Saturday, November 3, 2012

What I learn from Business school

Seoul Global Center, Business Start-up School 

Last year was the time when I first heard about Seoul Global Center. Bunch of my friends were involved in a forum called SISF (international student forum thing, they have the weirdest ideas ever), and a year after that I started to use their homepage every week to look for a part time job. I forgot about it temporarily when I was in Malaysia and a week before I came back to South Korea, I visited the website again hoping to get a job before I am actually here in South Korea. 

That's when I found out about this Business Start-up School, which in their 3rd session this time around. It is a 10 days business school program provided for free by Seoul Global Center ! (not to forget they give infinite amount of free choco pies and juice too) Through the business school, you will learn about everything you need to know to start a business in Korea, from how to conduct business effectively in Seoul, setting up, running and tax, real estate, writing a business plan, SME development policy in finance, 

Seoul Global Center is the place where they provide all the help foreigners needed, again, they ask for no payment. It was a program started by the Seoul Metropolitan something, and trust me Seoul Global Center is really helpful. 

So, for 10 days, as long as I attend all the classes for 10 days, which starts at 7 and ends at 9 everyday for 10 days, I will get a certificate from Seoul Mayor, saying that I completed a business start up school and is eligible to start a business in South Korea ! OH yeah right, great! So, I am writing this when I should actually be writing my business plan right now, I am going to do this real quick.

Don't be stubborn and try to change the whole culture, accept it.
This was from Steve Mckinney, head of Seoul Global Center. South Korea is a very homogeneous country, only 2% are foreigners and if you think that their culture is weird and not effective, don't be stubborn and try to change the whole society to your way of thinking but just accept it. In this country, you will not survive without a Korean to help you do stuff. Learn cultural differences, accept and work with others.

Kwonrigeum is part of the country's real estate culture (I don't know why I decided to write about this)
Premium, is probably the closest word that I can use to explain what Kwonrigeum is. It works as a compensation for concession, invested expenditures on facilities and equipment and compensation for location specific benefits. Honestly, I don't have the slightest clue what this thing does, I just know that it's not normal to have that in other countries and it's done confidentially between the owner and tenants. I am sorry, I am usually hungry or sleep whenever I am in the class. 

Have a 30 seconds introduction for everything
Perhaps this is really important in your every day networking routine. This is how you can get people's attention, this is how you make people pick up the phone and call you whenever they have good things to share. You don't have a lot of talk time with strangers or friends usually, so make sure you have a 30 seconds introduction to promote yourself to people about what you do, what are you products, what are you planning to do, or basically anything you think you need help on getting things done. Cannot borrow a book from the library ? Do the 30 seconds introduction to every stranger you meet on the street, or do it to a single person repetitively like how shops in South Korea are playing Gangnam style 200 times a day and you might get to borrow more than one book ! 

Always give people information on how to contact you, you never know how the next person might be a person important to help you achieve your goals. Do not judge someone by it's cover, and I was wrong to think that walking around the university saying hi to countless amount of people I barely know meant networking, I was dead wrong.

90% of new businesses fail in 1st year, a myth.
Not true, they survived usually. Most people think that starting a business will make you big bucks, and you don't have to work 9-5. No, when you own a startup, you might not even get sleep for few months just because there are too many data to process and problems to solve. But, I have no idea how did the myth about 90% of the businesses fail in their first year started, maybe a gossip from a jealous 9-5 man ? 

Use a mentor
Yes, YouTube and Google can teach you everything you need to know but a mentor is someone to watch and analyse how you do in real time. It's like learning how to swim from YouTube vs learning how to swim from a trainer, it is always better to know where you screw up from someone and that person is no doubt someone with experience in the same industry as you do. 

Find your love 
Perhaps the simplest thing ever. You will not enjoy what you do unless it's something you love to do. It is the thing that keeps you awake til 3 am and it is the thing that you don't mind waking up at 5 am to work on. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, states that anyone who clocked up 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (not the same with blind practice!) will eventually become an expert. SO, find what you love to do, and spend 10,000 hours doing it. 

There are many alumnis who attended the course and are actually running their business right now. Now I know a bunch business owners in Seoul ! That means, more seo bi seu (service)!!!!

Wham, see you at the top !


P/s - there are more, but I think I should stop now. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The last time I actually posted something was 6 months ago. My friend Ming Rui wrote me on Skype asking why I stopped updating stuff. I have no excuses, though I said I was busy, but it was actually me fighting against procrastination and my lazy self but it turns out that I always lose.

I never had a summer break for the whole time I am in Korea. For more than a year and 4 months that I have been there, the longest break I had was a 3 weeks break, which I spent travelling and meeting up with friends.

So, I finally got my 2 months summer break starting from 20th of June, right after my final exam and I am writing this with only 5 days or less remaining for my holiday (yes, I am lazy and a procrastinator and no, I am not proud of it either.). I bought the ticket to go home to Malaysia for 2 months early January this year and I have decided to spend 2 months back home seeing that I have been away for that 'long'. Looking back at how I spent my time all the while I am here, I was disappointed.

My highlight for the summer was my trip to Thailand but besides that, the whole summer was spent reflecting, thinking, contemplating, falling into depression, being paranoid, and so on. When you don't have much agendas or chores to do, you tend to sit down and spend your time thinking about stuff. I don't play video games anymore, and I can't stand to watch a movie because most of the movies (not all!) have plots so cliche that you know what is going to happen before it actually happens.So, I spent my time Facebook-ing and Kakaotalk-ing instead. Those two didn't help me a lot because not a lot of people actually give a damn about spending every second of their life talking to you.

Back here with no car and no efficient public transport system, meeting a friend became something I do rarely and I spend my time alone at home doing mostly nothing. Apparently, everyone thinks that being busy is the same as productive, and to be honest, I was one of them. At the end of a busy day, the only time you are able to reflect about something or if anything at all is the moment before you fall asleep. Of course, most of the times, you won't reflect anything at all.

Furthermore, I found out that people actually occupy themselves with stuff to do so that they forget about something and not to think about it. But of course that is not always true, some people do something completely different when they are stuck when they are trying to come up with a solution. This is so that when the brain is not thinking about how to find the solution, that's when they will find one. Usually, this applies well to those whose jobs involve creative thinking and critical decision making.

Yeah, so I was being really depressed thinking about stuff and being really paranoia about stuff. I started to notice all the small things that I chose to ignore back then. But recently I realized, when you finally sit down and think about stuff, feeling down while doing so, shift your focus and energy to what you really want to do, and stand back up, that is the time when you actually rediscover yourself.

Where are you now ? What are you doing now ? Are you where you want yourself to be ? or are you just pretending to be busy and thinking that you are productive ? Are you satisfied with yourself ? You want to change , if so what are you going to do ?

When was the last time you actually asked yourself this? When you are on the subway to meet your friends ? When you are hanging out with your friends ? Before you go to sleep ? Or when you are reading a book ?

No, only when you talk about it with your friends or you take some time out from the society and talk to yourself.

Know yourself, when was the last time you talked to yourself ?

What's the point going around places meeting people and knowing everybody else in the world but not yourself, though you learn how to communicate with people better if you spend 90% of your time hanging out with people. (In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell claims that any ordinary guy can be an expert in any field if he/she spends more than 10,000 hours doing it.) I am not saying that you shouldn't meet anyone at all, but if you do, make sure the talk is productive but not about the taste of kimchi after 3 months of fermenting it.

For me, this summer, has been mostly boring and unproductive, but I rediscovered myself, I finally got the time to think about stuff that I've been avoiding to ask myself. I've finally found something to work on, something to focus on.

My summer was not that disappointing after all. I just hope that I figured all these out way earlier, not yesterday.

What I want to say is take a time off, talk to yourself, know yourself, rediscover.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Busy, will be back.

So I just moved in to a new dormitory and am attending a new university, and so I am extremely busy...

The next post that I wanted to write is about sarcasm. I was reading some academic studies on sarcasm and on why sarcasm is not a bad joke(alongside with fart jokes, sex jokes and racist jokes), and so I will write the sarcasm post real soon !

Will be back soon. =) Meantime, check out for some epic ajummas and ajossis photos !! 

There's not a single sarcasm in this post.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pohang, Korea's golden egg

It's time to talk about something else this time, something that doesn't require a lot of thinking. I had a long week of travelling around Korea recently. I was having class on that whole week, but I chose to skip em. It was a good decision, real good one.

I went to Incheon (3rd largest city in Korea) on Tuesday, Pohang on Wednesday and Thursday, Everland (Theme park) on Friday, Ice fishing (didn't fish, but might talk about it next time) on Saturday, snowboarding on a mountain 30km away from the NK-SK borders on Sunday.

But mostly I will talk about Pohang in this post and places that I went in Pohang, places that it's good to go depending on what kind of person you are.

It was a 10,000 won trip from Yonsei, totally worth it. For that amount, we get transportation (they provided some breakfast and some snacks before we start out on our journey there and our journey back), we stayed in a pretty decent 4 stars hotel that serves great buffet breakfast (say BACON!), and meals and entrance fees and others.

And on the day before we went there, it was snowing down like mad in Seoul, probably 8cm of snow.

This was Korea after the snow, probably the only places that weren't covered by snow was Pohang (the  part  just below the snow on the right,), Busan and  places down south.

Places to go in Pohang ?
1. Homigot
Nothing much to talk about for this place, I will post photos instead.
They have some kind of sunrise festival over here on New year eve - new year day, Koreans have a thing on watching the first sunrise of the year.
Building near the Homigot.
This is one near the hand.

This is what it should look like if I am a pro photographer taking the photo .
This is how it looks like when I took it with my 5mp phone.
Pretty crazy wave there.

Another of the hand photo.
Another of the wave photo
Try to make it looks really good.
Because Pohang is situated in a pretty southern part of the continent, it is not really cold when you go to Homigot in the winter, except that the wind blows like mad over there, enjoy.

2. Posco Museum
This place, depending on how much you care about history on something, such as how a steelmaker company which is the 2nd largest steel making company in the world got started, and how it helped Korea economically out of their poverty.
Some steel furnace replica in the museum
3. Robot museum
Pohang has a real good engineering university in Korea, next to KAIST, and hence , all the robotic stuff in this place. Probably photos or videos will explain better.
Dinosaur Robot thing
There were a swimming shark robot (on air), fish robots, football robots and piano playing robots and etc. Pretty fun and this place was the highlight of our trip too.

4. Ice-cream/Yogurt/Cheese making.

Another great place to go when you are at Pohang too, it wasn't that far from Homigot and it was a great experience making string cheese and ice creams yourself.

Ice cream making

They have this farm at the back of the place where we made ice cream and cheese.

Yeah, sheep too.

Free yogurt
5. Some random warship.
There is a warship where we can go in and and see how it's like inside a warship.
Their bed

Some control room




Huge ass caliber gun

Poor sailors bed.

6. Posco night view.
Nothing much, they try to look as green and as nice as possible even though they are just a bunch of steel making factories. By adding colors to the building, they achieved some of their points, but pollution do continues.

7. Fish market.
NO photos but it's kinda like Jagalchi Fish Market  in Busan, pretty huge market and stinks as well.

8. Watch football !
Didn't do this, but I heard Pohang Steelers, is a pretty good football team and well they are a Pohang team. Catching a home game for this team is not a bad idea too huh.

Pohang is a great place to hang out and see things, they have a pretty nice beach too. Probably a city where you can have fun for a real short time, like maximum of 3 days. You can't expect much from this place. All in all, a trip for 10,000 won ? Totally worth it.

Photos not good ? Well, I am not a photographer, equipped with a 5mp phone, I am definitely getting what I paid for. But, do check out my friend's Wesley's daily photo blog, he posts a daily photo thing everyday and I think he has this awesome creativity juice flowing in his head everyday and on top of that he is really talented ! The photos that he took brings out the feeling with no fail..I love all his photos !

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You X Everyone.Evolution

Hate your new timeline on Facebook ? or reading status updates on people complaining on how much they hated the new changes that Facebook brought ?

Wondered why music is not as good as the old times ? You wished that good guitarist stays in that band and  still make good music ?

90s was the best decade and bla bla..

You wished that your university life is as fun as your high school ?

What do you feel on the way back after meeting a friend who you haven't met for some time? Chances are you either feel excited that he's changed, or you feel that it's not the same because he's changed, or you feel that that meeting will be the last meeting because everything has CHANGED.

Wait, whatever answer that you might come up with, let's look at this and see if this makes sense to you. There is no such thing called an absolute yardstick, most of the times when people analyze something, they subconsciously uses something (self,environment, etc.) to compare with it .

I don't really know the concept of yin yang, but I know sometimes stuff come in pairs. Saying that product A is cheaper means you are saying that anything other than product A is expensive (after comparing it with others). Sarcastically calling someone a smartass ironically means calling yourself a dumbass (This does not mean you should stop giving honest compliment about others because it reflects you as being an inferior). Ultimately, saying that someone/something has changed contained the meaning of you stayed the SAME.

Technology is a very liquid market, if you don't capture the market earlier, dont even think about going around doing it later, you missed it, period. And, if you planned to stay the same, you will perish. Look at Kodak for example, top leadership was betting on films to flourish and ignored the fact that mobile camera is gonna be the next trend, the result? they filed for bankruptcy last month. Why? They wished everything stayed the same because that's when they made the most money. Their arch rival, FujiFilm, transitioned to other markets and is doing so much better compared to Kodak. In technology market, if you got an idea, release the product, find out what is wrong and then release a better version of your idea, you are making money. You don't wait until it's perfect, it takes forever, applies not only to technology, but your life too. Don't wait til it's perfect, just do it.

Grow or die. Embrace change, get out of your comfort zone, know that evolution brings us something better. If you have time and energy to think about how good old times were, why don't you use it to make yourself a better version of yourself? Resisting change shows how much you want to stay in  your comfort zone, shows how much you don't want to grow up from sucking milk from your mum's breasts, shows how much you will not grow and how much you want to let yourself rot.

You don't want to be the one on the right who says that you wished things stay the way they were.

"This is Korea, you should/must..... " Koreans usually give me this answer when I questioned something that they can't answer. They eliminate the process of thinking when they do that.

Don't go around and wish that everyone should think like you, that kills all the uniqueness in this world.
Don't wish to think like everyone else, you are killing the uniqueness in you.
Do try to make people start thinking... with their penis brain.


P/s - I read this when I was on a trip, thought that I should share this too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The other side of the coin.

Ah,  South Korea ~ How beautiful, from the postcards, from the Kpop music videos, from the dramas, from what everyone saw..

Ah, North Korea ~ How beautiful (to their people), from the media, from school, from the Seaweeds (KIM, 김)

You see, sometimes what you see is not what you see. What you see is what the media wants you to see. If the media failed to brainwash you but if they managed to brainwash the people around you, sooner or later, you will be brainwashed as well.

My point is , make sure you flip to see the other side of the coin to see the whole picture of everything. I am not telling you to be cynical and doubt everything, come on, get your head out of your ass. Just, find the answers.

I heard a lot of stuff before I came to South Korea, mostly good stuff (internet speed, the subway and transportation, free water, surgery, and koreans having eyes smaller than yours). Then, I came here, it was all true, and I love it! But they didn't tell you that Koreans have 5 faces and 2 hairstyles, I probably met only 5 types of different Korean faces every time on the streets, wearing different clothes or different colors of New Balance. Well, this is not a bad stuff of Korea, I am just saying it for fun. What you heard is always what other people see from their own POV, you gotta see stuff from your own POV to find out the real deal! 

I heard my friend talked about this video, but I only watched it few months ago. Until one fine day, when our class was presenting on discrimination and a story about how a foreigner was not allow to enter a 찜질방 (jjimjilbang) because of his skin colour (not Black !) in Busan came up, I decided to show this to my classmates.

So, before you take in whatever you saw , there are things that you should think before you start judging
1. This happens everywhere in the world. It's not only in Korea, don't start hating
2. He was wearing a weird blue jackets
3. This will only happen if you are really Gunawan.
4. Don't assume everyone is the same by just one video.

Well, there are more, I can't seem to think of one anymore, for example factors that affect the outcome of Gunawan. NOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

For me, I am yet to be discriminated against for being a foreigner in Korea. I see things that I will never be able see if I am just here for a vacation. But I bet, everyone gets to see that(good and dark side) in each and every country if they lived there longer than 6 months. Overall in terms of satisfaction of living in Korea, I am Switzerland, neutral as ever.

Malaysia's transit map (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor)

Seoul's subway map
Something I love, Seoul's subway!

"Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so." — Bertrand Arthur William Russell

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't explain yourself.

There are times when you walk around with good intentions, people look at you and say that you are this kind of person and call you names, adjectives, or they even name you some cool names that they learnt from watching Animal Planet.

You feel bad, you feel like you have to explain yourself to them, you think that it's your fault for them to call you that.

1. You don't need anyone's recognition. If you do, then you have self esteem problem then you need help. You know who you are, not the person around you. If you think they know you better than yourself, then you need help.If you live your life til you are 18(or younger, the exact age is pretty subjective), you obtained 100% of your life responsibilities. You don't need to listen to someone judgments in their eyes on who you are. Besides, if they actually know you, they will know why you did what you did. Don't explain yourself.

Guess I shouldn't number stuff that I want to tell if I just had one. Wait.

2. You don't go out of your way to meet other's expectation. You set your own and you meet yours. Living other people expectation all your life, why don't you kill yourself or let them live your life instead ? People expect you to be really cool and expect you to do this and that and when you say no they get all upset and give you a long face. Know that you cannot please everyone in the world, and don't even think of going to the extreme of breaking your own principle to please others. You will end up hating yourself. So next time when that happens, just do what you think it's right. Don't explain yourself.