Friday, 22 December 2006

Medical breakthrough: Why surgeons are more handsome than doctors

Can't believe channel news asia has this kind of ridiculous news. Entertain yourself.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Monday, 18 December 2006

I have concluded that the more I do, the more I get done. So I'm going to take a whole bunch of classes and do a whole bunch of activities next quarter. This quarter has just been a failed experiment. Got an ugly mark on my transcript.. ugly. And spending way too much money this quarter..

Life is made of trials and errors, think about it, if the consequences are not too nasty, try it, if it doesn't work, at least you'll know that it doesn't work. There are times to stop and re-examine, but mostly, push on.

Just got back from Hawaii. It's a beautiful place and I've definitely seen the spirit of Aloha. Many firsts, glad I went with a friend cos I'll never do many of those things on my own. I think that 19 and 20 are still a bit too young to travel alone.
Things that I've done:
  1. hiked into the craters of 2 volcanos,
  2. 6h hike in weather that can't decide between clearing up and sprinkling,
  3. snorkelled in a bay created by a collapsed volcano,
  4. watched naked people do fire dances,
  5. watched many hula dances,
  6. bummed on the beaches,
  7. watched a pro surf competition,
  8. hitchhiked,
  9. took a 3h bus ride around half of Oahu island,
  10. saw many beautiful rainbows
  11. saw a sky full of stars
  12. shot a pistol, revolver and rifle
  13. been mistaken for a Japanese countless times
  14. been offered a beer by some random guy

Hawaii is definitely worth going. This trip wasn't very thoroughly planned, but ended up ok. Could be a lot more fruitful, or a day or 2 shorter, but it was fun. I need to loosen up and not get freaked out when things don't go as planned, just let things be, they might end up better than plans. Learn from the Hawaiians: Hang loose. Whatever it means.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

End of another quarter. Time's zooming past. But since I've already realised that, I'm treasuring every minute I have here. Leaving for Hawaii on Saturday. I'm getting the inertia again, just want to slack my time away, don't want to start planning/ packing/ preparing for the tiredness of travel. But I know that I'll be super sian diao if I stay here in San Diego, even if there's my 3 yr old cousin to keep me busy. So this is going to be a travelling travelling winter break. Hawaii, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Yosemite, San Diego. Daddy's complaining that I'm playing too much.. I worry for my finance after this break.

Finals are over. Another useless set of finals with my cramming for exams and forgetting them after that. I really should learn how to remember stuff in quarter systems. What do I remember of genetics? Nothing. What do I remember of MP3? Not much too. What do I remember of Montaigne? Quite a bit. What do I remember of the bible? Little. Wrote a christmas/ thank you card to my TA, thought it was quite lousily written, but I couldn't be bothered to save it. Since when am I this cynical?

More pictures of Sequoia. The really pretty ones

On top of the Baldie. The baldie is this huge piece of rock where no trees grow. Beautiful view though. Sea of clouds. Wanna jump in?

Everything turning red on sunset. It's the reddest sunset I've ever seen. I know that I have plenty of chances to see perfect sunsets but this is the first time I see everything turning red instead of golden. Maybe the air's different.

General Sherman tree. The biggest living thing on earth. Uncle Sherman here is THE biggest living thing by volume, it's not the oldest, not the tallest, but the biggest, cos it grows really fast and doesn't die. It survived fires and nowadays tourists. It's probably a kid around Jesus' time. Wise old tree.

Monday, 4 December 2006

I just want to cry when I saw the comments. sigh. He wants to give me an A so badly and I want the A so desperately but he can't. sian.. I've lost the ability to make arguments. Why should I work so hard for this dumb thing when people get the same grade or even better from just BS-ing?
There goes the class. What a terrible end to the year. He asked me how I did for the final, I said good, so what??? It's still a goner grade.

I'd better start looking at my kinemages if not I'll lose more As.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

"I sometimes hear people who apologise for not being able to say what they mean... they cannot deliver it for want of eloquence. That is moonshine... It is a matter of shadowy notions coming to them from some unformed concepts which they are unable to untangle and to clarify in their minds: consequently they cannot deliver them externally" ~Montaigne
"Once you have mastered the things the words will come freely" ~Horace

All I have is shadowy notions, no words.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Sequoia National Park

Went camping in Sequoia over Thanksgiving. My first camping trip here. Loved it.

Campsite with our 2 tents

Nice tree at campsite

Look at the size of that sequoia tree. Sequoia trees are the biggest trees in the world by volume. They are the largest living things on earth actually. And they can live for a few thousand years, survive diseases, fires.. Resilient wise old creatures.

The most common cause of death of sequoias -- toppling. Toppled tree.

Shooting of Kung-fu movie

Rock climbing

Kings of the world

Mysterious forest, reminds me of harry potter

Hanging on to stuff so they don't fall out of the car when the trunk is open

Clouds coming in

Entering the giant forest
Some time ago in the beginning of the quarter when I was free enough to roam about and take pretty pictures of sunsets and the Pacific Ocean.


Some time ago at the beginning of the quarter, we went apple picking at Julian.

Pretty apples hanging from apple trees

Quaint town of Julian. The town practically lives on apple farms, apple pies, apple cider.. yum..

Happy Halloween

Fallen apples

Apple girls

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Everything banks on this essay, and I don't even think it's good.
this is one time that I really feel hopeless..
Will an A+ final save me?
That's if I can get an A+, I've never even gotten an A anywhere before.
There isn't a magic spell thingy/ superstition that's going to save my final essays. I'm on my own.
Merry Christmas.

What am I doing? What am I working for? My grade? My understanding? Perfection? Not to disappoint my TA? Or a 3.8? Am I working for myself or to satisfy some requirement by a distant organisation? How different would I approach this if I don't have a 3.8 pushing me forward?

Monday, 13 November 2006

I knew it when I saw a 3-page comments on a 6-page essay. Looking at the grades that I'm getting, you'll think I'm doing this on purpose. I have no intention of torturing myself. I wish I could control my grade too. I hope this is not too devastating yet. When can I EVER get an A in this class? grr..

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Have been dao-ing this person. Hung up 3 times. Feel bad. But I'm not calling back. Need to figure out what I want and what I should do before there's no more decision to be made.

Never thought I'll enjoy reading Shakespeare. He's quite a funny guy. =)



The expert at work. Andoh as guest player in Yamaha Electone Fest 2006 in Malaysia.

Friday, 10 November 2006


Went for a Making of the Modern World mini series lecture. It was on contemporary art and how it might offend various religious groups. This film was one of the recent examples. The director of the 10min film was shot and stabbed to death by a religious fanatic and a death threat to the writer of the film was pinned to the corpse with a knife. Scarios. This film was made in the Netherlands.

Among other things, one of the key arguments was that US has less power to act as a state to control what people says with regards to religion than European countries. US places more importance in the freedom of speech, freedom of religion than harmony between different groups. Most European countries have anti-blasphemy laws, US doesn't. US leaves such matters to the people and society, emphasising on the 'melting pot' where everyone compromises and be less radical.

Personally I don't think this film was particularly provocative/ insulting to any religion. It's just stating one aspect of the religion, which is more of an interpretation problem by the society than a problem with the religion itself. You might argue that this girl is unreligious and isn't interpreting the religion right, she's blaming a social problem on the religion, whatever, there can be many reasons. No matter what, it's not controversial enough to have the director killed.

Suspected witches and heretics were burned in the 16th century. The rationale was that if they're good Christians, God will come and put out the fire. Isn't it obvious that such things wouldn't happen? Don't the burners know, with 16th century science, that the fire wouldn't go off on its own? They know that these heretics will be burned. Aren't their actions proving that this God doesn't exist?

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Protein synthesis epic

I'm glad I don't have to do this for class. The clip gets interesting after the introduction by this Stanford professor at about 3+ min. It's a 70s video made by UCSD chem dept and Stanford some dept. The translation process, as depicted by human beings.

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Really interesting idea came up yesterday. Storing information in nucleotides like storing in computers. Instead of using binary 0s and 1s, use the 4 bases ATGC. Much more efficient system than binary, isn't it? And if you need to mass copy it, PCR it. Perfect for publishing encyclopedia or something, if it's cheap enough. Maybe one day we can build a computer out of DNA. Hmm.. but it's organic huh, it might degrade..

Strange things people say to me. I was at senior house today, it's this apartment complex specially catered to old people living alone. we went there to entertain the chinese-speaking oldies, so i was chatting with this granny and she said go get married immediately after you graduate, cannot don't marry. And I'm like huh?? Nice old people though, super duper on.. They really compete hard to win the games. Scarios.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Universal Truth/ Nature

Is there such a thing as a universal truth? Is there a universal standard as what is natural? My view is that yes, if something is true, it's true. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody knows about it, it doesn't mean that the tree didn't fall. Is there a set of moral values that all humans agree to, is there a single value that all humans agree that is important? Are we all working towards something besides purely survival? Are we all working towards happiness, just that we haven't found a system where everyone can be happy? If there is a universal standard of what is natural and it's embedded somewhere us, why is there so much conflict between individuals?

How one is brought up determines a lot of how he thinks. I'm sure that if I've been brought up in a religious environment, I wouldn't be as atheistic as I am now. Talking about ghosts and souls yesterday, wonder why the topic came up, probably because of Halloween. Acc to some Chinese traditions (maybe it's part of Buddhism? Taoism?), 人有三个魂。在人死后,一个会去投胎;一个会跟祖先的魂混在一起;还有一个会留在人世,但是会慢慢消失。在人刚死不久时,很容易碰见鬼。讲这些的人讲得一本正经,好像真的有这一回事。而且觉得不相信的人实在是太不相信现实了。What do I say to that? BS. But if I was his daughter, I would probably think all these are true.

What is my point? I don't know. I wanted to make some point but nothing seems very pointy here. Maybe some point will come up when I can think clearly.

About the issue that caused the recent hoohaa over singapore blogging scene. Read this and this. What do I think? A characteristic with all governments or all forms of management is that policies are made aimed at the good of the society/ group as a whole, which because the people at the top of the society make a larger influence, the policies happen to side those people. And then the management decides that the people at the lower end of the group are marginalised, so they put in measures to help these people. As a result, the top end and bottom end of the group are both at an advantage. The majority, the middle part of the group, is ignored. Mr derek's complaints are completely valid, a view into what the middle part of the group thinks. Some comments by other people gives a look into what the top are getting, fast promotions, guaranteed success. As for the bottom, incentives have always been given to them, even if they're not much. More people visit old people in hospitals and nursing homes than people visiting healthy old people living on their own. Come on, healthy old people need people's care and concern too. The rich people have lots of money, the poor has social security, the middle people are left slogging and paying high taxes. Anyway the point is, the middle part of the group is always neglected even though they are the majority. Machiavelli says that the people must always be oppressed to a certain extent for the authorities to maintain sufficient control over the state, so I guess it's inevitable that the majority is not in the best position possible.

Professor induced temporary threshold shift in our audibility threshold in class. Siao, I still want my hearing lor.

So many classes I want to take next quarter.. which to choose?

Monday, 23 October 2006

I want to blog but I've been busy. Crazy week this week, at least after tomorrow, half of the craziness will be gone.

Am I that old? People around me are getting engaged, first it's my classmate who is a year younger than I am, then I stumbled upon a friend's blog and he says he just proposed and she said yes. Wow.

Coaching. I seem to coach a lot this term. Was the coach for the lect debate, meaning I slack while the rest go talk, and we have fantastic speakers and speeches, and brilliant brains churning out wacky ideas. We were arguing for the abolishment of private property. Gave a whole bag of chocs and sweets (wealth/ property) to the professor (the aristocrat), and he so sportingly told the class that he won't share any of those with the class cos that's his private property. Haha. I love our speeches and how our arguments could raise John's eyebrows and make him nod furiously. I would definitely have done this in a different way, splitting parts, everyone go write your own speech, make things formal and debate-like, but I guess what we turned out to do was much better. Maybe the arguments were not as sophisticated and well-phrased like those in an essay, but they are much more approachable, easy-to-understand, fun for the audience, and more importantly, both the professors liked it. And it doesn't hurt that we won. Spent almost 4h working on just the speeches though. But it's been fun working with these brainy and talkative people. =)

Coaching for a middle school science olympiad team. Can't believe it right? Me coaching for olympiad. But it's fun. Not the hard-core Bio O or Chem O kind of thing. It's called science crime busters and we do CSI kind of work, analyse evidence. Fun for me to learn too. The kids look so small, I don't remember sec 1s being that small.. I'm old..

Planning to go Hawaii in Dec. Hope I have time to plan. Seems like I'm the only one planning this time. And I do have a tendency to screw impt things up because of some misconceptions. I almost loaded proteins into a gel today without removing the comb, how dumb. I hope our Western work, cos we didn't load all the sample that we could..

I need to have more confidence in myself. A paper that has a 2nd opinion 12h before it's due isn't much different from one that didn't have the 2nd opinion at all. And I should be less lazy. If a drastic change needs to be made, it has to be made.

I want to stop spending money.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

A big thank you to all who remembered my birthday, all you people who emailed/ MSN-ed/ facebooked/ blogged/ called/ celebrated it with me. =)

GPA's in danger this term. Can't guarantee an A for any of my classes, quite dangerous. Start of 2 crazy weeks tomorrow. Lab reports due, midterms, and Hum paper. And I still don't have a clue on what to write for Hum paper. Even chamber orch is more xiong this quarter. I'm going to heck Westerns and PCRs for a while.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

More pretty stuff

Power of flourescent proteins. I like the Christmas one =)

Monday, 9 October 2006


In order of importance..

  1. D-Deck, or Tyros, or PSR1500 and above.. I've got my eyes on them =)
  2. good friends to celebrate with
  3. mobility.. otherwise known as a bike, or a license and a car
  4. a boyfriend

There was a EL500 for sale lately at US$1700, good deal, but don't think it's feasible to have this 70kg monster around

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Had a disastrous day yesterday where everything went wrong.. just not my day i guess.. I don't even want to list any of those things. I figured sometimes just don't think so much, just do things, maybe there'll be less screw ups. At least chamber orch was fun, class is huge this time, and pieces are interesting, it's going to be a dancy concert. =)

Got a ecard from aga. Weird. The email said "Surprise! You've just received a Yahoo! Greeting..." Yeah, it's really a surprise.

I don't know why he picked me, I know if he's counting on me to come up with some great arguments to win, he's greatly overestimated me. I can't think under pressure, I can't make myself understood without thinking over every word I use, and he knows that I always make half an argument and not state the significance of it. Gosh, I don't even understand Machiavelli. But well, I guess he has his reasons and i don't have a choice, but to take part in this debate. Seriously, I'd much rather do the film review.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

He sounds really good, no jerky expressions, no broken lines. It's 6min long of variations on a simple melody but I haven't got bored of it yet. Of course part of the credit goes to Andoh, his compositions are great. Title of piece is Ayura.

Here's another one. September, again arranged by Andoh. Look at this guy's pedalling, he's Ron Nard by the way, looks like he's dancing there, doesn't he? I never did manage to play the pedals of this piece.


Chio. Should I just wait for this to be released? Or should I just get a PSR3000?

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

My tuesdays and thursdays are complete waste of time. Lecturers seem to have no sense of urgency, spend the whole lecture talking about seemingly nothing and the 8am lecture in Price theater just puts me to sleep. I shall do my hum reading next time in that class, but that will put me to sleep even faster. nvm. The problem with taking a class with all sorts of other people is that the teacher doesn't know how deep to go, had a 1.5h class the other day and the teacher spent 1h talking irrelevant stuff and cracking jokes and showing us Sound of Music, finally spent half an hour trying to teach the concept of waves AND nodes AND reflection.. wonder what am I doing in the class.

Me to classmate: How was your summer?
S: It was good. Oh I got engaged.
wow, she's my age.

Me to my supervisor: You plan to have kids?
supervisor: Yeah. Having kids at 27 is considered old for Indians.

First thing my TA said to me in hum class: I'm glad to see you on my list again. You just want to be tortured again, don't you?
yeah.. I just want an A.

Friday, 22 September 2006

"We were walking home one day from the pub and the police came over and asked what we were doing. We said we were walking because we drank too much to drive and he asked to check our IDs. We should have driven cos then we probably wouldn't be stopped by the police."
Apparently it's more suspicious-looking to walk on the streets than to drink and drive. Makes me wonder seriously what the police are thinking of..


Neoprints with nice real backgrounds =) Courtesy of xh's camera

evening picnic


hmm.. why got extra guy at the back? I don't mean hk =)

We're the royal visitors to Buckingham

The shot that's so extremely hard to get. Whoopee!! It's holidays with freakos!

white cap punks

678? I forgot the numbers haha..

London night view

This is absolutely neoprint-like. Squeeze your face into the camera and try not to look shocked.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Don't feel like studying after such a long break. But I guess I'll have to plunge back into my long reading list after tomorrow's lecture. Taking some classes that are worth worrying about this quarter.. MAE9 is worth taking, but not now. Shall focus on 4 classes this quarter, the least no. of units I've taken since my first quarter.

Life has been boring, not getting hit by any extremely inspiring comments anywhere worth recording about.

Singapore is a small place. My circle is even smaller. Met this woman in my current lab who did her phD in singapore, in a certain institute in nus. And guess what? She knows my housemate's supervisor really well. Guess what else? She lived right opposite my current apartment. But she moved a week before I arrived. What a small world.

Plasma is a form of matter? What is plasma? Fire is a form of plasma? Fire is matter? Fire can transmit sound?

"There's nothing remarkable about [making music]. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." ~ JS Bach
If only music is that simple..

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

I am dumb enough to bring the wrong camera cable.. Sian.. cannot upload photos until I get my hands on another cable.

Sian-ness, so much crap to settle. Suddenly my degree audit decides not to count any of the classes that I transferred from A-levels, crazy. Shuttle stop is pretty far away, but at least I can get to sch fast.. House is always empty, but I don't mind that much.. Unpacking has been hell, trying to put everything somewhere neatly. Too bad no pictures to show cos I'm too stupid to check the cable I brought, now I guess mummy has a wrong camera cable too. Lab, well, it's not the nice bright lab with a fantastic view over the prison any more. It's not with ct any more too.. Time to be ultra-sociable..

Ok I wanted to upload photos from my computer to here, but the server keeps dying on me.. Forget it.

I am nerdier than 37% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
I'm absolutely bored.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

This is the end of holidays. End of year 1, start of year 2.

Holidays have been fantastic. Spent 2 wonderful weeks FF-ing with Assers in London and Spain. That was the freako-est bunch of people that I've gone on holiday with. Totally crazy but very fun. =) Thanks assers!

Then spent 2 months on attachment. The best part of this attachment is that I got to meet all these people, people in my group, people in the office. They are an amazingly varied group of people. If I were to quote everything I think that's worth quoting from these people, I could last a whole conversation. Got many opinions on whether to do science or not, quite amusing responses, probably wouldn't be that amusing when it's my turn. Watching the pros work shows how fresh and inexperience I am. As someone from my lab said, I have to "waste a few more years of taxpayers' money before (I) can contribute". Was preparing for my final presentation and felt that if this was a class that I'm taking, and the final presentation is my final exam, I'm totally unprepared for it. There's no way I can smoke an A for this class. Not surprisingly, Dr wang talked more than I did during the presentation, glad he was there. Quote from Dave: you can say "I don't know" when you're an RA but you have to know everything when you're a postdoc. I was reading through my notes for my last attachment and realised that Dave was teaching me with much more guidance, he tells me every step, how he gets every figure, why we're doing what.. This time round, much less details, well I really need to learn to not assume so much, and push for what I want, and ask ask ask. Definitely has to do that with my next mentor. I can't be the kid any more. Still it has been a good 2 months, learnt quite a bit (although can definitely be more)..

Went Cambodia with my parents. Cambodia is different from anywhere else I've been to. Siem Reap and Angkor is not like Bangkok or any parts of China that I've been to. The town lives on tourism. Quite an amazing place, how often would you find majestic ruins in the jungle and attract the whole world to come and see them?

In this last week, played a whole lot. As if trying to play enough for the whole year. The class is good. xm has improved so much, she's the one now and she's still so young. Go xm, you'll make it big one day. Played all that I wanted, recorded some potential tunes for my phone, but found that my midi editing softwares are all not working, shall resort to some primitive software when I get back to SD. I've decided to buy a keyboard, no matter what happens to my electone. i figure I can spare that thousand bucks or two for my emotional well-being. =) Sponsors for my keyboard are highly welcome.

I don't want to go back to SD. But I don't have a choice, do I? And I guess I'll enjoy SD once again when I'm there. I figured the most impt thing nowadays is to enjoy and treasure what I have right now, since the clock will keep ticking, this moment will pass, the next moment will come. I will miss this holiday.

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Lifting from a friend's blog..

The Diffusion Theory
Came up by a friend trying to get us to do something useful with our time.. amazed at the amount of bs.. Check it out.

Click the graph to get to the original post and how the figures were generated. In short, start to work as early as possible to earn the most money.

But is money the most important thing? As have been said a million and one times, money is not the most important thing in life, but you can't live without money. Or if I were to quote someone whom I'm quoting a bit too often, "when you get to my age, you'll see the importance of money, (and recognition, for that matter)". Whatever happened to happiness, satisfaction? Are money and recognition all there is to happiness in this field? But well, I guess the people I'm quoting from are not lacking in the other aspects leading to happiness..

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Had lunch with Queenie from UCSD yesterday. She's on exchange and taking a semester in NUS. Of all places, Singapore. It was by accident that I discovered that she's in Singapore, and yup so we had lunch and I found out what she thinks about here. I'm really shocked to find out that her grades will be transferred back to UCSD as grades, not just P/NP. Tough for her then. Ed says Singapore is boring, cos it's so small. Does that make Singaporeans boring too?

My brain's not working lately, got off the elevator at the wrong floor yesterday and walked into the floor before realising that it's not my floor. I was wondering why I got the weird look from that lady. Then I got off at the wrong MRT stop when I went to meet the Assers, but luckily I noticed that the place looked unfamiliar before I exit the gates, and I just hopped back onto the next train. And I added my reaction into huge tubes instead of tiny pcr tubes just now when I was trying to do PCR. Luckily I realised before I try dumping the tubes into the machine.. Absentmindedness. Getting old.

Assers outing. Great to see everyone again. We are really crazy. They make me laugh so much. Embarrassed ourselves by asking the waiter to reheat our half-eaten muffins. Cherading with each other. FFs everywhere we go. Went esplanade and had a few wonderful rounds of bridge and asshole daidi. Had a great evening.

Was discussing about beliefs with Guoji. I said I believed in "wo3 jiao4". He said the society is created to suit people who believed in themselves. Those with self-confidence always win. And we are indeed "shens" who have created a new world. The virtual world. He speculates that one day we will all live in the virtual world because it's a world that we created, it's the perfect place in our minds. I said that the virtual world can never be real because you can die in a RPG and be reborn and try again. He said, "The character that you're playing doesn't know that he can die and start over again. He thinks he will die and that's it. How do you know that you are not just a character in the real world?"
Moral of story: Kill yourself and find out if you have another life

Tuesday, 15 August 2006