Monday, September 8, 2008

Deadly Noise

Description of issue/problem:

Loud sound is widely known to be detrimental to workplace safety because it can cause exposed workers to experience hearing loss and tinnitus. Due to this, there are extensive regulations and measures in place to protect workers who work under excessively loud conditions. However, the lesser known fact is that much quieter sounds also pose certain threats to health. Here I just want to talk about some problems that may be arisen by such noises.

Sound as a stimulus to humans is very powerful because it has the ability to affect emotion as well as cause physiological changes. When people hear sounds, they are affected psychologically depending on how they perceive what they hear. Music for example has powerful mood-altering capabilities which may then be accompanied by a physiological change such as a change in heart rate. Sound which is perceived to be unpleasant or irritating is called noise. It is important to note that a sound which is noise to one person may not bother the next person at all. Generally, people involved in the activity that causes the sound will not have a problem with it, but to some people who are around and not involved in it, that sound may acquire the properties of noise . Such kind of noise can come from anywhere and from anything. Even sounds which are relatively quiet such as the inconsistent and incessant beeping of an office photocopier can be noise. It can be generated by equipment and machinery, people, and audio systems for example. It can also come from outdoors, such as traffic and construction site.

This is a especially widespread problem in Singapore which is a rapidly developing city-state being engaged in the expansion of infrastructure and the development of new areas. Since it is a small nation with limited land area, this leads to the crowding of city centres. Along with this, the noise level and the number of people affected by it are also rising. The effects of noise must be brought to light immediately so that the growth of the problem can be slowed down and measures can be taken to silence the noise before it is too late.

Individually, noise makes it impossible for people to get relaxed. This causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase and makes central nervous system to work along with hormonal systemsto keep the mind and body alert. Then of course, by definition, noise causes annoyance and irritation which cause people who work in noisy environment to be under constant stress. Over time, these conditions can lead to cardiovascular disorders, disruption of sleep patterns, and various mental illnesses such as depression.

Research Questions:

How much do you know about Noise Pollution in Singapore and to what extent it has influenced our normal day life?

Purpose Statement:

The objective of the report is to determine and raise the awareness of the public on the issue of noise pollution. Hopefully, it may also get some attention from relevant authorities, such as Singapore Environment Council and National Environment Agency.

Reasons for surveys:

No authority in Singapore has made any regulations or even given any recommendations to deal with Noise Pollution because unlike very loud noise, it is not a very apparent danger. The majority of people remain unaware of the effects of such noise and so even solutions which are available have not been implemented. That's why I believe an attitudinal survey would be necessary for us to know the public's general knowledge on this so that we would be able to study it further and provide some feasible solutions.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Interpersonal Conflict

There is a lady working as a secretary. At 430 pm on a weekday, she found that there was little work left, so he made a call to her boyfriend after which they dicided to meet after work at 500 pm downstairs of her company. They planned to have dinner together, followed by watching a movie.

Unexpectedly, at 10 minutes to the end of the whole day’s work, her boss suddenly came to her, holding a pile of documents, anxiously asked whether she would like to work overtime. Because a client shift the meeting time to the following morning, so the manager needed some of the materials to be ready by 900 am on the next day. After a glance at the stack of file, this lady knew for sure that the work would take at least 3 to 4 hours to be finished. So what shall she do? How should she react?

Two responds were quickly formed in her mind. One was to sacrifice her own benefit, stay and complete the job given. For God’s sake, that was her boss. How could someone refuse the request given by she/he boss? If so, she has to go downstairs and tell her boyfriend that the activities for the night are cancelled due to blabla, then come back and work on. The boss would be happy, but it would certainly be very disappointed to herself and her boyfriend.
The other alternative was simply to say no and sorry to her boss and tell him she already had some arrangement for that night. Maybe the boss could find someone else. However, this will surely leave a bad impression to the boss.
Neither way seemed to be pleasant for her. So in the end she just lied to her boss that she was not feeling well and was going to see a doctor at night. Although her boyfriend was always supportive to her job, breaking the promise to him would make her feel even more regretful. She was also afraid that it might cause problems between them some day if things like this continued.
This is a real story happened to a friend of mine who is quite cautious and compliant to her superiors. But I cannot totally agree to her choice in this case. Forget about whether the boss would believe what she said, being dishonest itself is something very wrong. Here we should recognize that the most important issue is the task given by the boss. Negotiation can still be made on the premise of completing the job. For example, she consented to work for overtime. But even so people still need to eat right? She could go down and eat with her boyfriend, then tell him about the sudden task given and postpone the movie to another day.
How do you guys think about her choice made? Are there any other better alternatives?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Effective Communication

To communicate effectively is not only about conveying your ideas to others, but also how to achieve that in a skillful and sophisticated way. No one will get your thoughts if you don’t tell them or tell wrongly. It is the ability or skill to express oneself in the context of perceiving and managing the emotions of others. It will strengthen your existing relationships with others and help you to form positive bonds in future interactions.

The importance of developing effective communication can be reflected in many areas. One example is on the work level. Today majority of jobs requires us to deal with people, especially in big organizations. A lot of emphasis has been put on the internal communication – downward, upward, and horizontal. Sometimes different techniques are required for different group of people. To a certain extent, the ability to communicate effectively with people will determine one’s success in the organization.

Also, like what Mr Blackstone has mentioned, when coming to a new society or group, it is important to pay attention on their culture, habit so that we can adapt into the new environment fast. We have to break some of the barriers, such as differences in language, tradition, intrinsic habits of behaviors, etc. Effective communication skills will help us to transfer information and understanding between people and also promote relationships with them.

To learn to communicate effectively is a lifelong lesson. Now for the first time, we have a chance to assess it in a more focused and specialized way. From the content of the text book, I got to know that there are so many aspects of communication skills that I was unaware of, such as the use of appropriate language – both verbal and nonverbal. I am sure these professional knowledge will helps us to express ourselves in better ways.