of learning


About a million years ago, before I ever knew advertising exists, I stumbled upon an article that analysed Coke and Pepsi as brands and their brand positions and how Pepsi strategically went up against Coke and (kind of) succeeded.

I couldn’t remember the details of the analysis but I’ve got the big picture. And I thought: shit this is sooo smart that it’s actually mind-blowing.

Fast forward to a million years later, I have been working in advertising for 7 years. In my master advertising class earlier this week, the lecturer had a question about Coke and Pepsi. I answered it based on what I read ages ago. And it was the right answer.

Mike asked: so will you be able to answer that question based on the things you’ve learned and known by now? Chance is yes I probably can, but I will need 5 minutes to figure that out or perhaps never if I’m not smart enough.

When I first wrote my literature review last year, I was overwhelmed with the amount of data, research and reports returned by Google and the library portal based on some simple keywords. I thought: this is easier than I thought, I can always find an answer by searching for it.

Thing is, how do we know what we need to know or learn until the moment we actually need that knowledge for a purpose? For example, I would never have known that I would someday use the understanding about Coke and Pepsi from the analysis I read years ago until for some reasons it happened to me this week and I need that piece of knowledge at that very moment.

Secondly, how did all the great grand philosophers and scientists learn without the luxury of available materials and studies from the Internet like what we’ve got today?

This has brought me to realise that we can’t actually depend on the fact that we can always search for something. That is the sort of lazy thinking that Google and many technologies being the convenient tools that help us access information and knowledge quickly, easily, widely and cost-effectively spoil us. They don’t motivate us to pro-actively learn. We think there are always answers to everything somewhere on the Internet and we assume we will get an answer when we need to. So then we only ask questions when we need to. And we don’t ask questions out of curiosity anymore.

Having said that, I think it’s absolutely critical to be learning independently, proactively and consistently. To me, all knowledge is knowledge, doesn’t matter whether it’s general knowledge or specialised knowledge. It will either be utilised some day, or it will make people better knowledgeable ones. So if there are opportunities to learn about anything, just absolutely anything, I will make an effort to go and learn it (when I can).



Skills of the future

In the What are the 21st-century skills every student needs? article, some insights and predictions about future skills required for future jobs identified.






Source: World Economic Forum.

Free online courses

I compiled a list of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for my own reference, and also for whoever wanting to learn out there.

The Careers of the Founders

The Careers of the Founders   Fleximize.png

More here.

Prep for thesis (in progress)

Had a brief chat with Prof today and with the programme coordinator, next steps are:

  • Prepare a study plan
  • Outline a couple of topic
  • Book a time to talk to the programme manager
  • Book a time to catch up with Prof

Currently looking at:

  • pacific | media | journalism | sexism | climate change | human rights | refugees

Research proposals by Bryn Evans

Part 1 | Part 2

thinking about a thesis topic

Last week I had two final lectures for this semester. Looking back, that was the right choice to pick ‘Global crises and media’ and ‘Asia Pacific journalism’. What I’ve been engaged these past 4 months are global and regional issues: climate change, human rights, media censorship, politics, refugees, financial crisis, transgender rights, etc and etc, and even the American president election, which I would have ignored if not for taking up the classes. While I looked into climate change specifically and intensively to work on the classes’ assignments, I have also made an effort to read up about other issues as well. They are all connected and inform each other. What I have come to realise is perhaps I connect mostly to the humanity angle of all issues. I have felt extremely upset learning some Pacific islands are sinking and the people have stopped hoping. I was also angered by the mass shooting in Oregon that has happened recently. I am absolutely anxious about the domestic violence issue that’s happening in Vietnam and New Zealand. If I can sum up my feelings, I have sympathy for people who suffer and who die in these events. Nobody deserves to.

This realisation leads me to thinking about looking into how media touches on the humanity angle when reporting these issues. My recent mini-researches indicate that news often emphasises on the event itself and its damages, including the calculus of death. However, news that is not event-based, how does it cover the humanity side of the issue? Surely, we know climate change causes environmental extreme conditions that directly impact on human lives; however, how is it reported in media news that discusses climate change?

I’ll be jotting down my thoughts here as I go.

an emotional talk

I’m feeling a tad ashamed complaining. At the end of the day, who am I comparing with?

Things to note:
– Whatever you do today and go through will shape you for who you are.
– Whatever you do today will set a foundation for what you are capable of doing in the future.

There are some shits that are worth going through.

Carlos Ghosn is my idol.

I came across learning about Carlos Ghosn when doing some researches at work. Known as father of Nissan Revival Plan, this guy is a source of endless inspiration.

Some of his quotes that have definitely taught me something.

  • You’ll never convince me there is a hopeless situation or there is any finality in any success or any failure.
  • If you have not been a villain at a certain point in time, you will never be a hero. And the day you are a hero, you may become a villain the next day.
  • Incentives are not strategy. They are tactics. Defensive measures.
  • You have to listen to the people who have a negative opinion as well as those who have positive opinion. Just to make sure that you are blending all these opinions in your mind before a decision is made.
  • I think that the best training a top manager can be engaged in is management by example.
  • I mean, when you’re a pioneer and you are at the forefront of an offensive, you’re going to be the most optimistic person.
  • I don’t believe in hostile moves. I don’t believe they carry any value.
  • The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them.

More here.