Ask me anything…

My friends posted something in their Facebook giving their friends the opportunity to ask them anything random either anonymous or their profile known (if they are registered). The website providing this service is called Formspring.

I got curious and find it amusing to be able to ask someone anything. In addition, you get to know them more with the way they answer questions..usual questions I see are from funny or cute to personal or naughty questions and even question about politics or business..the list goes on and on..

So anyone out there…I’m giving you the opportunity to ask me questions…I will try to answer as boldly as possible (if it is not damaging to my so-called reputation..lol).

Here is the link to my formspring: http://www.formspring.me/kikomatching

Ask me anything…

Company Outing with a heart…

Last weekend was personally a special day for me in the sense that it is my first company outing experience working here in Bangkok. We went to a resort called Rai Kusuma in Saraburi Province, about 2 hours drive from Bangkok. What makes it special then? Well, first I am in a group of local people who speak their native tongue, have their own brand of humor and activities which some may not be the same style as ours. Food is definitely Thai including the level of spice, though I love Thai food so it is definitely not an issue…We had our team building activity which you guess it right…was conducted in Thai. The facilitator would penalize the person who is unable to follow instructions correctly or is the slowest in the group..since their is language barrier, it is doubly hard for me cos I have to mind on my speed and accuracy of action as well as the language. I truly appreciate colleagues who has to quickly translate for me what the facilitator just said before they action so that I will not be penalized. I don’t know if I looked like a burden to them..lol. Anyway, the best part is that I was not penalized in any of the activities of that team building and was able to work with my team well. We were even successful creating a nice and strong tower made of newspaper!

After the dinner and the programme, we had karaoke and dancing sessions which we truly enjoyed. The night is still young so some decided to play cards while I joined a group who prefer drinking while singing and playing the guitar..some of them requested me to sing..since they do not know how to play Philippine songs in the guitar, we had to search from a laptop about music cords from International artists..at the end, we were able to enjoy singing together while helping ourselves with shots of alcohol mix. Luckily no one got drunk since singing and playing guitar is the main agenda.
Next day we had early breakfast because we had to check out from the resort around 10:00 am to go to our selected temple for visit and donation. We went to Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu which cares for full-blown AIDS victims. This for me is the unique part of our company outing. I’ve been to several company outing in the past and mostly it comprises of sightseeing, team building games, eating, singing and drinking..mostly rest and recreation. However, at this time we really see to it that we are able to share some of our blessings to others. About a month prior to the company outing date, we placed a coin bank in the office for donations to the temple. I wasn’t able to know how much is the total amount however, as I see it, many staff would drop coins or bills almost everyday. We also allotted some for buying items needed in the temple either by the monks or the patients themselves.
There were several pavilions in the temple compound. Some were individual units for the patients. The “guide” directed us to one building. Upon entry, we saw bodies of people who died from AIDS encased in glass or metal caskets. It was actually a scary experience seeing decayed bodies of men, women even children who died of AIDS. In each casket you will see descriptions of their name, age, how they acquired the disease and their statement about donating their body for purpose of AIDS research. Commonly, you can see from the description that they are either sex workers, drug users (using shared needles), women who got the disease from husbands or children getting it from their mothers at time of birth..

In another building, before entering you have to wear a surgical mask. When I get closer to the building I realized, it is the area where living patients with AIDS are housed. I actually wanted to go inside together with some of my colleagues but sadly, I didn’t have enough courage to go inside and see the conditions of these patients because before I stepped in, I saw one patient, a child (which I presume to be not over 7 years) lying in bed, very thin and looking like a living skeleton. It is a sight which will definitely break my heart and I may not be prepared to see worser conditions inside so I decided not to go and just wait outside..

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It was a very hot afternoon and Lopburi is one of the hottest province in Thailand  so we only had to allot only 30 minutes inside the temple and also because the location is quite far and in the foot of the mountains though the scenery was really beautiful. In addition, we had to rush back home before it gets dark due to the still unstable situation in Bangkok. I had to admit this experience was such an eye opener for me and it made me ponder that the night before all of us were enjoying the food, drinks, games, prizes and entertainment while in another part of the country, there are actual sufferers and many had died already and only few would care for them.
Anyway, it is not too late and by this blog post, I hope some readers who are able to read it would also be encouraged to do the same by including outreach programme in their company activities to help the poor and needy which is an ingredient of true happiness…

Spoon and Fork Boy gets vindicated

Filipino Canadian boy, Luc Cagadoc gets the sweetest victory after 4 years of fighting social injustice in Quebec, Canada. His story hugged the headlines because of an “unusual” way of eating– that is by using Spoon and Fork. The staff of the school he is studying reprimanded him for “eating like a pig” and unlike other Canadians. After the incident the boy became anti-social, lost his appetite and did poorly in school.

The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal initially dismissed the complaint so the family sought the help of the Center for Research Action on Race Relations or CRARR.

After 4 long years, the verdict was out and the school was ordered to pay $17,000 to Luc’s Family and justice was finally served.

Surely, this will not be the last incident of racial discrimination and there will be a lot more Luc in any parts of the world in the future. One lesson we learned from this incident is to respect other’s unique personality or characteristics. What’s normal to  us may be outrageous to others and vice versa so respecting one another is the key.

Geez, $17,000 is a lot of money….surely, Luc can buy all the spoon and fork he needs in all his lifetime and enjoy his food better.

Kudos to you Luc and to the CRARR.

Note: News article can be found here-

Show must go on-Songkran Festival 2010

Few days ago, I blogged about the Songkran Festival in Thailand as canceled according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority as published in various newspaper and website. However, Songkran being the happiest and most highly anticipated festival in Thailand, the recent bloody political clash did not dampen the spirit of the festival as many Bangkokians and even foreigners enjoy this festival specifically in Silom Road.

My friend said she saw in the news that Songkran is also held in Khaosan but there are less people especially since many of the backpackers decided to flee the area during the onslaught of the clashes near the area. Me and a few friends trooped to Silom around 4pm. The people are just starting to flock the area that time but you can see the happiness in everyone’s face unlike few days ago which you can see a worried look in most people especially with what’s happening in the local scene.

Songkran is known for water splashing using toy water guns or putting powder like substance in the people’s faces. One good thing about the festival is that everyone is game and no one gets mad even if cold water is used or if you are hit directly in the face. Majority of the crowd are teenagers while some children do not mind being soaked and walking the narrow streets. Because the streets are made literally into a playground, only few vehicles can pass. Only one lane is open for cars, buses or motorcycles while the rest are occupied by revelers. It was really fun when at one point several young ladies are screaming on top of their lungs just to gain attention. Some guys followed suit.

In another corner in Patpong, a fire hose is used to splash liters and liters of water. Loud speaker are placed outside the bars playing danceable tunes so everyone danced while drenching in water. We truly enjoyed this spot. Unfortunately, even I sealed my phones and belonging in ziploc bags, water still went inside it probably because of the big volume of water coming from the hose so at the end one of my celfone got busted. : (

We went home feeling very tired with several hours of walking and soaking in water and faces hardened by the powder. However, it is such an enjoyable experience. We are actually maximizing the 3 days holiday so surely we will come back again tomorrow.

As they say, the show must go on even during Songkran.

I am my own BRAND

Many aspects of our lives is all about brands. We buy signature clothes to make us feel more confident and look  better. Surely there are many cheap but comfortable and nice looking clothes but in terms of durability, I still go for the branded ones. I am definitely a Lacoste and Nike fan. I’ve already spent thousands in shoes and shirts bearing these brands and I don’t have any regret cos the items are not only nice and trendy looking but lasts long and do not go out of style. I am not too much into the latest gadget but if I do buy one, I also go for a good brand. I have my iPod Touch now for almost 2 years and it served me very well especially during gym workouts and long travels. I am sure had I bought a lower kind of player, it is broken now (prior to my iPod, I had a China-made mp3 player which I was only able to use for few months which is also not too cheap if I may say).

Why am I talking all about Brands? This is in relation to the topic that has caught my interest lately- – Personal branding.

Yesterday, I finished preparing my topic for our in-house Train the Trainer session in the office. I will be talking about what else, “Developing Personal Brand for Supervisors”. My audience are Supervisors from various departments in the office. Well you may ask why I chose this topic. I claim I am not a guru about personal branding however, I find it necessary for the supervisors to find their niche in the organization.

Oftentimes, I feel Supervisors (in general) find it difficult to draw the line between having the management responsibility and being able to jibe with the staff or colleagues. In most cases especially in small or middle sized organization it is still the Manager or the Head of the Department who decides on day to day operation which should not be the case at all times because there are supervisors around. It’s all about empowerment. On the part of the supervisors, they have to evolve and come out of the shadows of their managers.

Personal branding by definition is the public’s expression or projection of an individual’s characteristics, identity, personality, skills and talent. It is how others perceive you  based on various factors. It doesn’t always mean that whatever the perception of others about you is the real you. However, you can always find ways for others to have positive perception about you.

To improve your personal branding, the gurus suggested you improve your profile. Online you can do it by having your own Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or blogsite (WordPress and others). This is where you build your network and in turn can potentially help you in your business or career. It is the fastest way for you to be seen and get well-known. So far, I have all of these accounts but yet sign up with LinkedIn. Will explore very soon. Only thing about these social network is that you have to spend time in updating it to make YOU more interesting. Lately, I am unable to update my blog as I am super busy with my work. My creative juices are all squeezed so I cannot think of an interesting topic lately. To those who regularly visit my blog, I’m sorry for the hiatus. Will try to update it more often.

Developing your Personal brand also entails some investment and improvement in personal appearance. I’m not saying you have to undergo plastic surgery but always try to look good and dress smartly whenever necessary. In order to standout in a big crowd, you have to be visually appealing at the first glance. Despite a lot of work-related stress, you MUST not be seen in public like someone who had just been inside the hurricane’s eye. Even men has to dress up. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror.

Personal Brand is not only the superficial aspects. You must also work out to improve your skills and talents. Attend seminars and classes that suits your interests. If you are sent by your company to a seminar whether it is a free or paid seminar, maximize the learning and apply it to your work or everyday life whenever you can.

A good brand must also have the right attitude. Positivity must radiate in you at all times. I always love to work with a person with less complications. If I hear more whining than sensible suggestions, I would definitely resent working next time with that person. I guess most of us would feel the same.

In my presentation, I suggested the supervisors to have good attitude towards their colleagues and their superiors. They must learn to respect so they will likewise be respected.

Why does Coca-Cola and Tide survived many generations and stiff competition? Because they are good brands…and they are here to stay…

You can be your own Coke and Tide. You can be your own BRAND.

Songkran in Khaosan cancelled

Quoting an article from Bangkok Post saying that the Songkran activities on April 13-15 which is traditionally held in Khaosan and Silom Road is canceled due to ongoing political unrest in Bangkok according to the Bangkok Governor, Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

The ongoing protests along Phan Fa Bridge which is very near Khaosan Road makes it too risky to hold the celebration, according to him.

Songkran Festival which is the Thai New Year is the happiest and most popular festival in Thailand. The city is literally almost empty as many Bangkokians would go upcountry to visit their relatives or troop to the beach because of the long weekend holidays.  However, many people join the water splashing or putting powder on the faces along the streets of Khaosan and Silom. This is really such an enjoyable experience. Many foreigners visiting Thailand participate in the activities.

Last year there was a similar political protests before Songkran. The BMA also announced Songkran was canceled. However on the second day of Songkran (if I remembered correctly), the military troops were able to disperse the protesters and at the last minute it was announced that the activities will resume. My friends and I trooped to Khaosan and boy, did I truly enjoy the experience of splashing water till night time.

Well I do am hoping the Songkran Festival will be celebrated happily as usual and the differences of belief and ideologies be put to a halt even for this short period only. I am likewise wishing together with many Thai people– for this ongoing conflict be resolved very soon and peacefully for that matter.