Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Square Root of Three

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three
The three is all that’s good and right
Why must my three kept out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign
I wish instead I were a nine
For nine could thwart this evil trick
With just some quick arithmetic
I know I’ll never see the sun
As 1.7321
Such is my reality
A sad irrationality
When hark! What is this I see
Another square root of a three
Has quietly come waltzing by
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer
Rejoicing as an integer
We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands
Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

- From Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Dedicated to my love. Awesome hor? :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wrote this on Monday, but posting it now...

Gosh, i'm on my way to school now and this is going to be my first day of school in almost an entire year. Ok so i've been back to school on and off doing BE stuff, but i'm actually going back right now to STUDY. I feel like I haven't studied in a looong time. Ever since the china internship then gg to japan (where I barely did any studying really) then going to credit suisse, i've come full circle and i'm gg back to sit in an SR, work with project mates and participate in class. Not too long ago I was actually looking forward to it, to finally actually enjoy studying because i'll be studying what I like rather than for the grades. But as i'm sitting on this train on the way to school, a sense of apprehension engulfs me. Will I have to listen to ppl talk rubbish in class and ask rubbish questions? Will I get a shitty prof that can't teach? Will I get shitty project mates who zuo bo lan? Do I still have what it takes to mug again?

It just occurred to me if there's a freshman girl in class, i'll be a grand 7 years older than her at least. I'll be studying with people younger than my brother! Speaking of my brother, congrats dude on passing ur driving! I know u feel really good about it, and i'm really proud of you too. My bro can be such a worm, but when he achieves something I always feel really happy for him. I dunno how to explain it. When my sis achieves something, i'm like happy, but not surprised, maybe coz she was always the smartest among the three of us, so success is kinda 'expected' so to speak. But my bro's a little different. He doesn't do anything much, so when he actually goes out to do something to improve himself be it taekwondo or driving, and actually achieves something at it, I feel especially happy.

Gosh the train approaches city hall. I feel the chill down my spine again. *bbrrrrr*

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

*Pats off dust on blog*

Wow, I didn't realize it's been almost 8 months since I updated my blog. Some ppl have even told me they can't be bothered to swing by and check it anymore. I'm really sorry for this mia-ing and it's been down to pure laziness (and a very bad internet connection in japan of course).

So i've come full circle in the last year or so, going to japan and coming back then finishing up my internship with credit suisse. I'm really thankful for both experiences. Japan really helped me put a perspective in life which I think I once had in me. I remember during my freshmen year, I used to think that studies was important, but so was experiencing life, so I got myself really involved with BE and stageit in sch. While i'm thankful I did, came the 2nd half of the 2nd year I started regretting because my grades suffered so much. I started to buy into the rhetoric of mugging, and though I felt good when I managed to score, I forgot what I wanted from my uni life. But having gone to japan, experiencing hostel life and all, i'm glad the experience put things back in perspective for me. Grades are still important, but enjoying what u're studying and the thirst for learning is even more so.

My time at credit suisse has been just as fulfilling. I'm pretty sure I still did an 'okay' job despite not being an accountant but working in financial accounting. I never rejected work or 'sai gang', coz I felt that even the smallest job could have it's learning points, and in fact it did. I realized things about myself that I never thought were quite 'me'. I always thought I wouldn't want a routine job, but actually routine is a good thing to start off with to ease urself into the organization and culture. The company gave me real work responsibilities which i'm really thankful for after the 'cultural experience' of the china internship. I have a far more positive attitude to work now. And honestly, I can't wait to embark on a careerto call my own.

With those around me all getting jobs already, I do feel pressured to find a good job quickly. I realized there's quite a few things i'm willing to try for my career, even certain government jobs. I'm ready for my next big challenge to be good at something. Question is, is there someone out there willing to give me a chance? But ah well, all my life i've been fighting for my own chances. I admit i'm not a very technical guy, my knowledge of academics is really weak. But hopefully I can take the next sem or so to brush up on this and find a career, a niche, for myself.

On to less insightful things, my sunday soccer team have been constantly improving and last week we did really really well (ok if u're not a soccer nut u can skip this part)! Honestly we haven't been good enough for quite some time, ever since I came back from exchange, but several beer and wine sessions discussing tactics and playing styles last few months have allowed us to build and improve steadily. Our regular opponents have been playing for years together, and I still think they are more skillful than us. But we're now matching up to them, taking games to extended lengths. For what we lack in skill, we make up in determination and tactical awareness. The goals we now concede are either our own silly mistakes (of which i'm honestly guilty of and must improve) or from lousy throw-ins (which we're making up for by improving our own, and putting an extra man on the line helps. If we're gonna lose out on the jostling for the header, better we increase our chances of clearing off the line). I think we all realized how effective it is to play with a fixed team with a couple of rolling subs. It's better than playing with different people every week, u can't get the passing going or get used to each other's style. Ur only hope is to defend deep and hope to sucker punch, often offering nothing going forward. It can work for one-goal games, but two-goal games which we often play anyway, are just too much to ask.

Playing better has driven me to improve myself. I wanna get fitter physically so that when the games drag I still have the presence of mind to know what to do with the ball when I get it. I wanna improve on my one touch passing and be more confident on the ball. I wanna improve my touch and my left foot. I wanna cut out making silly mistakes. We might be getting it tactically right so far when our opponents sit, but when they are playing full court press we start getting nervous and cannot switch our play quickly. The obvious way to beat full court press is by going long, but we suck at going long, defenders can't put accurate long balls or the front men can't bring the ball down or hold it up. We could do short passing and pass quicker, but are we skillful enough to do that. This is another topic to discuss about in our next drinks session.

My parents are in china again. I've got mixed feelings about this. I'm glad my dad is back at work. Think my dad doesn't realize it himself, but I believe he's happier when he's working than staying at home and observing shares. I prefer it too also because shares is juz not a stable income relative to a real job. My dad has a way of making himself indispensible at work and I think he likes people to listen to him, which is obviously not what his three kids strive on. But in the last few months after coming back from exchange i've gotten used to coming back to eat whenever I have the time. It'll hurt me economically with all the inflation and what-not, but more importantly the house is a little more empty again. I feel it more now because i'm used to coming home after work for dinner, and that happened more often than when I was at school. And I actually wanna come back for dinner more now coz I dun wan my bro to be eating alone all the time. Cest la vie I guess.

That's for an update to get things up to speed I guess. I shall not promise when I will post again seeing how lazy I am, but i'll put it in my msn and facebook nick if I ever update here again.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Life in the land of the rising sun

And so the first 2 weeks hava passed here in japan and well while in the main, things have been gg well, I muz admit i'm still adjusting to life here. It's the process of getting to know ppl again that I think is getting to me; the process of deciding who u are, how u should behave, who u should be. Don't get me wrong, the people here are really friendly, some even go to great lengths juz to make more friends and I think that's great. But it gets to me coz everyone's too busy trying to know more ppl, I can't seem to hold a REAL conversation. I mean I find myself having to speak in an american slang juz to make myself understood. When I speak in my singapore accent they either look at me dumbfounded or u can see from their expression they're finding it hard to understand.

There are some singaporeans here but only a handful. I'm the only one on exchange though, so it can be hard to strike up a conversation. Juz very different frequency. U get the feeling some of them are here becoz they hate our system, and with that they seem to hate those that accept the system. I dun get it. The only reason why u're even able to make it her in the first place is BECAUSE the system allows u to. Don't condescend me juz because I chose to bleed the system instead of fighting it. Sure it has its problems but no system is perfect right? I admire ur strength and courage in fighting for what u believe in and restarting ur life in a foreign place, but could it be that it takes even more courage to grind out a life in the oh-so-imperfect system that brought u up? Ur disdain for the system is understandable, I myself bitch about it all the time, but perhaps u should still respect the views of those who actually still like it.

The system here in japan is far from perfect anyway, but I shall be respectful and not badmouth it while I have such limited exposure. What I MUST bitch about is this STUPID japanese language proficiency test that I was made to sit. For all japan's famed efficiency, my school makes u do a shitload of waiting and queueing for something to get done. I went for my test at 1pm but by the time I was done it was oredi 5.45pm lah! I counted the actual time of me doing tests was about 2hrs MAX! The others was all waiting.

When I went there we had to WAIT for another truckload of latecomers before we could start. The test was a hiragana test which I finished in like 30 seconds. BUT I had to WAIT for the examiners to mark finish EVERY DAMN PAPER becoz those that passed had to take another more advanced test! What was worse is for all of japan's famed technology, the examiners chose to write every single ID number of those who failed the test on the BLACKBOARD (who the fuck still uses chalk and blackboard these days?) despite the availability of projectors and computers in the room. So we WAIT lor. Wait until all the ID numbers one by one write finish lor.

I was oredi sian 1/2 oredi neh mind. So finally I took the second test, and that was easy too, I finished it in like 3 minutes. THEN the process of WAITING START ALL OVER AGAIN! Coz again, if you passed this test you had to take another even more advanced test. And so it was I had to WAIT for EVERY SINGLE PAPER to be marked again, and WAIT for EVERY SINGLE PERSON who failed the test to have their ID number written on the blackboard again ONE BY ONE.

And if you think that was the end of my torture, far from it. The third paper had 2 parts, and we were given the vocab and grammer part to do first (which I sucked at, so I finished quite quickly). Then I had to WAIT for everyone to finish that section before going on to the next section because it was listening comprehension! To put the nail in the coffin, when the results were out a few days later, I was posted to the most basic japanese foundation class along with the jokers who didn't pass the very FIRTST test! Sigh… it’s even tiring to type all this out. Grrrr… the pent of frustration…

Another thing I shall bitch about is the unexpected startup costs I’ve been incurring. I love my mum so much now, because she takes care of so many things that are just IMPOSSIBLE to anticipate. You think cooking would be cheap huh? But what you didn’t think is you need pots, pans, spices and sauces just to make a decent thing out of a piece of meat or a bunch of vegetables. There’s only so far a friggin bottle of soy sauce can take you. And I sure learnt some cooking lessons the hard way, for example the first day I cooked rice, I realized I had no rice cooker, so I had to use a pot. And coz I was so scared that I would burn my rice, I took an entire 50 MINUTES juz to cook my rice. Oh and I managed to screw up my pasta (how the hell do you do that right?) and my chicken wings. Oh and did you know, oyster sauce can actually burn? It’s from there I learnt the beauty of a low heat fire. Patience is a virtue in cooking I guess. Now the beautiful question is, if I use my one and only pot to cook my rice, what am I going to use to cook my food then? Conundrum conundrum… Have a strong urge to buy a non-stick pan, coz mine is pathetic. It manages to screw up my omelet even after I put a shit load of oil on it first. Damn… See? Who would think non-stick pans are so important? So sidikit sidikit lama lama jadi bukit lah, I’m way overspending right now and trying desperately to bring down my expenditure. Maybe I really muz gain nirvana while I’m on top of this mountain…

That’s it for now, for photos, can go to my facebook (juz look for my name can le), coz the photo uploading system there is so much way simpler to use. Jaa, mata aimashoo!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lazy Blogger

*Ok I actually wrote this on the plane to Japan, and fell asleep at the end so it looks a bit incomplete. But I'm posting it up anyway.
Ok and so i'm a lazy blogger. My previous entry was like in july which was more than 2 months ago, even before I came back from shenzhen. Ever since I went back to singapore though it's been whirlwind. Got involved with campus tv's 2nd episode, the spoof episode, and that took up the bulk of deceit y time. Been furiously attending the different talks by the banks as well, and of course I went throug a 4 week intensive course on the japanese language.

And so it begins again, my exchange trip to japan. I frankly haven't been looking forward to it as much as my shenzhen trip though. Several reasons, but mainly coz I feel i've juz gotten back to singapore not long ago and nw I have to go again. But i'm approaching it philosophically. I'm gg on a trip to drastically improve my japanese which would hopefully give me a competitive advantage in the future. The linguistic experience that i've always wanted is finally here. Here's me keeping my fingers crossed that it'll all be worth it!

Since i'm nt really there yet, I shall update on what's been up between shenzhen and nw. Well for one the EPL season has started again! Soccer khaki Favian once said I should blog abt soccer on my blog coz my analysis of things are interesting, but I figured i'd give it a shot anyway for 2 reasons: I have a fantasy football team (which has juz only been average so far this season) and also i've started becoming a pundit for teekay's campus radio show (i think it's called the six-pack show if i'm not wrong, it's about sports and gyming which teekay is an absolute expert in). Anyway, this season has been extremely exciting for me for the fact liverpool have been doing extremely well! They came out of the blocks from the first whistle and have been gg strong so far. I swear rafa benitez made the team eat steroids before the 6-0 drubbing of derby. I hope the team doesn't rest on their laurels though, the first hiccup was oredi hear during last weekend's draw against portsmouth. But i'm philosophical abt it. Harry redknapp really strengthened during the summer with sulley muntari and john utaka looking like astute signings. No wonder david nugent couldn't get a game. With steven gerard and his broken toe and torres injuring his knee during the midweek international fixture, rafa put out a team which I half-expected. He's using the squad and I support him for doing that. I mean what's the use of paying crouch 20,000 pounds a week if u dun use him right? 20,000 pounds a week leh, u think what? Pounds is toilet paper ah? Convert to sing dollars that's 30,000 bucks a week leh, most people are lucky to earn that in a year! Then ppl say he didn't perform, but I think that's not fair to crouchy. He hardly kicked a ball since pre-season and suddenly he come back from internationals and he's expected to turn on like a 18 year old on viagra, cannot be right? So all u critics lay off crouch lah, hope he plays against porto tonite while i'm on the plane to fukuoka.

Ok for the sake of my non-soccer watching frens I better move on to next topic. I've been attending so many career talks by the banks, as yuhui aptly put it, it can almost be considered as 1 more mod man. My favourite was the BP talk and the macquarie talk though. Both gave me an insight of wat being a securities or commodities trader is like in a fun and relaxed way. Better than the suits of credit suisse and deutche (sp?) bank at least. Now I feel i'm willing to take either of those 2 paths. But are the companies willing to hire me then? The odds at BP were said to be 8 out of 3000. With a gpa of 3.5, maybe I shouldn't put my hopes too high lah.

I juz finished ctv's spoof episode and I muz say i'm really excited to see the end product this friday. I've always had high regard for ctv's episodes and i'm really glad to finally part of one! It has made me feel old though. I've seen the freshmen come in and listened to their baby woes of LTB, AS and CT, it really made me feel weary. But then again these freshmen gave me new hope for the club and I really think the BE camp gave us a good bunch of people we can work with. Nw if only the IS freshmen aren't so caught up academically. There's so much talent there we need.

Then there's the "LN, u haven't graduate yet ah?" comments. Wah lau fren, i'm entitled to a 4th year also ok fyi? Since 2nd year i've been hearing this oredi. Granted i'm now and OBS (old bird senior) but i'm really nt that fantastically old leh. But perhaps there's some truth in it. I've perhaps been ard for too long le. A new generation is emerging, and i'm more than happy to hand over the reigns. I juz hope the next generation takes ownership of what has been built at BE. The club is mine, and will always be mine, but it's everyone else's too. Do ppl see that? LN, jac jac, jasmine, jeremy, heyuan and yuhui can only be ard for so long. We can only hope another generation shares our love for the club.

Friday, July 6, 2007

2 more myths about China

My department had a confirmation dinner yesterday, coz 3 of my colleagues received their confirmation and a raise this week. From last night's dinner/KTV I found out another 2 truths about the Chinese, which links nicely with yesterday's post:

1) Some Chinese really can be ngiao poks
Of the 3 colleagues who received their confirmations, 2 were junior staff and 1 was a senior supervisor. Last week during our department meeting my manager told the senior supervisor to organize the dinner. In the meeting the guy told everyone he will come up with 400 bucks and everyone cheered. So my manager told the other 2 junior staff to come up 200 each. Yesterday when it came to paying the bill, the guy told the other 2 junior staff to give him their 200 each and he will settle the bill. However, we just found out that the bill only came up to 500 plus, which means he only paid 100 plus of his own money and the 2 junior staff paid more than him. Now, the 2 junior staff earn so little they barely have savings. I even had to lend one of them the 200 which he will pay me back after payday next week. Now this is a guy that has been having trouble commanding the respect of some of the more experienced junior staff. After this debacle I have no idea how the dude is going to recover from this career suicide man. Conclusion: Some Chinese can appear generous, but they can really be ngiao poks!
2) Some Chinese really have no sense of rhythm
My ears were almost bleeding at the KTV. I dun claim to be Pavarotti or have a good enough voice to criticize other people's singing, but seriously, yesterday I couldn't believe my ears. The 2 girls that were fighting for the mics singing one song after another were realy quite bad. Ok so they didn't go out of tune, but it was seriously out of rhythm man. You know how at KTV you're suppose to singalong when the words turned blue? These 2 girls absolutely didn't care man, they just sang all the words as soon as they appeared, like they were afraid the other girl would sing finish the words first. They made soppy ballads sound like a Jay Chou rap man. Sometimes, the words couldn't change fast enough for them and they had to wait. Some of us were trying to singalong and get them into rhythm, but these 2 simply were too much into their own world. I dun wanna be rude, because these 2 girls have been absolutely nice to me. But seriously, wassup with that man? Count dammit, count!
That's all folks! *Cue in Looney Tunes them*

Thursday, July 5, 2007

random thoughts

2 weekends ago was fun, coz I managed to go to a resort on the outskirts of Shenzhen where Suzanna's mum was staying and teaching English. The food was fantastic, the buffet and seafood was a good break away from from chinese fastfood which have been part of my daily diet here. And the awesome seafood was sooooo friggin cheap it made the meal so much tastier. Crabs and prawn porridge, am pan yong tau foo, shellfish and some fantastic rabbit fish for the three of us only cost 30SGD!!! Sue's mum is sure living it up there despite the hectic work! And the swimming was soooo utterly relaxing, it was really a good pick-me-up to get me through the remaining days here in Shenzhen.
Last weekend though was a bummer. I wanted to go visit the attractions here in Shenzhen but it kept storming and storming here, it was impossible to get out. What did I do? 1) Watch copa america. The football coverage here is second to none as long as you can stand the unexciting chinese commentary. 2) Watch Friends. I've been watching Friends from the beginning of season 1 and by the end of the weekend I was at season 3 already. I've never been able to catch Friends consistently in the past although I absolutely love the show due to time constraints and forgetfulness. But watching it from the beginning has been great because I now know some of the things Ross and Rachel have been through just to get together. I find it quite amusing at how everytime Ross walks into a room or Central Perk and then give that Hush Puppies face and a sappy "Hi" to everyone. His life always has something cocking up. And man his seeds are sure as hell potent. I guess the show was successful in the beginning because of how they openly joked about sex. But as the show went on season after season you can feel they always try to refresh themselves and take relevant dramatic directions rather than just becoming a one trick pony. I guess that's how you last for 10 seasons huh?
I totally missed that BE townhall meeting thing and I've been getting mixed responses about it. For those uninformed SMU Broadcast and Entertainment has been owning my life for about the past 3 years and when you put so much time and effort into something is hard to totally let go when your time is up. I still care a whole lot about the club even things haven't exactly been rosy. It's not a management fault really, but we really need more people to step up and pull together. It's a chronic problem not only for BE, but for most clubs in SMU that we have too many things to do and too little people. But one thing I know for sure, we're not a club on decline, and it's not doom and gloom like how some people on the outside make it out to be. We just gotta keep believing in the things we're doing and keep the family spirit we've tried so hard to build. To all you Be-ings out there, the light at the end of the tunnel is the incoming freshmen friends. Let's really try to bring 'em into the family quickly and really include them in doing things with us. We didn't do a very good job at that in the past, but we're in the position to change that. It's not a 6 week or 8 week thing where we entertain the freshmen and then forget about them. Let's get them helping us from day one, with or without training. And let's have more suppers and Citadel sessions together, we dun SAF (Serve And Fuck-off) right? My time with you guys is really going to be up soon, especially when I leave for exchange and when I grad. But I'll forever remember I have a family in SMU, and you are that family.
Ok I'm gonna attempt to de-mystify a few myths and revelations I've been having from my stay here in Shenzhen, so here it goes:
1) Chinese people can stink too
That's right folks, a lot a lot of chinese people here suffer from a chronic case of bad body odour. And most of the times it makes my bus rides really unbearable. Mostly I try to take individual seats, but usually I dun have a choice, and 95% of the time when someone comes to sit beside me, that person has bad body odour. And I dunno about you, I used to think it was impossible for girls to have body odour. I remember when I was younger a whole bunch of us would exercise together, badminton, jogging, bball etc. All of us can be sweating like pigs but the girls would still smell like they just came out of the shower. But tmd the girls here can look young and fashionable BUT STILL HAVE BODY ODOUR! I blame it on 2 things: Firstly, many Chinese people here dun bathe everyday. I can understand it if it's in the winter and you hardly break a sweat all day. But apparently it happens even in the summer. Secondly, did you know the Chinese here have no access to deoderants? It's so WTF unbelievable right? I didn't think it was possible too until my filipino friend Philip told me. Lucky I brought my own, if not I'll end up smelling as well. Conclusion: Chinese people can have BO too.
2) Chinese girls really dun shave their armpit hair
This is really WTF WTF man. There was once a female colleague was talking to me at my desk, so I was sitting down and she was standing up. In order to maintain eye contact I had to look up right? Then, she started tying her hair. In the process inevitably she had to raise her hands right? And since she was wearing a sleeveless top, two tufts of armpit hair was just staring me at the face and try as I might I couldn't tear my eyes off them. Another female colleague was worse. I was walking behind her and I suddenly realized that even with her hands down, hair was peeking out of her pits. Now guys, what can possibly be more of a turn off than that???
3) Just because I can speak chinese, doesn't mean I always understand what the Chinese are saying.
Sometimes I even think it's unfair. I wanna tell them look man, accents, articulation and speed all play a part ok? Sure sure, it's my government's fault for making the school teach us 标准 pronounciation. But dun lose your patience with me just because I need you to repeat or explain things to me what. Yes, I know there's a friggin queue, but I dowan to end up eating horse manure for my dinner just because I dun understand what the middle finger you're saying coz your tongue is so frigging lazy to move right?
All right, time to reply a few comments, coz for the life of me I can't understand why everytime I try to post a comment the page is not found.
To Ray: I miss you guys too. I'll be back soon ok dude, 2.5 more weeks nia!
To Seow Yee: Thanks for enjoying that entry! I'll be here until 21st July, and my hp no is on my MSN. Gimme a call if the timing fits!
Ok I'll try to put up a tagboard once I'm back in Singapore. Here is just impossible coz the internet is so unpredictable. I type all these in word first then paste into blogger, coz I dunno how stable the connection is. I dowan to type for 1/2 hour and then when I click post the page is not found, you can just want to kill yourself after that.
Ok cheers peepz, really looking forward to seeing everyone soon!!! 2 more weeks!!!