London calling...

A Taiwanese woman's journal of her pursuit of an MBA, a meaningful life, love and her observations of the world along the way! Blogger based in Taipei.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Some thoughts after seeing "Jarhead"...

Well, to balance work and play (though I don't remember to have done much this week..:oP) I decided to hit the movie theater and see "Jarhead" last Saturday. At the first spot of the terrible long line before the ticket counter, half of me already wanted to retreat. But since I've made an effort to get up, get dressed and make myself look nice with those cosmetic stuff, I decided that I have to see it through.. (oh boy, can I be more serious?)

Luckily, the theater wasn't over crowded. Although I was squeezed between two couples who couldn't keep their hands off each other, the view from my seat was actually pretty good. No big heads blocking my sight, nice! Plus there was no annoying self-centered audience who constantly exchange their opinions, either. The whole experience of watching "Jarhead" was actually pretty enjoyable, except one thing - the movie itself was average.

It hurts to state the above because I absolutely adore the male leading character Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact, it is his excellent acting in "Brokeback Mountain" that drove me to see "Jarhead". Gyllenhaal was acting his heart out, but somehow the director Mendes didn't get it quite right this time. Many of the scenes depicting soldiers' boredom in the desert, though hilarious and truthful, were a bit distracting. If I had to pinpoint one most obvious flaw, I would say that the ending was weak as a shooting star without lasting power.

But all in all, the movie is not bad if you want to kill time in the weekend. Just don't expect it to be a feel-good movie. There are many realistic depictions of tortures (be it physical or mental) that the soldiers endured during their desert mission, violence, sexual situation and in almost every other sentence you'd hear a 4-letter f*** word.

Jen's overall rating of "Jarhead": 7 stars out of 10.

*Remark: For girls who adore Gyllenhaal just as I do, "Jarhead" is a must-see as Gyllenhaal shows his well-trained muscles (and at times buttock!) in this movie almost fifty percent of the time. Apart from his compelling acting, Gyllenhaal looks darn good wearing that Santa hat and nothing else.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Start requesting brochures today...

In order to further determine which b-school can win my heart, I've started to request brochures today. Although the internet is very convenient, sometimes I just like the feelings of reading a hard copy... ;-)

The brochures should arrive in Taiwan in 7 to 10 days.

Taiwan's self-serving politician contradicted himself on BBC's Hardtalk

It is unbearable to see Kuomingtang's chairman Ma Ying-Jeou spreading his ultimate belief of unification with China sugar-coated by his so-called "respecting the main stream voice of democracy in Taiwan". Take a look at how this politician top-notch in self-promoting defended himself on BBC's Hardtalk for sucking up to Beijing, despite that more than 700 Chinese missiles are directed towards Taiwan.

Sackur's enquiry of Ma Ying-Jeou

I plan to type down the dialogue between Sackur and Ma and publish it on this blog. As it will require some work (and time mainly), so those who are interested your patience is appreciated.

Meanwhile, some readers might not know that Ma is a great admirer of China's party leader Hu Jintao, regardless of the fact that Hu is identified by Parade Magazine as one of the world's 10 worst dictators. A leading female scholar in Taiwan, Lung Yingtai, who was once a staff member of Ma's team openly criticized this. For those who are interested, have a look at her open letter "Please use civilization to convince us" to Hu Jintao.

I feel deeply concerned about Taiwan's destiny if we keep allowing such a self-serving politician speaking on behalf of Taiwanese people on the international arena. Ma Ying-Jeou is very good at projecting an image of a caring politician with a balanced view point. But beware, things are seldom what they seem. The cowl does not make the monk...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why should anyone be led by you?

Does this provacative question make you think? Well, it surely has that effect on me! I spotted this new book this morning. It makes me curious about what the author has to say. For people who are curious as I am, check out this website and have a preview:

Happy reading! ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Studying abroad - where's the money?

To a lot of students, studying abroad or pursuing an MBA implies a large investment. Here I specifically mean "$$$$". Coming from a blue-collar family, the funding for studying abroad also used to be one barrier that I thought I could never overcome. Regrettably I think a lot of Taiwanese students may have the same idea as I used to have (that's right, shortage of money doesn't stop me anymore! ;)) and simply let money be the single most important factor that prevents them from doing something. Frankly, I don't think anyone should be 100 percent prepared before approaching their dreams (it's awesome if you could, of course!). In my point of view, when the odds stand more than 60% on your side, you should take action!

After my personal experience of using Euro 15,000 (tuition fee, travel & living expenses) to study in the Netherlands for 13 months, I found that there is no need to lose sleep over money. Actually quite a lot of people combine resources from wherever they could think of in order to go to business school. I am not saying that we should just sit and wait for the money to fall from the sky. But the point I want to make here is that the source of funding is secret to no one; what usually makes a difference is whether one is determined enough to research those mundane details and pool the resources together. For students in Taiwan who worries about money for overseas study, I recommend the following approaches:

1) Scholarships: If you grades back in the uni weren't that bad and you've already accumulated a couple years of work experience, chances are you may suffice to the requirements of many scholarships. Because I studied in the Netherlands before, I highly recommend the Y C Lo Scholarship if you are a Taiwanese student or a resident in Taiwan. The amount of grants vary from Euro 3,750 to Euro 15,000. Though it may not cover your full expenses, something's better than nothing!

2) Student loans: For folks whose only source of income is themselves, loaning from the bank is an option that you can consider. That said, if you had due payments from previous studies or worst personal debts, be sure to clear it up so that your credit can be released before getting a loan for the b-school.

3) Savings: Though listed as no. 3, I personally believe savings should be the most important financial resources everyone should accumulate for themselves! No matter your goal is to go to b-school, start a family or your own business, start saving NOW!

Gotta pull myself together...

Last night when I was holding tight to my duvet and forcing my eyes open on the GMAT math questions, I couldn't help thinking about this boy whose images have been popping up on my mind ever so frequently. What's wrong with me? Why the h**l that I still couldn't get over the desires of wanting to be with him while he already explicitly said that he was not interested? Why is it so tough to get over someone? Is it related to the human psyche about "wanting something you can't have"?

At work, I make sensible decisions, move towards set goals and perform well in spite of various difficulties. But with personal things, it's sad to admit that I fell for guys who didn't care a d**n thing about me. But this time around I really think it is ENOUGH. By god, I really have to change the habit, NOW!

Why blogging?

A few weeks ago, I couldn't differentiate much between a blog and an online forum. In my head, there was still this impression engraved long time ago by BBS (Bulletin Board System), which was very popular back in the university. And I thought a blog is probably just about the same thing, except with more hypes and more user-friendly interface.

However, after an on-job training about blogging, I began to comprehend more of the differences, in particular the personal side of a blog. According to a definition by BlogPhiles, "a blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is 'blogging' and someone who keeps a blog is a 'blogger.' Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog."

A senior media veteran from the US that I work with has been keeping a very popular but controversial blog about China for 4 years. For him, I reckon, it's the sense of satisfaction of owning an online community that keeps him motivated in spite of some verbal attacks or hate comments from those who disagree with him. It is exciting to think about if one day there is an online community around my blog as well, but at the moment I just want to document and share things I saw along this journey and hope that my experiences will help others in one way or another. Maybe it will also enlighten myself as I tend to keep a lot of things on my mind...

Monday, February 20, 2006

What does "EPS" stand for?

Something very funny happened tonight when I was discussing an urgent task with my colleages as we were in a hurry to finish off the translation of a news clipping. The text was about the EPS for a global food company. Just when we were scratching our heads about what EPS stands for, the utterrances bursted out from my mouth: "EPS? Well, it's earnings per share after sex!"

A weird silence fell on me followed by a burst of laughters from my colleagues.. An immediate blush rushed to my cheeks.. What was I thinking about, LOL... :s

Birth of my MBA blog.. Hooray!

After much contemplation, I've decided to start blogging my journey towards the b-school and the meaning of life (which I both painstakingly strive for).

My journey towards getting accepted into the top-tier business schools will begin this month (as of February 2006). The reason behind all this is the determination that I want to realize my dream of working and living in a different part of the world - a place of my choice, not where I was born to. So I decided that a b-school is worth my investment and is the best way I can think of to bring me closer to my dreams.

So I've narrowed the targeted schools down to: LBS, HBS, UC Berkeley, Oxford and INSEAD. I know these schools all sound like a mission impossible but deep down I believe I have the talent and capability to attend to one of them. Since action speaks louder than words, let's try and prove it.

Right now I have three GMAT prep books in stock and they are Kaplan's GMAT edition 2006, Peterson's GMAT prep-book (edition 2005) and the Official Guide 10th Edition. I think three books are enough for me to study for the moment and once I finish perusing them, I will proceed to more books with regard to the Math or Verbal Review. My goal is to achieve a decent 720. After a round of initial studying, to my surprise, my biggest weakness lies in the grammatical part of the exam (i.e. sentence correction) instead of the math which I used to think I was weak at.

Meanwhile, with a change of career from PR to marketing (starting next month), I am hoping to get more of my personal time back and use them on more meaningful things such as studying for the GMAT, learning Spanish and maybe even learn to salsa... As ambitious and goal-oriented as I can be, I am also an ordinary person who craves fun and fulfillment in life. So wish me luck and let the journey begin!