Friday, December 30, 2011

ecoute-moi


there's a song called aisha (i think) and the lyrics are pretty romantic. this is a bit of a less romantic tone, but to a person who has a similar name :P and to whom i would often ask for advice (hence the pun with ecoute moi :P)

one of a few shoutouts i have yet to write regarding the various people that made INSEAD the ride it ended up being.


as a 'senior' in the program (ie having started in july of the previous year), she was immensely helpful in dispelling any myths i might have about the INSEAD program. FOR EXAMPLE, when i was hardly able to breathe in the midst of P1 core courses, she reminded me that P2 will in fact be much worse, so i should just learn to relax. i won't forget that lesson. initially i thought i would just delete her number from my phone, but i'm glad i forgot to do that :)

other random tidbits i can remember (and some in her own words):

she referred to you as the "nameless, faceless and highly unlikely to skip class to take your wife grocery shopping in the middle of the day" when i informed her that i had to spend time updating the blog where she can read fun updates from throughout the year. i can understand she might've been slightly annoyed given that we were going back and forth on email nonstop during graduation day.

anyhow, this is just one of the ways in which INSEAD creates the kind of network that you keep for life. before even meeting her, we were friends (this is partially due to a previous connection by way of a friend from high school) - but the ease with which we embarked on the friendship is really reminiscent of so many relationships developed throughout the year.

we realize quickly that there's very little time to really fuss about too much about anything. so what we do, quite simply, is that we make the effort and if reciprocated, then we solidify friendships that seem to have lasted for years.

so to make a long story short: thank you! for the advice on purchasing a blackberry, even though i ended up needing an iphone, for reminding me that INSEAD just keeps getting busier and more intense when i thought i was drowning, and for taking my better half to a grocery store in the middle of the day (i didnt know you had to skip class)! good times ahead.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

I figured it out!


so THIS is why the caged bird... oh no, not that.

I meant to say - THIS is why INSEAD breeds (such great) consultants!

Let me explain myself. I was at the airport today to check my dad into a flight to India (for a family function). He excused himself to the restroom and while standing there waiting, I (for a moment) just closed my eyes (early morning grab a moment of shut-eye kinda feeling) and suddenly I was transported back to the Camembert/Kheria...

Opening my eyes I realized why... I was in an airport. In the international terminal. Families together, speaking in their native tongue, wearing their most comfortable clothes, walking around in their most comfortable strides - just being themselves. After all - when you fly, you generally want to worry the least about anything apart from your passport...

And it hit me. This is why INSEAD breeds consultants. It is our withdrawal program. Some take a year to get over it. Some 2+... others, well that's why we have partners ;)

After spending a year in a climate so diverse that you wonder if you can ever replicate it, you are attracted to the simpler methods of your addiction. For us, it is the consultant's lifestyle. The hours at the airport in transit. The reminiscence not just of our travels with our friends, but also of our classrooms. If I could pass everyone a laminated green card (no, not a work permit although that would be nice too): BUT the nametags we (and our dear professors) oh so dearly came to love for P1 & P2, I would be in a hallway on the way to class. That is Fontainebleau. That is Singapore. That is the INSEAD campus. A terminal in an airport, guiding souls from various destinations during their transit time to find the right exit gate... some of us are still in the transit area, hopefully upgraded to sit in one of those business class lounges, sipping on cappuccino or eating the cakes they provide, wondering if we should board the next flight or head back to the check-in gate to purchase a ticket for a "better" destination.

Now back at the airport... we are at the point in our lives where we can actually choose where we want to go. Our credit cards have just enough of a limit to afford us a one way ticket to pretty much any destination. How we decide to use those funds (be it on a new flight or on duty free shopping) is completely up to us.

For some, it is more travel (yes, the consultants in case i have not driven that point home deeply enough). We are happy to be in the terminal and not ready to leave these familiar moments.

For others, it is the management office within the airport - we travel quite a bit, but we're not necessarily jumping between flights as much...

Others are exiting the airport directly to go to the head office to speak to CFOs on why almost every airline has been bankrupt at some point. Yes, I'm talking about the bankers...

Some might even go the route of betting where the heck others will travel and accordingly hedging their risks (and their clients') to switch up their credit card limits in anticipation of purchasing the BEST possible flight out of the airport at some point. Yes iBankers, that's my short analogy for you.

And of course there's those of us that will fly directly into the eye of several different storms to pursue the non profit route, the startups, the new ventures... supporting those low cost airlines (but remember never to run out of ca$h fools! :)

OK so now the analogy is starting to get really drawn out but I'm trying hard not to miss one of your decisions - I think however, you already know where you fall in this airport/terminal analogy so I invite you to comment (should you choose to) on where/how you would land. Janitorial staff? Check-in? Security? Taxis? All viable options :)

Either way, I guess I want to say I miss you guys... oh 11D. I have spent more time on Facebook & Google+ keeping up with your status updates in the past week than I'd normally like to admit. But today's run-in with the airport made me feel just a little better. I guess that's why they say that the best way to deal with an addiction (at times) is with the hair of the dog that killed you? or bit you? something. Not sure why you'd want the hair of any dog (speaking from experience with a shih-tzu sitting next to me as I type this).

Safe Travels. In the case of emergencies, remain calm and proceed to the nearest exit. Although knowing you crazies, we'd probably take charge and get creative with some new exits into.... the Blue Ocean! HAHA! Sorry, I just absolutely had to take that inadvertent shout out. Cheap shot? I don't think so. Maybe slightly. Yes, pun intended.

See you around!

11D boarding flight to Sri Lanka for Grad Trip on Dec 14, 2011. Thai, Japanese. Canadian, Honduran, Chinese, American. Indian. Taiwanese. Swiss. Brazilian. Colombian. German. African. British. Lebanese... ok you get it.

Oh - and Happy Holidays - Xmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, etc... :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Message of Congrats...


While I ruminate in preparation for the next post which will probably be a series of posts scattered throughout the timeline of the blog (as you are allowed to schedule updates), I wanted to share something my parents presented me with on my Graduation day... this is a series of excerpts from the letter that I think speaks to all of us...

----
Title: The World has become your Playground...

In a mad world of restless minds and empty hearts, success has become a mere concept that is measured by the number of letters following your name or a list of degrees frozen in lifeless certificates... ambition to scale unprecedented heights of performance has replaced the yearning to seek knowledge that uplifts and enlightens... competition to get ahead of others at any expense has resulted in wounded egos and bleeding hearts, reducing our coveted birth as humans to a curse of survival of the fittest.

Success is not just achieving and accumulating, or climbing and crossing. It is rather that state of performance that fulfills while elevating, that imparts happiness while infusing a sense of well being to the one who succeeds as well as to all around him. It is the lack of sympathetic happiness, or being happy for other people's sucess, that is responsible for most of the negativity encounted in professional life...

Though the length of the course was only a year, the content crystallized into it was so vast and boundless that it defies definition as it challenges delineation. INSEAD has made of you a new person...it has scorched you with its uncompromising schedules and breathless deadlines, it washed away the last vestiges of immaturity in your personality, it has passed you through its crushing grinding mill of timelines and missions..in short INSEAD has molded and polished the rough contours of your Self into a complete Professional, ready to tackle the killing fields of competition and comparison, prepared to fuse into the multifaceted realms of assugnments and projects without being restricted by borders or barriers of race, country, or language. You have truly become a Citizen of the World...

As you prepare to embark on a new phase of life on both fonts, professionl and personal, remember always: what you earned during the course of the year that went by, is education of the elite & training of the highest order, but what you will be putting into practice in the arena of duty hereafter, to derive and deserve true success will have to be a winning fusion of the knowledge you acquired at INSEAD with the values of Life you grew up with... for it is only when Knowledge is fortified with Character that Education succeeds in manifesting the Perfection in You...



Sunday, December 18, 2011

1 year. 2 campuses. Countless Goodbyes.


At the tail end of the grad trip, I can't help but feel like this is almost anti-climatic. The different buses taking us to the airport from our resort in Galle, Sri Lanka necessitates several sessions of "good byes" as i refer to it.

In these sessions we need to figure out who are the few departing on the first bus, then the next, and so on - and unless you're on the last bus, you are afraid of missing the chance to say your good byes. I already know a handful of people that I wish I had found the time to talk to over these past 5 days, but then again, the nature of the 1yr program is that you prioritize - whether its sleep, fun w/ familiar faces, or just a cold drink by the beach. And in those moments, you "lose" the chance to do other important things.

But so many argue "well, how important can it be if you forgot?" -> and I challenge that statement only because - in a few days, with all that is running through our respective heads/hearts/minds - it really isn't a question of prioritizing as much as it is a question of finding the energy to have these conversations - some of them very difficult for the very reason that you're rebuilding bonds with friends who you have not had the chance to catch up with - and then meeting them on the other side of a goodbye session can just be bittersweet. Maybe that's why I have not made as much effort as I could have.

Or maybe it is because - given the international nature of citizenship & residence at INSEAD - I truly believe that I will probably run into more people in the future from this experience, than from any other school, job, organization in my life.

And for that I'm grateful.

I look forward to celebrating the good times - although this 1 yr on two campuses is over - the countless goodbyes are just starting... and more than that, I look forward to seeing everyone again, if only to say yet another good bye in anticipation of an embracing hello we'll say to one another in the future.

Time to pack up & head out!

Oh the opportunities that await us...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

last class...


i know the cliche how time flies can appear so... overused, but i am at a loss for words, so i will need to start with a cliche until i can regain my composure and actually write more eloquently.

for now, let the thoughtful stream of consciousness flow... almost 1 year ago today, i was landing in bangkok after having packed my bags, sold most of my possessions, and basically wrapped up my life in chicago. it felt like eons ago. i was saying the good byes, because for all intents and purposes i was moving away to - well - just about anywhere. and when you're moving "anywhere" its hard to say when you'll see anyone.

and here i am now, sitting, sweating in my gym clothes, under the fan, in an apartment in dover, in singapura, just having finished my last class at INSEAD. and the goodbyes have started, again. this time, however, i hardly believe i won't see your smiling faces. if anything, you are the one group of people in my life i count on seeing somewhere, somehow, and yes - somewhen too. unplanned, though they may be, i believe our paths have only just started to intersect.

10 months.
2 campuses.
countless vacations & destinations.
friends still being made as our cross-campus migration comes to a halt in sri lanka for our grad trip starting tomorrow.... (and i'm still toying with creating an application that super imposes a tracker on each of our emails to indicate where all we have been from Dec 31st 2010 to Dec 31st 2011!)

now, i can't help but wonder - what's changed?
short answer: everything.

you, me, us, what we were, what we are, how we interact, where we will go - it has all evolved into something else entirely. and i'm not saying this in the existential sense necessarily. i'm saying this because the doors that have opened, and through us, the experiences that will unfold, has made the world so small - so small - that i can only hope we start colonizing new planets, because i fear that the class of 11D will run out of unique vacation spots!

and for some reason, i have all this uncapped ambition bursting at the seams, waiting to be realized. the only thing i can think of is to now head over to the barbeque about to start at heritage, in preparation for the imminent awesomeness of sri lanka.

i will miss this. and... i now know why every single INSEAD alum i spoke to echoed one statement without hesitation: "best year of my life"

And no, I did not plan for "Develop Beliefs" to overlap this... but it is a great juxtaposition considering what's on the whiteboard!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

KBBQ!


a moment i must share...

korean bbq - especially the buffet style, is basically a hot plate on top of which you place your meats to cook.

beef, pork, chicken, squid, shrimp, etc.. etc...

however, i don't eat beef. my italian israeli friend & south african friend sitting across from me don't eat pork. an asian brazilian eats everything. german chinese as well. and the malaysian on the table is busy eating shrimp while i'm writing this.

so what do we do? we divide a small hotplate (only about 2ftX2ft) into two hot plates by placing two pieces of aluminum foil up against each other, thereby creating a wall for the pork & beef to avoid contact.

we had separate scissors, tongs, plates - an entire dinner set per set of people who could eat one type of meat. and the restaurant was very confused when changing foil (after it burns from 20+ minutes of sitting on the hot plate.

what an experience.

oh and i forgot to mention - we were 1 table of 12 in the restaurant, completely filled with INSEAD students. maybe 5 koreans in the entire group. what a crazy affair..!

(picture coming soon)

i can't believe this part of the trek is almost over. i'm going to miss such adventures with such cultural differences all setting things aside to enjoy the common festivities put on by yet another group of crazies. ok enuff of the mush... i still smell like bbq chicken though. might need a shower before i head out for karaoke!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

i don't normally blog about other blogs because it feels like i'm cheating you... that is, only if you actually enjoy reading my updates - although you wouldn't be here if you didn't get something (hopefully) positive out of this relationship!

ANYhow, as things come to a close here at INSEAD, I've been writing a lot of notes that I have yet to post because I want them to be a little bit more crisp... in the meantime, for your reading pleasure, here's a great blog i just got linked to:

http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently/

Add caption

Thursday, November 24, 2011

holi!


having lived in thailand & usa most of my life (at least what i can remember) there are many functions/events that i've had the chance to experience with a diverse sets of individuals - be it diwali in bangkok with all the other indians in thailand, or thanksgiving in chicago with friends from bangkok... its always been a mix of people who might not all be where they would have seen themselves celebrating said-event.

this time around though, i found myself celebrating holi in november in singapore with lebanese, french, indians, thais, koreans, americans, pakistanis, africans, brits, irish... you name it. the nationalities outnumbered the various colors we had!

one of the best celebrations i've ever experienced given the amateur nature of the setup - i mean it was not amateur in the work put into it, but it was by no means the kind of holi setup you would expect.

a tent in a parking lot, with 4 tables for food, 2 tables with color, 2 tables with drinks and one large speaker plugged into an ipod. oh and a renegade hose lying on the floor, used by anyone that realized it was on.

the clincher for me was receiving this email after a night of celebrations & questions from my non-indian counterparts...

so what is holi? whats the significance?

"We put our best guys on this and the short answer is: Although historically celebrated as a harvest festival, in recent times it is more a celebration of unity – an opportunity  to forget all differences and indulge in unadulterated fun. It is typically celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex. When everyone is covered in colors and looks the same it brings people closer."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULCQzhIEFhE

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shaken.


About 10 years ago, I remember sitting on a couch in my college dorm, looking at my roommate's guitar as he was strumming along to No Rain by Blind Melon, Under the Bridge by RHCP, and Wonderwall by Oasis, thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell... wait, no sorry, I was actually regretting the fact that back in 8th grade when my parents enrolled me in guitar classes, I did not take advantage of the opportunity. And I already knew back then that guitars = chick magnet. For some reason I still did not pursue it - mind you, when you're 13-14 that's a humongous incentive, or should be anyway... I still wonder why - I think my boredom at the repetition of certain songs and the theory kept me away from seeing the bigger picture. And in this case I don't just mean the ladies :) But yeah... no pain no gain. In my case it was more like, no sitting your arse down, no rocking out the town (which will make sense later).

So here I am, listening to the songs, and wondering, "what if" when my roommate says to me, "V you should try it" and... I do. I pick up the guitar and play a tune (in my head), which sounds like a wailing sheep (yes that's a reference). He doesn't budge. Tells me to try again. So I do. And again, but this time the sheep have multiplied. Yet, my roommate is not phased. I decide that if I'm going to go sheep-style, I might as well try to represent the entire population and so I start belting out tunes, feeling sorry for Clarice, and wondering just how NZ-landers would probably feel hearing me now...

Fingers bleeding, back aching, ears numb..... and suddenly I hear someone say, "oh hey - is that Wonderwall?" and in that moment of my own Silence of the Lambs, I am reborn.

This is where I will fast-forward to the present, but as I'm fast-forwarding just mention some key points. Imagine images are flicking through in 4X speed or so. I play for friends, get suggestions of songs to learn, join a band on bass, then join another band, then randomly play anywhere I go, start traveling with the guitar, decide that the guitar is another appendage, join yet another band, and another, and another, and all this time, practicing because I enjoy it. Because I want to. Because I choose to. Loving every second.

OK - back to real-time. Crap, no guitar with me. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Sri Lanka typing this up - let's rewind ever so slightly.

Boom - P3 INSEAD - with a show called "Cabaret" on its way. On the steering committee looking at the line up of acts, realizing that I know a few folks that might be interested in jamming a couple o' tunes for this here show, why not, eh?

And this is where I met the Lebanese Percussionists, an Indian guitarist/prodigy from NYC, our Israeli rhythm guitarist, and Dutch keyboard extraordinaire - all wrapped and sealed with a Korean American LA-native who represented us on the front line - ie our lead singer.

Le Shaken was born.

And why the shaken? A few reasons... first and foremost, we have a bar in Fontainebleau called Le Shaker.


And secondly, more importantly, because we like to shake things up.

Sing a song to the tune of another similarly composed tune, or change the lyrics, maybe even transition into songs unexpectedly, or with mashups as some call them - and much like most musicians i've had the pleasure of performing with, most of us knew our own instruments quite well.

Pick a song. Everyone learns their piece and then we meet - at a friend's chateau (Le Taverne - because we couldn't actually find a place to practice) and we jam. Most of the time we end up changing the lineup, until we're satisfied for that day with our song selection.

After about 3-4 practice sessions, we finally set aside a few goldens - Sweet Child, Save Tonight, Bad Romance, and finally Ice Ice Baby.

Cabaret in P3 was amazing. The night was... well - surreal. We had no idea what energy we were coming to the stage with. To start, the lead guitarist did the Sweet Child of Mine intro, and I accompanied on the bass - both of us standing in the style of one of Pearl Jam's most famous posters:





Coming out of this show, I can only say there was an amazing high. A high that was unmatched by the party that followed because our adrenaline was so deeply surging that we can only remember the smiles, the screams, the sounds of a happy INSEAD crowd singing a chorus for you... an amazing night to remember. And one that kept us pretty content...

And then we had a redux in P5. Most of us reunited in Singapore, another Cabaret pending. This time, we decided to really challenge ourselves, and picked out some recent mashups - things that were somewhat significant to our classmates, but also just good tunes... Chasing Cars sang to the tune of Every Breath You Take, followed by Fallin' with Seven Nation Army on chords, and finally - Party Rock - complete with a reggae beat.

Once again, the adrenaline. The energy. This time Le Shaken was a smaller few, but the energy was not compromised. It was almost doubled with the realisation that this was it. One last chance for us to belt some tunes, enjoy the company of our classmates, and give them a performance worth remembering... so with 2 percussionists, a guitarist, a bassist, and a vocalist, we transformed a few minutes into what we'll remember as golden memories encased in a name, forever immortalized: Le Shaken.




Will miss you guys. Am sure we'll find moments to jam in the future... but until then, keep making music!




Monday, November 7, 2011

Definitely NOT


In Time.

By far, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And I had such OK expectations for it. Normally, when I have OK expectations (which is to say I don't really want to watch the movie), there is at least 1 element of surprise that presents itself that gives me a sigh of relief - a feeling that is a mixture of gratefulness that the director invested enough time in the film to keep audiences on their toes, and that while I could have been doing something else that I wasn't (yes yes, opportunity cost), I'm not entirely unhappy at my decision.

I hope you can see how I am tempering my feelings about this. I'm trying so hard to be so level headed on my reactions. Calm. Composed.

In Time failed even in that regard. In fact, even writing this blog post about the movie is making me feel a bit like I'm still wasting my time. But the one thought I did want to share - why I had even remotely OK expectations for the movie - is because it was about time. Time as a currency. Time as a valuable asset that's traded for the likes of food, resources, work, etc... now that is a pretty cool concept with which you can probably already imagine an unthinkable amount of scenarios full of suspense. And maybe that was the issue. There was so much to do, but so little time... pun intended.

Brings me back to the end of this trek I'm approaching. Approximately 1.5 months!

corny, i know...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Home.


i know what you're thinking.

home? what could he possibly mean by HOME?

this homeless, homie who switches "homes" every few years has the audacity to post about "home" to such informed readers like ourselves?

preposterous!

and yes, i agree with you. i do. but hey, they say home is where the heart is - and before you assume my heart is without loyalty because it moves homes, let me say this: home to me is really a variety of experiences that i associate with a place, more than the place itself. honestly. everywhere i go, and for how much time i spend and the relationships i am able to develop, i start to develop a sense of comfort and feeling of "homeliness" so yes, while it is confusing, this is really how i am able to establish a "home" context.

the amount of times i have filled in different destinations for the disembarkation or arrival cards... bangkok to poughkeepsie to north chicago to chicago to fontainebleau to singapore to who knows where next... i sometimes wonder if i am in this odd system that shows with no-chance-of-fraud identities, which i believe quite a few of my friends are probably members of. least likely to actually forge documents but most likely to make mistakes on them because they are not quite sure how to fill in the form. like issuing country vs issuing embassy.

anyways, home is where i'm at right now. home being bangkok where i grew up. and where my parents still reside. a place that has seen some quite ridiculous turns of events over the past year and a half. from man's natural tendency for conflict to mother nature's natural tendencies... i am quite shaken, to say the least, by all that is happening. and i am here now just to feel my feet on its earth and to ask myself - what next?

i have never thought about moving back to bangkok specifically after travels have sent me half way across the world. however, being closer to "home" as i am using in this context, is important for so many reasons. yes, when i depart to get back to school in a couple of days, and am responding to friends asking me "when are you coming home?" i may in fact switch contexts, but that doesn't change how i perceive where i am and where i feel i'm going as well as what i am "leaving behind" - a part of my heart, always resting, at home.

and who better to greet you when you arrive home?



Friday, October 21, 2011

Please remove your footwear...

all aboard, the white manta!

and what an experience it was. i'm debating just exactly how to chronicle the whole thing, with pictures, videos, stories per day... or maybe just one post.


let me start off by saying simply this:

we were asked to remove our footwear as soon as we stepped on the boat. the entire time living aboard, there were not shoes. no slippers. nothing...take of this what you would - all i can say is that it was one step (pun intended?) towards a true vacation. no connectivity. no internet. i mean, no friggin' shoes for chrissakes!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bangkok Surprise Visit!


this is what i love about now living so close to home. i can, at the last minute, decide i want to go home and purchase a ticket to fly the next morning. no checked bags. 1hr time difference. a little bit of public transit. and boom bada bing, within 6hrs i am DOOR TO DOOR.

4:30am in a cab to Changi
5:30am checked in
6:10am boarding
7am-9am in flight (but due to time difference its now 8am in Bangkok)
8am-9am visa on arrival (i really need to apply for my longer term tourist visa. to come HOME? haha, sigh. yes to come home, i need a tourist visa).
9am-10am public transit but more of this time was spent waiting a bit on trains and walking through people traffic, not stuck IN traffic. which is great. train from the airport home!

and then the simple surprises :)
on a motorcycle into the soi (street) i see dad in the car on the way to work and wave at him. he is utterly confused... i arrive home and ring the bell and mom greets me with a "huuuhhh?" and Rex with his unusually active tail wagging in the wind. (before he pissed on my chappals!)

and some random pics...
first meal - MAMA PHAK! (that's ramen w veggies for all you non-thais)

KAI YAAAAAAANG - bbq chicken

Som Tam - Papaya Salad

AND Beyond the eating, there's obviously relaxing to be had... 
What the elders do while the sons are away - Mom & Dad playing Words with Friends (against one another). Rex playing Words with himself in his sleep

And that's a wrap.


Yep. We each get our own beds. (you can see Rex, I'm sure ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bak Kut Teh


I think I got the spelling right!

Two of the EAs at the place I interned at decided to take me to a farewell lunch (very sweet of them) and asked me what I have and what I have not tried - or what I like and maybe don't like. I'm not sure if I made a mistake or not, but I said - I'm pretty much open to anything... except beef & octopus (at which point one of my coworkers who was in the elevator when I was posed this question responded with: "octopus? that sounds like a very specific experience has scarred you..." <no comment ;)>)

SO back to the experience... we get out of the elevator and cab it to an area near the riverwalk. I can already see the genuineness of the area from the expression of the cab driver when my coworkers gave him directions. I was ready.

Ready like chopsticks... or chilies in soy sauce...


And so started a very intriguing dining experience - Not so "difficult" as in gizzards or odd edibles or any of that - but somehow the amount of available soup & meat & veggies - something about that. The taste, the setup. Something felt very different from any other place.

OH so what we did eat:
pork. more pork. veggies. fried-dough. rice. more pork.

And as much as I like pork, I've never actually eaten that much pork in any one meal in my life. And it was good - the meat was tender & soft & slid right off the bones. There were massive (whole) pieces of garlic in the soup which was probably the highlight of the soup and the flavors were amazing, but man on man was it a "heavy" meal!

I'm glad I tried this out - and it is quite traditional to say the very least. And my coworkers were sweet enough to pick up the tab. It was definitely a great experience and one I'm glad I tried with the people who knew what they were talking about... otherwise I know I probably could've made some fun mistakes.

That said - this event also made me want to start thinking more seriously about learning Mandarin, especially if I'm going to end up living in Asia (Singapore/HK?)

How is everyone?! My number is now: +65 8374 1423 by the way!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Rakhi to my sisters!

I feel blessed to receive these rakhis year after year, from sisters spread across the globe - I kid you not! Boston, Delhi, Dehradun, Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Singapore... all sending their love & best wishes.

First off, I did not receive any of the rakhis on the actual day because I was traveling. So my apologies to you! But then when I did get back from work and came into the office, I had notes from the receptionist, which I thought had to do with something completely different so after a day or so of just meetings & catch up I finally got a chance to see what these notes were - lo & behold they were rakhis! From all over the place! (Granted a couple of them are still in the mail) But I do think that the rest of them all made it here on time and right on the dot!

So I wanted to take a moment to give my gracious thanks, love, and Pranams to my sisters scattered across the globe who not only remembered this auspicious day for the last 28 years (pretty sure they were tied on my hand before I was able to formulate coherent memories), but also went out and purchased really unique rakhis for me!

Happiest of Happy Rakhshabandans to you! You really made it an amazingly auspicious day. I hope to see you all sometime soon...




P.S. I was glowing!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Finally moved in...


This summer has been quite something. I've moved around quite a lot. I will save the details as I am sure it will worry everyone if I start talking about where I was, where I went, how I moved, how much I moved and all that.

And honestly not looking for self-pity or sympathy.

Just wanted to point out - that after leaving Chicago for Bangkok and then Bangkok for Fontainebleau and now Fontainebleau for Singapore I am finally feeling settled in my actual apartment in Singapore where I will be until the end of December. I am quite excited about this. Although the location is slightly "far" from the city, there is a train that takes me right into the city - and from an INSEAD perspective - more importantly directly to the airport!!! I wonder if that's why INSEAD chose this location. Or did the location exacerbate the existing willingness to travel in our students?

Chicken & Egg if you ask me.
And please don't ask me, because then I'll start thinking about Basil Chicken with an Egg on top. And its currently lunch time.

But more on that - Singapore is an interesting place. I just learned (from this website, which I have yet to validate: http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living) that Singapore is 33% more expensive than Chicago, 5% more than New York City - and something like 90% more expensive than Bangkok! Housing alone is 155% more expensive in Singapore. And man-oh-man have I had a fun time trying to find housing and moving and... oh wait, we're full circle now. I did not want to get into this..............

Loving the diggs.
Loving the place.
Oh and the food bit - yes - so food in Singapore at the food courts is ridiculously cheap & quite good because the amount of choices blows your mind - you can eat ANYTHING you want. I mean it. Challenge me. I'll find the food. Whatever it is. And if its not there, it'll be there.

I do love the "Western" aisle the most. Fried chicken or chicken wings & random other very KFC friendly stuff :P OH and sausages... ham... toast? mustard. I love walking past that aisle and thinking - oh yeah, there are very many "cuisines" in this world that aren't really "cuisines" in the sense of having a complete selection of choices that are easily sold/marketed in a food court situation. Either too specialized (in very few cases) or just not all that great. And after traveling through Europe quite a bit over the past few months, I have to say, apart from selection of wines & beers I don't know if the "street food" is getting the right publicity in Asia. There are quite a few stalls all over the various cities I visited - Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam - to name a few... good food that could easily find its place in a food court. HMMMMMM... business idea? who knows!

Weekend fast approaching. Work still piled up. Time to get back to it. Miss you all!
get it?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Forest Treetop Adventure!


mah lordie... how did we end up here!?

this morning after semi-finalising random housing situations for INSEAD one of my friends suggested we all get together, meet up, and go to this

http://www.forestadventure.com.sg/

if you know me at all, the slightest hint of stuff like this and i'm in in in!

so first off we had to get there. this place is located in a reservoir - of which there are several in singapore. so we end up on a trek with a cabbie trying to explain to him where we want to go EXCEPT we got one crucial piece of information wrong: the name of the reservoir.

we kept telling the cabbie to go to bedok reservoir park IN macritchie reservoir which is in a completely different place.

the issue is that macritchie has treetop walks - and is located in "midtown"
and bedok has forest adventure (ON treetops) - and is located "east" on the island

needless to say we missed our 1pm appointment while driving back and forth through singapore BUT SOMEHOW (not on purpose) we convinced the cabbie he made the mistake and so our 20-30 minute cab ride only cost us 5 bucks (a 2 minute ride). i now feel bad, reflecting on it... sorry uncle! (what we all call cab drivers in singapore - affection/respect/singlish mixture)


regardless we finally get to bedok and on the way, the new cabbie engages us in lots of interesting discussions around how great the singaporean gov't is for looking out for its own people - the point being that they built their own reservoirs when water was restricted by neighboring countries that thought they could use the scarcity of water in negotiating matters in their favor with singaporeans.

go singapore!

we get to the spot
and the adventure starts!

4 courses
up ladders
onto trees
wearing harnesses
always RED ON - i.e. attaching the safety harness to a red wire on each treetop

and the fun! it was quite rigorous. jumping from one tree to another or walking across floating planks - sometimes i wondered if this would get me one step closer to shaolin :P

and we even ended up "adopting" a 12 year old because her dad sprained his ankle on the first zip line.

OH yeah! after every course you were high above the mountaintops castles made of cloud there sits wonder... oops. sorry that was a song moment.

sorry - after every course you are high up on treetops and you ZIPLINE down to the next stop OVER the reservoir! It is quite something. It isn't like you're necessarily over the reservoir for TOO long but it is easily 10-12 meters off the ground and for a good 30 seconds (or longer) that you zipline - which, on a zipline is quite a while, honestly.

yes, this is what it looks like.


Anyhow, this girl's dad injured his foot & she was quite keen on continuing but did not want to go alone - and was not allowed to as she was only 12... so my friends and i adopted her on our journey through the next 3 sites across the treetops and i have to say - she put us to shame! she was able to do the courses with a lot less energy (at least that's what it looked like) and minimal guidance.

I did, however, become UBER protective as we had basically taken on the responsibility of her safety and fun on a pretty rigorous obstacle course. I tried to be careful not to suffocate her with questions and instructions - basically I would watch but not say anything unless I saw her forget something very specific. Otherwise I let her figure it out and let her enjoy the trail the way she wanted to enjoy it. But man oh man was THAT a workout too! Seriously!

I can only imagine what it is like to be a parent. JESUS. This was just for 2hrs........

Mad respect Yo. Especially to all the parents of girls. Coz us boys get in trouble, break some bones, and get up and run around (sorry to be 'stereotypical' but i'm really just talking about myself in this instance i guess)... girls got all kinds of things you gots to thinks bout YO.

Sorry for gangsta speak. Influence of my current surroundings.

Anyhow, back to treetops - it was funs of ton! and the other thing too. Highly recommend it in a group of good friends (as tensions do rise especially when you're lost in a taxi on the way to the place getting late for your appt thinking it might all be for nothing - oh and when your muscles are cramping up with the random strenuous activities including muscles you wouldn't one any normal day exercise).

Do it!

ouch... 

Oops


sorry about the last post being taken down. i will repost later... when i'm allowed to. as per non-disclosure :P

off to forest safari! or something zip lining and so on!


Monday, July 18, 2011

the hunt for...

My roommate in Singapore requested that I bring back "King's Candy" from Bangkok. Found only in 7/11. The problem is that I don't really remember purchasing actual King's Candy anywhere so I was quite clueless. 

I asked him to give me "more information" at which point he googled for images for about half an hour and found this:

 

As well as the name of the actual candy: suan dusit milk tablets (and i hope that anyone googling for this in the future to fulfill such requests comes upon this page, because I have here (under) the actual package of King's Candy):

 Ta Da! 

It took some amount of Google, Iphone, 7/11, DTAC, SingTel & RIS brains to figure this one out, but in the end it was (hopefully) worth it.


AND I JUST FOUND THIS OUT (from the website from which above picture was taken): "Broken tablets are also collected and reproduced as milk tablets for pets."

And i receive this email: "OMG OMG...read the last line of this website.....have I been eating pet food????"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

just one reason why i love (and miss) thailand

met up with a friend from chicago in bangkok first thing after landing and chilling with the 'rents & rex. he's kind of a 'rent by now. or a grandparent! anyways, about rex latah.

but we go out. thinking let's have a beer and catch up. turns out that they are not serving alcohol in thailand today on account of a religious holiday. ok no worries. next best thing? late. night. thai. food.

first off, the place is closed but the lady sees us and says of course boys you can. come on it. because she's maternal like that. like almost everyone. and yes, they are obviously thinking "whats the bottom line impact" - no not really. not at all. there's not much of a change in her life if two kids eat a plate of noodles or rice. 

anyhow, we enter and sit and eat and chat and chew and so on...

comes time to pay the bill. i have 1000 baht - as a note. and the lady comes over and apologizes to say - we don't have change sorry! and so my friend who is about 6yrs or so younger than me says no worries, i have money and i tell the lady, in thai - how can you let the kid pay? i'm the elder brother! so she says you're completely right - and proceeds to tell me, no worries, come back tomorrow sometime when i have change and apologizes instead of taking the money.

now that is service. and amazing at that.

loving thailand every minute i'm here. missing it tons. but knowing that i'm so close by makes it so much more accessible...

just some of the amazing options. all with their own unique taste...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Internship Progress

part of the most important pieces of a successful internship or even a day at work is what you do to keep yourself energized so that you are firing from all cylinders. So that you are really focused. So you are pretty much ready to take on the world.

And no place in the universe (at least not so far as I have explored) is able to provide you with the thirst-quenching, appetite-satiating, quick-n-ready service as the food courts in Singapore.

Thus far, for lunch, I have enjoyed:

- Korean BBQ
- North Indian Vegetarian Delights
- Thai Basil Chicken
- Fish Noodle Soup
- Yen Tau Foo
- Claypot Rice

Hopefully by the end of my internship, I will have tried all the different options so that I can make an educated decision for long term prospects... I mean at work, not the food court, but that definitely weighs in quite heavily.

Am I glad I get up every morning to do a 30 minute swim! Or else next time you see me, I'll be rolling around on my tummy... Here's to great weather that provides the perfect naturally heated pool.

Yes. Yes Singapore, I am having a good time. Thank you for asking.
Yen Tau Foo - Choose 7 pieces minimum! ($4.50)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finding the Ampas-ible

I'm absolutely loving Singapore. This place has all kinds of conundrums! I can't really explain what I mean right now as I'm still formulating a good way to make it engaging for you to read.

However, I will give you some random thoughts...
1. Public Transport is great BUT they don't have any indication of where you are while ON the bus - i.e. no bus stops listed in the bus as the bus is stopping and no maps on the bus. Now before you say something, trains have it. buses in Chicago have it. This information exists. And yes, it is on trains because you can't always see the landmarks are you are going through subways BUT again in Chicago when you're on the ELevated part of the journey, there's STILL information on the train.

OK obviously you have realized this is a point of pain for me. Mainly because I've been trying to figure out what is the BEST bus for me to take to work everyday. I have finally found one. But it took some time.

2. Swimming pools everywhere. And I mean everywhere! Going to try to get in a morning swim as often as possible because the pool is NOT heated because it does not HAVE to be!!!! Great temperature.

I'll leave it at "a couple of thoughts" for now... And I don't have pictures just yet, sorry. I was going to image.google something for you. But that would be cheating, right?

Friday, July 1, 2011

up up and away!


off to singapore in 7hrs.
can't believe its been 6 months already!
contact y'all in a few days when i get internet and life setup in singapore!
fonty. its been real.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quotable Quotes


"Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead the Indian economy to grwo like Indonesia's or Egypt's? if so, what, exactly? If not, what is it about the "nature of India" that makes it so? The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else." Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 1988

I beg to differ, sir. I have started to think about them and am already distracted by blogging about my distraction.

I think its the impending exams... but you do bring up a good point. Rather than be completely consumed by said point, I am, in fact, going to take a break and walk around Fontainebleau.

Oh wait, I have exams tomorrow... back to reading...

View from our Resort in Cha Am (Dec 2010)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Still boggles my mind...


how i'm about to leave france (for the foreseeable future) so "for good" and i'm still just studying for exams and doing other random things.

whats more amazing is the random plans everyone has and the fact that even though it is a few days away that a lot will happen: 2 exams, shipping boxes to singapore, leaving france, canceling cell phone contract, housing insurance and apartment lease - we're all still making plans and doing things. nothing has stopped because, "we have a trip in a few days" - which is a mentality i used to initially have.

crazy.

6 months here does a number on your priorities and efficiencies. i'm still trying to wrap my head around it. anyhow hello to all of you. i understand if you've stopped checking/reading. i wish there was an easy way to just get notifications so you read this when i actually post. actually i think there is - its something like "reader" or some such thing. i forget.

a passage through pilatus bahn

Monday, June 20, 2011

And I thought the last period was bad...

View from Hotel Du Louvre

I'm surprised at the amount of "things" going on right now. There's a Cabaret next Monday. Startup Bootcamp this past weekend where we pitched to actual Angel Investors. Another pitch for another class for New Business Ventures this Friday where we're pitching to 4 other Angel Investors for yet another course. Anyways, I've started compiling a list of things that need to be completed before I leave for Singapore.

2 weeks! July 1st I board a flight to Singapore!!! YIKES! Can't believe it has already been 6 months since I got here and am already halfway through the program about to relocate to Singapore, a city I remember visiting way back when with my family.

Lots has been learned. I apologize, as I often do, for not updating as frequently as I thought. Lots of random things going through my head and I do wish I was better about blogging on the go. Maybe I should come up with an idea to do that - no, not Twitter necessarily - but just blogging on the go. Or maybe I should just join Twitter to stay in touch with everyone. Then again, I find that something like Twitter is almost counter productive to staying in touch. I'm not so important (and neither are Kanye West and Ashton Kutcher for example) for people to hear about my every move but then again with the movement happening here, maybe Twitter would've been a more consistent way to communicate.

Regardless.

I will say this - Emirates Airlines has really not been too friendly. Emirates is prided for service. They say Emirates is this and that. And I don't know if I believe all that about Emirates today. I called Emirates 1800 then Paris then 1800 again and they were just not helpful. First I couldn't get any details about relocation and services they offer. Anyways, I do not feel like ranting anymore about Emirates currently but I will probably post something specifically about Emirates shortly.

Now back to work - Customer Insights paper - which is an amazing course and makes me wonder if I should pursue a PhD in Psych! New Business Ventures document and pitch this week with real venture capitalists or angel investors. Entrepreneurial Strategies in Emerging Markets final about a friend's startup in India - check it out: www.serenewoods.com and finally Advertising & Social Media final presentation and compilation of viral video campaign. Oh, BTW: click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5Sgy-5jHC0

WooHOOOooo. Oh yeah, and Finals next week too :D

I miss all of you. Hope you are well. Get in touch!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

please watch this now!


a lot i've learned at my time here at INSEAD.

and a little something i want to share with you!



please take a look. take a moment. turn up the volume so you can hear the music :)

and if you like it, please spread the word. LIKE the video (i.e. click like) and COMMENT if you'd like to. once again final cut rocks, although this was pretty simply shot. as they do say, sometimes simple is the way to go, right?

hope you enjoy!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I bought a Mac...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iLgNUlS3gc


And there you have it. The wonders of Final Cut Pro... What a program. What a friggin amazing program... um... yeah so now I should probably catch up on some homework. IT IS the weekend (so I feel semi-better about having spent most of my time making afore-linked video).

HOPE YOU ENJOY!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some time to reflect...

Drive to Koenigsee (King's Lake)

The past 5 months at INSEAD... I feel like I'm in a dream. Sometimes the words from the movie the Matrix echo through my head:

"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"

And I'm not trying to be melodramatic. I'm quite seriously reflecting right now. Some of this came out of a conversation I had with some friends recently when we were just comparing our lives in the bubble to those of you - our support system connected to us outside the bubble and we really feel like we're "plugged in" to some sort of surreal system.

View from a boat on the Lake
As you obviously know, I love INSEAD. It is a great experience. My whole life I've been a fan of the United Nations, and here I am living this "dream" for a year, surrounded by nationalities I've never interacted with before, learning nuances of cultures, slang in various languages, and quite a bit about myself.

I know some of you, at least those of you who have been keeping up to date with me via email and/or through friends or (to an extent) through facebook have noticed how much I'm traveling. I've visited several cities over several weekends - most of the time trying to bunch them together.

What's funny is that it sometimes feels like my classes too! The 1st two periods of core classes were filled with an entire spectrum of knowledge leaning slightly more towards finance in the beginning and more towards qualitative subjects like strategy and marketing towards the end.

I've honestly felt like I've been going to different cities even in classes. Absorbing whatever I can for the 90 minutes on Financial Accounting, before packing my bags and heading to another city with a completely different view of the world and a cuisine to match in say Financial Market Valuation. And during each trip, through Berlin, Managerial Accounting, Prague, Organisational Behaviour, and so on and so forth, I've realised what is important to me.

Prioritizing what I want to see. Experiencing what is important to my future. Assimilating onward and forward.

And everytime I stop to take a breath I run into a different version of me, racing to explore other nooks and crannies, hopeful to find out yet a little bit more of what there is to offer.



Alps.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Star Sighting!


yep - saw him at Cannes. was hilarious because my friend yelled out his name and he turned around to wave. then as we were standing there, another star appeared


at which point she convinced all of us to yell out his name and when we did he was a little intrigued how so many fans appeared but then waved. it was quite hilarious.

cannes was an interesting experience. several levels of badges and access and entry and this and that and lines and so on... fun times nonetheless.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Two things..


1. I really take for granted the fact that lots of places in US & France (and some parts of Europe) have a no-smoking policy!

Because man do you SMELL when you walk out of a Pub and it is especially annoying when you're say - asking for directions and you walk out smelling like a bar-rat. ANYways. This brings me to point number dos:

2. Live Music is great. I've been to many bars and pubs all around the place - France, Netherlands, Austria, Thailand, USA, India - and the few things I do like - first and foremost are the accents of the performers. Somehow they try to mimic the voices of Bono, Elvis, or Jimi and they end up sounding like Johnny Cash - a great version of Johnny Cash, but still, Mr. Cash. It is just an observation. And I think it is because they get really excited about the "American" accent that they take it either wayyyyyy too far south or back West. I've been noticing this all around. Even songs by Coldplay sound like there's a cameo from one of the aforementioned.

Anyhow, back from the live music scene in Austria. Great songs. Amazing ambiance. And a martin acoustic to keep the rhythm going.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wish you were here!


These drives are amazing. I will (promise) upload pics shortly. Internet here sucks. But definitely on the drive over here I keep thinking about random sights and sounds here that I would love to share with you - and I actually do know who you are and who I would want to be here so it is not entirely a blanket/mass message here folks!

Some are really suitable to the artistic eye, while others are for the more cynical of heart. Yet others with the comical or vdo game references and of course the motherly touches and the childlike awe.

Driving through the roads and highways you think and feel like everything looks the same (when you're on a road) and then you turn for a few seconds (keeping your eye on the road as a priority) and notice the countryside.

Then you start to miss one another. And I do miss you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

road trippppppppp!


exams done.

class photos taken.

packing. or almost packed. hopefully packed completely.

in lucerne tonight.
then to innsbruck.
vienna.
finally prague.

and this should be a great trip!

will try to keep blogs updated. but will def do so post-trip!

hope all's well with you :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Inevitable...


Always happens. Every term. There's a freakout mode. Facebook, for example, is crowded with the same variations of the same complaints of the same classes. And you ask yourself, why the heck didn't you work harder, study harder, read more, and so on... during the semester. The honest truth - because there are constant trade-offs. You read the extra stuff for one class, you can't for the other. You want to go to a networking cocktail to meet a prospective/future employer, you can't finish some other homework.

And so the story goes... pa-parara-pa... :)

However, I have recently received some nudges (or complaints to be really straightforward :P and take acknowledgment of not fulfilling some promises, so here goes!)

Haven't had a chance to properly update these pics and so on, so I apologize for any randoms that aren't focused and/or double shots and so on...


Luxembourg & Berlin (March 10th - 13th)
Istanbul (March 19th - 21st)
Amsterdam & Lille (April 2nd-4th)

Boo yah! Hope you enjoy :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Allez Les Bleus!


the chant i heard in the stadium today...

which stadium?

why the bercy stadium in paris!

what were you doing in paris?

watching ice hockey!

oh wow - who was playing?

france vs. canada!

and what a match twas. To make it even more interesting, i was watching it with a frenchman and a canadian. the latter being the "true" hockey fan. the former being a true frenchman - i.e. quite patriotic :)

and the best part of this story is that i was not supposed to go to this match. apparently these two decided to buy me a ticket. or rather - lie to me: that they had already bought me a ticket to see my reaction. if i did not freak out (which i didn't do) they would buy the ticket. and so they did. and they told me this after i got on the train to paris so there was basically no turning back!

hilarious. i'm glad they did it. was quite the match and quite the experience.

now to do that... studying thing... yeah... exams start in 3 days. so many barbecues to attend before though... time to prioritize!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

National Weeks!


Life here at INSEAD is filled with diversity. Yes, I know that message is really overplayed by me.

But I have to say - where else in the world are you constantly bombarded by a set of principles that seem so strange to you, even after 2 months of being in an environment. That blows my mind. I am constantly finding new ways of doing things. New conflicts between people. New stereotypes. And the constant learning in the classroom and within social contexts, blows my mind.

To add to that - we have National Weeks every couple of months... Latinos, Israelis, the Iron Curtain, Heart of Europe, to name a few.

Let me explain. Every year we have a "Bid Night" when different groups of people get together and decide that they want to take over the campus for a week in the following semester. That entire week is filled with activities from dinners and dances to talks about culture and job opportunities in the specific region. For a week INSEAD becomes that nationality.

Sometimes people pair us, as is the case with Indians and Pakistanis, to create Desi Week (which I'm now heavily involved in). We are putting together a video to present to our classmates, figuring out catering of food & beverages for the "Bid Night" later in May, and trying to figure out the most unique "value proposition" we can present to our fellow classmates so they vote for us. There are several groups like this out there - apparently there's a PIGS group (Portuguese, Irish, Greek, and Spanish)... the Brits want to work with the Americans and Australians in an "Empire Strikes Back" theme and so on and so forth...

I'm quite looking forward to this. And I wanted to share the madness with you. We are currently in the middle of Israeli week FYI. And the food was GREAT last night (at their National Week Dinner). The Latinos sponsored a World Cup.

And I know what you're thinking - STEREOTYPES! But again, they exist for a reason and if they are addressed and explained as they are during these events, then people are so much better informed. And in the context of business, you gain a sense of cultural acumen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Period Numero Dos


Apply yo-self. That is all I can think to myself.

This term, or period as we refer to it, has been absolutely non-stop.

OK fine, I did take a break to Berlin, Istanbul, and Amsterdam BUT STILL!

Sigh. Feeling sheepish for complaining? Yes. But I wasn't about to complain. I was going to say the following: This period is full of core classes that are a mixture of Qualitative and Quantitative work. There is a lot being thrown at us, and even without realizing it, I remember things from the last period.

SO I am inclined to think/believe/feel that the INSEAD model is actually doing quite well. Being thrown into the deep end can be quite a treat if you have some ability to coordinate your arms and legs to keep you afloat.

IF you conserve your energy, then you can almost swim comfortably to an area that you find desirable. And once there, you can get up, dust yourself off, and decide what next. That's kind of how I feel right now. I'm trying to see how much coordination exists within me as I try to stay afloat.

Last week was group assignments galore. This week all the individual homework is due. It is 9pm. I am in school at a cubicle looking out at the horizon upon which a recently set sun just bid me good night.

My apologies for delayed writing. Also, I just learned that I am a nominee for something like "Best of Blogging" which is quite exciting! The voting ends on April 29th so unless you'd like to spend your day remembering to vote for me then and also trying to keep watch on the "Royal Wedding" I suggest you check out and vote now! Or not. Just keep reading is good enough voting for me :)

http://www.facebook.com/clearadmit to chime in!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Model United Nations


Loving my time here at INSEAD. As you obviously know.

And one thing that was recently brought to my attention, once again, was the diversity of the population in dealing with ethical issues.

This was a story I was often told when I was first applying to INSEAD and I can tell you now it is quite true. A certain nationality turns to the class and starts a story, "As we were deciding on budgets for the fiscal year, we had to allocate at least 20,000 to operational expenses." Which insights a question, "Why can't you just reallocate that or thin some of the fat?" To which a student basically replies, "Because it is the cost of doing business in XYZ."

And then there's a moment that passes as the recognition sets in. The cost of doing business is essentially to grease the wheels.

Now before you start your holier-than-thou JUST take a minute and ask yourself a few questions... what is compensation really? What is a bonus? What are bonuses attached to "performance" and what kind of behaviors do they insight?

Oh, sorry, Behaviours. I need to keep a check on that.

My point exactly. You can spell it differently, but it is still the same thing.

SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT!

Anyhow, a thought I wanted to share that sent the class into a spin and made me think about my passion for Model United Nations. Somehow that passion had resurfaced when I started the b-school applications and HERE I am - in what I would argue is probably the most diverse place I will ever be in for the rest of my life.

And assimilate I will!

What? I'm in France. I need to eat desserts to assimilate!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Heineken Experience

Amsterdam is known for many things.

http://www.heinekenexperience.com/wall-of-fame/singalong/C2D4E7E0329A7487F868F609CE6D0776

that will now be one of them :)

Did you know that there are smiling Es in the Heineken for a reason?
And did you know that the founder received an HONORARY degree from INSEAD? 


Recognizing True Potential, INSEAD.
So many "Did you know" moments here, so I will not bore you. Instead let me share some pictures!

I don't know WHO thought this would sell beer...
Bubbles fighting to get out!
Secret Potion: "A" Yeast

That's about all I have right now from this experience. It is worth it, definitely, and they even have these great gift ideas. If you like green, you'll enjoy it. If you like beer, you'll enjoy it. If you like randomness, you'll also enjoy it - at one point they put you in a room with a "ride" and turn you into beer. I kid you not.

Then again, what can you expect from a place where the breakfast menu options are the following:
English Breakfast

This was only 2 hours of the entire weekend. More to come! Pics and so on...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1983 - 2011


Not my life. But during my life. Almost precisely during my entire lifetime. India lifts the World Cup and I was able to watch the match Live here at INSEAD with my Desi brothers and sisters... cheering nonstop even when Sehwag and Tendulkar were out because THAT is the true Indian spirit. Believe in the team.

Go
All
OUT!

Congrats... Celebrations all 'round!


The final shot. Have a look.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

FEVER...


Cricket Fever that is.
Yes, Cricket.

Now those of you that know me - and if you have this link you probably know me rather well - I don't really watch Cricket. I used to back in Bangkok with family because it was fun to watch it amongst family & friends or generally people of Desi origin. At Vassar we didn't have TVs. Since then, I just never tried to seek out Cricket matches.

Enter INSEAD.
Largest population of any nation: Indians. Add Pakistanis and others of Desi Origin who might not have Indian/Pakistani passports and you've got the closest to what you might call a "majority" loosely defined by "race" at INSEAD.

Last week, during the Pakistan vs. India match, the spirit was intense. It was contagious. It was nostalgic. It was patriotic. It was good fun. It was filled with friendly banter and the loud cheering so common of matches but peppered with Desi jokes, puns, slurs, slang - all the mish-mash you'd want from a game you're watching at home with a group of friends.

We had Romanians siding with Pakistanis. French asking about rules. Lebanese getting generally rowdy and trying to rile up the crowd. Canadians buying rounds of beers when a wicket was conceded. Italians, Spaniards, Japanese... you name it. The entire INSEAD community was getting involved. More like taken over.

And I felt the fever. I felt the funk through my veins. And I was glued, once more, to the match. Even during classes people were checking scores and Professors were very understanding. They understood the rivalry.

But I have to say, the "rivalry" was fought with so much fun and general sportsmanship that I don't think I've ever had such an experience. There was a lot of yelling and cheering and boo-ing but in the end, we were all genuinely enjoying watching the match together. Indians in Blue. Pakistanis in Green. Random strangers watching either match getting roped into sitting on a certain side and trained to yell at certain times.

Good times. Great times.

And now we have a match about to start in an hour or so. A bar in Fonty has agreed to sponsor food & drink specials while screening the match on their projector for the Indian community to watch our Cricket team lay a claim for the World Cup trophy - and I'll just say what's on everyone's mind. 21 years. 99 centuries. Is there any more pressure we can lay on the poor guy? Give him a break.

And try to remember - the trophies he has claimed and the life he has devoted to his nation before you get too excited or depressed by his performance. I genuinely hope he enjoys this match - takes a deep breath when he gets on the pitch - and gives it his best. It is what it is. At the end of the day, it is (dare I say it) just a game and one that should be played for the love of the sport.