This week was rather special due to the piling work and a small reprise that my theme TAs helped to organise. With a mountain of work in our way, we were quite flustered, but our TAs organised us to go to Alibaba’s HQ for a small personalised tour that helped us have a view for their working culture and environment. This helped to bring us out of the same old views of our desks and out to have a break that I believe much of the team needed.
The first of the funny occurrences was first, or name tags. It was absolutely hilarious because every single one of our names got shortened into something weird like Ko*us (that’s mine), while our TAs both had proper names on their tags. I guess they aren’t used to having visitors that have names longer than 4 letters.
Another interesting thing we saw was the mart with no service staff, and all payments were made via facial recognition. This was rather intriguing and we were told that the whole thing runs on the tracking of movement of a person using cameras. Within this mart also had a funny station called that gave discounts based off your smile which was a rather funny sight, with some of our friends making weird faces to the camera just to see what kind of result would come out. However due to people only having 1 try in the day, it made it rather difficult to try how each expression will change how the system will react to it. Nonetheless it was a good laugh.
We also had a short tour of their recreation facilities, and a presentation on the structure and goals of Alibaba. After which, we went to the nearby shopping mall to have seafood at the well known 河马 place. It was live seafood for a really decent price of 400 yuan, shared between 4 people. That’s like about 20 odd SGD for crabs, prawns, fish and crayfish. Really it was quite the steal.
After all this adventure that morning, the mid-afternoon onwards and the rest of the week was really back to work and facing the same old thesis, trying to improve the phrasing and triple checking that the information inside was done right.