Start of Q4 2017, Final Sprint

The final quarter of year 2017 starts today on 1st October 2017, for some of you folks out there, this is also the final sprint to the end of year 2017, on 31st December 2017. Everyone of us had our own unique and special journeys during the first three quarters of year 2017, yet we might have something in common with the tough and difficult economy and market sentiments.

I am taking this time to write on a number of different topics in one article, I might expand on them that I wrote here today, if my time and research planning permits.

Updates: Running my own photography business

How was your first three quarters of year 2017 been? It had been nothing less than a very tough and challenging journey for the past nine months. Running a photography business, time was spent on building the foundations, networks, systems, marketing, branding, collaborations, partnerships and last but not least, finding the business. We are looking at 80% of time spent on the above and 20% spent on actual photography shoot and post photography shoot.

I never really talked or revealed too much into this area, not just that it is private, most of the time, many people around you don’t understand, don’t want to listen, learn and understand. There are also a handful of people around you that don’t want you to succeed, they want you to fail, sad but true (or they might change their stance and words and said they don’t mean it after they spilled the “wrong words” out from their mouth”)

There are a small group of photographer friends that can and will understand what I am going through. Listening to their own photography business journeys over the years, there is a similarity in my own personal journey. Therefore, I still have to grind my way through and make a breakthrough.

Micro influencers – a bit more differentiation into Mini and Micro influencers groupings?

Recently, there has been quite a lot of debates and discussions on the topic of influencers, from both sides of the equation, the brands/companies, public relations agencies, digital agencies etc on one side and a diverse group of influencers on the other side.

I came across this infographic article on LinkedIN written by Preeti Kumar – 7 Influencer types & How to work with them. Reading and analysing this infographic, I was looking at where I fit into – Key Opinion Leaders: Creatives, partly Micro influencers and product seeders.

On the role of micro influencers, it is probably a bigger area of growth and investment for both sides, let’s put it as demand and supply sides of things. While the quantitative part of micro influencers have been debated, some put 20,000, some put 10,000. Personally, I reckon that it is totally and suitably possible, to differentiate them into Mini and Micro influencers.

Why use Mini and Micro? What are the differences?

I am using the two words from a Forex trading lingo, mini and micro lot.

Standard Lot = 100,000 units

Mini Lot = 10,000 units

Micro Lot = 1,000 units

Translating it into digital marketing side of things

Influencer – Above 100,000 followers

Mini Influencer – Above 10,000 followers

Micro Influencer – 3,000 to 5,000 followers?

This is just something that crossed my mind and got me thinking, I have yet to analyse and put into greater details. It’s still a preliminary stage for me, if the opportunity arises to work with other digital marketers on this, that would be nice. Nevertheless, I hope to continue working on this topic in the future if my timing and commitment allows.

We must go beyond ROI with numbers and statistics, while quantitative is important, influencer marketing has a lot of qualitative, intrinsic and psychological aspects that cannot be measured by numers, revenue, statistics and numbers.

Planning to expand with/in the following areas/collaborations

Although the list above doesn’t directly translate into business for my photography business, they reinforce my networkings, contacts and collaborations on my digital marketing, technology writing and social media.

Over the past three quarters of 2017, I unlocked small achivements for myself when organisations approach me, to have a chat and see where I work together with them from there. All these are small testimonials for myself and everything that I put in for the past 10 years at least through writing, social media and photography.

Of mental health, physical health, emotions, mind and soul

A friend whom I look up upon, a very creative and talanted person in writing, photography and music, Fernando Gros, recently wrote an article titled “Creative Health Part 2 – Your Mind and Your Path”. I saw his tweet, read his article and I am kind of like being “shaken up”. In my reply to his tweet, I posted “After reading your article, it dawned upon me that I am stressed out, not taking care of my mind, body and soul.”

The truth and harsh reality is that it can be really brutally hard at times, we just have to take care of ourselves, going through regular maintenance. Not to mention, even the best engineering devices also wear and break down even with regular maintenance.

In case you missed it, Fernando published this book title “No Missing Tools”, do check out my article and have a read and you would be enlightened and know why I respect his works and views a lot.

Where do I go from here?

The seeds had been planted, watered and being taken care of. While not everyday is sunshine, there were rain, storm, bad weather that hit the growth of the plants. Hopefully, the changes and corrections were in place to make the seedlings grow better and faster, allowing me to harvest the fruits of my labour.

Being thankful and grateful

In this short time frame period of a year, there were those that have happy news while I am fighting pain, hurt and loss. Losing 6 people, 4 were relatives of which 2 of them were very close to me, the others were 1 mentor and 1 uni junior.

I may not have the most happy and joyful time during the past 1 year time frame, one of the toughest time that I went through. It made me reflect a lot and be thankful and grateful for everything that I have, the family, relatives and friends support.

Final thoughts

Technology and disruptions are not going to destroy us, ignorance and complacency are going to destroy us.

We MUST start to make the changes, no matter how painful and difficult it will be or else, we might be in a spiral downfall for the next 1-2 generations.

In the midst of re-strategising and making changes to my flow, workflow, daily flow, well-being, growth and rest, while embarking on my Final Sprint Q4 2017.

Remembrance of a junior from Uni

I can still remember when I first met her, it was during our University days at The University of Queensland (UQ). I was in my final semester and she arrived to start her first semester. Being a smaller campus (Ipswich Campus) than her other main (a.k.a big sister) St. Lucia campus, the international students community were a lot smaller in size and it was easier to recognise and know who were fellow international students, as well as those who were from our home country, Singapore.

As I was one of the seniors there on the campus during that time, I tried to help in whatever possible for the juniors who just arrived from overseas preparing to enter university life. My first impression of her, as a junior from UQ, was very friendly and bubbly, full of life and enthusiasm. Her personality and character made her well liked among the international students community in the campus.

Upon my graduation and return back to Singapore, our paths did not cross again until a few years back, I met her again at one of our local alumni gathering events in Singapore, organised by University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS). Thereafter, she got more involved and active with UQ alumni as well as UQAAS events. Her energy, enthusiasm, friendly and bubbly character and personality, are like a shining light for the rest of the UQAAS community. She made many more new alumni friends that would also give her the same and even higher level of testimonial and recognition that I wrote here.

She was an amazing young lady entrepreneur, helping out in her family business, driving new ideas and innovation forward. Her leverage and usage of marketing in all different aspects and channels, combining old and new, made me respect and admire her a lot. She’s a very good role model for young entrepreneurs, as well as giving back to society too. She’s not just the brains, she also had the skills and hands on experience in running a business. When I saw her documentary feature on Channel 8, Tuesday Report, a Tuesday night documentary on local stories in Singapore and they were covering on local home grown businesses, she showed it all, with great confidence and pride. She was a trained and skilled butcher, oh yes, I sometimes introduced her as the “lady butcher boss”, to my friends, it might sound crude, yet this described her perfectly.

Her warm hospitality and friendship never fails to amaze me, as well as our local UQAAS community. Whenever I met her at UQ or UQAAS events, or event going down to her warehouse and purchase goods from her company. I would always have a chat with her whenever I can. Life goes on as usual, chatting and gossiping, exchanging stories and future plans.

Suddenly, on a Saturday afternoon in November 2016, I received a shocking message from a fellow UQAAS friend that Linda had passed on suddenly while overseas. Upon receiving that message, I was totally shell shocked, wondering what had happened to her. A few days later, the local newspapers picked the news and more information started to come out from the press. I decided not to talk too much about her sudden passing and just kept it inside. At her funeral wake, I saw her for the last time, a beautiful and capable young lady, gone too soon.

It took me some time for me to recover from her passing (and dealing with another passing right after) and pen out this short story sharing, to remember her and a testimonial to her character, personality, achievements and friendship.

Life is so unpredictable, she was still young. I (and we all) lost a good friend of our alumni community, a great role model.

Goodbye Linda, so long and farewell, you will always be remembered.

Reflection: Overseas media trip, Networking, Building Win-Win

A week ago, on the 18th May 2016, I embarked on a morning flight to Shanghai. This was start of a very amazing week, adding on to another achievement, a new milestone for me, I climbed one more step up, slowly lifting myself more and away from the rock bottom pit that I reached during the first quarter of 2016.

I was in Shanghai for Canon Expo 2016 Shanghai, my maiden overseas media trip! The Canon Expo 2016 Shanghai was a huge eye opener for me, during this trip, I learned a lot more about Canon, its various business groups and their future plans ahead. I would share more about Canon Expo 2016 Shanghai and a few Canon products that caught my attention in the upcoming posts on my photoblog. Besides learning and understanding more about Canon’s products, I met and networked with different people from Canon and media industry professionals from the Southeast Asia/South Asia region.

It was a great honour for me to be invited for this overseas media trip to Canon Expo 2016 Shanghai, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to my friends who made this trip possible, for this golden and wonderful opportunity to attend Canon Expo!

Upon returning from Shanghai, I attended a networking event, on coffee and nuts, organised by Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS), met and made new friends from other Australian universities, caught up with old friends that I knew from my involvement in helping out at AAS in their events and activities. There was a period when I kind of slowed down/stopped in helping out AAS events and activities. During the coffee and nuts networking event, there was a good feeling again with this group of new and old friends from the AAS community.

My alma mater, The University of Queensland Association of Singapore (UQAAS) has a “Friends of UQ”, welcoming friends from other alumni associations to our events. When I recently joined a small group Macquarie University alumni gathering, I also became a Friend of Macquarie University! A nice and friendly bunch of friends, I knew some of my Macquarie University friends from AAS events and activities a few years back.

Slowly and surely, things are gradually falling into place. Although my jigsaw puzzle map still has quite a long way to go, the map is reaching there bit by bit, part by part. It may not mean an exponential revenue increase at all, however, the intangible benefits are appearing as signs, omens, friendships, encouragements, projects, partnerships.

This is the Win-Win that I always advocate and strive for, I would like to grow this further, help each other, to grow and expand our business, networks and friendships together. These are the people that I want/you want to work together with, not those people who do not believe in you and/or look down on you.

Things are not rosy, things are not easy. The economic situations in Singapore and around the world are still a question mark. In lieu of the economic climate and situation, this would be a great opportunity to grow from something small to decent size businesses.

For this kind of my normal routine post, it also happens to be my 800th personal blog post, a mini milestone post that coincides nicely and perfectly with this article.

Distinguished Australian Alumni Celebration 2012

The quality of Australian Higher Education has always been of a high quality and standard, with over 100,000 alumni of Australian institutions in Singapore and the number is still growing strong.  Over decades of quality Australian Higher Education, on the night of 25th May 2012, the Australian Government together with the Australian Alumni Singapore came together to honour our Australian alumni for their achievements and their great contribution both Singapore and Australia, held at the Australian High Commission.

The Distinguished Australian Alumni Celebrations 2012 also marked the 60th Anniversary of the first Colombo Plan Scholars arrival into Australia, with the launch of the photography exhibition of Singapore Colombo Plan Scholars.  Our Guest of Honour, Dr Lee Boon Yang, chairman of Keppel Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings, former Singapore Cabinet Minister and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Queensland, kindly graced the celebration.

His Excellency, Doug Chester, High Commissioner of Australia gave the opening address, and he shared on the quality of the Australian Higher Education in today’s society of the alumnus holding key positions in various sectors. Dr Lee Boon Yang gave a very interesting speech, reminiscing his university days in Australia, when he was studying at The University of Queensland, the fun and holistic education that he received while studying at The University of Queensland.

Dr Lee then presented the highest honour in the Distinguished Australian Alumni Awards, the Eminent Alumni Award 2012 to Dr Tan Chin Nam, Chairman of the Media Development Authority’s International Advisory Panel. The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award 2012 was presented to Mr Jeffery Tan, Head of Community Participation at National Arts Council.

With the formal segment of the celebrations night completed, it transformed into a night of networking session with your fellow university mates and friends of the wider Australian Alumni Singapore organisation, with many opportunities for photo taking. It wasn’t just catching up with friends, there were also opportunities to make new friends under the big Australian Alumni Singapore network.

While the celebrations came to a close, the friendship of our own alumni networks never close, it will keep on expanding and growing bigger, spreading their wings wider, to foster a greater relationship, friendship and networking among the alumnus of Australian Higher Education.

Helping Queenslander

I was once a Queenslander, a term used to describe a person staying in the Queensland, Australia.

For 4 years, I was studying at the University of Queensland and I belong to a special/unique group of international students that studied in 3 different campuses, Gatton College, Ipswich Campus and St Lucia Campus. Over my 4 years there, many many great, wonderful and exciting memories, some of the best years, lots of learning, experiencing living overseas and making many new friends from all over the world and of course, Aussie mates !

Immersed in the Aussie culture, lifestyle, laid back and outdoors, BBQ with lots of beer, drinking lots of wine, playing rugby league with boys, watching footie action and supporting Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Reds and Brisbane Lions ! Going to Ekka a.k.a Royal Queensland Show, bringing family members, relatives and friends to the sunny Gold Coast like a local tourist guide. Oh yes, not to forget State of Origin ! Go Queenslander !

When the news of the flooding hit Queensland, it was kind of shock with the magnitude of the natural disaster, there was huge news coverage and it really saddens me a lot, since I was a Queenslander for 4 years, with some deep roots and memories there. Looking at the places that I stayed during my stay there, it’s probably partially submerged by now (hopefully not) and my lovely mates there, especially Glynis and Christine, like family to me, a godmum to me. Not to forget, my good old mate in Gold Coast too, Viv & Olivia.

If you are like me, with deep emotions and connections with Queensland, more news can be found on News.Com.au – Online News from Australia and in-depth 24-7 Flood Info Centre coverage  of the Queensland flooding !

Appeal for donations have been ongoing and if you are able to donate to the Flood Relief Appeal Fund, do drop by the Queensland Government Website Flood Relief Appeal here for more details !

Let’s all put our efforts together and help the Queenslander !

Planning for 2011

11 days has passed since the year 2011 took over, on this 2 special days,

10th January – added 1 year more to my age band and received many well wishes and birthday wishes via Facebook wall, Twitter, SMS and personal greetings. Very grateful for those friends who sent me their birthday well wishes and small little birthday gifts too. On my birthday, always great to remind myself again and again of my blessings, count my blessings and be grateful.

11th January – 11 / 01 / 2011 at 11:11 , a beautiful number structure that will only last once in the lifetime. This is a time for me to write and pen down my planning and goal setting for 2010.

Business Operations & Development

– Structuring and strategising for 2011

– Improve marketing activities and breakthrough in new clients acquisition

– Improve Customer Relationship Management with existing clients

Blogging

– Increasing my posts with quality, diverse and interesting topics to attract more readers and followers

– Revamping my personal blog

– Improving my affiliate marketing for my 2 blogs

Social Media Networking

– Engaging & meeting more new bloggers / twitter

– Understanding more on the psychology and engagements of social media networks and inter networking

– Applying the social media channels and networks to all my businesses

Physical Fitness & Running

– Getting back into my active lifestyle of sports and outdoor activities

– Cycling on a regular basis with my 2nd hand road bike

– Going to gym to build up muscle and strengthening

– Starting to run again, from short distances to middle distances and finally the full marathon

  • 10km & 15km Distance Runs
  • August 2011 – 21km Army Half Marathon
  • December 2011 – 42km Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

– Sprint Triathlon in the last quarter of 2011 (proposed)

Personal Development

– Consistently and constantly reading books to update and improve my personal self

  • Personal Development & Growth
  • Leadership
  • Mentoring
  • Financial Knowledge and Management

Mentoring

– To help my friends via mentoring with my knowledge and experiences from the fields of

  • Photography
  • Blogging / Social Media Networking
  • Financial Management and Planning

Do check out my photography and travel planning for 2011 too !

Goal planning is only the start of my journey in 2011, as I started to embark on my new marathon, my new adventure for 2011, exciting times await ahead for me. Over the next few days, I will work on breaking my goals down into more detailed and smaller components that will build up, just like building the lego bricks together in order to produce the final product – my goals and destinations for 2011 !

Where are the World’s Leading Financial & Trust Centres ?

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed” – Mark Twain

How much do we, and can we trust the newspaper reports ? How about financial news ? With the rise and fall of the recent global financial crisis, that rocked the entire world economy really hard, it was a testing time for all those inside the financial industry, no matter where you are worldwide. In this vibrant and dynamic financial industry that spans worldwide and interconnected, do you know where are the World’s Leading Financial and Trust Centres ?

It was with great honour and pleasure to be invited by the President of University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS), Dr Angelo M Venardos, to the official book launch of “World’s Leading Financial and Trust Centres“, whereby he was the General Editor of the book, on 6th October 2010 at Thomson Reuters Auditorium, at One Raffles Quay.

Dr Venardos, Founder and Executive Director of Heritage Trust Group, with many years of expertise and experience in the corporate and offshore banking, along with 3 books written by him under his portfolio,

(1) Current Issues in Islamic Banking and Finance: Resilience and Stability in the Present System

(2) Islamic Banking & Finance in South-East Asia: Its Development & Future (2nd edition)

(3) Islamic Banking & Finance in South-East Asia: Its Developments & Future

Many distinguished guests graced this event, listening to the words and wisdom of Dr Venardos. During his speech, it was very insightful and enriching, it also showed how much more I have to learn and expand my business consultancy experience and specialised knowledge, something I am striving towards to and it’s a steep and huge learning curve in my journey, for somebody very junior level like me (compared to the rest of the guests present).

Do drop by here at this link and you would have more information on the book “World’s Leading Financial and Trust Centres”, the order form is attached there too, facilitating your order and payment.

Over 1300 pages of knowledge and information inside “World’s Leading Financial and Trust Centres”, it’s definitely a niche area that I can develop learn and hone my skills, knowledge and experience down the road, in my entrepreneur and consultancy career.

How to Handle & Do Well in an Interview

Mention the word “Interview”, what comes to your mind ?

Work, career, scholarship, preparation, research the organisation that you are applying to join, stress ? Interview is a very common practice and tool for an organisation/person to know their candidate better, more in-depth and the very first physical impression of the person. Being an employee previously and searching and applying for jobs, I had my fa

ir share of varying experiences on the stress and importance of the interview session.

Fret no less, my fellow University of Queensland Alumnus and fellow University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS) Ex-Co member, Ken of KT Services Limited, is organising an Interview Workshop, that would help you answer the burning questions that you might have in handling and doing well in an interview.

Brief Details of the Interview Workshop are as follow :

Date: 12 May 2010
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: James Cook University Singapore Campus
Fee: Complimentary
Delivery: Exercise-based. Bring your pen along

*RSVP your name, contact details and email to Mr. Ken Tan at ktservices@mail2world.com

For details, email to ktservices@mail2world.com

Do check out the full details on the jpeg file attached ! Hope to see you all there !

Part of History – Southern Ridges Canopy Walk 2009

I was happy that I am able to be part of history, by participating in the Southern Ridges Canopy Walk 2009, on the 11th July, starting from Mount Faber Park to Hort Park, a short leisure community walk in the morning organised by Australian Alumni Singapore, coming forward to plan this event and uniting different alumni together, walking, interacting and networking together. For a photojournalistic perspective of the walk, do drop by my photo blog and for photos of the event itself, drop by my Flickr !

This event was a major event that was completed within 2 months, I had the opportunity to step forward to help and volunteer my time and services, representing UQAAS, the University of Queensland Alumni Association Singapore. This 2 months of meetings and planning was a great learning experience for me, by interacting with different people of different backgrounds, ages, experiences, coming together for a common purpose – To create history, unite the various universities alumni from Australia for a walk at the Southern Ridges.

In these 2 months, I learned many things, invaluable experiences, new friendships, new networks and relationships. Some of the macro experiences were :

– Organising event on the community level, what are the constraints, events and legal requirements for running public events

– How to work with total strangers on the first meeting to become good friends at the end of everything

– Tapping on different people experiences and networks

– How to raise sponsorship for community events

– Planning and execution

– Leadership and Decision-Making

– Managing expectations and differences in opinions

– Being Focus

That was ONE key lesson that I would bring back  – How to believe in yourself and everybody and the objectives that were being planned in the midst of others believing that you will fail. Not giving up, continuing and working smart and hard, ultimately enjoying the fruits of our labour and event success.

These learning experiences were so priceless, not something that working in the corporate environment might or would give to you, it’s something that is invaluable to learning entrepreneurship and mentoring.

Finished Hot & Passion Run !

map_lSource : http://www.singaporepassionrun.com/data09/Map.html

It was a great turnout today, the emcees announced that there were estimated 11,000 runners in today’s Passion Run 2009 at East Coast Park, indeed, it was really crowded and there were many runners starting off in different waves and timings. This event is now in its 3rd year and it was a great community fun run with a competitive feature in it too !

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When I reached there, found my University of Queensland Alumni Ex-Co friends, Angelo, Paul & Chloe, chatted and took photographs, hopefully, we would be able to reach out to more alumni members in future runs. After clearing different waves and categories of runners, we finally set off !

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There was a steady stream of red singlet runners in unison, displaying the numbers present in the Passion Run 2009, therefore, it could get a bit crowded, however, it was still alright and fun ! The initial 6km was good for me and I was running a good pace, when I ran from the 6km mark to the 10km turning point, I kind of slowed down due to the morning sun that was getting a bit hot and head-on winds from the sea coming at you. Therefore, I drank more water and isotonic drink and once I started turning around and running back to the finishing line, I was able to set myself a comfortable pace for my remaining distance.

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Upon finishing, I estimated my running time was about 1 hr 40 mins ++ , 25 mins off my targeted finishing time, nevertheless, I was able to keep a consistent pace throughout, although some segments were on a quicker pace. Got to work on being consistent and comfortable pace throughout instead of different paces, as for fitness, I definitely need to put in more effort and time than my younger counterparts. 

Finished Passion Run 2009 ……. Looking forward to Sundown Marathon 2009 in 1 week’s time !