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.