PART 1 – Introduction & Interview
Let’s talk about what you do…
Q. Do you work or are you a student?
A. Well, I am currently working as a “regional sales manager” in a multinational corporation, headquartered in the USA, and it deals with the manufacturing of computer hardware. I have finished my graduation 7 years ago, and I have been working for the last six years or so.
Q. What are your job responsibilities? Why did you choose that kind of work?
A. As a “regional sales manager”, I need to look after the sales of my territory and it includes pretty much everything related to the sales of computer hardware that our company manufactures. Moreover, I have to supervise a team of eight to ten employees and monitor their performance on a monthly basis. I also attend different meetings, prepare reports for the higher authority and conduct training sessions for new recruits.
I took this job almost six years ago primarily because it perfectly matched my academic background, skillset and expectations. I was hesitant at the beginning but after working there for a long time, I now feel quite lucky to have been employed by this large company as they offer plenty of growth opportunities.
Q. What is a typical day like at your work?
A. A typical day at my work begins with a refreshing cup of coffee in the morning and then with my work with the account inventory management. I set the sales target for the week if required, and then distribute that to my team. Occasionally, I need to visit large hardware stores in my city to learn the real sales scenarios and match them with the statistics I was provided the week before. Besides, I also need to pay attention to complaints and queries from corporate clients before I go out to a restaurant to have my lunch. Setting up new strategies or revising existing sales strategy is something I like to do on my way back home or when I take a break and sit in the meeting room with a cup of coffee in my hand. I often read newspapers, check my emails, talk with my colleagues and drink around 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Overall, I enjoy my work schedule and like to have things done on time.
Q. Are there things you don’t like about it? What are they?
A. Yes, there are certain things that I still cannot cope up with, but these are minor issues and does not impact on my performance, I believe. Making sure all of my team members achieve their sales target every month or consulting those who miss the target is a hefty task. Besides, working on a weekend is something I do not like at all but have to abide by if it is asked by the upper management.
Part 2 – Cue Card/Candidate Task Card
Describe an important historical event in your country.
You should say:
- when it happened
- what happened
- who were the most important people involved
and say why it was important to your country and people.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
The Umbrella Revolution is one of the most important historical events of Hong Kong. It was initiated by the students in 2014 and lasted for over three months, blocked traffic and usual activities for a couple of months. The movement was initiated to protest against the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. It was a political movement where the police turned violent and the situation went out of control for a certain time. This is a very smart cue card task for a candidate like me. I will answer the remaining questions in brief.
The umbrella movement protested against some political decisions. In the beginning, it was only some peaceful sit-ins by students of different educational institutions. But later, the movement was participated by thousands of individuals from different classes of the society. The demand of the movement was the cancellation of the NPCSS decision. Political harassment was a concerning issue then.
It was a group movement and so, no true leadership was formed here. The movement was participated mostly by a group of students, and after sometimes, the locals started joining the movement. In fact, it was a movement for free and fair election in Hong Kong so that each of the candidate gets the equal chance to be elected or rejected in the national election. The name was provided by Adam Cotton and social website – twitter helped greatly to spread the name.
It was really important for the country on some grounds. It showed that the people are conscious about their rights and responsibilities on voting in elections. The government termed the movements as instigated by foreign sources and also blamed that the educational institutions were becoming political tools. But it was necessary to give the government a severe blow to political issues.
More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card topic:
Topic: Describe an important historical event in your country.
1. The Black Death that occurred in the Mid-14th century was a historical event for London. Due to the outbreak of this disease, a good number of people died. People of every class were affected by this health disorder. Now, the event is considered as the part of dark history. The aftermaths of the disorder were notable. People turned back to religion with some new inspirations.
2. The event of September 11 in 2001 was one of the most historically important events in the USA. On this day, some so-called Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center – an American landmark. Some people were brainwashed by Osama Bin Laden and conducted the deliberate attack to cause damage to the USA. It was the beginning of a new history in the USA and the War on Terror begin from that day.
3. The Battle of Plassey took place in 1757. It was the beginning of colonialization in India and surrounding areas. By bribing Mir Jafar Ali Khan, an associate of Siraj Ud-Daulah, the British East Indian company won the battle. Siraj Ud-Daulah was the last independent Nawab of the country and after his fall, the British regime began in this subcontinent. The event was important in some aspects. Settlements from different other places were done based on trade and other purposes.
4. The year of 1964 is an important year for Canada. On this year, the country received its own flag. Before this year, Canada had to use the Union Jack. The legislative body of the country is largely commendable for this purpose. In fact, a flag helps to represent sovereignty and the country did not have that. So, it was an important event on December 15 in 1964 when the Canadian flag was hoisted. The maple leaf was picked after different options.
5. Independence of Japan was one of the important events in the country’s history. Before the independence, Japan was under the USA authority. The USA emancipated Japan on January 1 in 1952 and declared it as an independent country. The inner movements for independence played an important role in this case. Now, we are an independent nation and have ample options for development.
6. The revolution of China in 1911 was an important event in the country’s history. It was termed as the Chinese Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and played a great role in the fall of Qing Dynasty. The revolution also ended the feudalist society in China which was around 2000-year-old. The revolution was led by Dr Sun Yat-sen. This was an important event because it helped to create a new society in China.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Q. How do different cultures in the world celebrate different events?
Answer: People of various cultures celebrate their respective festivals and occasions based on their tradition, religion and custom. Marking the events, they take necessary preparations and celebrate by performing rituals, making merriment, showing their respects, forgetting past woes and social differences among people, inviting people to have food and drinks together and finally, wearing traditional or appropriate dresses. If this is a religious festival, they follow the tradition and religious norms, and if this is a national event, they observe it accordingly. From my experience, I can say that the same event, for example, the new year eve, is differently celebrated and observed based on people’s tradition and county of origin.
Q. What is the importance of festivals in our life?
Answer: Ummm… festivals are meant for social gathering, enjoyment and showing our gratitude marking different social, cultural, historical and religious events and from this regard, they are quite important to help us forget our social differences and enjoy our life to the fullest while remembering our past. In modern time, the focus of the festival is diverse and so are their importance in making us happy in life and to help us get revived for the time ahead. Besides, festivals help reconnect people, upheld our values and cultures and help us forget our social and racial differences.
During the festival, we forget our ordinary daily routine and enjoy our time with our friends and family. We also wear new dresses and eat traditional and delicious food which remind us of the importance of our family and friends in our life and let us show our gratitude for everything that we are offered in life.
Q. How have special occasions such as weddings changed in your culture?
Answer: Special occasions and celebrations and rituals associated with them have changed markedly during the last few decades in our country. In the past, when a man and woman decided to get married, they used to go to a monk and followed some traditional rituals to become husband and wife. Now they need to register the marriage from a marriage registrar to be declared as husband and wife. Besides, celebrations related to a marriage or similar other important ceremonies are much widely celebrated in a larger social circle. Picking the right date for the marriage to be held was an important matter in past but losing its importance and becoming old-fashioned. Moreover, couples are avoiding old traditions when they get married these days.
Q. What history has to offer to people? What lessons should we learn from the past?
Answer: Thank you for this great question. History is the science of the past and the guide for the future. It tells us about what people did in the past, how an event unfolded and what was its consequences, and how those are different from the present settings. Thus, history offers us a great insight into the past world and constantly guide us for a better and prosperous future. Besides, it teaches us real-life lessons by unveiling the forecast about the future.
As for what lessons we should learn from history, I believe that “history repeats itself”. So we should learn from it that when we work together, we achieve great things. But when we get engaged in conflicts, it brings us to the verge of destruction as a civilisation. We should also learn how to avoid major wars and maintain world peace for every nation.
Q. History suggests that human civilisation is prone to get involved in war and conflicts. What is your suggestion to maintain world peace?
Answer: No doubt human history is full of conflicts and wars, and nations were, and still are, in competition to design the most deadly weapons of mass destruction. Major wars have claimed millions of innocent lives and have ruined our civilisations. We should, at any cost, maintain the world peace and avoid deadly wars like World War | or World War ||.
I think a balance of power among the nations is a must to avoid major conflicts and wars. Besides, any powerful weapon that can kill thousands of people should never be allowed to exist. Moreover, every nation should be required to sign a treaty not to get involved in any kind of war. We should keep in mind that “humanity” is more important than borders, and nations should prioritise their citizens’ economic freedom and basic human rights in order to avoid civil wars.
Q. Should students learn history at the university level as a mandatory subject? Why/ why not?
Answer: Umm… I do not agree with the suggestion that all university students, regardless of their majors, should study and learn history. I think that it would be better if history is made mandatory in primary and high schools so that students learn about “history” and can become passionate about it. Afterwards, if they feel strongly about “history”, they can learn it themselves or take it as an optional course in the university. University education should be focused on someone’s major and thus science majors might not feel interested in learning about history as an academic subject.