Job/Uni


I haven’t heard about my status for KP NL yet – it’s still the weekend over there, after all. We’ll all know by around this week.

In the workshop I talked about how, if I don’t get in this time, I probably won’t try again for a while. This isn’t necessarily because I’m giving up on the idea of being a KaosPilot. Rather, it’s because I feel that if this attempt doesn’t work, it’s time to let go and have a break.

The process is extremely draining. The application form is highly personal – though often questions are recycled so it can get a bit tedious to be explaining yourself over and over and over. The creative project can also be a challenge – while I’ve found it fun, it can also bve really difficult if the project is something resource-intensive (for instance, the video set by KP Aarhus).

If you get admitted into the workshop, you need to rush to get your transport sorted. This is extremely tricky for someone like me who lives far away and has a troublesome passport that requires visas for everywhere. (While in Dordrecht I heard from a friend in Burundi who had been shortlisted but could not afford to come.) Admission workshops are expensive for a non-European! Even those in North America don’t have it quite as hard, because it’s relatively closer.

Once you sort out the logistics and actually get there, you face two days of emotional turmoil. The workshop process is extremely challenging and testing, and I reckon that trying to go through it more than twice in a year (there are quite a number of people who apply multiple times) would be way too much on your soul. Even with the foreknowledge of what’s coming (the content doesn’t change a lot), you still face challenges to your mind and psyche. There’s a lot of reflection on yourself and the team, including exercises that bring to the fore all sorts of hidden thoughts and concerns. Even now I still start crying remembering parts of it – it’s very very tough.

A lot of the KaosPilot process is luck of the draw – who else is there with you? In the workshop they said that they’re choosing for the best team; just because you didn’t get in this time doesn’t mean you’ll never function as a KaosPilot. It just means you weren’t as effective with this particular mob. While we were all pretty chummy by the first night (before the workshop), after we had been separated into our groups we pretty much spent all our time with our groups. There wasn’t much of a chance to interact with the other applicants who were in other groups. In my last entry, I wrote about how I initially felt out of place in my group; I may have been more accepted in another group, but there’s no real way of knowing for sure.

If I don’t get in to the KaosPilots this time round (third time lucky?), I’ll likely give it a rest for a while. I may revisit it in a few years – the newer schools would have more footing, and there may be more schools in other places (a KaosPilots in Brisbane would be AWESOME). I would also have more financial capacity, and hopefully even a better citizenship/passport. I would also possibly be a lot more grounded and be able to recover from the emotional ruckus better – at this stage, I only have had a few months in between to process everything.

As odd as it may seem, it’s actually logisitically easier for me to be a KaosPilot than my other options. Being a student is relatively straightforward – the school manages the paperwork and there is a set visa. If I wanted to stay in Brisbane after my degree, I would have to try to fit myself under highly restrictive visa rules. As it is, I don’t qualify for General Skilled Migration (I don’t fit any of the needed skillsets) nor the 18-month bridging visa (the minimum salary is about $41,000/year, which is management level and way more than I’ll ever get at this stage unless I work as a porn star). Getting a job-sponsored visa would be tricky as the companies/organizations I’d work best in may not be able to afford sponsoring me. There is the option of continuing study; however, I am already burnt out with academia and it’s hard enough finding more project-based schools like the KaosPilots.

My dream job is to work with Up with People; I may pursue that option if nothing else works out. There isn’t an opening in Road Staff that suits me yet, though other office-based jobs sound interesting. Again, given that this is a US-based organization, visa issues would be tricky. But at this point I’m already used to tricky visa issues.

The Scholar Ship has shut down, so that option’s gone. I might apply for Sauve Scholars but it’s just as competitive and possibly more academic than I’d like.

I could always go back to Malaysia and work there, I suppose. I’d like to be Spidey’s assistant (the woman keeps thinking it would be an insult to ask me to be her PA. Despite me telling her a gazillion times that I’d be more than honoured to work with her. She probably finds it awkward to ask me to work for her.) Jobs in Malaysia for my capacity are limited though – there aren’t that many organized options for youth work and creative community development. I also have my projects that I want to start, but I do need to live off something, and I’d rather not have to depend on my parents.

So what shall I do, if KP NL doesn’t work out? Should I just try again anyway?

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OK, I was trying to edit this post on Deepest Sender, but instead of saving it, it decided to DELETE the post. Argh. Thankfully there was a version saved in my history, so I’ll use that instead.

Danish

Jeg læer dansk! Dav! Hvordan går det? Jeg er godt. 🙂
(translation: I’m learning Danish! Hello! How are you? I’m good.)

Weekly lessons at Manly, half-an-hour away by train. Am learning it with a lady who was in Denmark for four years and met her husband there, so my Danish is a little Aussie-accented (though with my weird combination of accents it could be anything, really). It wasn’t too hard, though some words are tricky because native Danish speakers say them really quickly, so words like “hedder” (name) sounds like “er” (is).

Cycling

I’m considering getting a second-hand bicycle to learn cycling on. I never got past training wheels as a child, but in Denmark everyone cycles so I should at least catch up. It helps that I have a cycling nut for a boyfriend (who incidentally also speaks Danish!). There is someone at UQ who’s selling his/her bike for $80, which is really cheap as far as bikes go. Assuming it doesn’t get sold off beforehand, Mark and I will give it a test run on Sunday. woo!

Edgeware

The Edgeware conference went great! I did a short talk on managing to get to Stockholm despite all the possible obstacles, and people were entertained and inspired. Too bad Frank isn’t hiring for speakers in Brisbane – I would have rocked! (If you are a speaker’s agency in Brisbane, please get in touch!) One of the people I brought in for my group discount, Chakae, turns out to be an awesomely talented fundraiser. She organized a please-help-us-pay-the-rent party for a designer friend in 2 weeks, and was pretty successful. She’s such a colourful character (literally and figuratively) and I am SO glad that we met! I’d say she was one of the biggest gifts I got from the Edgeware experience.

Naked Lady Party

Speaking of Chakae and fundraising: Myself, Chakae, and Nikki (hello :D) are co-organizing a Naked Lady clothes swap, partly to raise funds and partly because I need to get rid of a LOT of clothes and accessories. The idea is to have the swap one evening, then sell the rest at a market stall the next day. We were going to get $20 for the stall in return for volunteering at an event tonight, but the event’s already got enough volunteers…oh well. We just got free space for the venue (yay Carla and International House!!) so all that’s left is to organize (pretty simple – get food, get space, get stuff) and advertise. Nikki and I have classes and Chakae’s busy with organizing the Virtual Everest fundraising team for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation (sponsor Nikki, Chakae, and the Brisneyland community here!) so we probably won’t work on this fully till a fortnight or so. that’s fine; the hardest part was the venue, and we’ve got that down!

Course credit woes

I went to talk to my course coordinator, Adrian Thomas, this morning about getting my final elective-filled semester credited so that I could go to the KaosPilots while still having my QUT degree (otherwise I’d end up with a perpetually unfinished degree). The only way I could claim credit that way is to put in an application with detailed reference letters about all the work I did, but he’s skeptical that I’d get even one subject credited for that. He suggested that I go to Denmark anyway, and then write back to QUT after a semester with my progress report to get my credit, but visa issues may get in the way.

Honestly, I’ve more than proven my mettle in the subject matter, and I was way ahead of them with the workplace/service learning thing before they decided to implement it officially. Right now it’s a matter of bureaucratic paperwork more than anything else. I’m more than prepared to go to the KaosPilots without an official QUT degree; I’m not going to let a piece of paper stop me (heck, I don’t actually care; I’m not hung up on qualifications). However, it would be nice if I did manage to get that certificate so that my two years here isn’t completely wasted (not that I think it’s a waste; I did get some good things regardless of qualification, but at the same time learning for its own sake isn’t well-regarded in my culture. Feh.). I’ve emailed everyone I could think of whose reference letters aren’t so complete (and Bob, whose reference letter is PERFECT but has old contact details) and I’m getting that application for credit in!

House parties

I just finished Morrie Warshawski‘s book The Fundraising Houseparty, which is basically all about hosting a small party where you make a pitch for your venture and get people to support you. It’s simple, but quite effective if done right. To accomplish this, I need a good Host (someone whose house I can ninja) and I already have someone in mind; however, if anyone in Brisbane would like to host me, feel free to contact me!

Mental Health

I’m getting my mental health taken care of – I’ve sorted a Disability plan with the QUT Disability services that allows me to get extensions on my assignments if they start to pile up and I get anxious and stressed over them. I’m also going back on the Brisbane Mind program, which allows me 6 sessions with a psychologist for low prices. It was really helpful for me last year and this year I want to get preventative care – learning how to cope before the stress eats me. My year was ruined by my inability to get a grip on stress last year – things seriously fell apart. I don’t want that to happen again. I still need to find motivation to do uni work though.

Milestones

Geez, nearly a 1000 words for this update, and this might be post #100 according to WordPress. Yay milestones!

The KaosPilots have released their 3rd teaser for what seems to be their new newsletter (it can’t be the application, because that’s out already). It’s a memorial for the old newsletter, plus an interesting picture search. Take the challenge!

Pat, her friend Kitsune (heya) and I worked on drafting an email in Malay for the Khazanah scholarships. They’re a Malay organization and usually it’s better if you communicate in that language so that they take you seriously. We worked hard on making it sound formal and educated.

Then I get a reply – in casual English.

HA.

It’s good news though – they’re willing to look at my application, and I can apply for it under their Postgrad program (given that this would be a second degree – the Undergrad app is asking for stuff from Form 4, which is 2001). The form’s easy too, just demographic and school information. The only challenge is that it’s not parsing properly on my OpenOffice. so I have to figure that part out.

I got my first research job with BrainStore! The task was to look up Gellis Communications, a PR company in Brussels dealing with public affairs. They weren’t easy to look up as you had to pay for their annual report (it’s part of a bigger CD deal thingy with another company which has financial records of all the companies in Belgium) and a lot of other documents weren’t in English. I did my best in about 4 hours (max length of time) though, and hopefully I’ll get my 100 CHF (about 65 euro) – yay, first financial input for the KP fund!

I should really reapply for a Savings Maximiser; I might end up getting a penalty on the Term Deposit for opening it ahead of time.

BrainStore

Thank you BrainStore for being my first in-kind sponsor! They responded to my IdeaFactory request and gave me 10 ideas for free, at a value of CHF 10 (MYR 30). However, the ideas themselves could be worth a value.

Here they are, with my commentary:

10 ideas that help Tiara become a Kaospilot

Idea 1
Work at BrainStore
Come to BrainStore as a Trainee. The first three months you will be payed CHF 3000. Get used to live of that, so when your salary gets raised up to CHF 4500 a month you will be able to save at least CHF 1500 a month. That sums up to CHF 18’000 a year, raises not included. After 3-4 Years you will not only have enough money to become a KaosPilot, but also massive working experience as a ProjectManager. Use BrainStore as a good reference. BrainStore will connect you with new Contacts.

I’ve actually been offered a 12-month traineeship in Switzerland with Brainstore. This may work if I don’t make it to the KaosPilots in 2008 but need a job after graduation from uni. I’m already accepted as a NetScout (Internet researcher), which is freelance, so at least I can make some cash that way!

Idea 2
Sell your manpower through auctions
On eBay you offer companies your future knowledge (when you will be a perfect project manager) in the form of an auction; the company with the highest bid will get you as an employee for specified time.

EBAY. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT. This does put an interesting twist on the “employ me for a short time” thing I was thinking of offering as a sponsor deal. One company (or a few) can get higher priority on the list, and I can make my way down the list, offering short-term consultations for the future. I have a feeling GoldenPalace (the casino that buys up unusual eBay auctions for marketing purposes) would end up being the biggest bidder, but hey, it’s still money.

Idea 3
Be a courier
Work as a courier and carry important documents for private persons and companies from Malaysia to Denmark, so you can travel for free because they have to pay your flight.

This could work, at least for the Application Workshop because those are specific confirmed dates so planning would be easier. This also just inspired another idea: take orders for items that can only be found in one country and send it to those that want them back home. For example, kaya and kuih for Malaysians living in Denmark, or caviar in tubes for Danish people in Australia (or Mark), or Vegemite to Australian exchange students. I could charge a small fee + cost of item. Heck, I could even start a small-scale export business – mi goreng (instant noodles), for example, are HUUUUUUGE amongst Australian students and they’re super cheap in Malaysia. Also, kaftans sold in the West are way overpriced – I could put a small markup on locally bought kaftans and still make a profit. Promoting local crafts worldwide!

Idea 4
Chaperone an unaccompanied minor
Work as a chaperone for a child from a rich family and take care of the child during the flight, let the flight be payed as a fee.

Haha, I remember begging my parents to let me fly home alone from London when I was 12 because I wanted the Unaccompanied Minor experience. It was fun! I could perhaps accompany groups of youngsters together, like small school groups or exchange students or something. I know in Australia there are a lot of kids that travel alone between states, presumably because their parents are divorced. Airlines do take care of the kids pretty well but some sort of personal assistance would be good. Hmm…

Idea 5
Earn 50 Dollars a day by doing different jobs
Translate between Bengali and English; teach Bengali to KaosPilots; work as a fundraiser; run a Bangladeshi café.

Change “Bengali” to “Malay” and some of it might work. I could make quite good money teaching English to the KaosPilots – particularly with editing papers and learning the nuances of the language. If I could get a job as a fundraiser then I wouldn’t have such trouble fundraising. 😛 haha.

Idea 6
For free accommodation
Make a deal with a Danish person: swap your flats, so he / she can live in your accommodation in Malaysia, Bangladesh or Australia and in return you can live for free in Denmark.

I live either with my parents in Malaysia or in rented/student accommodation in Australia, and I don’t actually live in Bangladesh, so this would be a mite difficult if taken literally. However, I love host family living, and I’m looking into connecting with some UWP alumni in Denmark to see if I can stay with them for a while. I couch-surfed in Aarhus with a lovely artistic and spiritual woman named Pia – her apartment is a bit small to stay there long-term, but she’s a good example of how Couchsurfing works well! (Ah, someone else I could contact!)

Idea 7
A penny for Tiara
Create a Facebook entry called “A Penny for Tiara” and find persons and companies that pay you at least 1 Dollar to your PayPal account. In return, you will place the company’s logo on your page. Make an interesting documentation about your sponsor search and sell it as art.

Ha! Like the Million Dollar Homepage only a bit different. I already have the Facebook group so this is something I can incorporate – pay me a dollar and I’ll advertise you for a week, or something. The more you pay, the longer you get featured. The documentary idea was suggested before, but it can be extended into a video podcast or something. Though it would get a bit boring if it was just me typing!!

Idea 8
Rent out your knowledge
Change your knowledge against money. Look for interesting companies and they will pay for your education and in return you will give them your KaosPilot knowledge.

This was how I planned to sell my project to potential sponsors, but they phrased it more succinctly. Rent My Knowledge. Rent My Networks. Rent My Experiences. I like that. I can build on that.

Idea 9
Use your cultural background
Sell your knowledge about Southeast Asia to development institutions. Or advise travellers on Southeast Asia. Apply for a column or a blog at «The Economist» or similar newspapers and describe your experiences as a Bangladeshi student in the EU.

As mentioned previously, I am a geek for internationalization and cultural diversity, so this is a good angle for using my knowledge, interests, and what comes naturally. A cultural diversity consultant, if you will. The writing-a-column idea is awesome and yet so “duh” considering I am a young journalist!! It seriously should have been something I thought of ages ago! I did try writing an alternative education column for The Sun but that kinda fizzled after the first one. Maybe I can restart it, and look at magazines too – European ones would be good.

Idea 10
Change-cascade
Exchange items with others, so that every next item you get is more valuable then previous one. For example, you exchange a cup for a lamp, then the lamp for a wheel and so on. In the end you will get very valuable items you can sell.

Also known as the One Red Paperclip project. A friend tried to do it with a blue hanger but he didn’t get anywhere. This may be the least feasible idea (only because its main value lies in its novelty, and it’s already been done) but it can be expanded to a jumble sale of some sort, or a barter-exchange system.

Bonus idea
Convince people to work for you for free
Like we work for you almost for free because we find you an interesting person, maybe other people would be willing to do so too.

Awww *blush* 😀 Though isn’t that the whole point of sponsorship, to get people to give you stuff for free?! Hahaha.

Those weren’t the only ideas though. After I sent them a thank-you note, Samuel Muller (the Director of IdeaFactory) suggested I check out Maersk, a big company in Denmark that apparently does a lot of social and community support. Approaching service clubs in Aarhus would be good too.

So! 12+ ideas for the price of 10, which came for free. AWESOME. Thank you BrainStore!

If you need ideas for anything – from a pet name to a new way to develop a product – check out BrainStore and hire their IdeaFactory. Seriously, it’s so much fun and totally worth it.

Henrique is currently a student in Team 13 of the KaosPilots in Aarhus. He came over from Brazil and gladly shared his experiences of getting and surviving the KaosPilots with me. His story is extremely humbling and inspiring, and also in some parts scary:

My story in short – I have Italian citizenship and I was working in Amsterdam before applying to KP. My parents don’t have money to support me fully and I don’t have any savings.

I had saved some money in Amsterdam and that was enough for my first 3 months, including the start-up fee. By December 2006 I was broke and I had to start working. As I don’t speak Danish and I apparently don’t have any special skills (bartending, webdesign, singing/playing music, etc) I had to go down: delivering newspapers over holidays (exactly 1 year ago), cleaning bars and restaurants, etc.

Minimum wage is quite high in Denmark (min 95 DKK/hour) so my calculations were that if I work 23 hours per week, I’m able to pay my fee + rent + food (more or less 7,000 DKK). I did that for 4 months and I got sick of it, as it’s pretty tiring (energy) and you also miss a lot of opportunities within the KP (social and professional ones).

I also needed to go back to Brazil, to recharge my energies, so I miraculously managed to do my May Project there (wiki.homebase.dk/PauBrasil). Awesome. I also got a summer job in Rotterdam (KP school setup) that gave me some extra boost of energy (not much money tough). Since August I live in “couches and living rooms” so I don’t pay rent. I learned to live a simple life, spending little and cooking my own food, always.

Right now I own school money, some money to a colleague of mine, money to my parents and money to the bank. I have no idea how to manage my 1,5 years I have left, but I STILL believe a solution will come. I see the benefits of the Education so clearly that I can’t give up now. Otherwise I would have left 9 months ago, when I got my laptop and camera stolen, in Scandinavia!!

I don’t know if I could do what he did. I could live on couches (heck, I’d prefer to – anyone want to be my host family?) and cook for myself. I don’t mind a low entry-level job. But working yourself down just so you could live? I’ve done that and I never want to do that again. It drove me to insanity and sickness, and I had to give up a lot of things just so I could recover. And it also seems so crappy that Henrique had to give up amazing opportunities with the KaosPilots, just so he could work to earn enough money…to partake in the opportunities with the KaosPilots. What’s the point, then?

At least the school seems to be flexible about money, which is good. Parents are out of the question for me. I’ve been raised to never borrow money so I don’t know how I’ll get the nerve to request a loan – and besides, I’d probably be stuck in some administrative loophole anyway due to citizenship issues. I may actually have to work 23 hours a week just to support myself. Even in Australia I’m only allowed 20 max. And no job that takes less than 20 hours a week will pay you well – unless you’re a nude model.

He and his two teammates Zulma and AnnaLena (South American and Germany) are also facing money issues and none of them have worked out how to get their fees covered. Apparently the KaosPilots are starting a scholarship to support up to two people a team – please let me be one of them! But if they were not successful with their efforts…I’m starting to worry about mine. Henrique even tried asking the Danish government and it didn’t work! It does mean I’ll have to work even harder. The one thing I have going for me is that I’d be the first Asian…though with my luck they’d probably have 17 Asian students apply at the same time, or something.

Henrique offered to help with my budget, and did give me the great news that Macs aren’t necessary! Though if someone gives one to me I won’t turn them down…

I was in Penang for a few days and I came up with a few ideas to raise awareness – mainly fun creative promo material. IT’s cute, but I don’t know how effective it’d be. I guess I have to arm myself with skills in Danish and plate-washing.

In the GK3 conference there are 2 Walls of Opportunities set up – one in Centerstage for the main exhibitors and one in the YSEI tent. I left messages in both walls asking for help with KaosPilot funding. So far I got a reply from Ruairi of SpunOut, offering linkages (he is a pretty nifty Irish dancer XD), and Daniel of Ideapreneur, whom I’ve befriended, posted a note under mine saying he could connect me with investors. Silly person, he could just talk to me since we chat all the time! But it’s fun, and a LOT of people have been posting up opportunities. I hope they collect and archive all the messages and put them up online, that would be a GREAT resource.

Amy Baker, whom I’m guessing is Laurie Meadoff’s assistant, has offered to set up a time with me to chat with her about my request. Yay! It will be a little tricky as she is based in the US, but at least this is something concrete. Who knows where it would lead to.

While I was at GK3, I spent a LOT of time at BrainStore’s ideaFactory (by the way: HELLO BRAINSTORE PEOPLE! I know you’ll probably find this blog in five seconds, as you did last time. Say hi. :D) playing with ideas. Phase 1 was to come up with all sorts of inspirations – the sillier the better, IMHO. In Phase 2, the inspirations are collected and exhibited, and visitors are asked to come up with more concrete ideas fitting the theme of World of Entrepreneurs. You could write them down on paper or key them into their database, and if you want them drawn there are Illustrators wandering around to literally visualize your idea. The better ideas are hung up on display and people vote for their favourite three, then the ones with 3 or more votes will be (or already have) processed by an expert thinktank until they choose the best 20 to be presented at this evening’s Closing Plenary.

I contributed about 20 or so ideas on the World of Entrepreneurs theme, and many of them earned a lot of votes. Among them were youth investments, NGO/Social Enterprise money, a socially-conscious dating service, abolishing exams (very typical of an educated deviant!!), a system to suggest research topics to academics, and much more. I must have set some sort of a record!! I won’t be surprised if half of the 20 ideas at tonight’s plenary are mine, really. I did jokingly ask people to “vote for MEEEEE”, but it was more empowering for myself to see my ideas up for sharing and people actually appreciating them.

I managed to get the attention of Markus Mettler, the founder of BrainStore. He’s a bit younger than I expected given that the company was founded 17 years ago (he started it when he was 20). I asked him (as I did everyone else) how I could get involved with BrainStore and when he asked me what my strengths are, I told him “those better ideas you have at the Airport (the display area)? Half of them are MINE.”. As soon as I said that, he offered me a one-year traineeship at BrainStore in Switzerland. w00t! (Well, I have to APPLY first, but chances are good.) I then asked him if his company could sponsor me to be a KaosPilot student. He didn’t really say anything, but did say that if I ever make it to Europe, I’m more than welcome to work with BrainStore. He’s supposed to connect me to Anne who works with Research too, as I love researching.

If the KaosPilots thing doesn’t work out, at least I have another option! But I am DEFINITELY going to send him a better proposal soon. I need to look up this business of fundraising by selling “shares”. Sounds like a great idea, but I’m not sure what I can offer investors. Ideas?

Speaking of which. I’m considering hiring BrainStore to come up with fuindraising ideas for me. RM30, not bad. I hope they accept PayPal.

  1. Contact the following:
  2. Look up foundations in Denmark
  3. Look up contact information for:
    • Malaysia – Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Trade?
    • Denmark – Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their trade/business people, their youth services people?
    • Australia – Ministry of Education, Youth Minister, trade??
    • Bangladesh – Federal Government
    • City Councils – Aarhus, Iskandar/Johor Bahru, Brisbane
    • Danish Club of Brisbane
    • Some sort of Danish/Scandinavian association in Malaysia and Bangladesh
    • Whoever in QUT is good for this sort of thing
  4. Finish STA Travel Trust app and send it in
  5. Set up the following on blog:
    • Contact Me
    • How To Help
    • Important Dates widget
    • Blogroll
    • Budget
    • 100 Ways To Fundraise list
  6. Get blog promoted and listed
  7. Look through fundraising ideas on computer and see if any are feasible, then add to list
  8. Post question about fundraising on AskMefi
  9. Post blog on Mefi Projects once pages are completed

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