Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Cappella Comedy - at it's best.

This is funny. This is good. See if you can name the movie titles of the corresponding theme songs. Hint: John Williams.

But wait, that's not the end of their creative minds. Check out Moosebutter's homepage and try out all their songs. Yes, you can listen to all their songs online and if you really fancy them, go on and buy them. $0.99 each and it's not much for a funny little tune to entertain yourself. Personal favourites are the movie-related ones which include Psycho: The Musical and Harry Potter. Of course, while Christmas is still on, check out their funny X'mas songs. You won't regret giving the site a visit. Chances are you'd stay there the next 10 minutes sampling all the songs.

A Cappella Comedy. Totally fitting of their style.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy holidays.

Long holiday, more to come. Been rather busy acting busy and finding stuff to do. What do I really want to do? Mahjong. Well I'm not a big fan of the game itself, it's more of getting to sit down and chat with friends while playing that interests me.

Just want to sit down and chat the night away. 2 more months to go before I head back to an even more hectic life in a slower-paced country. How ironic.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Not as good as I would hope for, but not too far from what I expected. Well, I'll just have to review my papers if I have the chance to and see what happened. Hopefully I can crawl back up to my grade.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Idle mind

It suddenly struck me that I have not spending enough time with myself these days. I used to have some regular periods where I sit down or lie down and simply think over stuff or let my mind wander, but this habit seems to have been lost some time ago. Not sure if it's a good thing or not, but I do miss those times of silence.

Another 2 years and I would most likely be in the work force. Although I seems nice now to be able to earn my own income and support myself financially, I am starting to suspect that this is just one of the other greener-grass syndromes I have had over my life so far. Maybe we all just yearn change, until a point where even change itself becomes so regular it bores you and you just want a simple (boring) life.

I don't have much time left. I really don't, and it scares me everytime I think of the future. Another phase is coming to an end in the near-future and I hope I can prepare myself for that coming change. Of course, never forget to spend enough time to enjoy, right?

I really feel old.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Home again.

It's been about 10 days since I have been back home. Nothing really changed, and I guess that's a good thing. Only thing different that I have yet to really understand is how the lives of the people back here have changed. Yes, it is expected that my friends would all now be mugging their lives away, but I have not yet have the chance to sit down and chat with them about school life.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing off my 3-week-short obligation. 1 week down and 2 to go, and it really isn't going to take long.

I still need a bloody job.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stale and stuffy

Back at last, breathing that same stuffy, humid air. But hey, I'm not complaining, really.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Waiting, waiting.

It's over. 1 year has passed and all I can do now is to wait for my results. I'm getting a little uptight about it, and to be honest I'm not as confident about this semester, partly because I think I have put in slightly lesser effort during the exam period.

Oh well, I'll have to wait about a month before getting my results, so no point worrying now. All I have to do now is to help clear up the house and pack all my stuff, and prepare to go home. 4 more days to home, and I can barely wait.

Just need to find something to do when I'm back home. Seems like all the banks are busy closing down that they don't want me as an intern. How saddening.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wine-Infused Orange

Here's a little dessert I managed to assemble from a couple of different stuff I had in the fridge: Wine-infused orange with mango and pistachio, served with ice-cream.

I was inspired by my aunt's brandy-infused orange and I thought I'd test out with white wine since I didn't have anything else in the fridge. The syrup does not taste as good as the brandy version, but the orange does go quite nicely once it absorbs the wine flavour.

Wine-infused Orange:
1. Skin an orange with a knife and slice horizontally, discarding the top most and bottom most slices after squeezing out the juice. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off a thin layer of the orange skin, avoiding the fibre inside.
2. Heat a pan and place the orange peel in to warm, just to release some of the oils on the skin, then add water in and dissolve sugar to create a syrup. Take out the orange peel to avoid over-cooking it.
3.Add in white wine and simmer to boil off some of the alcohol. Leave it aside to cool.
4. Lay orange slices in a bowl or flat-base container and pour wine mixture in, and leave to chill overnight.

Dice some mango into small cubes, and add crushed pistachios and mix.
Place orange, add some mango, and top with another slice of orange.
Finally top with a scoop of ice-cream and sprinkle some more pistachio.
Spoon some of the wine mixture over and serve.

Confession to make. I cheated and used MacDonald's' McFlurry to top it off. I'd rather have plain vanilla to go with the orange and pistachios, and not let the Oreo get in the way.
I did not chill the orange overnight so it didn't quite absorb all the flavour of the wine.
I quite enjoyed the mango and pistachio mix, and I believe some chopped mint leaves would greatly improve the taste of this.
Maybe adding some aromatic herbs to cook into the wine syrup will add even more depth.

Well, not much of a success, but I'll be back to work on this.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pan Fried Salmon

I decided to take step further and explore a little more with cooking. Decided to pick up some fresh ingredients from the supermarket and not use pre-made sauces and stuff like that.

I'm pretty pleased with today's experience in the kitchen. My past cooking experiences were more of assembling food than really getting down to cooking, and today I have finally gotten down to cooking almost from scratch.

So here's lunch: Pan Fried Salmon served with Potatoes and Asparagus.

Pan Fried Salmon, Potatoes and AsparagusPan Fried Salmon, Potatoes and Asparagus

Pan Fried Salmon, Potatoes and AsparagusPan Fried Salmon, Potatoes and Asparagus

Actually, it's pretty simple to prepare and also easy to present. Well, I didn't have any sauce to go with it so I didn't do the stack-your-food-up-and-draw-a-circle-with-the-sauce style of presentation. I guess this looks pretty alright for a first-time.

Asparagus (5 sticks)
Potatoes (2 medium sized ones)
Half a Chorizo
Onion (Used half a white, but shallots should taste better)
Off-the-shelf Italian herbs (I cheated because I didn't have fresh herbs at home)
Shredded mozzarella
Salt, pepper, butter, olive oil

I wouldn't say it was exactly a success because my asparagus and chirozo got a little greasy. (Partly because I was lazy to drain it properly.) Also, it got a little salty because I absentmindedly added salt when the choizos are already naturally salted.
Salmon was decent, and I decided to not cook it totally to leave it a little like a tataki-style thing, which was,to me, really nice. I hate it when salmon gets too cooked, leaving it dry and flaky. Just a few drops of lemon juice before serving works wonders.
The potatoes were quite a surprise, because I was pretty worried they would turn out really bland. Luckily the cheese and onion gave it a nice taste when browned, and a nice crisp texture as well.

Satisfying lunch. Ingredients cost roughly 11 dollars, not too bad for the serving portion.

Who said guys can't cook?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Almost there.

Just barely a week to go before the end of my first year.

Can't wait for it all to end.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Koalas safe to eat?

This melamine contamination has affected so many products (and of course its consumers) and finally China is waking up to face its incompetence and overly-slack (or absolute lack of) regulation.

No doubt there needs to be drastic action taken against such irresponsible people, let's not over-react without first finding out information that we would want to know. Everyone must have heard warnings to stay away from certain products because of the melamine scare, and even some of the clean products have definitely been on those warning lists.

But how bad is this contamination? Check out a report made by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). The AVA has noted traces of melamine in some of the products sold in Singapore, and even gave details of the extent of contamination. (Even one of my most favourite snacks when I was a kid was posted there.)

Let me just replicate some of the figures given, using my favourite snack as an example:

Product: Lotte Koala’s March Cocoa Chocolate Biscuit (21g/pack)
Tolerable levels for an adult of 60 kg weight (amount daily over a lifetime): 104 packs
Lotte Koala’s March Cocoa Chocolate Biscuit

"AVA would like to assure the public that the levels of melamine detected so far in the affected products are low and hence unlikely to result in any adverse health effect."

Althought the AVA has also demand that suppliers recall all contaminated products and warned consumers to not purchse these products, I'm not sure of the rationale behind such actions. I would probably be more worried about having to call NKF for help if I had eaten 104 packs of chocolate-filled biscuits in a day before worrying about melamine. I'll probably die of dehydration or chocolate-overdose even before the melamine can kill me. And note, it says 104 daily over a lifetime. Now, doesn't it just seem even more impossible to die from melamine contamination?

There might be one or two products with higher levels of contamination, but even then I don't recall anyone in Singapore or the region dying from eating a few Hello Pandas or Marching Koalas. The victims in this big contamination are mostly infants who drank contaminated milk. Think: You are probably 5-10 times heavier than an infant, and milk in your food probably constitute 10% to 20% of its overall contents. Enough said?

So okay, I shall get back to my Koalas. Yummy.

(Disclaimer: This post is not, in any way that may be perceived, intended to encourage the consumption of any (possibly) contaminated food. Please check for relevant information before deciding if you would want to purchase/consume any products that may have been contaminated. For more information, do look up the AVA website, or you may also look here for the report referred to in this blog post.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The first draft.

It's finally done, the 2500-word essay. It really takes a huge load off me and I'm glad that this is now over. At least, mostly over. Just some touching up to do, as well as awaiting some feedback. I'm quite excited about submission now that I have it more or less in shape.

This essay has taken so much of my time and attention, and it almost feels like the entire second-half of my semester just revolved around this single essay. It's now time to start on my revision for my other subjects.

This semester hasn't been too heavy for me, with Macroeconomics being quite close to what I have already learnt. Accounting this semester also resembles what I did last semester, just a little more complicated and tricky. Business Process, well okay, a little of a pain considering it's a subject where I don't even know what really is expected of me. I guess the past year paper(s) would help there.

Anyways, I'm glad how things are progressing. It's really like tracking through a jungle which comes to an abrupt end. No light at the end of no tunnel, just a sudden, wide open space - bright.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sing for me.

Looks like the US presidential campaigns always lead to loads of creativity from the public. Check these out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Song for the soul.

Simon and Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence.

Somehow I can put this song on repeat the entire day and I never get sick of it. I don't know what it brings, or what it stirs up in me. It seems to create quite a mix of everything within, and the overall effect is just a swell of emotions that tends neither to the down or cheery side.

Always loved their simple yet beautifully blending songs. Tranquility despite all the emotions.

Maybe I think too much. Just enjoy the music and shut up, right?

On a more modern-note, Secondhand Serenade seems to appeal a little more to me too. No, not just the overplayed 'Fall For You' but also other songs. Again, the blend. I just love it when two voices match so nicely.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Absolute incoherence.

Absolute incoherence.

My apologies, but my recent lack of writing has led me to write with no flow and no direction whatsoever. I have told myself in the past to not write as I think as my thoughts tend to jump around with no proper structure, and it seems like I have lost that focus to write properly. Time for more practice again I guess.

I'm still the the midst of writing my essay for my final submission on the 5th of November, and I hope it's going on fine. I've no idea how fast/slow my progress is, but going by word count, I have 400 words out of 2000, so I can sort of say I'm 25% done. Not that it is accurate considering the amount of editing and revising I would have to do. Furthermore, the first 400 really is just a brief introduction and some main ideas. Nothing concrete at all. So maybe I'm lagging slightly behind there. 3 weeks to submission, but I'd want to finish it in 2. Dad has asked me to send it to him to take a look and I really can't wait to let him see it. (First time he has explicitly shown such great interest in my work - no, not saying he had never been interested in my education, but the fact that he asked this time really serves as a motivation for me.)

I guess "writting" essays really isn't what I'd want to do here. It's more of crafting - I hope I can reach that level of writing. Constantly editing and re-writing can be quite a pain, but when I finally read through it, I guess that sense of satisfaction really cheers me up. At least I know I am headed somewhere.

Ok, break time over. Back to work.

Religion today.

Understanding comes with knowledge, and with a cetain level of understanding, it makes acceptance a lot easier - especially so for ideas and practices that ar foreign to you. I guess my little time spent studying another religion had had a rather positive impact on me.

It's not an issue whether or not man created religion or if God created man, but to me what is important is the role of religion in our lives. The corruption that lies in many religious bodies of today have resulted in many religious conflicts we witness today. Perhaps is the nature of religion that allows any individual (or group of 'scholars') to take almost absolute control by determining the 'way of life'.

So now, who is at fault. The people, or te religion itself?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Early Christmas

I know, X'mas is still some time away, but I have finally found the video of one of the most entertaining performances. So here you go, Straight No Chaser with their (comical) rendition of 12 Days. Yes, it's the bird-in-the-tree song.

And if you (like me) can't get enough of them, here's another - Lion Sleeps Tonight.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Never long enough.

As a kid, school holidays were never long enough. Things have not changed much at all. As a gron-up kid, holidays are still never long enough. Only difference is that I used to complain of insufficient time to play, and now I lament the fact that I have insufficient time to do my work. I have not even considered that I have barely had time to catch my breath.

My only wish is for Thursday to come soon, where all 3 assignments are due and I can finally let off this huge load, then concentrate on upcoming lessons and revision for my papers. And also my essay, which I can't wait to finish soon. I'm pretty excited about it actually, despite all the weird responses I get when I tell people I'm doing a module on Islam.

Well, who cares why I did it in the first place, I am doing it and I am going to finish what I have to do. I don't think I'll regret taking this subject unless my results prove otherwise. (I know, this mentality just reflects a very pragmatic side of Singaporean students, but hey, who takes subjects only to do badly?)

And I should make it a point to come back a little more often to post. It does take some stress off and offer some relief, even if only for a fleeting moment.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Break's over soon.

Okay, long time no see. Finally back at this place again. Nothing much has happened these 2 weeks except for loads of assignments and group meetings. Glad that it is finally working out well now.

43 days to the end of my papers, and the end of 1st year. 50 days to home then.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Break-time's back.

Pretty relieved now that the semester break has started, despite the haunting reminders of my many assignments. It's a constant nag that wouldn't cease until the deadline's up and everything has been accounted for. (Screw, no puns about accounting intended.)

It's the first Monday of the break and I did have quite a good weekend. Totally left work untouched, and sat down to catch some programmes on the tele and relax. Well, I did go through some work yesterday, but that's barely working. If I could work at this rate all year round, I'd probably be the mos blessed student on Earth - something like one of those scary creatures who party and play and still get top grades for everything.

Even then, I don't see myself being able to enjoy life while working hard at the same time. There has to be this very clear line drawn between rest and work, or I'd probably get all messed up while attempting to accomplish both at the same time. Maybe I work better under pressure (and definitely play a lot better with no stress).

In a couple more days, I would have been here for 6 full months (less the 1-month trip home in June). I'm pretty please with everything here, and I do enjoy myself while I'm here. But of course, that's not to say that I do not miss home and stuff. I guess it's just a different environment over here, and being a little more independent than before, not being able to take things for granted and stuff. Nice experience, albeit a rather expensive one.

Don't think I'll ever regret coming here for studies.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Suppose you receive results that are nowhere near your expectations - far below what you thought you deserved because of your effort you put in - does it mean that your efforts had been wasted, or was everything not worth your time and effort at all?

That's probably what's been going on my mind since yesterday afternoon after a friendly tap on the back, followed by a pretty much morale-shattering piece of news. There definitely has been a lot of self-consolation and also some self-reflection, and I guess it finally allowed me to pretty much face reality.

Maybe our expectations weren't justified, like how we tend to believe that we always deserve more than we actually get. And perhaps we thought too much of the amount of effort we put in - after all, we didn't quite work very effectively. That's all in the past and there isn't any reason to head back in that direction.

Well then, was it all worth what we did? It's a rather natural reaction to stand in utter shock and go, "what a waste of my time and effort, nothing gained at all". Think of it from another perspective: you shouldn't make judgements like this after it is all done. After all, the result is always a big unknown from the start, and evaluating effort versus results from the start is just pointless and senseless. After all, when the next assignment comes, you'd probably just go on and give your '100%' again anyway. But if you know that the results is going to be of a certain value to you from the start, then maybe it's wiser to estimate how much effort you'd put into whatever you are doing.

Battle lost, lesson learnt. I've got a lot more to do, and I'll just have to pull myself through this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Staying afloat.

It gets quit tough to try to pace yourself in school when you have only did one semester. Although I can try to compare my current work progress with what I did back in the first semester, it does not seem to give me an accurate guide as to how well/bad I am doing right now. The fact that my previous subjects were a lot easier does not add much good to everything.

I know, people would probably just say 'do your best and you'll be fine', but really, I have no inkling whatsoever with regards to what 'do your best' means. You can spend 20 hours a day studying, or you could do 10 hours of smart studying. Which then, is your best? 'Best' would be best measured by the results obtained at the end, but then again, you don't have two tries at the examinations, do you? Or rather, you wouldn't want to have to have two tries at it.

So yes, I have no idea where I am headed towards, only except the fact that I am still able to meet all assignment deadlines. Even if things are starting to tighten up and the pressure's starting to just head up another notch, I still feel comfortable breathing and surviving out here. It's pretty much like finding yourself stuck in the center of a very calm lake. You won't die because you can stay afloat, but you really don't know where you are headed towards. Not until some current edges you slowly towards the shore.

Ha, the shore. Sounds awesomely scenic. What I probably meant was more like the exams.

Awesome :: Awful
Beaches :: Exams

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yes to short-run.

1 week to a 2-week holiday.
3 weeks to 3 assignment due dates.
7 weeks to major essay submission and start of examinations.

Deduction: Adrian is better of in the (very-) short-run.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mathematics and religion.

While sitting down for a cup of coffee outside my lecture hall, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between two guys sitting opposite me. It seems that one of them had some issues at home, with his father having to face problems with his children that were more or less birth-related. And the person said that his paternal grandmother - a Christian whom I reasonably believed was pretty pious - got pretty fed up with what was happening, mainly because of the fact that they family did not receive much help. And as he told his story to his friend, his friend quietly nodded, while scribbling on a piece of paper.

To cut short the entire story, his friend eventually asked, "so who do you think is at fault? The church, or God?"

Now, we all know what the answer was. Who could ever blame an all-perfect being?

So it began, a whole session of reflecting, and so the direction eventually came clear - God has his plans and so on and so forth. It could be that the church was not being very helpful and so on and so forth. And religion is still a pillar of support and so on and so forth. There is good in religion and so on and so forth.

I swear this can go on forever.

It really isn't my intention at all to slam or hammer religion, but I really detest the fact that every time something like this happens, the same thought process follows. God blah blah blah, plans blah blah blah, good blah blah blah. And this happens every time because you work on a very powerful assumption that God is almighty, perfect and all-loving, and so on and so forth.

The concepts and ideas in religion works only when you think within that particular sphere. Like in mathematics, 1 + 1 = 2 only because maths defines it so. It works in the field of mathematics. Applying maths in the real world brings maths to the world (or brings the world into math, however you look at it), and this helps explaining the theory we put forward. 1 cup of coffee in the morning and another in the night makes 2 cups a day, only because we apply that part of mathematics - bringing laws and principles from the field of mathematics into coffee-counting.

What happens when you try to set religion into everything you observe in real life? Christianity has a certain emphasis on sacrifice - that is, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all of mankind. And somehow, such ideas when applied in real life, gives us a certain perspective to look from. We then see what went wrong, where the sacrifice was and what for, and we try to even come up with an eventual benefit for us.

Question: What if we have no obvious benefit from a problem we face?
Answer: We come up with one.

Applying the principle that God is an all-perfect being means that his actions cannot be bad in nature, and any 'bad' must be accompanied by a great of equal or even greater good. And if that condition in any situation is not met, does it mean that we end up making-up a good to resolve the bad?

Question: What if we cannot even come up with one no matter how hard we try?
Answer: We go back further into the 'law of nature'.

The law of nature? Simple. That we are all sinners. We are all sinners from the start and everything we have now is from the compassion and goodwill and kindness of God.

Isn't it simple how it all works? It really becomes like maths. If X - Y gives a negative answer and you don't like it, throw in a Z (= Y) to make it X, or just declare that X > Y. And really, X is nothing more than your definition and interpretation of God and religion. The net effect can never be bad, it always is good. Why? Because we don't work from a starting point. We work backwards to the starting point, given that the end result is always good.

Isn't this the case? Setting our perception of the world to fit the preconceived notion that this is a perfect world created by a perfect being?


Getting distracted easily is probably one of my biggest problems of all times. It's not just the case of being unable to focus on what I am reading while studying in the library, but on a much larger scale. I realize that it is a really big problem when you are unable to focus on anything you want to do. You either drift off or lose concentration, and you end up wasting all your time doing nothing productive.

And to make things worse, I think I have a very lousy level of determination. Or rather, it takes a pretty extreme condition before I get myself into the mood to do everything properly. Setting out on a task for me always happens very easily, but having to combat a lack of focus and determination at the same time is a pretty nasty problem.

Well, it's probably one of those 'comfort zone' things whereby you just want to remain in your current condition unless a real need arises for you to take drastic action. Not a good thing, but maybe I could still work on that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Different stokes.

This blog has served its purpose well. Too well in fact, to a point I'm starting to have problems with it.

Everytime I attempt to write in a different style, I start off decently, only to realize after a few lines that I slowly revert back to this same writing style, and it pretty much gets on my nerves. I want to try something different, but I have so used to writing in one style in one blog, and this has probably created a 'comfort zone' of sorts, which I have problems stepping out of.

I don't hate the way things are now, and neither am I feeling uncomfortable writing like that - in fact, I enjoy a totally mixed style. I probably need a fresh start and this means I would probably need to start an entirely new blog in addition to this so that I can explore another writing style. And yes, it would probably be of a totally different theme. I hope to acheive something more focused, more general in a sense that it would not be based on pure reflections, but also on something that might require some more time and effort to do some decent level of 'research'.

And on another slightly different note, I'd love to be a co-author on another blog. Maybe that would help stir up yet another writing style. So if you currently are in the midst of starting anything new or if you also happen to be looking for a blog partner, do drop me a tag or something.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Life, The lack of

Life is not reading hundreds of pages of reading materials on Islam, not drawing macroeconomics models, not practicing accounting and neither is it drawing business process diagrams.

Since I only seem to have time for such activities, I shall hereby declare that I have no life.

I'm better off dead. At least I have a chance of claiming insurance payouts and being richer than I am.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stoned mirror.

Tossed a stone. No, threw. With all the anger and frutration, at a mirror.
Shattered, the image. Nothing left but regret.

Regret? Not sure about that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Essays are fun.

I'm not kidding. Somehow, it seems that writing essays has been quite a fun activity. Despite my whinings about the massive volume of assigments and tutorial to complete, I quite enjoy searching through articles and reading about the stuff I'm writing about. Maybe its because what I am writing isn't at all professional and from an academic point of view, pretty amateurish, but I honestly have enjoyed my essays so far. Quite a challenge under some circumstances, but it's all part of school I guess.

Anyways, school's been pretty fine for now, although it already seems to be a tad tougher than the previous semestr. Okay, nt just a little, quite a significant bit. Could be the subject combination or something, but I guess I can still cope. Not that I'm totally stretched out to my maximum now. Good news for now I guess.

And I'm pretty lost over my subjects for the years ahead after I learnt that I could actually do an Econs/Finance combination as supposed to the Accounting/Finance I thought I could only do to get a double major. And yes, accounting can be a real pain in the rear. Maybe I'm over-reacting, but I guess I'll know by end-sem. Maybe then I can finally decide on my subjects next year.

I almost got carried away. Lecture time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More than a week ago.

It's been more than a week since I last posted something here. Testament to my loss in interesting in blogging. Not that nothing has been happening, but I really have not sat down to write it all.

Well, there quite alot of thoughts running through my brain these days, and alot of which I would have blogged about in the past. But a really tight schedule coupled with loads of distractions and a general loss in interest to blog has led to this barren blog.

I hope things would change. Not that I have much readers anyway, but just to keep this habit I used to have.

Maybe the supposed time I have for myself hasn't been of much use lately. Pretty sure I need more quality time for myself, and that should actually mean that it's time I actively set aside time for myself and not be so preoccupied with wasting time.

Wow. I can even be too lazy to spend time on myself. Beat that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Power and nothingness.

Those who have nothing have nothing to lose. Those with everything have everything to lose.

Probably heard something similar to that well over a million times, but that statement never fails to amaze me.

The simplicity that really isn't - simply because power comes from nothingness.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Handphone popcorn.

I was just asking if anyone finally produced concrete evidence that the use of handphons really causes cancer, when I came across this:

Handphone Popcorn

Okay, but I'm sill not convinced my phone can give me a tumour.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Staying put?

I think I have really lost my interest in blogging. I no longer jump at ideas and start planning blogposts in thin air. It has become quite a chore as I nag at myself to keep an active blog, for the one or two readers who might just pop by to take a look.

Maybe it all requires a fresh start, and perhaps even proper planning before setting another site up, to at least fix a direction or theme of sorts. This blog has become far too distracting, and the topics are a little too direction-less. Not that I regret writing here or any of the posts I have written, but it honestly is becoming a little too lacking of a focal point. Blur.

But it does ache within me whenever I think of startin all over again. I probably see it as quite a waste to have to restart and treat all my previous posts as never before written. Despite tonnes of useless junk I might have posted here, thre are some posts that really are a part of me, or have become part of me as I write them. Much of my thought process or even perception of things have changed througout the period of writing in this blog.

That seems to me to be the only reason why I am still writing here. Not that I like a messy blog with no theme or direction, but because it is this mess that reflects a change, and reminds me of quite a lot of events. Then I guess I should just stick to what I am doing in terms of writing.

Why throw the past away when others struggle to keep it all?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A week past.

It's been a week since school started. A really relaxing week considering I only have 2 days of lessons since tutorials have not started. Everything seems fine for now, except that I have to get down to searching for my group partners. That would probably be the toughest thing to do considering I would have to work with the group for two assignments.

Gah, I hope that goes well. Don't want to suffer with an incompetent group or one that cannot function properly.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lazy mind.

It has been about a week since I last even visited blogger, or even looked at my blog. Been really caught up with other stuff in life, and I hardly have time to blog - I know, it's really sounding more like one of those other pathetic excuses to not do stuff.

It has become more obvious to me that keeping an active blog is not just about pure determiation, it really requires more than just nagging yourself to get online to type a couple of words. Even if you force yourself to get to your blogsite, chances are you end up staring at an empty box for a long time, not kowing what to write about at all. I don't know if "passion" is the all-important factor, but perhaps interest is really important if you wanted to have an active blog.

1 post a week really seems pathetic, but until I get myself back into the mood to write, I will have to cut down on the frequency of my posts. Oh well.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Safe and sound.

Back again to this home, and school starts in a few days.

I do somehow look forward to school. I think I really do, for some unknown reason. This table and this room does bring back memories. Somehow, 4 months of school last semester really seemed to pass quite quickly., but sitting in this room and thinking back, it has been quite an eventful 4 months. And to think further back, it wasn't not very much longer ago where I was still lving a very routine 8-5 life.

Everything's changing. For the better - at least that's what I forsee, and what I ought to believe.

Alright, enough of bull, back to unpacking.

I still owe myself tonnes of reviews. Shucks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holidays over.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Quite a month, and it's back to school in less than a week. No complaints this trip back, and I already am looking forward to my return again in November. Hope that my papers wouldn't end too late this semester, and I should be back in ike 4 months.

Quite a lot has happened over the 4 months I was not around. I hope these 4 months would not be another round of big change. But anyways, my holidays here are over and I guess we'll have to see again come end-year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to school.

Another week to go and it's back to school. Although It seems like I my possibly have quite short days, I am pretty unsure if I would enjoy my new timetable.

Not much choice I suppose. Work around it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No pets for me.

I never understood why my mom always opposed the idea of having pets at home, even if it were just a little hamster in a cage. Not till this very night, after having help a friend clean up.

Thank goodness I never owned a pet. What an absolute hassle.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Movie: You Don't Mess with the Zohan

"He's silky, smooth and harder than trigonometry!"

In this comedy, Adam Sandler takes on the role of Zohan Dvir, the best anti-terrorist superhero in all of Israel. Despite having taken out almost all the terrorists in Israel, Zohan is not satisfied with his career in the army and wishes to pursue his greatest dream of all time - hairstyling. He finds himself working in a small saloon in America, where he embarks on his quest to make the world "Silky Smooth!"

No one would deny that this would definitely draw laughter from the audience, but I found some of the jokes to be a tad too sick. Politically incorrect jokes, and tonnes of sexual innuendos, this movie can probably draw laughter for the first few minutes, and leaving the audience cringing when the jokes are brought on to an even more sick level.

Kudos to Adam for his really good accent, and for his facial expressions that really does save the movie. Also to some of the other characters, who did a fairly good job in keeping the movie from sinking totally. For any Mariah Carey fans, you might pay the few bucks just to see her for that minute, but that to be is hardly a reason to spend your money on such a movie.

Not something I'd want to watch in a cinema, considering how boring and cheesy the drama bit can get. Then again, there are people who seem to really enjoy the movie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Movie: The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince CaspianThe horn is sounded again and the four siblings are summoned to Narnia, where a battle is raging over the rights to the throne between Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) and his uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). The four siblings are once again played by the same four actors, and they did quite a pretty good job.

I am definitely not a big fan of Narnia, and I quite easily let the earlier movie slip by when everyone seemed to be flocking to the cinemas to get their share of their show. The story isn't much of a new thing to me, all thanks to my primary school teacher who introduced me to the story when I could hardly understand what a wardrobe was. (I was 7, mind you, and a book of that size would naturally be quite a turn of for little kids who prefered Enid Blyton or picture-books.)

Prince Caspian is definitely one of the decent movies I caught this year. Notwithstanding the comments of those who have watched both that Prince Caspian isn't as good as the previous, you really can't deny that this is still quite a crowd-entertainer. (Even though I was acconmpanied by a total of 7 people in the audience because it was a weekday afternoon.)

Decent effects and cast, and a typical but beautiful good-beats-evil ending. If you are a Lewis fan, I'm pretty sure you won't be too disappointed.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Enjoying life.

A week ago I was still recovering from my lack of sleep on my flight, and it has been a really long week. Not long because it was boring, but I guess because I really am enjoying myself. 3 weeks to go, but if I can carry on living everyday like the past week, this would probably be the best month ever in my life.

I love this life. Yes, good life. And more to come.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Missing food.

Okay, I have been travelling around abit for some local food, but I am only barely satisfied. Loads more of good food to check out, and a lot more dinners and lunches to go.

Just need to arrange meetings with everyone else and to plan where to go to eat. And I need a lot of time to catch up with everyone else.

Okay, off to dinner. Packed food. Now, even that's something I miss.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meeting number 1.

I am very lazy to even blog. So many movies I did not do reviews on.

Anyway, went out today and met up with a couple of friends. Quite nice to see everyone again, and thank you all for coming along.

More to come, and more people to meet. Meanwhile, time to sleep. Totally drained.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No plans for the trip.

I still need a little bit of tuning to he new time zone. I have been falling asleep at 11 and waking up at 7. Gah.

Anyways, I have gotten myself a new number, so for those who still did not know, I have not been using my XXXX1144 or XXXX5575 number since I left for Australia, so stop sending SMSes to those numbers. You could SMS the 5575 number though, if you need my new contact.

Off to help out at UniMelb's Singapore pre-departure briefing for the local students. It should be fun, and I'm pretty sure it would be okay.

Still have a lot of planning to do, especially for all the outings and stuff.

I have not been really writing much here recently, and that's probably because I have not been able to sit down and spend time with myself to think. But anyways, given more spare time to kill now, I guess it should start again soon enough.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I really wanted to grab my laptop and type away on it while on the plane, but I ended up not doing anything but watch my movies on board the flight.

Mum: How's your flight?
Me: -Takes out boarding pass slip for her to see-
Mum: FWAH!

Well, basically I got a little treat and got quite pampered because I got 'upgraded' seats. Hehe. No complaints for sure, and the flight was good. So here I am, at home, whining about the heat.

Just yesterday night I was shivering and cursing at the cold. Today, I'm cursing all over again.

Made a trip in to Malaysia shortl after touching down, and I just got home again. So I'm off to unpacking. Sort out all the gifts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drag it all home.

Went down to the market today to get some stuff to bring back, and I ended up spending quite a fair bit on all the food. Nuts, nuts and more nuts. But you can't deny that it's probably the easiest and most convenient thing to bring back. Oh well.

I don't even feel anything special although I'm flying tomorrow, just like how it was the night before I flew here. Time really passes and it's been an entire semester already. No doubt it's only like 4 months, but it really feels as if it were 4 weeks.

The weather reports I have gathered on Singapore isn't exactly what I'm looking forward to, despite being in the cold here for some time already. Change isn't always good, especially when you have to move from 12C to 32C overnight. But anyways, it's still good to be home.

Back to packing, all the stuff to shove into my tiny little luggage. I think the gifts already take up about 4-5kg. Pfft. Everyone at home, sit tight and wait for your gifts to arrive. Don't bother to worry how troublesome it is to get everyone little somethings or how heavy my luggage would be. Afterall, everyone expects gifts from those who step out of airplanes, don't we?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gone shoppng, going shopping.

I woke up today feeling as if I just gained consciousness after falling from a 20-storey building and the docotor forgot my morphine after finding me still alive.

It's been an entire week since I wrote here, the longest break ever, and nowithstanding the fact that I should be more free to post nowadays with only 1 paper to go.

Anyway, I did some shopping here, and I still have more shopping to go. It can be a real headache just trying to figure out what to buy for who. I need my shopping list.

I have gotten myself a couple of tees and another sweater. I probably need to get more jeans. And I need to drop by the market to go get nuts and stuff for people back home, and well as more gifts here and there for more family and friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Premature Post-Examination Syndrome.

Boredom is very much a happy problem for most people, and boredom that manifests itself in the lives of students like us can take on rather different forms.

Boredom is the root cause, and one of the most obvious symptoms of PES, or what I know as Post-Examination Syndrome. PES develops due to the psychological and behavioural differences that occurs as a student moves from Exam-mode to Non-exam mode. The sudden change in patterns in the mind and body result in an anomaly due to the body's inability to cope.

Students who suffer from PES usually surf the net for absolutely nothing, or visit Yahoo! just to see what is on the front page, refreshing every hour or so to check for updates. They also surf random blogs, watch YouTube videos, play SuperPoke on Facebook, or simply sit and stare at the sky ceiling.

Although there seems to be hardly a cure, PES itself is not considered to be very harmful, unless a mutation occurs, giving rise to Premature-PES (PPES). PPES happens when students unknowingly shift into PES-mode when they have not reached the end of their examinations.

Symptoms of PPES include not only those mentioned above, but also the following: inability to concentrate when reading text, unexplainable cravings for the bed, high levels of thirst and/or hunger that cause sufferers to walk to the kitchen 5 times an hour, and in severe cases, they can hear objects calling them, like their computers, gaming consoles, and even the fridge.

And I forgot, they write blog posts that have no meaning whatsoever, only hoping to draw some laughter from readers.

Come on, people, laugh.

One more to go.

Being bored can be a really big but happy problem, and I am proud no announce that I AM BORED.

Well, I've got one last paper on next Wednesday. And also, I do have a flight to catch that very midnight. Three cheers.

Okay, so I have been sourcing around for online games to play again, and I guess I found one for now. My law matertials are sitting beside me, awaiting my return. My mind is nowhere near those materials, it's, uhm, lost in cyberspace.

Okay, off to a new adventure. Shopping.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogging for moolah.

I was talking to a friend online and I mentioned that there is money to be made via advertisements on blogs and such. The first and very expected question in response to my 'entrepreneurial' comment was "How much?".

Somehow, that simple "how much?" made me hesitate, and probably even shudder as I struggled to formulate an answer that would not seem too stupid. After pondering for a few seconds, I decided that there was nothing I could do to hide the sad truth that each click earns publishers like us a measly couple of cents. And I went on to tell my friend how much money I have 'made'. (Perhaps 'accumulate' would have been more apt.)

"So cheap."

I thought the comment was directed at the advertisements and the payout, but no, it was at the blogger. (Ouch.)

This kind of sat me down to think if monetizing your blog really brings you much returns, if any at all. I, for one, do not have much traffic and there is no way I can rely on this as a steady of income. Not even a steady trickle, just a few occasional drops. People who earn enough money via blogging to be able to survive with just another part-time job are really drawing in huge crowds to their sites, and without huge volume, small payouts per visitor do nothing but keep your payouts small.

So does this mean that all small-time bloggers should just log into their accounts and clear their blogs of all advertisements they have put up and cancel all their publisher accounts? Notwithstanding the fact that I barely make any sensible amount of money to be so proactive about blogging, I would still keep things the way they are. Even if no attempt is made to try to earn a larger income via blogging, I guess being able to see some form of returns, no matter how small, can be a form of recognition for yourself. And perhaps for some people, it acts as a form of motivation to simple keep a blog active.

Some people have this idea that "if it doesn't make big money, it isn't worth my time at all". It sometimes becomes a very narrow-minded perspective that obviously ignores the bigger picture. Yes, granted that even 100 clicks a day can't feed you all 3 meals a day, 36,500 a year could probably get you a decent treat for your brithday. Also, even the biggest bloggers start with 1 visitor a day (probably their own selves), to 10 a day, to a hundred or even more. And if you consider the fact that some bloggers earn money on their blogs without a lot more effot, just adding an extra line of HTML or two and doing what they normally do, an income from a blog starts to seem to make a little more sense.

People tend to think that those who try to make money online are suckers, or that they are being lazy, impractical and more or less unrealistic.
1. Suckers do not know of, or bother to try their hands at new opportunities, or even know what HTML is.
2. Lazy people do not deal with layouts and bother to come up with content.
3. Impractical people are those who believe that one should take action only if it can earn you a million bucks.
4. Unrealistc people really believe that making a million bucks is their only goal in life, and if blogging does not get you there, you drop the idea.

Blogging for money can be a seriou business to some people, and I somehow applaud their effots and envy the results they achieve. I know that I cannot set my mind to this task as of now, but nothing is stopping me from doing what I would like to do even without the money. The money, to me, is merely a bonus, not a basic requirement, nor is it a commission of sorts. If money is the only basis for your blogging and you aren't earning an income you desire after a few months at it, then you probably might want to worry a little, but if money isn't the sole reason, then no-money isn't a reason to give up blogging anyway.

I don't quite like the idea of having 'blogging for money' as a hobby, because to me, anything that requires a form of financial return isn't quite a hobby. (But we still can't deny that there are people in this world who have a hobby of making money, and are pretty darn good at that.) Whatever the case, to any bloggers out there who might just be feeling the same thing as me, keep it going, and just do what you like to do. Don't stop blogging totally just because your advertising network only pays you a few cents a click or never gives you new ads. If you really enjoy blogging, keep the money part out of your mind, let it come naturally, and blog like you would. Checking your balance everyday doesn't earn you a sigle cent more.

All things can end either with a bang, or fade quietly into oblivion, but they all share a common point.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Here's a real classic.

Anyways, the major papers are over and it's time to party. Well, at least for a week. Mugging resumes a week after, and I'll be home in no time.

Blink, and half the year's gone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iPhone is coming to town.

Yep, it's about the biggest talk in town, and everyone is dying to lay their hands on one of them.

This is the first time I ever got excited by an Apple product.

Then again, I still can't see myself paying for that. Just don't know why.

Can't deny its beauty no matter what.

It starts.

It starts today, 2 hours from now.

What a day.

And I keep telling myself that I shall return home with a feeling of satisfaction, perverse pleasure topped with a sick smile, knowing that I had it slaughtered. Yet, a smaller voice tells me it might be the lecturer with the smile as I lie on the chopping board.

I hope I'm right about the first part only.

Just got to be careful, Adrian, just got to be careful. Carelessness and complacency are total exam-hall killers.

Okay, off for my breakfast (no prizes for guessing what) and then off to the culling grounds.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thank you again.

I know, I was warned that my birthday cake's an OB-marker and I am not allowed to write or comment about it or risk prosecution, but I simply cannot resist. (Read: I totally loved that cakes.) Well, this is the 4th consecutive day I awake to a slice of cake. Not just any other cake, its a mud cake. Not just any mud cake, a birthday mud cake.

Okay, whatever.

Point is, notwithstanding the fact that having 4 days of cake is unhealthy and boring, I still love the cake. Really, and I mean it. (Gosh, sarcasm can be a real tricky problem when it comes to text.)

So here's what I have received: A Stussy sweater, an A/X Wallet, and 2 birthday cakes, triple chocolate and chocalate mud cake. And a nice wholesome dinner. I know, it's aleady the 9th and my papers are tomorrow, but I really can't be bothered about them whenever I think back about the celebration that night.

Once thank, thank you all.

Somehow, knowing more presents await me back home makes me want to rush home even faster.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nick Pitera.

Here's a little something I came across. I don't think every guy would wish for his voice, but honestly, I wouldn't mind.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Birthday dinner.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful dinner. The cakes, the gifts, and just to gather together.

Thank you all for this really unforgettable 21st.

Happy 21st.

Happy Birthday to me.

This is my first birthday spent away from my family. I don't think I have ever missed one with them before, but anyways, this is the first, and yes, it's the 21st.

Now, don't go reminding me that I am old, or come pat me on the back and give the "Oh, you can now watch sick films in the cinema" wink.

I guess tonight should turn out to be quite fun with dinner and stuff. At least there are family and friends around I can meet up with.

And for the record, I hate blowing.candles.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Human interaction, please?

I was chattng with my mum over the phone last night when I mentioned that me an my cousins used MSN to chat with each other if there's anything we need to say. I can't deny the convenience of doing so, and I guess it really is a lot easier than having to climb a flight of stairs just to utter a few words. However, it doesn't quite make things better from what I currently see.

Since Friday, I have more or less spent my days in my home, not wanting to travel down to school to use the library, partly because of the travelling time and the number of people cramming in there, and partly due to my own laziness. But anyways, my point is that besides the person I had to talk to to place my order during my dinner eat-outs, there basically hasn't been another human I have spoken to face to face.

When I was back home, I used to wake up to see my parents and usually not talk much at home, and I thought that maybe it's just me, that I don't quite like to talk and stuff, but really, it isn't just the talking at home that brings warmth. I think sometimes the mere presence of another person does bring comfort to a home, and that is what I am honestly lacking now. I know I'll get adjusted to this sooner or later, but for now, it can be quite disturbing to have to wake up and face a cold and quiet home.

No one is at fault, and if I really wanted to see someone I could always go down to the city and make myself feel more alive. It's just that this feeling has been within me for the last 3 or 4 days, and I almost feel like the poor chap from Cast Away, and it is starting to eat into me.

I guess it's all part of being away from home, and it's probably that a few other factors are contributing to this feeling and making everything seem really bad. I guess everything would be over in a jiffy. At leaast, I hope so.

For now, I shall go to the mirror and talk to myself.

No, kidding. I need to go have my lunch and talk to my usual chat buddy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lost, not found.

I hate it when I can't find a path, even when I know where I should head towatds. It can be a real pain in the rear to be left with no specific directions, especially with not much time left.

I guess I'll just have to wander around and hope for the best. Just gt to bear with this for another week.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Going slow.

I must admit that it really isn't a lack of time that has made me stopped writing more frequent posts, and saying that I have no time to do so is quite a blatant lie. In fact, I have not exactly been spending every minute studying with no rest, and when while I study, I do take some 'unofficial breaks', otherwise known as distractions. (Facebook - the number one distraction.)

Anyways, the real reason why I am not writing as frequently is because even if I were to log on to blogger, my entire brain would be filled with thoughts of statistics, accounting and microeconomics. So for that reason, I really have no more mental capacity to sit down and blog properly. I could do a hundred other senseless posts, or copy and paste thousands of YouTube videos (yes, that's one of the other big distractions of all time) on my blog, but that wouldn't be really nice, so for now, I guess I'll go much slower on blogging. There should still be at least a post a week though. I've got 1 plus week to the end of 3 papers.

I always conveniently forget the 4th paper. Selective amnesia.

Friday, May 30, 2008


For the first time in my life, I am not feeling happy on the last day of school.

Well, today marks the last day of lessons for the first sem of the first of 3 years here. Time kind of flew past pretty quickly, and without really realizing, it's been 3 months since I have been away from home.

2 weeks to go before most of my papers are over.

Start the clock.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Awakening, or perhaps, regret.

It all hit me this morning. For the past few days I held firm to my beliefs, thinking that no matter how tragic things were, I was right in thinking that it was okay. Ignoring the fact that tens of thousands of individuals were suffering, I foolishly believed that on a larger scale, it would not make much of an impact. I let my angst and disgust, which upon further retrospect was both based on unfounded or distorted facts, take control and narrow my vision so much so that I voided any sympathy within me, culminating in plety of scornful comments and curt remarks.

For all that they have done, be it right or wrong, they are just humans just like I am, seeking to survive in this world, and to find happiness. Their actions, right or wrong, are not for me to judge for I am in no position to do so being a mere other human. We all seek the same fundamental goals of survival and happiness, and we are all equal in nature.

The distorted views and plenty of other thoughts I once held have led to a very narrow-minded take on the entire issue. One ought not to explain mishaps as karma with the wrong intention of seeking revenge, for doing so simply leads to a never-ending cycle of unhealthy thoughts.

I am truly regretful. Words I should not have said, thoughts I should not have formulated, attitudes I should have been more watchful of.

I am truly ashamed. Despite the texts I ave read, despite the lessons I have been taught, and despite all that I have told others, I fell right into the same trap.

My deepest sympathies to the victims of the quake, and my sincerest apologies to those have once scorned at, be it through words, thoughts, or actions.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From start to end.

2 weeks to exams :: 4 weeks to home.
Running out of time :: Can't wait.

It has always been the case, looking forward to the end of exams, and dreading the start of the papers at the same time. I can't say that I am anywhere near confident of taking them on at the moment, but I believe that feeling would come soon enough.

Please let the 2 weeks drag on and the following 2 fly past.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Technicalities of food.

Adrian is getting bored of the food he has been eating. 4 days of curry noodles: Curry chicken and instant noodles dumped inside. Not bad, but it can really suck having it 4 days in a row. Why 4, because the pot of curry cooked since Thursday was not finished till today's lunch.

Adrian had to hunt for food for dinner. Not like cavemen, but still, somewhat similar. However, he does not cook his meals. He simply assembles them, because you see, assembling food is a lot easier than cooking. One requires skill, the other requires some artistic ability in presenting the food scraps you find, such that the dinner plate looks really good, and the food looks really delicious.

I don't even want to call them recipes. I rather call them manuals. Sounds a little more... technical. That's right.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emotions and reactions.

Everyone would have experienced some loss or severe disappointment before. Friends we confide in usually advise us to 'let go' and 'move on', or simply 'stop thinking so much about it'. It is common practice to dwell over something unsatisfactory, and it is a perfectly normal reaction. However, this should only happen to a certain extent, and beyond that limit, it turns harmful towards our well being.

Thinking back about an upsetting issue is a very common reaction. We always think back of the times we did something wrong or suffered some sort of injustice. We not only think of what really happened, but also how the outcome might have changed if we took a different course of actions. Deep inside, we all know that "what's done is done" and that even if we were to think back a million times, we just can no longer change what has happened.

Every time we think back, we add more details to our memory, focusing on the emotional hurt, magnifying the injustices we suffer, and we end up seeing ourselves the most pitiful thing on Earth. It's like starting with a sketch, then adding the outlines, then the colour, then the texture, then projected on a screen, and finally displayed in an entire exhibition hall. The only thing you get out of it is more drama in your life and more sympathy from people around you. Even if that is what you want, the amount of sorrow you bring to yourself every time you rewind and replay that scene far exceeds the possible benefits.

I always believe that happiness is a result of your reactions, not simply reliant on all external factors only. It is how you react that determines your well-being and happiness. People who do not learn to let go or control their emotions tend to lead very frustrated lives, and more so for people who take things too personally or dwell too long on trivial issues in life.

Taking things easy and being more positive does not mean one becomes apathetic to everything in life, nor does it mean that one should always suppress any negative feelings. Both over- and under-reacting are not healthy for our emotional, and sometimes even physical well-being. It does not mean that people who smile everyone you see them do not suffer from depression, because being unable to respond appropriately would mean that one is unable to realistically cope with the happenings in life.

It may be difficult to control your own emotions and reactions in the current lives we lead. Rushing at break-neck speed through life hardly gives you any time to sit down and spend time with yourself. Although we might all be very busy in our own lives, I strongly believe we all need some time to ourselves, to sit down and evaluate our own lives. Do try it out, even if you can only afford a few minutes a night, or 15 to 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. I guess it would serve you better than trying to relax by tuning in to the television.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Applied statistics.

An effective measurement of the performance of a statistics lecturer is the product of the attendance proportion and the proportion of those present who are paying attention.

My lecture hall is half full. Half the students are dozing off, the other half already dozed off long ago. One of the few who are fighting to stay awake is on blogger. Go figure.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

East meets West in cause and effect.

The education system I have been exposed to has always been heavily influenced by Western thoughts and ideas. Western-styled thinking focuses mainly on a very technical version of causality, and state that cause-effect systems give rise to what is, and as well as what isn't, just like how in physics we are told that forces result in change. Eastern philosophy somehow seems to downplay, or perhaps simply not focus on, this technical aspect of causality. The general idea is that everything in nature occurs as they ought to, and everything including us are just a part of it. There is, of course, causes and effects, but this version does not dwell on the interactions and relationships, but rather observe everything as a larger picture.

It isn't my focus to juxtapose both differing views and critique either of them, neither am I going to argue for or against either of them. The reason I highlighted the two different thinking is to point out a very familiar thought process most of us would experience in life.

Western philosophy would tell us that if something happens, there must be a cause or reason behind it. Friends quarrel because they have differing views, couples break up because of a whole variety of (sometimes dumb) reasons, etc. This perspective has led us to believe that once something in life is different from what we would expect, something must have gone wrong somewhere. While this may be very much true, the idea of always having something 'wrong' may be a little too far fetched. The problem with this way of thinking is that every time something occurs that is contrary to our expectations, we have a proclivity to assume that something somewhere is wrong, and that we need to fix something.

Eastern (and mainly Buddhist) thinking would tell us instead that what happens is merely a part of nature. Although they also say that "everything happens for a reason", the reason in question here isn't one of wrongness or of an anomaly. The cause-effect system in Eastern philosophy does not deal with searching for the cause and righting it, but rather, of accepting the effect and/or adapting to it, and perhaps, changing yourself to prevent such future occurrences. It is "I" who must change, not the cause, and there is nothing fundamentally wrong when things turn out different from as perceived, because everyone has his/her share of such events in life. It is all merely a part of nature.

We go about in life facing a lot of problems, as well as a whole lot of disappointment. While it seems highly sophisticated to be able to decipher all cause-effect systems that bring about your very own trouble(s), one must be careful not to overdo it, resulting in a never-ending loop of fault-hunting. Sometimes, things just really happen for 'no reason'. Additionally, such fault-hunting would often result in a 'victim' mentality, where you assume the role of a victim of whatever has happened. While victimizing yourself may allow you to pin-point the factors that culminated in your current situation, it also puts you in deeper pain and suffering. "Victims" also tend to put more focus on themselves, eventually leading to a narrow and constricted view on events that occur to them. The further they sink into this role, the worse it gets, till the become totally consumed by their role, and depression starts to set in.

Undeniably, t is good to be able to rationalize and analyse cause-effect systems. It gives you an alternative perspective to look deeper into issues you may not understand at a glance. It may sound like a difficult task, but really, once you've gotten the hang of it, one can easily point out many factors (and possibilities) to many happenings around you, albeit without complete accuracy. Such skills can be very useful in helping not just yourself, but others around you who may feel lost at times. Take caution however, that we ought to prevent ourselves from jumping into conclusions too quickly, given that there may be other underlying factors that we might not know of.

Basically, what we want in life is to be able to explain the reasons behind the happenings around us. Western-styled thinking gives us the ability to break down all the cause-effect systems and analyze them. While this may be very useful to us, the last thing you want when you are down is to keep dwelling on the reasons that brought you to where you are. Keep an open mind and learn to accept things as they happen, and perhaps you would find yourself in a better position to cope with life's ups and downs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A chill up the spine.

Going to the toilet can be a real pain the the rear end, especially in such cold weather. The mere thought of havng to sit on somethng that cold makes you not want to go to the toilet anymore.

I hate it when I need the toilet in the morning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friends aren't found in phonebooks.

It can be quite interesting to actually take a friendship you have and to ask questions about it. Dig deep inside and ask yourself questions about any friendships you have, and you might be surprised to find out some rather interesting stuff.

We often hear of people speaking of 'true friends' and 'hang-out buddies', and it would seem quite obvious if anyone asked you to categorize all your friends accordingly. Of course, there would be some friends who can't fit within either categories, either because they are somewhere in between, or somehow, they might not even belong to those two. Unlikely, but not impossible.

Just give that a shot for now. Sit down for 1 minute, write down as many names as you can think of. I'm pretty sure that most people can at least come up with 20-odd names, or even a whole hundred. (Although I don't think you can really write all hundred names in a minute.)

Now that you have the entire list, I would presume that these names should, generally speaking, be 'ranked' according to how close you might be, assuming that most people recall close friends first. Now, give yourself another minute or so, and rate your closeness to these people, on a scale of 1 to 10. A score of 10 would be someone you can call or talk to about any problem you might have at any point in time, and also should reflect how open you can be towards the person when relating problems.

Once you are done, take a look at the list you have, and count the number of friends you have given a score of between 8-10, and compare against the number of friends you have given a lower score. I think it's rather self-explanatory from now on as to what kind of friends you have in your life.

Next, we'll try to take this a step further, and try to give scores by putting yourself in the other person's shoes. Ask yourself how likely is it that the person is willing to share his/her problems with you and be open about issues in his/her life. If you can confidently give a high score to that as well, then it should be safe to say that you really do have a good friend.

It is good to be sociable and to make tonnes of friends. But ask yourself, what is the point of having a hundred friends when none of them can help you when you are in need? Not to sound too pragmatic or anything, but I believe that everyone should at least strive to have a handful of real good friends who you can share problems with. Yes, the 'bottling up your feelings' thing really isn't healthy at all, and you should know the risk of having just one good friend to talk to: While you are sharing your problem, Murphy gets into the picture and your friend's mobile battery goes flat. Beep.

However, bear in mind that there is also a difference between making close friends and complaining to anyone you see about everything in your life. No one enjoys listening to problems all day, simply because they themselves have their share of problems. Going too far off with this practice would simply land you with a blank paper after 10 minutes in the earlier exercise.

It is easy to have a friend's number stored in your phone book, or even in your mind. But it really isn't as easy as you might think to keep a healthy friendship.

Friends aren't found in phonebooks.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Win an argument; lose a relationship.

It's becoming very common in quarrels with people to attempt to win by declaring "that's how I am like, and you just got to accept it." I have been pondering over the significance of the statement and its implications on the relationship between the two (or more) individuals in conflict.

Most of us would have been brought up in an environment where we are taught to learn to forgive and forget, and by extension to that principal, to be more open and accepting of people's views and actions. These two principles seem to stem from the same idea of acceptance of 'what is', and to not create tension between what we want and what we get. This extension inevitably leads to us having to 'accept a person for who he/she is' - of course, only on condition that you are interested in a relationship with the other party (and by relationship, I mean any interpersonal interactions, be it between lovers, friends, siblings, family, etc.)

It now seems to me that forcing this idea upon others in an argument is nothing more than abusing something that was borne of kindness and harmlessness. Saying 'this is who I am' does not necessarily mean that your actions are right, and even if they were, no one is obliged to accept it all - we usually only do it out of goodwill.

It would, on deeper inspection, seem stupid to try to accuse someone of non-acceptance in an attempt to put down an argument just because you are unable to defend your own actions. Such acts can only be described as nothing more than a pathetic attempt at self-defence of something that is not at all worth defending. The stronger you try to assert such demands, the more unreasonable and demanding you look, until a point where there is no longer a reason to even show any goodwill. I believe we call that the end of the relationship, where both parties see no point in trying to interact any further.

The statement comes across to many as a very convenient argument to defend themselves, and to attempt to justify their actions. However, doing so does nothing to prove your rightness. What happens is that we are attempting to wrong someone by pointing out a non-acceptance, and therefore, nullifying any arguments. And it should now be obvious that even if you tried to force someone to accept your behaviour, you have not proven your actions to be correct or reasonable. Such declarations do nothing constructive, except to further irate an already agitated party in conflict with you.

What happens next? Reasonable logic would hold that if you cannot accept someone, then there is no point in interacting with that person. We would then expect something along the lines of 'Okay, since this is what you are, forget it, I cannot accept it'. End of story.

It is quite sad that some friendships can end simply because of unnecessary statements that are said in desperation to win in arguments. The basic rule in an argument is that you don't have to always win. Arguments are just another form of communication, albeit a little more emotional (and sometimes, violent). The same principals and objectives of communications apply: You just need to get your point across, not to bulldoze through and eliminate everything that stands in your way toward victory. Experience would tell you that such victories are mostly Pyrrhic, leaving only a trail of destruction that you would only realize when you finally look back at your past actions.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You say cheena I say...

F***. (That should promptly end my title.)

We all experience the same thing with the same group of people. I have always questioned the need to speak loudly on the train or on any public transport while on the phone. I might understand if they did it while travelling through tunnels back in Singapore where it tends to get really noisy; but over here, it is totally unnecessary and just purely irritating.

Try reading a book or your lecture notes on the train while some b**ta*d yaks on the phone in some language you find awfully familiar. They just behave as if no one else exists on the train, and they speak as if they had to yell across the mountains back before the telephone was invented. Maybe it's an innate thing in them that the further apart you are, the louder you tell, even on the telephone.

Look, I do not need to know where and what time you are meeting your friend, or where you had dinner if it was good, or how you quarrelled with your boyfriend (obviously because you spoke so loudly you pissed him off). I'd really appreciate it if those buggers would keep their loudspeakers off.

I am really quite close to snapping because of these weirdos who share the same morning train as I do into the city. They either litter like how spitting is accepted in the streets back in their homes, sit with their legs wide open as if their expected child's going to pop out anytime before the next stop, or speak yell into their hand phones just because the microphone on their phones look too small to them to pick up normal speaking volume. So much for Confucius and the thousands of scholars they had, and the scriptures they wrote about morals and civic mindedness. Oh wait, I forgot, Mr Qin decided to burn them all. And Mr Mao decided that no one needed brains to be farmers and metal workers. Great minds do think alike.

The Dalai Lama in my book tells me to find the inner calm and peace within me. Inner peace, while the outside world is in utter chaos. Now, I really respect him for his tolerance. Think of it this way: You had a b**ta*d for a neighbour who one day came over and demanded that you hand your land to her, and decided you were to be chased far away from your neighbourhood. So you are forced out of your home because you can't retaliate against the BFG (obviously, 'F' does not stand for 'friendly').

I hope the talk about the sleeping dragon awakening is wrong. Someone stab the dragon while you still can, before it wakes up and starts terrorizing millions of citizens all over the world on their public transport. The Japanese had Godzilla. The Chinese, well, they have themselves. No need to further invent a monster.

I guess Mao's Little Red Book forgot to ask them to shut up when moving around.

Note: Look, I don't hate them all. Just a proportion of them. As in, P-hate=integrate Ax+By+e^-z/2 dx. Haha, do you get it, P-hate, P-hat.
Note2: No, forget the formula. And forget the pun.

Timetable screw-ups.

Tomorrow's the start of Week 10 of Semester 1. I'm left with weeks 10, 11 and 12 before a one-week break to study, then the dreaded examiatons. I have a seriously screwed up time table: June 10, 11, 12, 25. The last paper's just a 1.5hr MCQ paper to be taken on the computer. I simply cannot comprehend why they cannoy schedule the test earlier.

I want to get home early.

Movie: Iron Man

"I shouldn't be alive... unless it was for a reason... I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it's right." -Tony Starks."
I'm not one of those die-hard super-hero fans, and I have never really appreciated comics or anything, but somehow, the childhood fantasy of having awesome powers just got the better of me and so, off to the cinemas. It was a choice between Street Kings and Iron Man, but too bad, Keanu Reeves lost to Iron Man. (As I write this, I'm wondering how it might turn out if they really fought in the Matrix. Coolness.)

Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Starks, child prodigy who 'at the age of 4, invented blah blah blah' - call him the Mozart of the engineering world if you would, and eventually took over his father's business, Stark Industries, as the world's leading weapons manufacturer.

Tony Starks is captured by terrorists wile on weapon demonstration trip, and is forced to rebuild the new missiles system, the Jericho. He and another captive, Yinsen (Shaun Toub) start work shortly after setting up a workshop in the caves. Tony was never going to build the missile, but an iron robotic suit to help them both escape - the moment where his concept of such a powerful suit is finally taking shape.

The plot is rather long and detailed, so I shall not go deeper into it, since it would obviously require a lot of spoilers to go through the story. The show's good, a lot of nice shots, suited to be your background display. This is a show for those who love to daydream about building robots and the likes, and watching Tony build Mark II of his suit really makes you drool. I personally liked the plot development, and I definitely enjoyed Robert's acting skills as the lax and casual Tony Starks - quite interesting since Robert isn't really a big name in Hollywood, but kudos to him anyway.

Great movie to catch, whether or not you are a comic-super-hero fan, not as dumb or pointless as you might think it is. And oh, please stay after the credits for a short introduction to Iron Man 2. Sadly, I didn't.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lost in the jungles of Mugger-land.

Yes, I've been away for a really long time. Nothing much to blog. Rather, no time to sit down and think of what to blog about.

I was sitting in the law library a few days ago, staring out into the city and I grabbed my laptop, wanting to sit back, relax, and type away. Just as I ht 'www.blogger.com', I had to recall that I had assignments due. Gah. I hate school.

Anyways, here's a video my friend showed me. Old one, but still quite a classic. For all RPG fans.

[Disclaimer: Some parts of the video may be offending to some groups of people, and do not represent my opinions or intentions. I apologize if anyone gets offended by the video.]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Book: The End Of Poverty

Title: The End Of Poverty
Author: Jeffery Sachs

The End Of Poverty discusses the possibility of ending absolute poverty in the world today within the next 25 years. Sachs writes of how we ought to do our bit for those who are not able to 'climb onto the ladder' to help themselves up further.

Emphasis is placed on 'differential diagnosis', which focuses on different possibilities that lead to economic failure in different countries, such as geographical conditions, cultural reasons, etc. A great idea to work on, definitely better than what we are currently doing now by over-generalizing all economic failures to be attributed to corruption and other governmental faults.

Another reason cited as to why current aid efforts do not reap results as predicted is that the actual amount donated is only a fraction of what was originally promised. The United States of America, amongst many other nations, have not been keeping to their promise of contributing 0.7% of their annual GDP to international aid, claiming that corruption is the root of all failure in international aid. Sachs also points out that transparency within the economy, often demanded by donor countries, does not necessarily relate positively to economic growth.

A really long book with a lot of technical details that can really bore you if you have no interest in the minute details. Too much data presented at times that tends to put readers off. Having said that, this is still a rather informative book, and some concepts inside are worth a second look.

Read it only if you have a keen interest in global issues and other related stuff, or if you have quite a spare bit of time to spare.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blogging's taking a back seat.

Not that I have been blogging consistently lately, but school's getting quite hectic and I find myself with significantly lesser time to write proper blog posts. Apologies to people who come here expecting a good read, I really cannot find time to sit down and write long articles like I have done before.

I will officially put blogging on a lower priority, but I will try to keep it at least active, or somewhat updated. No promise of full-length writings though.

And oh, I have decided to stop replying to all tags on my tag board as well, simply because it looks quite dumb. I guess I will just drop by your blog and leave a reply if I need to. Tags and comments still welcomed, of course.

It's really quite depressing sometimes when you sit on the train and inspiration pops into your brain, and you start planning a blog post, only to return home reminded of the stack of tutorials and assignments waiting for you. It really kills any interest to blog, and any spare time. (Who ever said Uni students had spare time?)

To be honest, this is the first time in my entire life that I am genuinely working hard for school. No, I'm not saying I'm one of those dumb asses who fooled around and got straight A's back in earlier school days - I had my fair share of F's and E's and D's and... basically everything except A's, but this time, I really find that I am kind of stretching myself to the limit.

Discipline, some call it. Torture, that's what it is. Cone on, who on Earth deprives themselves of daily pleasures like chatting on MSN, Fackbook/Friendster/My Space -ing, or the occasional computer game, etc. (Oh wait, 'occasional' is a really relative term, like back in Secondary school, occasional was once a day, and frequent was twice - basically, play, dinner, play again, sleep.)

Oh look. I unknowingly created a rather long post. Hurray. Cheers. Whoopie.

And if I carry on like this, I will miss my last possible train. And just FYI, last train means I will arrive at lessons 5 minutes late.

No, just kidding. Off to school. Again.

Monday, April 28, 2008

1, 2, 3.

One whore, two whores, three horses.

Dang, I miss the old usual hangouts, I miss the cranky moments.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Basketball bloopers.

Came across this video on a visitor's blog. (Han Sheng)

It took me awhile to realize what actually happened. Oh well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Election woes.

Now, I'm not a big fan of the US electons and whatever, and neither do I have a preferred candidate. Here's a little quote I came across today.

"The problem with being Democrat is that if you vote for Obama, you're sexist. And if you vote for Hilary, you're racist. Its easy being a Republican. No matter what you're retarded."


Two months.

It's two months since I have arrived for studies, and it has been quite an experience. School here's not as easy as I'd expect it to be, but I'm doing better than I expected myself to. Of cource, this won't mean that I'm going to lose steam anytime soon. It's a promise I made, and it's one I will keep.

It's another two months plus before I'm flying back home for the semester break. Really can't wait to get home as well. Dying to meet up with everyone back home as well.

Alright, done with the quick updates, going back to some work now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reflections of a flame.

As the fires burn out, it sits, crackling. The self, it sits quietly beside. A reflection, perhaps, of what was. And as it stares silently, a trickle forms, leading down to the burnt ground.


What unnecessary actions, what stupidity. Once it started, stepping back against a wall helps no more than to shield the face with his hands. Flesh, it burns the same in the flame, to a sizzling sound that remains, much like a ringing sound trapped in the ears after silence falls. Silence - filled with eeriness, with pain, with guilt, with disappointment, with hurt. With tears.

And it seems impossible to speak out anymore. One wrong tips more fuel, resulting in another all-too-familiar recurrence. What then? The self realizes: he can only offer his hands, at least while he can still use them, till consumed.

As the self sits and stares, the fire waits, expecting more fuel, expecting more flesh. Till death, till nothing to burn exists. And it shall crackle on till it burns itself out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Squish the litter bugs.

Singapore has always been a joke for being a 'fine city'. Ask any Singaporean citizen and they can probably wax lyrical about the countless ways to get a chance to make a contribution to government fund.

I used to think that it was absurd to have to slap a fine on someone for eating on the bus and trains, for parking by the roadside without valid reasons, for not giving way to the fire truck, for not wearing a seat belt, for cluttering the corridor with rubbish, or dropping a piece of tissue on the road. It seemed to me that the measures to discourage such actions would lead to people becoming too reliant such that they eventually become morally weak and unable to make sensible decisions once these regulations are removed. Not that they ever would be, but I tend to belief that moral education was more important than just by fines itself.

Seeing how things are over here, I am starting to believe that some people just need the fine to keep their tissue and wrappers to themselves. I find it absolutely disgusting and disturbing at how some people can leave their waste on the trains without even feeling bad for dirtying the trains.

I was on the train to school two days ago when I witnessed how one guy bent down after finishing his breakfast, left the wrapper on the ground, then sat upright again, as if nothing has happened. He was sitting just a row away from the "No Food/Drinks Allowed... No Littering... Please keep the trains and stations clean." sign, but he could not even bother to keep to simple instructions. And to add to that, he tried to use his legs to slowly kick the wrapper under the opposite seat, like how a child would attempt to hide sweets in his hands behind his back when caught by momma. When he realized I was watching him hide his little wrapper, he pulled his leg back, looked up and put on a really innocent face.

Innocent. I'd love to pinch those cheeks. And bloody rip them off.

Looking at how dirty the trains can get, and how much graffiti there is all over the train walls, I cannot comprehend why no action is taken at all to stop such nonsense. Similarly, I cannot understand why people cannot simply do some good and drop their waste into a bin, rather than the train floor. It's not as if they would need to take a detour, the bin would be right within range while walking out of the train to the escalator. Maybe having live in a 'fine city' for some time, it's become second nature to realize how inconsiderate it would be to chuck your trash just anywhere. Maybe the fines did somehow help educate, rather than act as a pure deterrent, and helps cultivate good habits.

Maybe the fines here don't hurt people enough, or are too light to be taken seriously. Alternative solution? I guess it'll be perfect to go over and say "Excuse me sir, I believe you accidentally dropped your breakfast wrapper after consuming your food on the train." Maybe I will do so next time and I would probably even pick it up and hand it over to him. And also, make sure that everyone around him realizes what just happened.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance: Australia.

Tomorrow night's the grand finals for So You Think You Can Dance: Australia. Can't wait.

Anyways, here are two of the dances I quite enjoyed in the earlier rounds.

Coffee-loving fly.

If you are a die-hard coffee-lover, read on. Even if you aren't one, just read on as well.

While having my usual cuppa outside the law building this afternoon, I pondered over my spending habits since I arrived here in Australia. While it is highly indubitable that I have cut down on unnecessary expenses that I would otherwise have deemed as ‘usual expenses’ back home, I am still quite embarrassed at some of my spending habits. Ironically, the problem was lying right in my hands – yes, that cappuccino I am usually unable to resist whenever I pass by any coffee joint. The only consolation I get out of this is that at least I have stopped being a Starbucks freak, and my $7.50-a-cup Java Chip Frappaccino is now replaced with a somewhat cheaper hot cappuccino.

What I thought about made me realize that it sometimes isn’t exactly about the huge dollars you spend, it’s the teeny weenie bits here and there, and it usually takes some time before you realize that these little bits contribute to a really huge hole in your pocket (something like a huge ozone problem); yes it took me a couple (okay, a lot more) of drinks to realize how much I have wasted.

Next time you step into any coffee joint, realize how intelligently these people are at setting traps for consumers (read: dumbasses) like us to, uhm, step into. The usual pricing you’d see is say, $3.10 for a small, $3.70 for a medium, and $4.20 for a large. Notice how the price changes? And I think this is one of those sticky-papers that dumb flies like me land right on. You step in, looking at a small cup and go, “Ahh, I’ll go medium.” Then, what you do next is ‘subconsciously’ compare the price of the large, and go “Hey! It’s only 50c more, why not?”

Yeah, really! Why not? Why not smack yourself in the face, you dumb fly.

It’s like saying “I’m going to pay 60c more anyways, so why not top another 50c!” Stupid as it sounds, I always end up ‘accidentally’ fall for this. The only consolation I can get from this is that it’s accidental, not that I’m absolutely dumb to realize that spending an extra 50c is in fact, spending an extra 50c, not “getting a better deal.”

If you do the math, (yeah look, a dumb fly about to talk about math here) you find that if you did yourself - and your pocket - a favor by not going large and saving yourself the 50c, or even better, $1.10 by going small, you kind of save yourself an entire cup of coffee by the 5th or even 3rd drink.

This beats those stupid cards that go “Enjoy 10 nice warm coffees and get your next one absolutely FREE!” which I once again, being a dumb fly, fall for without any hoaxing from the staff at the coffee joint. Then again, that’s another story altogether, because dumb flies cannot process too much information within a blog post or their puny-but-mathematically-inclined brains might go ‘pop’.

Buzz off.