Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In the news again!!!

Here was our first coverage from the press conference... 15th March 2013 in The Star: Metro

Read the original article by clicking here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Unexpected Pressing Matter

13th March 2013, yesterday was the Press Conference for The Unexpected Guest (TUG) at Hilton Petaling Jaya. Press turnout was pretty good, considering we really could not afford to spoil the press in this event since we are a non-profit org. :-)

Details of the event are as below:

Joshua Lee, the Programme Director of StART Society said  “Although we are not an events company, we always like to push the envelope and be pioneers or innovators of events such as the Xtramile Run in 2011 which was the first of its kind in Malaysia. Hopefully, by exercising our creativity, we can inspire the kids under our tutelage that anything and everything is possible if we play it to our strengths and passions,” He also added that the children will be performing during this dinner, firstly to showcase their talents and what they have learnt at StART Society... and secondly, to make the dinner seem as close to a normal fundraiser as possible in the beginning and establish that the stage is the stage and the audience is the audience, before the lines are completely blurred later in the night.

Freddy Tan, the drama director and me, the writer were excitedly describing the drama while being cautious not to reveal too much that it may spoil the fun and surprise. Freddy described how the actors will be trained and be rehearing differently from a conventional theatre play... to stay in character and expect the unexpected for this drama. They would be trained to feed on the audiences diversions and misdirection and use it in the drama, or re-divert them back to fit into the story. Earlier this week, Freddy was also asked on Capital FM 88.9 if he is nervous about directing something that is a new concept. Freddy said "Yes, it will definitely give me sleepless nights. But it's because of that, the challenge of doing something new and experimental... that I want to do this!"

I was asked where did my inspiration came from. I said "I grew up addicted to mystery and crime investigation novels such as Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie... then in more recent years, I am a big follower of crime TV series such as CSI. My favourite is Criminal Minds as I find human behaviour is the most interesting element in the investigation as compared to just physical scientific evidence. So, expect a lot of elements of human relationships and behavioural elements in The Unexpected Guest!"

Asha Gill (our TUG emcee) asked "If a guest were to voluntarily drink the "poisoned drink" that killed one of the actors, then play dead... how would the actors react?" Freddy answered that he would definitely welcome such involvement and engagement from the audience. He said that he liked the script because it has a lot of room to play around the plot as there are many things happening simultaneously. So, additional back-stories can always be worked into the story whenever the audiences participate in the story. I added that whoever wants to play dead, has to play dead the rest of the night! :p

After the press conference, we had a Food Tasting session at the Hilton Petaling Jaya to sample what will be served on the event day... scrumptious stuff.

Get your tickets fast as the big corporations are snapping them up by the table. ;-) For ticket purchase, please contact StART Society at: 03 7954 5423 | 016 336 8185 | startsociety.info@gmail.com.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Of arrows & bullseyes

Just signed my offer letter todayyy!!!! Whheeeeee!!!

At the tail-end of my artsy sabbatical, I began my jobhunt in Jan 2013. With numerous recruitment firms mushrooming in this region, I had no choice but had many encounters with these middlemen. I've only met one or two really professional ones who thoroughly do their homework on the client, the industry as well as on the candidates... I'm strictly sticking to those few only from now on.

Unfortunately, majority are just looking for a quick buck approaching candidates just to obtain as many arrows as possible to shoot randomly at the targets which is their client... hoping that one, will hit the the bullseye. I've even had one who submitted my name to the client after I had declined to do so, even without my CV. Collect, collect, collect.... shoot, shoot, shoot.

The client
They'd approach the candidates... entice them with money, fancy titles and  name-drop a few big companies in the relevant industry to get them on the hook. Then plonk the candidates' credentials in their own standard templates. Then line them all up and present to their client. If the client is in AAA industry, looking for a BBB position to fill... they'd make sure their line up are all from AAA industry, currently a BBB for their current employer. So, every single candidate will look like the right fit. Arrows are launched... if each candidate has a 10% chance of hitting and they have 10 candidates, statistically it's 100% chance in securing that commission, right?

How they perceive and present the candidates
Wrong! In reality, every candidate is different... they have different interests, strengths & weaknesses, ambitions and motivations. Not every candidate are just looking for a way out of their current frustrations and would settle for anything and everything just for a couple of hundred bucks raise. Especially not the good ones. The good ones, want to continue to challenge themselves, learn new things, venture out of their comfort zones or seek a job in their area of passion. I have a friend who's an excellent marketeer in pharmaceuticals who tried to venture into FMCG or consumer industry, and a friend who's an excellent sales/marketing person in medical devices eager to venture into commercial training. They are both great candidates, but they were stuck in the old rut for ages because these headhunters do not want the hassle to fight for or promote the candidates that are different from that standard template they have.

What candidates are actually like
As for me, I am an even more abnormal candidate; idealistic, passionate but has super specific interests, struggling (but surviving) artist... who's looking for a corporate job. I'm a species they have never represented and do not know how to sell to their clients. I have but only gotten a direct interview with the client via a headhunter once, in my entire lifetime. Once! The odds are against me. :(

I've only gotten interviews through people I have previously worked with, they are such a blessing! ♥ Unlike headhunters who are armed with a gazillion arrows, I only have one arrow. Abnormal as I may be, I can only shoot this one arrow. I have but one chance with each target so I must choose and aim very very carefully. With my super specific interest in marketing of chronic diseases, it makes my target even more nanoscopic and harder to hit. Statistically, I am a disaster, right?

Miraculously, after several attempts and much tenacity, I have hit the bullseye: marketing, chronic-disease, emotionally compelling, for a good cause, and a boss who accepts my passion in theatre!! To throw in a bonus, the office is less 10km from my house, church & cellgroup! Praise God!!! Whheeeeeeeee!!!! :)

The only teeny weeny thing I am totally unhappy about is that the headhunter who submitted my CV for a completely different position some months ago, who never followed up with me or the client on anything... for months. But will be getting a commission for my joining the company. My friend who referred me, who actually did all the follow up for me, will get zilch. Just because my CV from the headhunter reached them first. Sad :-( I shall treat him a big makan when I see him instead.

I am thankful to those who have faith in me, and is willing to take a risk on this abnormal arrow. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I look forward to my return to corporate, all refueled, recharged and reinspired!!! Looking forward to next month. :D :D

Saturday, March 09, 2013

On Air

Tune in to Capital FM 88.9 from 7.45am onwards on Monday, 11th March 2013:

I will be On Air, for the very first time. Exciting stuff, hehehe. Will be promoting our super awesome fundraising event: The Unexpected Guest. Get to meet celebrity DJ Xandria Ooi. And see the super awesome girl power radio station, where ma favourite colour pink is in, out and all around!! LIKE!!!

Tune in ya? Jangan tak tune in ;-)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Non-Profit Way of Life

The beauty of having a super diversified life is that whenever you feel down about 1 part of your life, you still have other stuff to bring you up!!! In life, look hard enough and you'll find things to be thankful for. (It's also true on the flipside, look hard enough for negativity and grouses, you'll find it too.)

These last few months as StART has been the best training ground to build the sense of gratitude. In a non-profit organization, you learn that in profit-making organizations, you have wayyyyy tooo much to be thankful for. But it is that heightened sense of entitlement that hinders people from seeing the blessings in their lives.

In a non-profit organization, you depend on the kindness, favour and generosity of others to get things done. You cannot afford to just buy services, things and favours because you have little means and resources. For example, my baby: The Unexpected Guest.
my maiden CSR project!
Writing it was the easiest part because I get to do that myself without having to be at the mercy of others. It was after the writing, the challenges started.

Look for a venue sponsor > > Set a tentative date for event > > Look for a director and a team of cast (for free) > > Venue sponsors pull out > > Look for new venue sponsor > > New venue available on new date > > Revert to director and cast > > Team cannot make it on the new date > >  Look for new director and cast > > Arrange rehearsals > > Do PR and marketing > > Find sponsors > > Invite important influential people > > Sponsors agree to help > > Accommodate sponsors' requests > > > > > > > > > > > 
Yes, it is overwhelming... truly like trying to eat a whole cow!!

In profit-making organizations, they always say you cannot please everyone... but here... erm, you really kind of have to please everyone. Remember, they are not obligated to help you in any way.

Another important learning is that, "if you don't ask, the answer is always no." You can and should never ever judge a person's kindness or generousity before approaching them. That's the non-profit philosophy of muka-tembok-ism. ;-) Seeking sponsors, inviting press/media and inviting VVIP guests... all require this handy little philosophy. 
I hope she comes!! fingers & toes crossed! :) :)
Thankfully, after all the craziness... we now have The Star and Hot Magazine as our official media partner, gadget freebies & loans from Samsung, data-lines from Maxis, partial venue sponsorship from PJ Hilton, our marketing material design & printing from Tang's Art, a whole bunch of volunteers, and more exciting stuff from kind & generous folks from all walks of life. How bout that to be thankful for?? Exciting no?? :) :) :)

Next week, is the press conference... wish me luck!! @.@

Monday, March 04, 2013

Rock, paper, scissors

Just followed up on a job I really wanted this morning, although not finalized, the sub-text (yes, benefits of being in acting, you are better at reading human emotions: sub-text, intention, etc ;) ) of the phone conversation feels like that I could be their second choice. I guess if Miss First Choice accepts, I'm out. :( I have not followed up on my first offer; although lucrative, is not a chronic disease, not a long-term treatment, not emotionally compelling.

Spoke to my sis about it...and she said what if, just what if... this first choice girl is the second choice for my first offer company and is awaiting that company to offer her, that company is waiting for me to answer before offering her, I am waiting for this company to answer me, and this company is waiting for her to accept them?? Confused yet? Rock, paper, scissors... life is a cycle and everything is connected. Hahaha!! Unlikely to be the situation but it would be funny if it were true. Yes, creativity runs in the family. ;)

Ok, jokes aside... is it a big problem that I have too specific an interest? Specialty chronic disease + emotionally compelling + marketing. Not all companies have such disease treatment, and among those, not all have emotionally compelling strategic directions, and the few left which do, may not have openings for marketing. Bleh. I'm just wondering, IS having a specific passion such a bad thing?? Wouldn't a person who wants something so badly appreciate it more and do a better job? Or does the world view this intense passion as desperation? If I was desperate, I would have just applied to any Tom, Dick & Harry company, in any Tom, Dick & Harry disease (gosh, that doesn't even make any sense). I would have accepted my first offer just to get a job, any job. But I don't want just any job. :( :(

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? Maybe God is trying to tell me something?? May be I should open up my options beyond my area of interest?? But I can't help but to want what I want and love what I love. But should I?

Perhaps, some day I will understand why all this is happening... Just like what Steve Jobs said

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Dots oh, dots! Please • connect • yourselves • soon •