Thursday, October 20, 2005

How is Water Culturally Significant to Indians?

I woke up at 5.30 this morning thanks to the alarm that was set by Vinz last night to wake him up early so that he won't be late for his meeting at Swindon later today. After that, I couldn't get back to sleep as the other half of our double-bed was empty and cold. I stared blankly into the air and sighed. I can't stand sleeping alone for a few hours already what more sleeping alone for the next 2 and a half months when he goes back to Malaysia for his annual holiday?

I've already thought of things to keep me occupied for the next 10 weeks or so. I've signed up to go for the first Solid Rock social at Peak District a day after he leaves for Malaysia. I've also decided to emerse myself in my endless list of assignments and projects. And of course get the customary job hunting while in UK over and done with. I checked out a few companies of my choice during their visit to our university on Monday and have sort of decided that I do want to work in a consulting firm such as KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and the like. I will have to start filling up application forms, dressing up my CV to make it look presentable and delectable and of course pray for the very very best. Academically, I have got what it takes. I satisfy their conditions of having a 2nd upper degree from a respectable university and also at least 300 UCAS points. The only thing I lack now is non-academic achievements. I hope my year in the Postgraduate Students Association and also the MA/MSc Society will boost my CV a little. I do have some work experience i.e. working OUTSIDE my father's firm as well. Oh...how could I forget that I worked in my Hall's shop for a year! It might not be a challenging job but at least I had some responsibility. So I really hope that I qualify at least for the interview as it would really be an enriching experience going down to London and wearing a pin-strip suit with pointy black high-heels :)

But for now till Wednesday (which is when I'm meeting my career's adviser), I will just have to research on how water is culturally significant to Indians. Basically, I need to know the Indian culture in a nut-shell. I suppose I can get them online but after going for Qualitative Research Methods class, I think a semi-structured interview with my Indian classmates will boost my research essay a little. Oh...by the way...I'm researching on Coca-Cola's bottling plant in Kerala, India; on how they extracted water from an already water deprieved state and dumped toxic waste back to the villagers claiming that they are fertilisers. It may be an overeaction on the part of environmentalist and the people of Kerala or it may be a truth, a fact which Coca-Cola is vehemently denying. And thus it is MY JOB to research about it. If anyone has some ideas please do not hesistate to contribute them here. Thanks!!

Off to Business Ethics class now! Cherio!

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Mama...Pain pain!"

It's been nearly a month since I came back to the UK and I'm really missing my dear nephew. During my holidays at home, he brought sunshine to my gloomy days and brought laughter whenever everyone was having a bad day. His cute little antics managed to stiffle any sniffle and subdue any argues.

Just yesterday I called home and my mum, as usual, had lots to tell about Lucas. He had his booster 2 days ago but he did not cry. That's my boy! So brave! :) However, when he woke up from his afternoon nap, he refused to get out of bed. He kept pointing at his legs and said...

"Mama...Pain pain!"

So my sister had to carry him around to stop him from whining. The next day he was scheduled to go for his thrice weekly playschool. He refused to go again and kept pointing at his legs and said...

"Mama...No no! Pain pain!" - which meant no school and pain in the legs.

So again my sister had to carry him to school and while at the other kids were sliding down slides and driving cars with only 3 wheels, he was being carried like a little baby.

My parents have a habit of phoning him everyday and when my dad wanted to talk to his darling grandson, Lucas said...

"No no!!!"

The phone was then passed to my mum but she got the same...

"No no!!!"

And when my sister asked him who he wants to talk to, he said...

"Yi-yi!!!"

And so he did. He picked up the phone and dialed some ineligible numbers and started talking to "me". He kept pointing at his legs and kept saying "pain pain". When he was asked where is yi-yi, he said...

"Home!"

And he added sound effects to it as well...

"WooOOooOoooOOo!" - meaning the sound of the aeroplane. That is where yi-yi went. She went on an aeroplane far far away...

He knows that I'm in London. Can't tell him Nottingham cos its just way too many syllable for such a small boy. When asked who he wants to see in London, he'll say...

"Yi-yi!!"

And when my mum says...

"No lah. Go London to see the Queen."

Lucas will get so upset with her and say...

"No no!!! Yi yi!"

How can I not miss him? If you had a nephew like that, I'm sure you'll miss him too, won't you?

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's not that bad afterall...

I was really apprehensive before my first seminar type lecture yesterday. There are only 7 of us on this course and all of them seem to have a lot to say while I thought I had none. Fortunately, I had things to say too. I'm glad to say that I contributed to the vibrant feel of the seminar and shared my little knowledge about the Malaysian business climate and ethics. Of course I also to shed some light on our practice of "duit kopi" to get things done quickly and with less red tape. The 2 students from UK were shocked when I said that but the other students from Germany, Brazil, China and Iraq did not even raise an eye. This way, the Brit students managed to see that business practice are shaped by the culture of each society since they have heard and learn very little from outside their own little island.

The whole seminar today was equally as interesting or actually it was even more interesting than yesterday's. We had a very experience professor in this field and he shared with us his experiences in having hand at formulating the UN Global Values, Social Reports for various MNC's. He also pointed out something very very interesting. How many of us actually know the owner of a brand of a certain product? I did not know that Kraft Cheese and the Kraft associated products are actually controlled by Phillip Morris the tobacco company. Would this deter you from buying Kraft cheese from the supermarket tomorrow? Would it deter me? I think this too is a good dissertation topic. How many people in this world are actually aware of the impact of business ethics in their lives? So what if they did used animals to test the shampoo you're using? So what if Dove soap contains an agent which is cancer causing? It smells nice. Its cheap. It has a great meaning behind the word Dove. It means peace. Dove's advertising campaign tells us that everyone is beautiful. You may be fat, short and ugly but it won't stop Dove from making you feel good and live a life that belongs to you and not to the eyes of others.

Would you use a Body Shop product because Anita Roddick runs her company ethically or do you use it because it smells great, its good for your skin and etc? Why don't you use a bar of soap which has the same ingredients and same effect on your skin as a branded soap produced by a multinaltional conglomerate (usually Unilever)?

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