during the Main Seating (5.30pm) which was more suited for us rather than the Second Seating (8.30pm). “But if you missed that timing, you can try to go for Second Seating or casual buffet at Windjammer Cafe or other paid restaurants.” My additional tips: Yes, try to be on time! The waiter can serve you faster and better. The fine dining for each night is rather good, don’t miss them!
  2. “Water and other liquids are not allowed on board. A kettle is provided in your stateroom and you may boil your own water or purchase a beverage package. We don’t recommend soft drinks package though it’s cheaper.” My additional tips: If you can’t survive without having a water bottle with you (like me), bring an empty and reusable one. After entering the boarding area, refill it before boarding the ship, just like at Changi Airport. Clean water (hot and cold) is available at the Promenade Cafe. Although it is written that you should not refill your bottle there, but the staff won’t be too strict as long as you don’t try to do something funny or unhygienic. I would recommend you to take the water using a glass and pour into your bottle. 🙂 Evian water package is EXPENSIVE! We saw quite a number of passenger bringing cartons of mineral water from Penang though. They went past the baggage check counter just as fine. I was wondering if we could check in some bottles of mineral water at Singapore… as the baggage crew didn’t seem to scan them? And what if they scanned it and found the bottles of water in my luggage? Will they force open my luggage or call me for that? Not sure. :s Didn’t risk trying it.
  3. “Explore the ship when you get on board instead of going straight to your room. Wear something easy or pack your swimsuit along to change.” My additional tips: If your boarding time is early (e.g. 11 am), yes pack things to change or bring along your luggage directly. Check the cruise compass for activities available or simply just walk around to explore and take nice photos with fewer people in the background. If your boarding time is 2.30pm onwards, don’t bother. Just wear something comfortable (no high heels or formal wear) and bring along basic important things to get yourself on board (passport, phone, personal medication…). Leave the luggage at the bag drop counter (with the luggage tag!) and start exploring! However, here is something the agent did not remind us. There will be an emergency evacuation drill at 4 pm (1 hour before the ship sails). So, don’t go to your stateroom and sleep! You may not be able to hear the announcement clearly when you are in your stateroom. If you are not present at the assembly area, you are making thousands of people waiting for you. People are going to remember your room number and you will be given a serious warning by the captain. 
  4. “Bring along your own toiletries, especially toothbrush and toothpaste.” My additional tips: YES! There is no convenience store on the ship. Please remember to bring your toothbrush along. Soap and shampoo are given but if you have sensitive skin or is particular about the products you use, bring along your own soap and shampoo. 
  5. “If you need to bring food items, make sure it is unopened.” My additional tips: It has to be unopened totally, even ziplock bag won’t work. But there is really no need to bring any additional food as there is ample of food on board. Well, you can bring an empty container to keep some bread from the Cafe for supper or when you go for shore excursion! 🙂
  6. “Don’t miss any performance. Check the Cruise Compass and book your show accordingly through the interactive TV.” My additional tips: Umm, there is actually no option to book any show through the TV. In fact, we couldn’t even order room service through the TV though this option is available (something was wrong in their system). The only show that needs ticket was the Ice Odessey, which you can collect at a specific timing. Limited tickets available. The other shows were simple first come first serve, no seat-booking allowed. 
  7. “Bring along 1 formal wear for the Captain Night. You will dine with the Captain.” My additional tips: I did see guys wearing shorts and still able to dine in the dining room… but just bring along and wear it for great photos. We saw the captain from afar but it wasn’t during dinner time. Our formal night was at Penang port-of-call. The dining room was quite empty and there was nothing special about wearing evening gown… But, just wear them for good photos before or after the dinner. 🙂 Also, there was a themed party at the poolside later that night. 
  8. “You can explore on your own at Penang and Phuket ports-of-call. At Penang, just turn left and walk straight. You will see coffee shops, street arts, UNESCO heritage site… At Phuket, the ship will be anchored near to Patong Beach, just get down the small boat and have fun shopping and eating!” My additional tips: Penang was OK and although it took us quite some time to locate the direction from Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal. Download the offline Google map of the site is useful. But Phuket was a miserable lie. We have to use tender boats to get on shore at some “ulu” (rural) area and be prepared to be slashed by the taxi drivers. 1000 baht per person to go to town or the beach! My recommendation, either you join the Royal Caribbean shore excursion or pre-book a local tour or just stay on board to enjoy the cruise to the max.
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 More details are available in my subsequent blogpost for each day on cruise. Stay tuned!

Before sailing: what you need to prepare?

It wasn’t that exciting until we were 2 weeks before the sailing date. I started to slowly feel the excitement when I took out my luggage to pack my stuff!

OK, so here’s what you can do to better prepare yourself for the cruise:

  1. Prepare your own packing list. As you think about your cruise and you suddenly think of something to bring along, write them down! Run through them and imagine your great cruise experience! Then pack them into your luggage. Here is a “What to Pack” guide from Royal Caribbean. Here are some examples on my list:
    • Swimsuit – 1 or 2
    • Formal wear + appropriate shoes (you don’t want to wear those sport shoes with your gliterring evening gown)
    • Sport attire and shoes for sports
    • Sun screen
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Travel adapter and your phone / camera charger
    • Credit card
    • Cash – USD (on ship), MYR (Penang), THB (Phuket), SGD (Singapore)
    • Selfie stick may be?
    • Seasick pill (very useful when reaching Phuket as the wave is rougher)
    • Essential medicines (Panadol, Zyrtec, lozenges…)
    • Small backpack for shore excursion
    • Waterproof handphone case or pouch with strap. The wing can be so strong that it blows away your phone when you are taking selfie! It’s good to protect your phone against water too. I was using a brand new iPhone and didn’t want to risk it falling into the swimming pool (though it’s splash proof) or the sea! My main motivation of buying it was actually for this cruise trip. 😡
    • Look what my sister gave me! It’s soooo useful and Bay Max was so cute protecting my phone. It got some scratches after the trip. 😦big max phone pouch
  2. Do some basic research like reading this blogpost! Find out what to expect on the cruise, at the shore, and whether to get beverage or wifi package. It’s good to list down a to-do-list and set some goals just to build on your excitement, such as:
    • I want to try most of the facilities on the ship!
    • I want to watch all the shows!
    • I want to eat the free-flow ice cream!
    • I want to enjoy the jacuzzi at least twice!
    • I want to eat all I can!
    • I want to go to the gym every morning and run on the track!
    • I want to buy Big C seaweed from Phuket!
  3. Stay healthy! Take particularly good care of your health before the sailing date. It’s good to be in your perfect state to enjoy the cruise to the max. 🙂 But if you are slightly sick, no worries, you can still enjoy it. I was recovering from a flu and cough one week before the sailing date, but everything went well and I was 90% recovered when I returned from the cruise. I just couldn’t fulfill my goal of eating as much ice cream as I wanted. 😦

And you are all set for cruise! Be early so that you have more time on the ship. However, do adhere to the recommended boarding time to avoid crowd. They have the right to decline to board you if your boarding time is at 3 pm and you are there at 11 am. Your ticket will have the boarding time. Upper decks usually board earlier. Ours was Deck 3 and the boarding time was between 2.30 to 3.30 pm.

Here’s how to get to the Marina Bay Cruise Center Singapore! It’s not at Harbour Front Cruise Center!! There are different options to get there, refer the official website here.

MBCCS Map

See you in next post where I will be giving more insights to Day 1 of my cruise experience! 🙂

Have you ever thought about #IoT and how scary it can be

Hey there, I am back on WordPress! Oh yes, I am random-inspiration driven and always let my thoughts wander around self-found #mindblown ” findings! So there are a few key timings when I tend to get such findings: when I am bathing, when I am walking to mrt, and when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Done with self-introduction (in case you didnt know me well), I am going to share with you a question to ponder and keep you awake tonight!

As you know, Internet of Things (IoT) is getting more and more powerful and everything in our daily lives wants to be part of it – our homes, security, health, food?, connection, …. IoT knows everything about you.

Next, look at online advertisement on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even any normal websites. The moment you search for “fashion design course”, all you see are fashion design courses advertisement, for DAYS until you click on it and be convinced to sign up for it.

So there will be one day, when you walk on the street, you see a media board. You see the thing you are looking for the day before… then you walk pass… then you decide to turn around to have a second look… someone else is looking at the board and it is showing some other things. The person leaves and here comes you to the board. Just you staring at the board. It starts showing the thing on your mind…

The fact is there is no magic. There is a smart cctv near the board and it identifies you from your Facebook profile, it sends your data to the whatsoever search engine and it finds out you were looking for that something the day before… then it finds the right advertisers to show the right thing at the right time to the right person having the most needs to look for something! #algorithm

Pufff. Powerful utilization of IoT plus intensive drilling-into-your-brain kind of marketing. #mindblown

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This is how I am feeling right now. And I will hide in my blanket tonight to get some sleep. Hey Google, stop peeping at me!

Your Story, My Art

So I was having this impromptu idea again during bathing time!

I have not been drawing for quite some time and I have been lacking inspiration. I need to find motivation to start drawing again! I am craving for creativity again!

So I came up with this simple idea which goes like this:

“Tell me your story. I will draw you a portrait based on your story.”

Make it short and mysterious. Make it a one liner.

It can take quite some time for me to draw if I can’t find inspiration from your story. I will post my drawing and your story on my blog.

So start telling me your story here.

“I was taught to laugh and be jovial. I was made to shut my other self up.”

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Okay, see how bad my drawing has became???

Why Gen-Y is in Crisis

Generation Y or the Gen-Y refers to the generation of people born during the 1980s and early 1990s -> And that’s me included!

While many always perceive that Gen-Y kids are rebellious, Gen-Y employees are hard to manage; we as Gen-Y think that we are proud to be the trouble-causing Gen-Y!

And now, we are in deep trouble, no doubt.

Firstly, we are no where more experienced or superior than the baby boomers nor the Gen-X. Either they manage us or they fund us in our start-ups. We are still learning from and leaning on them.

Then, here comes the Gen-Z, those born during late 1990s and early 2010s. They are literally born with iPads and stuff – they are called the digital natives. Technology industry booms with them, including the spectacles industry I presume. They are growing up faster than we thought. The Gen-X feed them and educate them well, too well.

They are better looking (or is it the camera that is getting better?), they are smarter, they act faster, and they are more competitive than us, the Gen-Y. They are probably seen as the “strawberry generation 草莓族 ” but, prickly. They possess a new set of challenge for us. Don’t you ever wonder why the Gen-Z girls are getting taller and better in shape? All of their selfies are prettier and almost flawless? Most of them get a Gen-Y boyfriend?! Even their babies are born ahead of ours! I’m not complaining but hey, did anyone else notice that?

The point is, if the Gen-Y still live in their arrogance shade, thinking that this is their era, soon they are going to be thrown out by the Gen-Z. This is no longer an era about linear hierarchy or generation superiority.

 

Gosh, I’m going to sleep first and worry tomorrow. Gen-Y.

Strange Things about Gen Y

Besides having a peculiar way of thinking and seeing things, Gen Y is kind of sensitive too.

They like to be given responsibilities and they get motivated when you have high trust in them completing their tasks. But when you start to take away their “beloved” responsibilities from them, that’s when their pride get torn and they start to seek new challenges else where.

They will feel incompetent at first, then they will somehow be able to recover the motivation and start afresh, doing new things that they like.

They are quite individualistic for their own achievement, yet they like to collaborate and help others whom they think worth sharing. They learn fast from seniors, observing their behaviors  and results, then decide to keep or to avoid those kind of behaviors.

Gen Y are competitive against their peers. While they won’t try to kill each other, they want to be better. Thus, they always seek a new arena which could train them better.

This is Gen Y workforce. They are not as hard to manage as you think. They are not unreasonable nor demanding. They are just being cultivated that way to face the challenges of globalization and management of baby boomers and Gen X.

Midnight Thoughts Overflowing, eh?

Hello World. Again. It seems like all my recent posts will have this verse of “it has been a while since I last post something here, well hello again!”. So, I will not repeat myself, you have read it and it’s really here in my post.

I’m still wide awake now, surprisingly, though I was telling myself to go home earlier today because I have valid reasons to do so – I am very sick and I have a conference call tonight. So, in order not to waste my overflowing brain juice, I decided to write a blog post tonight, though I was thinking about writing one when I was walking home just now.

Today was a good day, or a happy productive day. No one surprised me with flowers or candies but it was just one fine normal day. I enjoy commuting to work, having breakfast with colleagues, enjoy wearing high heels to walk around, saying hi and hello to anyone that pass by, thinking about work, having silent moments with my work, taking away lunch, talking to my boss about anything, commuting back home, walking back home and playing with the cats, and having a night conference call. That’s life. I mean that’s a way of living happily as well. Who cares about traveling and seeing the world. Who cares about having a lover to text you every now and then. Everyday, you stand at the same spot, the world will still change and you still get to see different things and meet different people.

And so, why commuting can be fun? Every morning is an observation game. You are entering a cabin with all seats being occupied. Then you start scanning through each of the sitting commuters (ok, those that are not sitting in the reserved seats). Based on your judgement of who will alight at the next stop, you take a bet and stand right in front of the person. Sometimes, you may not want to take a high risk and you would take a 50% bet. So you rather go for those with school bags – either they alight at Woodland or Yio Chu Kang (game over). Okay, that was fun, at least to me.

Breakfast is something that I look forward to after dinner, and for almost 12 hours. Isn’t the feeling of “looking forward” a happy thing?

Though, I used to have more things to look forward to each day.

Oh. Brain is shutting down now. Anyway, my point was, living happily can be simple, it’s just a matter of how you define it. Trust me, just label everything in your life as a “happy factor” and reason with yourself to figure out a valid reason to say that. Okay, even more summarized if you still don’t get my point, BE POSITIVE!

Good night.

What matters to you as an employee?

So, I was so happen to bring up the topic of employee engagement over dinner just now, and my “interviewees” come from 3 different countries. Everyone has a different definition of employee engagement and what engage them at work. We talked about employee initiated welfare program, a cosy space for recreation, celebration over anything, long service award, camaraderie between colleagues and with managers, and so on.

But of all, there is one common engagement element that all of them (from different background and nationalities) agreed – communication. Be it the communication with colleagues, managers (and General Manager) or HR personnel. There is no doubt that everyone would want their voices to be heard, their views to be appreciated, and will be more than happy to see their ideas coming true if not be involved in realizing them.

I could feel their excitement when they shared how they are involved in such engagement activities. One of them even shared that, “as long as the HR and GM listen to us, we are happy. We may not anticipate any immediate changes but we are glad to be heard”. But at the same time, I could sense there was a little disappointment and sad-envy in another person as he can’t have such “treatment” at his site. Was it bureaucracy that shuts off that kind of interaction in a way or another? Why are those people we are counting on leave us? When will our right “Agony Aunt” appear? For how long more must we wait for him / her?

And how long more can I wait? 

These are their silent thoughts that were obvious enough to be heard.

The younger the generation is, the more impatient they are. The faster the world moves, the higher the expectations are. It’s getting tougher and tougher to satisfy everyone, especially in a multinational company, where no one-size-fits-all solution that could address this common problem.

So what we do now?

How about, don’t feed them til they are full (or they will get greedier)? Like the old saying, don’t feed your child, teach him how to fish. Why can’t we teach them how to fish? Teach them what employee engagement is and let them find their own perfect ways to stay engaged.

If they find money is everything to them, fine. Let them work the right way for money. If they want work life balance, fine. Let them manage their own time well. If they want empowerment, fine. Let them influence their managers. If they find values in their work, fine. Let them hold onto their beliefs in these values, don’t ever crush them.

You may argue that the system has to be there in order for them to enjoy these “ways of staying engaged”. True, but the more important thing is to give them all these skill sets to stay engaged in their preferred ways and not spoon-feed them with the system.

Someone ever told me that, “it would be nice to have flexible working hours but it would be even nicer and more beneficial if I can learn how to better manage my time!”

OT pay isn’t the only source of extra income, agree? They could earn even more if they have new skill sets or higher qualification.

“Managers don’t seem to engage us at all.” So be it. How can I make my managers engage me? I don’t know but someone should know and someone can teach us how to influence our boss.

“The work has no value. Day in day out, I’m just passing my days and waiting for my pay.” This is sad. Don’t you feel good if you could help someone to find meaning in his/her work (and life as well)?

Geez, this is so impromptu. Thank you, my dear interviewees. Good night.

Nancy

True love lasts forever. Today she read the love letters he wrote to her 40 years ago. Once more, she falls in love with him.

Things may have changed over the years. Circumstances were harsh. People judged her. But their love were strong. Love may have faded when it became kinship. But she never leaves him. He never runs away. He bears all responsibilities. She is always there for him.

They never tell each other their love ever since that day. He chose his responsibility over her. She was disappointed. He knew. He kept quiet all the time. She was heart-broken. He felt helpless.

Years later. Once again, he had to fulfill his responsibilities. She said nothing but “take care” and a assured hug.

That’s unspoken love. Deep in the heart, they are connected, unbreakable, inseparable.

It is love that brings back memories. It is love that makes her cry. It is love that makes her stay. It is love that let her persist.

It was her choice 40 years ago. It is his love until today and forever.

Note: Always wanted to make this story into a film!!

Urgh those bubbles

The trick to perfect screen protector pasting?

Dont ever use the wipe cloth that usually comes with the screen protector. The more you wipe it on your new screen, the more dust particles you get.

Just remove the original off-factory screen protector, (dont blow the screen please), and paste your own screen protector instantly! Do it in a clean, closed room.

P/s: yay, finally installed wordpress on my mobile! Mobile does replace PC, dont you think?

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Bubbles.... T.T stupid wipe cloth cheat my feeling.