Post Trip Reflection
27.09.2014 - 04.10.2014
One of the highlights of trip that I felt was very joyous was on the second day when we went to PingXi Railway to release sky lanterns. Upon reaching the railway it was already very crowded and there were many other tourist who were releasing their own sky lanterns. The atmosphere of the place was very lively and it was a beautiful sight especially when you watched others releasing their sky lanterns, it was like watching their dreams and ambitions take flight. What was even more exciting was that every 15 minutes a trains will come along causing people to scatter off the railway tracks.
I, Glenn, Melvin and Kelly decided to share one sky lantern, and for us unlike the rest of the crowd it was about just having fun scribbling and making a mess of our writings. I feel that it was a very inspiring yet fun experience, watching the lantern full of our desires and wishes take flight into the air. Another thing that stood out to me was that the shop owners whom we bought our lanterns from, was very hospitable and welcoming, letting us use their toilets and sit on their chairs. Furthermore, even interacting with us students and also giving us a special discount.
On the third day, we had our visit company visit to Nankang software park incubator. This was the first time I heard of an incubator and was very curious as to how this company helped establish start-ups and provide IT support. It was a very informative and I learnt that there were many factors in how a company becomes well establish and well known. The presenter used a very good analogy of how new firms that come to them for help are like eggs and the incubator will help develop and mature these company until the “firms” are ready to hatch.
In the afternoon we visited the TaiPei 101 Financial Center Corp. Through this visit I learnt how TaiPei 101 has been such a successful icon in Taiwan, through the attraction of tourist helping it to have a strong and steady revenue. I realized that for a mall to earn a strong revenue through rental, it has to be able to attract customers both locally and internationally.
Going up to the observatory of the Taipei 101 was a surreal experience, the view from the top floor was beautiful. Even though it was relatively hazy that day, it was a wonderful experience especially looking at the 360 degree view of Taiwan. I also realized that Taipei 101 has the world largest passive wind damper. Furthermore, despite the size of the building, it had many features that makes it a “green” building such a double glazing glass curtain wall. Also, taking the lift up and down was a once in a lifetime experience, the lift was travelling so fast. Furthermore it was dark, displaying a beautiful array of artificial light that made it seem like we were looking at the stars in the middle of the night.
On the fourth day we visited the Ming Chuan University and had a guided tour around the campus. This was the first time I had seen so many different international students at a campus such as South Americans, African and Europeans. It was a different experience altogether, especially seeing how even though these students all came from different cultures, they still manage to communicate and understand one another.
The students were also very friendly when they hosted us in the Virtual Studio and Broadcasting Station. And two international students shared with us their experience in MCU and it was very eye-opening experience into how they manage to adapt into the Taiwanese culture. The two students were very positive and really taught me to how go out of way to try new things and also balancing between work and play. One thing strike out to me during the tour, was that comparing Ngee Ann Polytechnic to this university, I realized that many times back in Singapore I take the facilities in our campus for granted. As a student of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I came to the realization that I am very fortunate, studying in a campus with an enormous 5 storey library and fully air-conditioned classrooms. After coming back from this trip, I would be more thankful for the facilities in Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
We also got a chance to visit the Taiwan Public Television Station, it was an enriching experience especially since was my first time seeing how the news was being filmed. Our guide showed us that the news we watch on television actually uses a lot of special effects. For example, the weather forecast is actually filmed on a green screen and the information would be appear behind the reporter on television. I feel that this visit was very interactive as we got a chance to see one of course mate and lecturer report the news. It was very educational as I felt that this visit gave us a good opportunity to have a look into the amount of time and effort it takes into reporting news, visiting the different rooms filled with different monitors and computer screens was very mind-blowing.
We visited the King Car Group, the manufacturing plant of Mr Brown coffee on the fifth day. From this visit I learn the need for product diversification, and how it is very important to cater to the needs of the public, especially since everyone’s idea of a perfect cup of coffee is very different. I also learnt that the melamine incident in China affected Mr Brown coffee in Taiwan, causing their sales to slow down, since the customers were afraid that the contaminated milk products were being used in their coffee. Through this visit I have understood how companies, such as Mr Brown coffee venture into other international countries such Singapore, through the use of the locals in countries abroad and understanding the taste of the public before venturing out.
The same day we visited the TaiChung Bank securities, a stockbroking companies, where we got a chance to see how the a stockbroking company operated. We were also taught the job scopes of stockbrokers and how to read the different stock chart. Although I mostly could not understand the Chinese presenter, I manage to understand an essential point he made that in the Taiwanese stock market a green indication of the stock means the price have drop. This was directly opposite of the Singapore stock market, this showed me that the cultural difference of a country plays a big role especially in business settings. Since the Chinese believe that the color red means prosperity, and stock with an increased price was marked in red.
On the sixth we visited Taiwan Stock Exchange, it was a beneficial experience that helped to see how Taiwan operated their stock exchange. Also, I learnt how the stock exchange used financial products such as warrants and depository receipts to help generate profits and contribute to the Taiwan economy. The visit to the stock museum was also very helpful in understanding how stocks were being traded and operated. For example, stock in the past were all in paper form and had to be locked in a vault. It taught me how over time, stock have become more popular and how there had to be an implementation of paperless stock trading.
For the second last day, we attended a talk by Taiwan Global ITiC and Venture Lab, and by that time many of the students were already very exhausted from all the late nights and company visits. I could see that some students were already falling asleep during the presentation. As a form of respect I tried my best to stay awake, even though I wasn’t paying much attention to the presentation, mostly because I didn’t manage to understand what the presenters were sharing with us. I felt that this was an opportunity that I missed out on, especially since the presenters had a lot of experiences to share with me, and I could have learnt a lot from them.
In the afternoon, we visited ShinShin Credit Corporation, which was the company that my group was doing our project on. We were hoping that the presentation was in English, especially since most of our group members’ Chinese wasn’t exceptionally good. Unfortunately, it turned out otherwise. I still manage to understand some parts of the presentation. From this visit, I understood how corporation gives loan in the form of an installment plans and how they act as a middleman to businesses and individuals.
Through this trip, I feel that it was very important to demonstrate the NP core value of respect to both the company host, lecturers and tour guides. I manage to demonstrate respect to the company host, by trying my best to paying attention to them and also not talking or using my phone during the presentation.
I also learnt the importance of respecting the company, and upholding certain business ethnics. For example, Mr Low told us not to bring any brand of mineral water during the King Car Group visit, as this was not a form of respect to the company. Furthermore, Mr Low also brought up the incident of the Coca Cola and Pepsi case and how business ethnics are very important.
Listening and following the lecturers’ instruction of strictly adhering to the meeting time is also a form of respect that I have demonstrated through this trip. I also respected the tour guide and our friends, by being punctual throughout the trip, preventing any unnecessary delays.
Another core value that I tried to demonstrate this trip was integrity by being honest and trustworthy. For example, on the 3rd day myself, Glenn and Melvin went for massage and we told Mr Low we would be back by 10pm. However, we were late and came back at 10:15pm. We were honest and told him the reason why we came back late, demonstrating integrity. We also accepted the punishment because he trusted that we would come back on time.
These are some highlights that taught me more about the Taiwanese and their culture. I realized that the Taiwanese people are very hardworking and humble, in the night market I saw some teenager buskers playing in front of large crowds of people. This was a very different sight compared to Singapore, you would seldom see teenagers on the streets. Another interesting sight, was seeing teenagers doing jobs you would normally see foreigners doing in Singapore, such as clearing the dishes and mending food stalls. The night market was a wonderful experience seeing all the different types of food and wide range of products that was being sold. It was an interesting experience, unlike anything I have seen in Singapore.
During the company visits, the company hosts were very welcoming and also went out of their way to make us feel more comfortable. For example, at the Ming Chuan University, the host bought us milk tea and also bringing us around the office during working hours.
My experience in Taiwan has been a very memorable one, an experience that have surpass my expectations, from the crowded and bustling night markets to the seemingly never-ending company and cultural visits. This study trip has taught me many financial and business insights and ethics that is very relevant to our BFS course and has helped me to open my eyes to see the culture of both the company hosts and the Taiwanese people in general.