Double the New Year, Double the Fun

After 2 months of being in Singapore, I have come to realize what a truly multicultural country it is. Everything from the people to the food to the holidays embody that. This year I was fortunate enough to experience two New Year’s celebrations.

I started off my New Year in Singapore at Marina Bay and it was absolutely spectacular. The view of the city and Marina Bay Sands were picture perfect. New Year's 2015 in Singapore

 

I thought I would have to settle for an average New Year’s Eve because I knew that Chinese New Year’s was also big in Singapore but the celebrations were anything but average. I got to ring in the New Year with some local Singaporeans and my roommates who are fellow exchange students at SMU. As you can see, the city at night is full of lights.

New Year's with locals and exchange students

I can’t think of any other country where the Gregorian New Year (January 1st) celebrations are just as big as the celebrations for Chinese New Year (February 19th)! Chinese New Year in Singapore was just as fun and colorful with a cultural twist.

Chinese New Year Singapore

 

Even after I leave Singapore, I think my new tradition will be to celebrate two New Year’s, every year.

 

Judgment Day

The day finally came for us to present our research (all 10 weeks worth) in a two-hour presentation in front of the C-Level executives at Philips Healthcare China. Our emotions were running high, from nervous to excited, insecure to confident.

Philips - PresentationWould we provide Philips with novel ideas that they had never thought of? Had our ideas already been implemented? Were we completely off track? There was a level of uncertainty that was present throughout the project, due to the ambiguity of the assignment. We were going to address that uncertainty today. Would it be a success though? That was the big question.

109Fortunately, the presentation and our ideas were a success. After in-depth questioning of our research and recommendations, we found out that we reaffirmed ideas that Philips was currently working on, as well as presented new ideas for the Home Healthcare team to further explore. Philips was impressed with our presentation, our ideas, and our professionalism. And more importantly, the Philips team was impressed with us as individuals.110They even treated us to lunch with live octopus being cooked right in front of us.  It was definitely a new experience…

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Although there was an air of sadness as we finished the day, this was an experience that neither we nor the Philips team will ever forget.

Special Foods

China is full of special and exotic foods.  Although we only tried a few, here are some of the pictures (for bragging rights, of course):

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Duck head anyone?

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Crab and meat (?) on a stick

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Chicken feet. Good for strong bones.

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Live octopus being cooked at the lunch table…

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Definitely had to try some octopus brains

 

 

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Baijiu – the everclear of China

 

 

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Cobra heart and blood. This was in Vietnam, but still very cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Wall

We meet again. Team Philips and Team Momentive met up, along with fellow classmate Yiran, to conquer the Great Wall. In our quest to climb this more ancient and lesser-traveled section, we woke up bright and early and drove almost 3 hours away from Beijing. But it was definitely worth it.

Even Phil, having been to the Great Wall several time previously, was stunned by the unadulterated section that we trekked.

Great Wall Pic 1

When we got to the top, we had to scale up the Wall with all of our stuff! The ladies regretted bringing our purses (we foolishly thought this was a tourist excursion)….

Great Wall Pic 2

The view was amazing – the Wall stretches as far as you could see in both directions. Anna, our tour guide, said a friend of hers took two years to walk the full Wall East to West. I believe it – it took us 5 hours to go about 2 miles on the Wall. It is crumbling, and huge boulders and trees are in the middle of the Wall in random places. To navigate the ups and downs there were steps, but some were ridiculously steep.

Great Wall Pic 3

And it took a while to go downhill since the rocks/steps weren’t always super stable (we had a couple of rock slides on our tour).

Great Wall Pic 4

There were a few harrowing moments – like when we had to cross a 6” wide portion of the trail on the OUTSIDE of the Wall to get around an unpassable portion of the hike – there was a sheer drop behind us and a crumbling, smooth Great Wall in front. But we all made it!

Great Wall Pic 5

 

Wrap-up

As we celebrate an awesome final presentation delivered with grace to MES, we want to take the opportunity to thank our client and hosts: Hiten, Heena and Nipul for making our stay in India as pleasant as possible, for the opportunity of studying their business model and learning how business is being conducted in this part of the world. We have learned a lot in these three weeks and we couldn’t have had a better client.
Here is a little something Hiten, the CEO has prepared for his “F” Team. “F” as in Fisher!!!!Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 1.06.44 AM

Selfies

I had to post this because we have found out an amazing thing about Ean. Actually two.
The first is that he is a robot: he does not sweat on a 100 degrees temperature and can make elevators run when nobody can. The second, is that he has an unique talent for selfies: he can take a selfie with a group of 100 people if he so wants and everyone will be in the picture (weather they like it or not). Here are some examples. He has however trouble taking pictures of more… moving subjects such as the cows in the streets. It took many attempts for a lucky few.

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Baby Store Tour

Mon and Pop stores are very popular in India. Compared to chains, those small stores seem like more flexible and friendly. Today, we went to two baby stores, one cooperated with our competitor and an individual owner. There is one interesting situation that all the clerks in stores are male. We thought customers would more like to talk to female clerks, since female clerks probably can understand their needs more.

MeeMee is the biggest local brand in India. It is very successful to repackage and market with the MeeMee brand. Wide product category and beautiful package earn lots of customers’ trust. In the MeeMee store, we found that for some products they only sell MeeMee products but they also introduce some international brands in some categories. We wonder how they decide to launch sole or multiple brands in the categories.

In the individual store, we found that the food and products for baby almost are made in America, Europe or Japan with higher price, and the toys or clothes are made in China. It seems like people are more willing to pay more and seek higher quality of products for baby.

In the hot and humid day, the best thing is to have coconut water~~

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Day 15: Last day in Langkawi

Today was our last day in Langkawi and we wanted to make the most of it. Our plan was to fit in as many activities as we could before our flight back to KL. As we were getting ready to leave, it began raining and what we expected to be a 15-20 minutes quick storm turned out to be 3+ hours of heavy rain (Thank you tropical weather!)

Finally the rain subsided and we began our short 30 min journey to the Langkawi Cable Car aka the SkyCab.

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Riding on the cable car was definitely one of the highlights of our journey. The Langkawi Cable Car was recognized by the Malaysia Book of Records as ‘the longest free span single rope cable car’ (950m  between Tower 2 and Middle Station) with one of the steepest gradients in the world, at 42 degrees.

It looked much steeper riding in the cable car than the picture does justice

It looked much steeper riding in the cable car than the picture does justice

The SkyCab ride starts at the Oriental Village, which is one of the region’s most unique duty-free shopping, cultural and culinary destinations, and ends at the top of the Gunung Mat Cincang mountain range. All in all the cable cars travel a distance of over 2 kilometers up a vertical height of 680 meters.The view from both the Middle Station and the Top Station was breathtaking and we managed to take some pretty good pictures before the fog started to come in. Both stations have viewing platforms overseeing the Andaman Sea and the Langkawi island group. On a clear day visitors can also see  mainland Kedah and even the Tarutao Islands of Thailand.

A panoramic view from Middle Station

A panoramic view from Middle Station

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O-H-I-O at the Middle Station

O-H-I-O at the Middle Station

O-H-I-O + Sam at the Top Station

O-H-I-O + Sam at the Top Station

Another impressive attraction at the Top Station was the 125 m long SkyBridge which is suspended from a 82m high single pylon and hangs at about 100m above ground. Unfortunately for us, the SkyBridge was closed until further notice for renovation and upgrading.

The SkyBridge. We will have to go to Langkawi again when it opens!

The SkyBridge. We will have to go to Langkawi again when it opens!

After this magnificent ride we stopped by the Oriental Village for some souvenir shopping and then made our way back to the hotel.

Our innkeepers once again showed how nice and hospitable they are and allowed us to check out late just before our evening flight back to KL. After a wonderful final dinner at the Cactus Restaurant we headed to the airport and back to work in KL.

 

 

Fun Photos Time?

Ok, I promise our Beijing trip blog will be coming soon. But until then, it’s time for some fun pics…

Shanghai subway groupie

Subway Groupie

 

Fun Pics - Pudi on lap 1

What does little Pudi want for Christmas?

Fun pics - Human cutouts

Way to blow it, John…

Fun Pics - Dumpings and girls

Girls and dumplings

Fun Pics - At the Bund

Does anyone have a telephone book?

Fun Pics - Muse shot 1

A little nightlife fun!

Fun Pics - The Perfect Woman 2

The Vitruvian/Peruvian Woman

Fun Pics - Squatting

Embracing Chinese culture…

Fun Pics - Katie's Gansta Pose

Katie’s gangsta pose…

Fun Pics - Drinking beer with pudi

A bromance in the making…