Be Persistent

Would you think this person is insane?

She boils a potato for five minutes then takes it out and one month later boils it again for five minutes. She keeps doing that for 6 months and complains why the potato cannot be done.

I bet that you would say she is insane. It takes 30 consecutive minutes boiling a potato to make it done.

We are doing the same!

However, can you see that we also do the same things in our lives? I found myself learned English for a few months intending to improve it or to get high IELTS scores but then quit for a half year or so before restart learning again. In contrary to my intention, my English skills have never reach the level they are required to gain 7.0 score in IELTS.

Well, if I keep doing the same way and complaining why I cannot reach my goal, should I call myself insane?


April 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

How did I study English

Have you ever wanted to know why somebody can get an English certificate with high score? This post seeks to provide you the experience of learning English from someone who has never been outside of Vietnam but possess a 935 score in TOEIC test.

After upgrading my English level by taking a TOEIC test, I received many questions from my friends as well as colleagues asking me how long did I prepare for the test and how come I could make that fast. Well, I have to say that success always pertains to effort. There was nothing like miracle here.

I just haunted myself with English everyday. You can refer to following ways I used to study English:

  • Listen to podcasts (downloaded by iTunes) every chance you can (in the morning when you wake up or before you go to bed)
  • Read news and articles in English
  • Try to write down your feelings or anything you experience during the day/week
  • Learn any course from skill port (for FCG associates only) as this can help you to improve not only professional and soft skills but also your English
  • Don’t read the subtitle when you watch movies on cable TV
  • If you want to have a high score in TOEIC test then you should find sample tests to practice as much as you can

And one important thing you should do is finding a motivation so that you can stay committed to your goals.

October 22, 2007 at 10:07 am 1 comment

Going to a concert

I was invited to a concert at the city’s opera house, which is an activity in a series of activities and seminars celebrating the six-day event Holland Days 2007, this evening. This was a really interesting concert with cocktail session where people can get to know each others.

The music was great. The orchestra made up of some forty more artist was led by a Dutch conductor named David Porcelijn. The band has violins, cellos, violas, trumpets, big drum, a drum set with four special big drums (timpani), flutes, xylophone… I liked the woman who played the timpani drum set the most because she looked so special and brave with the four big drums around her. There was also a female vocal artist from Netherlands, who is very tall – like most of other Dutch ladies and gentlemen, with a beautiful voice. I loved to look at the conductor as the band performing the symphonic music. Swinging along with music while waving his hands, that bald man looked half like a professor and half like a child playing with a wand. To me, the music was like a flow of water. Sometimes it is slow and smooth as a small stream whereas it may sometimes rumbling like the water falling down a fall. I found myself imagined of a march of triumph or a mild pond with falling leaves and singing birds.

If I have a chance to study in Europe, I surely will attend a classical concert to have the experience of enjoying classical music in an European opera house.

With great thanks to:

Gideon Schipper and his wife – Onika Pinkus – to invite me

Gideon, Onika, Tai Tran, Trang Le and Rose (a friend of Onika) to share a wonderful evening with me

October 21, 2007 at 5:07 pm 2 comments

A book that causes changes

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
– Henry D. Thoreau –

One day I went to a bookstore with my closed friend and found a nice designed book with quite a long title “Our fingers are still scented with lavender” (Ngón tay mình còn thơm mùi oải hương). That title sounded familiar to me as I had read good reviews for the book on some newspaper and magazines and I asked my friend whether I should buy the book (my friend is really good at literature and she reads many many books). The answer I got was I shouldn’t buy it because it is not as good as the book “My dear Oxford” (Oxford thương yêu) (I translated all the books’ name from Vietnamese into English by myself, hence it may not correct). Luckily, after a while of hesitation, I decided to buy the book anyway.

After reading the first article in the book, I knew that I didn’t have to regret because of buying it. The author, who is just my age, narrated her interesting journeys from places to places, countries to countries and embedded in her narrations were her own thoughts and feelings. I let my mind following her freely and enjoyed the journeys with her. Every story, every sentence has a seduction that made me can’t take my eyes off the book. Like kids playing basketball and dreaming of being the next Michael Jordan, I want to be like Uyen Ngo, to experience the life of an international student in Europe, to see and feel the historical and interesting places in the world with my own eyes and to have the insight of western people, their habit, their points of view towards Vietnam.

So, I decided that I have to get a scholarship to study in Europe and I started planning for my life. The first thing I decided to do was getting a more-than-or-at-least-equal-900 score in the TOEIC test. Besides, I also tried to add more sport activities into my daily life and go walking or jogging every morning was a good start. Step by step, I am changing my life and finding endless fun in absorbing knowledge. Now I know for sure that I can only be satisfied by winning a scholarship to Europe.

October 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Equip yourselves with useful and important information

Have you ever had problems that might result from not fully comprehending labor law (labor code)?

Only when a friend of mine, who graduated from RMIT with a bachelor of commerce degree, asked me about social insurance, health insurance, labor contract and severance allowance issues in labor code, I realized that Vietnamese workers don’t have adequate knowledge about their legitimate benefits.

On the very fist week joining FCGV, which is his first company here in Vietnam, an Australian colleague of mine searched on the internet for the Labor Code of Vietnam and asked me some questions regarding the mentioned issues. I found one of the differences between foreign workers and Vietnamese workers are the proactive attitude. Vietnamese only search for the useful information when it comes to problems while foreigners they learn the information in advance.

I agree that you cannot find information about the labor code from courses at schools or universities unless you learn about accounting and finance. However, you can find it from books at bookstore or just try a quick search on Google, you can easily find that kind of information. That kind of information helps you a lot to get your deserved benefits as well as determine whether the company you are working for is a good employer or not. My friend only found out that her company violated the Labor Code seriously after consulting me. Why should you work for such a company like that? It’s because you don’t know the information. I also know some other cases people don’t know how to get their own benefits or how to protect themselves because of lacking of basic information.

So, my friends, please equip yourselves with useful and important information before it comes to time you realized that you are made use by bad employers.

October 17, 2007 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

The power of analytic technologies

As you may know, thousands of calls go through a call center everyday. Many calls contain valuable information for the business including agent traits, customer behaviors, competitors’ movements and so forth. Just imagine how much effort management team, supervisors and analysts must spend striving to listen to a massive number of calls in order to find out concerning information. That’s such a time consuming job, right? Thank goodness, we now have analytic technologies helping us in this tough job.


  • Speech Analytics

Speech analytic solutions are currently based on two following technologies:

– Speech-to-text: technology to transcribe recorded audio to text.

– Phoneme-based: technology to identify strings of phonemes and index them.

With transcribed recordings and phonemes’ index, system provides user option to search for words or phrases in the calls. Calls can be tagged with attributes based on combinations of phrases or words in the script texts. These tags can be input information for compliance management, trend analy

sis, root cause analysis and so forth.

Do you believe that an emotional calls can be detected here? Yes, speech analytics can do that for you. Basing on occurrences of words or phrases, the system can point out which call is emotional, which is a sign of bad call handling skills or of something about customer’s behavior should be noticed.

  • Screen Analytics

Screen analytic solutions are using to capture and interpret on-screen activities technology. What takes place on an agent’s desktop can be valuable information to identify attributes of a call or behaviors

of customers or agents. This solution provides user option to “teach” system how to recognize events happen on screen. The same as speech analytics, calls can be tagged with some attributes based on events recognized by the system.

  • Data Mining

Along with script texts and events got from speech and screen analytics, customer feedbacks is also an input for data mining. The data mining technology will scan and find patterns in call data which maybe not obvious to user but indeed the reason of effectiveness or ineffectiveness in the business.

Examples of mining results:

  • Why is call handling time much lower on weekends than weekdays for caller requesting information about a new product?
    • Because agents are telling customers to call back on Monday.
  • Why is there an increase in emotional calls?
    • Account holders are calling to complain about a lower fee schedule available only to new customers as part of a new account promotion.

With these findings, root causes, which answer the “why” questions, are emerged. The solution can also estimate impacts of these causes on the mission achieving goals of the company.

The results…

The power of analytic technologies

So, at the end of the day, data are transformed into actionable business insights thanks to the analytics technologies:

  • Supervisors will only have to listen to calls that are matter most and identify which agents need more training.
  • Management will know what is going on and why that happens and therefore actions can be taken to improve the business performance. Moreover, they can also prioritize what to do first basing on estimated impacts.


With great thanks to:


Gideon Schipper – Business Analyst Manager – First Consulting Group Vietnam


Tai Tran – Business Analyst – First Consulting Group Vietnam

October 3, 2007 at 3:42 pm 1 comment

Describing Facial Features

1. Shape of the face:

  • Round
  • Oval
  • Thin
  • Square
  • Long
  • Heart-shaped

2. Eyes:

  • Bulging
  • Round
  • Squinted (or squinty) (lé)
  • Color
  • Diamond-shaped
  • Sparkle
  • Glitter
  • Deep
  • Eyebrow:

    • bushy
    • well-developed
    • arched (hình vòng cung)
    • thick
    • straight

3. Nose:

  • Pointed
  • Flat
  • Hooked
  • Turned up -> up-turned
  • Turned down -> down-turned
  • Triangular
  • Straight
  • Fleshy tip
  • Big
  • Snub (hếch)

4. Lips:

  • Thin
  • Thick
  • Full
  • Round
  • Curved
  • Narrow
  • Small

5. Ears:

  • Average size
  • Big
  • Small
  • Stick out
  • Small/large lobes (thùy tai)

6. Chin:

  • Roundish (or rounded)
  • Square
  • Pointed (or pointy)
  • Protruding (nhô ra)
  • Receding (thụt vô – cằm lẹm)

7. Hair:

  • Long
  • Short
  • Curly
  • Straight
  • Bald
  • Color (blond, brown, red, black…)
  • Silky
  • Thick

8. Cheeks:

  • Prominent cheek-bones: gò má cao.
  • Shiny
  • Red
  • Narrow

9. Others

  • Dimple: lúm đồng tiền
  • Scar

October 2, 2007 at 1:10 pm 1 comment

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