ALAN IN THE SCMP
 
 
 
Recent articles below.  For a complete list use the following link to the archive
 
Monday, June 21, 2010
Not everyone loves karaoke
 
I am hopeless at karaoke. I can't sing. And I'm not one of those nervous types who will eventually take the microphone and struggle through an endearingly timid performance. I have an unpleasant singing voice and I am always out of tune.
 
My lack of talent, before I entirely recognised it, led to some uncomfortable evenings in Hong Kong. Persuaded to come along to the karaoke lounge after a meal, I would eventually pick up the microphone and have a go at one of my favourite songs. Fifteen to
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Sunday, June 13, 2010
Stick to the game plan
 
 
I found out very early in my career that being ready to talk about sport at any moment is an essential skill in the workplace.
 
I discovered this at a welcome lunch for new graduates at the firm that gave me my first real job. There were 12 of us pimply 20-somethings fresh out of college in uncomfortable new suits and ties, accompanied by 12 senior executives who had been somehow roped into their role as welcoming committee. We all sat around a beautifully laid out table on the top floor of
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Sunday, June 6, 2010
School admission policy no child's play
 
A good friend of mine, James, has an interview this morning. It is quite important. If he is successful, it will mean quite a lot in the future. If he fails, he will certainly be at a disadvantage.
Given the importance of doing well, he has spent some time preparing and rehearsing answers to practice questions. What he wears to the interview has been carefully thought out as first impressions are very important. There is a lot riding on the 15 minutes he will spend being questioned.
James,
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Sunday, May 23, 2010
The other side of the glass
 
 
At the airport there is someone holding up a sign with my name on it. He takes my luggage and leads me to a big black car. I sit in the back on the way to the hotel. We pass through the gates and after security inspection I am inside a large marble lobby. Someone is playing the piano in the distance. It is cool and comfortable and spotlessly clean.
 
I check in and make my way to my room, kick off my shoes and lie down on the bed to watch an uninteresting business channel on television. In the
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Sunday, May 16, 2010
IT help desk is really just a desk
 
 
When I was 15, I understood computers. That was a long time ago and computers were a lot simpler than they are now. But I was, for a few years, one of the few people who actually knew what was going on inside the plastic box.
 
That has now changed. I can no longer claim to be particularly computer literate. I can get through the basics like e-mail and Microsoft Office, but set up a Wi-fi system, download television programmes from the internet, or work out why my printer sometimes just
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