In which I talk about work and rant about Chulalongkorn university (Huh?)

Random blog post title, anyone?

Let’s start off with work. I hardly mention about what I do on here, it seems. We just got a new project – Facebook advertising and content marketing for a new international program at a private university. Last year I was mainly in charge of eCommerce and marketplaces like Lazada and Zalora; running an end-to-end eCommerce process for clients. Toward the end of the year I did mention to my boss that I wanted to try something new, with an aim of becoming a more well-rounded person in digital marketing field. When we got a new client this time and I saw it’s an online ad project, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for a while, I stepped up and told my boss I wanted to be in charge.

And here we are! More work that I requested for myself 🙂

It’s a nice change too – to be involved in an education industry, which is what I’m interested in. Walking in a university campus for a meeting for the first time even felt refreshing, strangely enough!

I’ve been helping with my friend’s education startup, CareerVisa, from time to time by being a career workshop facilitator and a career mentor for university students. I always find the work rewarding and it feels good that you can help other people out, by listening to students stories/issues and sharing your experiences, as well as giving some pieces of advice. By doing that, I’ve discovered that I’m drawn to this education industry. During last semester in my senior year, I was struggling, not knowing what to do, and having zero clue of career paths and where to continue after graduation, and it was one of the most terrible feelings. I wouldn’t want anyone to experience that, which is why I am more than willing to share my own struggles and experiences, if I can be of any help with students.

Back to our new project. It was quite an experience going to a private university campus here. The campus and facilities look too good to be true, compared to a public university like Chula. The whole atmosphere feels quite laid back and chill, and professors are easy to talk to, whereas Chula feels uptight, ridiculously conservative, and highly academic driven. 

It got me thinking there is such a huge gap between private and public universities in Thailand. Why does Chula feel the need to stick their noses high in the air like that? Everything feels inaccessible – they like to place themselves high up there somewhere. It is my alma mater I have no emotional connection attached, as I’ve never felt they were being helpful to me in any ways. 

Let me tell you one little secret, Chula does NOT have a career counseling center! And this is, as claimed, #1 top university in Thailand. CHULA CAREER COUNSELING CENTER IS NONEXISTENT. Or maybe they did have one, but I, a student in a Thai program, wasn’t aware of it (And I was/am a nerd, so this is the type of information I would know, trust me). 

Speaking of university marketing, Chula Thai programs have never done anything, as far as I’m concerned. People may argue that Chula doesn’t have the need to advertise themselves, because it is a well-known, well-established educational institution in Thailand. That could be true, but they could try to be more approachable to students, considered how they are extremely terrible at communications. We found out most things (e.g. scholarship news) through word-of-mouth and students from former year. There is no communication platform that connect students together in one place. Systems, as well as buildings, are out of date. (And we all secretly wonder, where did all the money go?).

What is the need to hold yourself high on that status, Chulalongkorn? I can see that the pride in long history associated with royal family plays a big part, but when will they start focusing on present and future? To what purpose does it serve, staying conservative when the rest of the world has changed? Is this hold-yourself-higher-than-others attitude the type of attitude you wish to cultivate your students? How does this add up to an already widening social gap in Thai society?

I could tell and picture all those differences with one visit to this private university. You really feel different “vibes” Yes, private universities may be commercial. Yes, they may have to try harder to advertise themselves and attract potential candidates to make more $$$. Yes, I am aware they are much less academic and have different sets of USP from public universities. It’s still nice to see their attempt of trying to reach out and be helpful to students, according to the brief we received which will be conveyed in our marketing messages. It is something I’ve never seen at Chulalongkorn. Once again, it feels like a different world in the same country. 

It would be nice to blend those attitudes together and narrow that gap a little bit, between public and private universities. I’ve been told many times that Thailand is the Land of Extremes; there is no middle ground. Public VS private universities surely is another great example to add up in this case.

Are you chic enough to live in Bangkok?

It’s Sunday, and I chose to stay home all day reading fashion magazine (Cleo. I even subscribe it!), articles from Twitter (read tons of good ones today!), and a new novel, as well as chatting with my mom and brother, and cleaning hair brushes and make-up sponges.

Not exactly an Instagram worthy kind of day. 

Earlier my friend and I agreed to cancel our plan to go cafe-ing in Asoke, with the reason that we are too lazy to leave our houses. 

It made me feel I’m getting old, when staying home feels more luxurious than going to brunch in a cool cafe. 

Damn, didn’t I just miss the opportunity to Instagram my hot latte and Eggs Benedict!? Such a big deal, isn’t it? 

I sometimes sneer at and/or make fun of those Bangkokians posting photos of cool restaurants, new bars and chic cafes in town as pretentious; trying to let the world know what a chic, hip lifestyle they possess. Showing off is such a crucial part of Thai society these days. You need to show the world via all possible social media channels that you are always busy, doing interesting stuff all the time, especially in your free time at the newest hangouts in town. 

It’s almost impossible to avoid social media these days, as it creeps into our lives so much that it has become another important part of it. We get bombarded by it seeing what our “friends” (HUGE quotation mark here) are up to daily, hence it most likely has enough power to force us to do the same things. 

Ironically, I’m probably one of them too (HA), although I don’t think I’m the type that tries too hard. 

Since I started working, I somehow enjoy exploring new places to go, much more than when I was in Chula, with limited amount of money (student’s life), but a huge amount of homework, reports, lessons to review on weekends, and no time to chill (Weekends always made me stressed) 

Also I stopped hating Bangkok and enjoying living in my city more. Aren’t we great at producing more and more new places to eat and hang out out in this city!? Feel like a shame if I don’t take an advantage of this fact.

It’s all Sabai-Sabai, and Sanook-Sanook in this city of angel, isn’t it?

(Trying hard not to sneer at that sentence)

Anyway let’s get back to other pretentious people stuff. 

I have learned that some people, or the majority in the society, extremely pay attention to what other people do, where they hang out, what they wear, and some even try to copy the lifestyles that make them look “cool”

Even though that’s not who they are.

I got asked from a friend once, supposedly I don’t like lobster, but if there were a new, chic lobster place open in town, and everyone has been raving about it and going there, would I go there too?

I said no, why would I go if I didn’t like it?

She said, there are people who would go just to make it look good on their Instagram. 

Why?

Seriously, why? 

Some people would be willing to give up who they are, in order to look cool. 

Read that again. Does anyone feel like it’s a big deal as much as I do?

Hello, Welcome to fake society? 

But that’s Bangkok in a nutshell for you, everyone. 

Personally, I admire people who stay true to who they are, even though they are different. 

I have recently spoken to one of my colleagues; a real sweet girl. She likes to read, cook at home, make her own lunch boxes and bring it to the office every day. When I asked what kind of restaurant she likes to go, she said she doesn’t really go out to eat much. She can eat at normal food courts in Big C or Lotus and that would be fine. 

She said, she enjoys simple and basic life. 

That is just so cool. 

The fact that she simply shares that to me and doesn’t fake who she is makes me feel she’s SO much cooler and also braver than those who go out to eat at stuff they don’t even like just for the sake of that damn Instagram. 

I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be trying to fake it and imitate other people’s lifestyles, when you don’t even want it. 

But then again, our modern society is also shaped this way. I can’t count the numbers of times some clients quickly check or even stare at the bag I carry, as if they are ready to estimate my value and net worth, based on that damn bag. 

Materialistic world. No wonder people are trying so hard persuing materialistic things or luxurious lifestyles to make them feel confident and accepted.

I think it can happen when you are insecure of who you are. Therefore, you need this material “stuff” to make you feel better about yourself which you can show off to other people too. 

It’s just sad, you know? Very sad. 

It’s really important to stay who you are, when  society, social media, and peer pressure try to influence and persuade you to be something otherwise. 

I must always remember this. You gotta stay strong.