Beautiful Waterfall Belies Deadly Danger

Off my mobile data to save battery and now I’ve nothing to do in the bus. As usual, I’ll blog to kill time.

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I saw a news this morning about a NUS student dies after falling off Gunung Stong in Kelantan. He was with a group of 22 others on a camping trip. He was said to have stood on the slippery cliff to enjoy the sunset before falling into the waterfalls below.

Rest in peace Lee Jun Jie.

So yeah, I nearly died when I went to a Sekayu Waterfall in March 2012. I went there for a school overseas camp. My batch was the first batch to go to Terengganu. Previous batches, they went to Pahang instead.

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That morning, we went to the waterfall for hiking. We hike for about an hour to reach the top. I was the leader so I have to take care of other students. My assistant leader & the instructors lead the group while I stand right at the back.

It was tiring because we didnt had heavy breakfast in the morning. Im okay because hiking is my hobby. I love challenges.

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When we reached to the top, the instructor told all of us that we will have the chance to swim later but not at this part of waterfall. We only going to rest there to remove the leech and wash our leg.

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So I decided to wash my leg because it was too muddy. I removed my shoe & sock and stand on a big rock. The rock is covered  by algae and I slipped. I fell into the waterfall and the current pushed me to the middle of the waterfall.

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At first I was calm but when the current sucked me in, I know something was wrong. I had hard time swimming because of the strong current. I shouted help. It was damn funny, I look like a fool seriously. At first my friends thought I was  playing around but when they saw me shouting for help like a mad man, they realised I wasn’t playing a joke.

Sadly, nobody try to save me hahaha so sad. All five instructors couldn’t do anything too because if they were to jump inside, they drown with me too. The water is freaking cold by the way. Super cold. I thought I was going to die and wanted to give up and let the nature swallow me up. But im too young to die !
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I’m not a good swimmer. I remember skipping swimming test and swim with my bestfriend instead.  But because I don’t want to die, I try my very best to swim towards the big rock. I managed to do it and when I reach at the side of the waterfall, I left with 0 energy to climb up. The instructors have to pull me up.

Scariest memories ! Thank god I’m still alive. I have no idea how I managed to survive. Alot of people died there before. Something that I could not forget for the rest of my life.

Waterfall can be very dangerous. Keep these and the following notes in mind on your next waterfall outing.

Credit: Kevin Adams website

Don’t Go Near the Top of Waterfalls

It’s foolish to get too close to the top of a waterfall. Always follow this rule of safe hiking: Never put yourself into a position where you will be harmed seriously if you fall. When you stand at the edge of a cliff or waterfall, the slightest distraction can startle you.

Don’t Climb on Waterfalls

Experienced rock climbers wouldn’t attempt some of the things casual tourists do at waterfalls. It is simply not safe to climb a waterfall without proper climbing gear and training. You might think it’s no big deal as long as you don’t go very high, but it only takes a few feet to twist an ankle or break a leg.

Stay Out of Swift Currents

Stream currents are stronger and the water colder than most people realize. If you fall in, you can quickly lose control and become trapped in the current. Never cross a stream anywhere near the top of a waterfall.

Be Aware of Slippery Surfaces

The most common mishap at waterfalls is slipping on wet or algae-covered rocks. Admittedly, some rocks are not slick even when wet, and you can safely walk on them. The trouble is that these rocks are difficult to tell them apart from the dangerous ones. Even dry rocks can be slippery. Until you are sure of the footing, crouch low and inch yourself along.

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Sometimes ..

Last few months has been really tough. My life is not the same anymore after the 18th Oct incident. Suddenly,  problems keep coming in.

Life is at its best when everything has fallen out of place and I decided that I’m going to fight to get it right.

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But sometimes we give so much that we end up losing ourselves. When we lose ourselves, sometimes we feel by ending our life is the only solution but suicide is only for cowards. I told myself to get up and face it like a man.

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I always tried to talk but sometimes it get worse.

The past can hurt especially the good memories. But the way I see it, I can either run from it or learn from it.

I think the only reason why people hold onto memories so tight is because memories are the only things that doesn’t change when everybody else does.

Sometimes I have to accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they used to be. But if I work hard, maybe it can get even better than the last time.

I constantly give myself up to please others and then ended up feeling completely unappreciated and resentful.

Sometimes we must be hurt in order to grow. We must fail in order to know. We must lose in order to gain. Because some lessons in life are best learned through pain.

Sometimes, I’m afraid to feel attached to someone. I hate the feeling of losing someone who I allowed to become such a big part of my life.

I have so many friends. But why do I still feel so alone ?

Maybe because I don’t share my problem to anyone easily. Some problem are too personal to share such as family related problem. Some problem cannot be shared because I don’t want to tarnish that person reputation.

Alot of people thought I have a great life because they always see me so happy whenever I’m around them. Yes, I have to hide because I don’t want to spoil their day by giving them black face. I love to make people laugh and in order to make people laugh, I have to be happy though it’s suffocating.

I can just ignore the problem but what makes me fight is because I have faith in them, and faith keeps me going.

2014, Jan 1 is just few days away. I hope by then, everything will go back to how it used to be.

Amin

Mr Muliadi Halim, Viva Gelato

A successful entrepreneur is one who has the courage to take risk, start a new venture and make a difference in trying to achieve financial freedom. Every successful entrepreneur will have similar attributes such as passion, determination, dedication, creativity, self-confidence, flexibility as well leadership. Within this report, you will be able to discover some of these attributes within the entrepreneur that I’ve been privileged to meet and be a part of my interview.

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Viva Gelato is an Italian-style ice cream shop that belongs to Mr. Muliadi Halim, 45, from Indonesia. Muliadi came to Singapore to set up Viva Gelato with Mr. Ng, a Singaporean, despite already having another brand that has 14 outlets back in Jakarta. He obtained a master degree in Gelato from the Gelato University in Bologna.

As a child, Muliadi was exposed to entrepreneurship activities back in Indonesia since his family owned a bakery. During those days where life was difficult for his family, his parents started to produce cakes at home and distributed them to several shops for them to sell. By doing this, they only earn what they managed to sell during the day. Then they will come back in the evening to collect the left over cakes and as time goes on, his parents were able to save enough money to set up a small bakery.

It is common for the children in Indonesia to help their parent’s business back in those days. Muliadi wasn’t excused from this as well, he had to tend the bakery after school so that his parents could go back home to rest. Since his parents were strict, he could only obey and help his parents. As Muliadi grow older, his siblings eventually started their own food business as well.

Mini-Gelato

Due to the influence of his family, Muliadi soon started his own business. At that time, he was still studying marketing as an under-graduate in a university. Muliadi realized that most of the food business around him had a similar problem which was food wastage. In a bakery, left over bread can only be thrown away while in a restaurant, ingredients that are kept for too long will be spoilt. He knew he want to set up a food business however he wanted one that had the least risk involved since he didn’t had much capital back then. In the end, he decided that a business that sells Gelato could work out since Gelato can be kept for two to four weeks if stored in a proper freezer. Keeping that in mind, he invested on an expensive cabinet that cost about S$28,000 to store the ice-creams in Viva Gelato. By having a product that can be stored for such a long period, food wastage didn’t exist in his new business.

As an entrepreneur, Muliadi showed dedication towards his business when he decided to drop out of university in his last semester so that he could concentrate on his ice cream business. Even though now he felt that it was a bad choice because he didn’t had the assurance like what university graduates had. He also mentioned that there were many things that happen in a day-to-day business that cannot be relate to the textbooks we see in school. Despite admitting that some of the things he learnt in university had helped him a little as a young entrepreneur.

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Muliadi met Mr. Ng in Singapore when he was looking for a new supplier from Singapore that could provide better quality ingredients for his ice-cream. He eventually became partners with Mr. Ng when Muliadi came to Singapore to set up Viva Gelato. Mr. Ng helped Muliadi to set up the machineries in Viva Gelato since he was good with it which made Muliadi felt grateful.

Even though Muliadi isn’t a Singaporean, he is still grateful to the acts of the government in Singapore. They were in favour of a government scheme that exempted Viva Gelato from paying tax for a certain period during their start up and was given a grant for certain accounting software. He was also happy to know that the government support young entrepreneurs who are hawkers since he sees that teenagers these days are not interested in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry. Muliadi asked who is going to provide authentic food in Singapore now that everyone is hiring foreign workers to cook.

Doing business is part of Muliadi’s life, he treat his staff as if they are his own family members. As a leader he showed care and concern by finding out the condition of his staff to determine whether they are fit to work. An example given was that he only had one full time staff, the rest of his employees are all students who work part-time at his shop. He will find out the exam schedule of everyone to let them take a break from work and study. In Viva Gelato, every staff is expected to treat customers with the upmost respect. If there is something that is troubling any of the staff, Muliadi will try to help his staff by releasing them from work so that they are able to concentrate on what is more important to them. His vision for his business is to train his staff to the extend whereby they are ready to take over his leadership role stating that he would give a portion of the business to his staff.

Just like any other successful entrepreneur, Muliadi has failed in the past before becoming who he is today. He mentioned that every business will go through ups and down, he recalled being cheated by his own best friend back in Indonesia. After that incident, he decided that he will

not include any of his relatives or close friend in the business emphasizing family relationship is very precious. Muliadi didn’t want to spoil the relationship between his family and him since he felt that family is very important.

Muliadi felt that he work even harder when the business was not doing well. He said unlike any other rich kid in Indonesia who managed to start their own business with their parents money, Muliadi had to start everything from scratch and because of this reason, he felt even more motivated to do well. After setting up fourteen outlets in Indonesia throughout the past 9 years, he was able to set up Viva Gelato with S$180,000 for the start up.

Creativity also exists within Muliadi when he shared about a unique product of Viva Gelato. The unique product that Viva Gelato offers is the “thumb size cone ice-cream”. It is a mini version of a normal cone ice-cream. He pointed out that so far, he had never seen anyone in Singapore doing it. Besides that, he also produced Gelato using durian as he realized that durian is very popular here. Muliadi remembered a regular customer from Malaysia who really enjoys eating the durian Gelato.

An advice from Muliadi to the youngsters is to earn a living, it doesn’t necessary mean that you have to be working for a great company. There are other ways to earn income instead of being just an employee. Everyone should try to become an entrepreneur regardless how small scale the business is. As long as you have the patience and determination, you will definitely see progress in your business. Before setting up a business, you have to know what your passion is. Without passion, you will feel like giving up during times of trouble and end up losing your business.

VIVA Gelato

1 Pasir Ris Central Street 3 #01-44 White Sands,  Singapore 518457

Mon – Sun : 10am to 10pm

Written by : Teng Yong Jie

Mr. Wong Chan Meng, DGFX Studios Pte Ltd, Xenium, Beluga (co-founder) & ‘Gioi GiaDinh’

Some strive towards achieving perfection in their careers, however it is not perfection that is required of an aspiring entrepreneur, but rather perseverance.

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A source of inspiration would be Mr. Wong Chan Meng, a versatile entrepreneur who has many businesses to his name. He is the founder of DGFX Studios Pte Ltd, Xenium, Beluga (co-founder) and ‘Gioi GiaDinh’ Vietnamese Fashion Magazine. Chan Meng’s key business,

DGFX was established in 2000 and is an integrated Events Management company with Graphic Design and Corporate Gift services. It counts F&N and MasterCard as satisfied customers, providing a comprehensive one-stop studio environment as their unique selling point.

Starting young, he established his first business at the age of 24 with only a computer, printer and fax machine. Using a loan of a few thousand dollars and the simple business idea of print advertising, he was successful in creating an opportunity for himself.

During the interview, Chan Meng shared that two things enforced his interest in entrepreneurship: his passion for events management and design, as well as his unsuitability for monotonous office deskbound job.

Speaking from his personal experience as a student, he failed 5 out of 6 subjects whilst studying Electronics in a local polytechnic (because it was a practical course to study at that time), and switched to marketing instead. He then realized that pursuing something he had passion for was more important than trying to fit into the competitive Singaporean education/workforce system. Having a positive learning attitude and being aware of his strengths and weaknesses helped him to move forward and realize his true calling.

His first job at Sentosa Discovery Tours stamping expiry dates on cable car tickets before its delivery to the travel agents. It was resembled a one-man production line, and this was yet another wake up call that office deskbound work and environment was not for him.

The journey towards self-discovery is half complete when we discover and understand the lasting interests that may shape the way we live. For Chan Meng, he learned valuable life lessons as a student struggling to excel in schoolwork and when he was struggling to find a career path suitable for himself. When he eventually realised that design was his true passion, he discovered that he lacked the skillsets and knowledge to embark in a career as a designer. A very wise move he made was to get a job as an accounting assistant for a local design house. It was there that he received guidance from his first mentors- a husband and wife team who were also the owners. His male boss taught him much about design, whilst his female boss impressed and inspired him with her sales tactics. He probably learned most of his business startup skills and strategies from them and which he put to good use later in his life.

Being an entrepreneur entails a greater responsibility and there will be tough times that you will have to overcome. Chan Meng shared that a memorable setback in his career happened when he had just set up his events company. He ran a year-end-event for a client at a Singapore Mega Mall promoting late night shopping and shoppers could redeem $20 vouchers starting at 8pm. The response was overwhelming and Singaporeans queued up at noon just to get the vouchers. As a result, the dedicated area was insufficient and the mall wanted to relocate the company’s booth. In the mad dash to the new redemption location a regular customer got injured and angrily demanded compensation from the mall and his client. Matters got ugly as the police got involved, and the incident was reported in the Chinese newspaper as well as the radio. Chan Meng was vexed, but he urged his client to focus on resolving the matter quickly and offered to bear all responsibility. He used his own money to purchase an added $6000 worth of vouchers to give to the unhappy customers.

Chan Meng assumed that this might spoil the reputation of his company and put an end to the working relationship with that client. Contrary to that, his client was impressed with Chan Meng’s efficiency to resolve the problem and till date they are still working together. This is a very good example of accessing the situation and taking responsibility at the right time. Although he had to fork out his own money, he managed to save his event’s company’s reputation as well as the working relationship with his client.

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Beluga and “Gioi Gigdinh” Magazine were his subsequent business ventures that allowed Chan Meng to enter the fashion industry. As a fashion student, I was very intrigued that he could handle such different aspects of business all at once. His menswear-clothing retailing company Beluga was founded with two other partners.

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They brought in what was then lacking in Singapore- Quality and stylish apparel for men. Beluga came up with an in-house label Grandiosity three months after its official launch as they felt something was missing in the store’s style formula. According to him, “With the brand (Grandiosity), we want to give Singaporean men timeless basics which go with anything in their wardrobe”. Since he owns a graphic design company, Chan Meng had access to in-house talent to create Beluga’s product branding and advertising. Hence he could easily control the branding of the company. Promotional strategies used include tapping into social media like Facebook (5800 likes) to create publicity and branding awareness for Beluga. Beluga itself does not embrace fancy visual merchandising and opts for a clean and polish interior layout that is a way to save up on decorating costs.

With Beluga, Chan Meng was able to identify a niche market to cater to men looking for classic apparel pieces of good value. Working like a true entrepreneur, he merged both his interests and the demand and supply for menswear labels, into creating a successful local boutique like Beluga.

Chan Meng possesses natural business acumen and has made very wise decisions in his career that brought him financial success and respect. He believes that being truthful and adopting a positive learning attitude is essential in order to be a successful entrepreneur. This can be seen in his willingness to learn from others and from setbacks. I admire his humble attitude and the way he approached his initial business setup, to his investments in a variety of businesses.

When asked about the potential of youths in the current generation, he replies, “they have more opportunities”. Chan Meng says that we are given a lot more platforms to work with (camera phones, apps, online businesses), and that the major challenge our generation faces is whether we can weather storms, as all businesses have a cycle.

Youths of today need to understand that it is not easy to be an entrepreneur. With a hectic schedule and barely time for himself, Chan Meng knows those are the sacrifices he has to make for his businesses. Yet it is not impossible, and all it takes is passion and the right learning attitude. I believe that it is his sheer perseverance and tenacity that has brought Chan Meng to where he is today. His journey can serve as an inspiration to others like me who are keen to one day be a successful entrepreneur.

Beluga

The Cathay, #02-05, 2 Handy Road, Singapore 229233

Mon – Thu: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Sat: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Visit their website and like them on Facebook !
Xenium
Visit their website for more information !
DGFX Studio
Visit their website for more information !
Written by : Rebekah Elza Ong Lin

Ms Jacequeline Yeo, Penang A1 Chendol

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What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is an owner of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.

So what is a successful entrepreneur? Being a successful entrepreneur takes more than just a keen eye for business.

There are various types of common characteristics that are shared by successful entrepreneurs. For Mrs. Jacequeline Yeo, characteristics such as passion, open-mindedness, willingness to change and take risks are the keys to her success.

After working for almost 25 years in the office, she decided to join her husband, Mr Kenny Yeo who is a former consultant of an investment company. Her husband ran a small eatery shop at Serangoon Gardens before moving to Tampines to take over a bubble tea shop. They entered the food business because both of them have a passion for food.

It all started when they went to Penang, Malaysia. They tried a Penang’s style Chendol and found it delicious. As a Chendol lover, they were able to tell the difference in taste between the normal Chendol in Singapore and Penang’s style Chendol. Thus, they decided to sell the Penang’s style Chendol in Singapore.

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When Mrs Jacequeline stepped into the business, she told herself that it will be a success. In 2002, she and her husband took over a bubble tea shop in Tampines. Using their own savings, they spent SGD 30,000 to start the business without getting any help from the government.

Before taking over the bubble tea shop, she did a survey and decided to take up the opportunity since the shop is near to a polytechnic, schools and office. She added that business is all about taking risks. You will never know if you don’t try.

When they took over the bubble tea shop, they re-branded it. Initially, the place was very dead. With the use of extensive marketing, within six months, their popularity grew among the Temasek Polytechnic students.

Although she doesn’t have any business related experience and educational background, she said that passion is the most important thing when comes to starting a business. Without passion, there is no point in starting a business.

When she was a student, she was never involved in any entrepreneurial activities in her life because her school is not active in promoting entrepreneurship. However, she pointed out

that by having this kind of activities, students can learn and gain experience before they enter the real business world.

Due to the lack of exposure, she was never interested in business until she joined the workforce. She loved to dress up and follow the latest fashion trend when she was working in the office line and she thought of opening a boutique. However, her interest changed when she settled down with a family. She preferred food.

That was when she decided to take over the bubble tea shop and re-branded it as A1 Penang Chendol. She had no prior knowledge in business when she was first started this business venture. However, because of her passion, not only did she sustained the shop for 12 years, but she also managed to mold it into a successful business investment. She decided to come up with her own creations to make her shop stand out from the other bubble tea stalls. Some of her recipes come from cake and baking recipes.

Her customers were instrumental in helping her start and maintain her business. She never fails to ask them for feedback and be open-minded whenever they buy any drink from her shop. From her customer’s feedback, she came out with a new flavour.

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Instead of selling just to make a profit, she emphasizes on meeting the needs of her customers. For example, she has a regular customer who is about 60 years old who frequently visits her shop to buy her Chendol. One of the Chendol ingredient is coconut which has a high cholesterol level. Being concerned about the customer’s health, Mrs Jacequeline did some research and managed to come out with a new Chendol recipe which is low in cholesterol.

Not only that , she came out with a ‘Chendol Smoothie’ to accommodate to the youngsters’ preferences since they prefer to drink from a cup instead of a bowl.

For her, business is not about the products or services that she provides. Business is also not about the prices that she charges for her drinks. Business is not about the competition with other bubble tea shops and how to beat them. For her, business is all about her customers and clients. After all, her customers are the people that will ultimately decide if the business will be a flop or a successful one.

When asked what was the most memorable for her during her initial entrepreneurial activity, she recalled the time when her business turned 10 years old. She came out with a slogan “ A1 is 10 Years Old “ and with that slogan, customer have to say that slogan in order to get a promotion.

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One day, a group of customers from Temasek Polytechnic came to Mrs Jacequeline’s shop and sang a birthday song for them. She felt so touched, appreciative and elated as it is not something that she can buy with money. For her, building a relationship with her customers is very important. She even treats Temasek Polytechnic students like her own children.

She added that in business, there are gains and losses. Throughout 12 years of business, her business has managed to gain popularity not only from the public but from the government sector too. Through word of mouth, they are able to attract new customers and at the same time gain more repeat customers. According to research, most business will come from repeat customers rather than new customers.

However, when it comes to business, there will always be challenges faced. For example, her business was doing well in Serangoon Gardens, the landlord decided to increase the rental fee, which forced them to relocate to their current location.

In conclusion, business is about taking risks. You have to be prepared to fail in order to succeed. As long you are passionate in what you are doing, you will eventually succeed one day. One person with a burning passion is better than forty people who are just merely interested.

Penang A1 Chendol

Block 822 #01-186 , Tampines St 81, Singapore 520822

Operating Hour :

Mon – Fri (11:30 am – 8:00 pm)
Sat, Sun & PH (11:30 am – 5:00 pm)
HP : 98519477

Like them on Facebook !

#blogwithLutefield : Tonnes of Assignments

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I have tonnes of assignments need to be done by next month and February. The amount of assignments is crazy ! I compiled everything and put it in table form so I can see easily. I even set it as my laptop wallpaper as a reminder.

This term break is not a holiday for me. It’s a period for me to finish up all my assignments. I can choose to enjoy but I don’t want to suffer when school reopen.

My cousin from Australia came to Singapore and I was suppose to go for family gathering. Instead, I went to my friend’s house to finish up my assignment and at the same time catch up with her. My mom told me that one of my auntie asked her why I never attend the gathering. My mom said I have school work to do and her son sarcastically said that ITE students have to work extra hard when they go to poly. Continue to look down at me and I don’t give a fuck.

For those who asked me out and kena rejected or postpone, I’m sorry. I think I did badly for my term test so I have to do well for my assignment in order to bounce back. Catch up with you all next time !

Book: Strengths Based Leadership

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Recently, Ms Phua nominated me for Student Leadership Programme and I passed the interview. To be honest, I’m sick and tired of leadership related programme. I don’t want to attend workshop such as fine dining workshop. I’ve my own way of eating, I don’t need people to teach me how to eat like an atas people. I just want to eat like a normal people, don’t control the way I eat.

I don’t like wearing formal too. I’ve been to a lot of leadership related events and those who are in formal wear, they really think that they are very atas and better than others. That’s why I hate formal wear so much though I look good in it hahaha !

Okay back to the topic. I passed the interview and they gave me a leadership book. Well, I don’t read books but this book is pretty interesting. I can take the StrengthFinder 2.0 assessment and access my personalized Strengths-Based Leadership Guide. I will receive my top 5 themes of strength. I did the assessment, it was quite troublesome since I have to answer more than 100 questions and in each question, I’ve to give the answer within 20 seconds. Thank god it is in MCQ format. I did the assessment and they told me my top 5 strengths. I kind of agree with the results and if you are close to me and you know me well, you will agree with the results too. I find it quite accurate especially the empathy and includer part.

Developer – People who are strong in Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

Communication – People who are strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

Empathy – People who are strong in Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in other’s lives or situation.

Includer – People who are strong in Includer theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out and make an effort to include them.

Woo – People who are strong in Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning over them. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

So if you want to know your top 5 strengths in you, I recommend you to buy this book. The content inside the book is interesting too but I only managed to read 30 pages HAHA.