Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recess ‘Week’

Minutes to midnight and my ‘off day’ will be over soon. But that doesn’t mean I had been closing all source of ‘learning’ for 24 hours. In fact, I had my night time studying a while and planning, arranging my academic life in weeks to come! Why am I so exceptionally hardworking? That’s not me! Nope, it’s me alright, just at a moment whereby a little effort is needed. Today was supposed to be the last day of recess week, but in spite of putting down everything and run right into the sea for a good swim, I realized my constraint in catching up with school work: readings, revisions, assignments, reports and also research project. I spent more than half of my waking time inside the lab for everyday during recess week and another half figuring how can I catch up with so many academics. In between, I made some writings on my thoughts and some doodling. And then, yesterday, I made a decision – I need a break. And my ‘off day’ went like this…

I woke up late in the morning and prepared myself for the Borders clearance sale in Expo. Sipping boxed milk, I walked and boarded bus and MRT. In Expo, I spent two hours browsing the books. There were a lot of books – just not those I find any particular interest in. I did found a biography of Winston Churchill, though it was about his younger life, I bought this only one. I got one Infinite Possibilities for Elaine for she needed some motivation. I was intensely dissatisfied by the outcome of this sale, but that was before I walked out to find out all food stalls were crowded with people. In the hope to have my only ‘off day’ lunch in peace, I would like to try my best for a satisfied lunch. Adding hunger of food and books, what resulted from it was non other than my evening plan: having lunch in Orchard and Kinokuniya. The flaw of the plan was, Orchard was flooded with crowds as well! But luckily, I did found Breeks, which is quite empty. I had a set lunch which included a drink, an onion soup, a main course and a dessert of brownies. I am truly happy with the lunch albeit its normalness of the food quality. I had ice-cream for myself as well! After that, I had the whole evening strolling up and down the lanes in Kinokuniya, searching and browsing books. I did found the book the professor mentioned but did not feel like getting it, ha! Basically, the whole few hours were spent flipping books in medicine, biology, physics and history sections. It was a pleasure to be able to do this, after so long of a time I get to spend time quietly in a bookstore. In the end, I decided to get myself a sudoku puzzle book, since there was no Stars everyday outside my doorstep, waiting for me to doodle numbers on. I left for hall right after that…

And sitting here, I was mentally preparing myself to resume work after around 10 hours of recess ‘week’. Yes, there are a lot of things to do. One of the few ‘worries’ was the symposium group project. I have no idea was this a norm in Arts faculty but people just don’t reply your emailS. Yes, I sent around 5 emails and only one was replied, pathetic. I was not sure if I should seek help from Dr Fairey but apparently, I think this is a year 2 project and I wish to be more independent in handling this stuff but I do not wish things like last semester happening again! If I could ever ask the divine forces, I would ask why on earth am I chosen for this job when I have a research project on my hand at the same time – am I just plain ‘seemed to be’ so talented even in the eyes of the Divine forces? But at the moment, all I can do is be strong as I always be and face all these rationally. One bad things is that I have no idea how my group mate looked like (I forgot how they look like, essentially) and can’t spot them out from crowd or class! That’s so disastrous and apparently one of the girl sat beside me in class and I was feeling strange on how this girl started to talk to me as though she knows me – and after the whole day only I realized/guessed she was one of the group mates, what a shame to me! The next thing that make me worried was the urops project. Research is something that sometimes requires repetition and patience. But I do feel a bit frustrated with all those folly of my mentor. For example, he did not give me any pipette tip boxes and forbid me to use his. When I asked where can I use pipette, he pointed to his old boxes which could not fit the new pipette tips due to different height. Right, is he an idiot?! When he realized his idiocy only he went around to find me boxes. Anyway, this was small matters that tinge your feelings once a while, but generally, I think I am mastering scientist’s etiquette well now and is improving myself every now and then – which is a real comfort to me in the midst of craziness.

So, three days from now, there will be a test on 20th century history and I got to get myself prepared! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Study


Preparing for two CAs had not been this tough before – does that mean I had not been studying hard for the past few years? I’m not sure about it. But I reckon that I haven’t tell you about my study so far. I had been letting this blog to rot unintentionally, I apologize for that.

This week was a ‘slow down’ phase for my urops project as I foresee the need to sit down and concentrate in facing my CAs. However, this did not stop me from stopping down other modules. I had this symposium group for Age of the Mediterranean course, which I thought I will be sitting there doing my best as a team member. But the truth is, when I thought they will choose people the arts student know, the lecturer accidentally (or rather a reminder) suggested a traditional way of choosing a leader, such as throwing a dice or drawing lots. By doing that, I was chosen to be the symposiarch the moment I found the black dot on the piece of paper I chose out of six. I did grumbled a bit under my breath as this semester was not a really friendly period for such interesting job. Taking up three arts modules did make me travelling and staying in arts faculty frequently, especially when your lecturer was kind enough to put all the readings in RBR. The problem is, however, I am taking urops project, which requires me to go to lab whenever I am free 24/7! Yes, the requirement did not ask for such an intensive working time – but as a researcher, I wish to advance my project as far as I could, venturing into a whole new world. By having the commitment of spending as much time in arts and science at the same time, I have no idea what time would I spend to be back in my room – sleeping? And that’s why I did worry a bit when I was chosen to be the symposiarch for the symposium titled “Is Islamic Europe an Oxymoron?”.

One more worry about this topic is that, I’m the one and only person who opted for this topic. There are four topics, in fact:

1) Did Rime Fall? Or Was She Pushed?

2) Is Islamic Europe an Oxymoron?

3) What is Love?

4) Is Beauty Truth?

As you can see, the titles were super-interesting and obviously title like “What is Love?” was exploded with number of people. After so many rounds of choosing, some people eventually realized the quota will not expand and withdrew from their previous topic and chose Islamic Europe ones. So, it was quite pathetic to see this thing happens. But I do start to feel some of them are really good as well. Worries did come along as people reply my email late, or not answering to questions. But so far, I am still doing my job even though there are two CAs just at the edge of this week Sourire.

Now, back to my two CAs, yes – Immunology and Cold War. Ironic isn’t it? One is Science; one is History. One is about battling vigorously for survival; one is battling ‘coldly’ for supremacy and ideology. But both need brain to remember a lot of things. Immunology is heavily weighed with a 30% and I keep on wondering if I will be able to understand and applying the concepts and facts flawlessly. Cold War is a 10% CA but with a significant amount of dates, names and events to remember. Both as a level 3000 course, I think I really need to pay more for a real good return.

It seemed that this semester I am challenging myself again to a higher extend, but I still realize I feel happier this semester. Something is wrong in me? I don’t know. But I am definitely blessed with a lot of things such as really good teachers, good happenings, interesting projects, wonderful lectures and even my lab work is starting to see some sunshine. Not that I found out some super-duper secret of Science, but I think I really can finally let go of emotions and work better, not to mention several nice people in the lab who gave me smiles and laughter besides some teaching. Special thanks to Bhaskar who taught me better now, Sheena, Girish, Amrita, Guna and Bidhan who really taught things when I needed some; Kishor who always share machine with me and teach me as we learn along; and also my Bench neighbour, Ryan who actually tell jokes (I think he’s bored at his bench as well) and told me about European and American history when he saw me reading or when I asked him. Yups, life had been going real great (even by meeting someone on the corridor, with a smile and a wave is really pleasant), haha!

Wow, I realized how this post went from a negative side to a positive ones. I think today will be a bright day, with tummy filled. And I think I should get back to study a bit before going early for Why History lecture Rire!

Monday, February 14, 2011

How All These Come Along

So, the season had ended somehow. Not only this, given that I will be graduating this semester, this will probably marked a distinct period of which I participated in sports. Looking back, the two sports I joined in this IHG, were two very special sports to me. In fact, I would like to share my story of sports here (since I feel like taking a break between Immuno notes Sourire).

Some people, especially girls, were so afraid of joining sports. Many preferred sports that make them “elegant” instead of sweat and mud. But for me, I know how lucky one is to be able to play in sports and go to the field, because I was not supposed to. Growing up with allergy, I will get terrible reaction even by having myself in dusty environment for too long. Training for 2 hours on the field, I will get 2 weeks of rashes! However, I was not brought up to keep myself away from all these. I still go to PE lessons and my parents referred my problem as my “discipline” problem since it was the scratches which were deadly. All by all, I was not a sports person. During my primary school time, I was significantly quiet, school band and brownies were the things I attended. But when I went into secondary school, things changed.

Everyone is so competitive. To survive, one must excel in academic and extra-curricular activities. As a usual me, I initially thought of joining something quiet. But things did not happened as they were planned (as always). Hesitating between orchestra, PBSM and KRS – I was “dragged”, in a sense, into KRS when the call for registration were voiced. I ended up enjoying all the years I had with it. In it, I were to crawl, climb and etc; which included loads of loads of recurrence of allergy. But the most out of the blue event was sports. Joining sports was never my plan. And one day, my friends came and told me how they signed my name up for volleyball so that all of us can go together. My first reaction was , “HUH?!”. Yes, I have no idea what was volleyball except the image of colourful tri-coloured ball. My secondary school life was very happy with volleyball team. In fact, after a few weeks, my friends dropped the sports but I did not (it came to me now, why didn’t I drop it as well?!). In volleyball, everything was okay. We don’t go into mud or grass hence reduced my chance to have rashes. We get to skip classes legally, we were trained to be disciplined and learned true sportsmanship, including a total calm emotion no matter what happened.

When I graduated, I thought I will not join any sports ever again. But here I am, in university, joining volleyball and softball, plus several others in these three years. First, I signed up volleyball because I know that sports. Second, I signed up swimming simply just to get the chance to play in water – that’s the only sports which I can get rid of allergy which was associated with sweat and grass. I signed up squash because my Dad was a squash player and I think I would like to “inherit” his sports; but I ended up dropping it due to training clashes with softball (I still enjoy playing this though). I signed up soccer because there was no female team in secondary school. Finally, I signed up softball, simply because I thought baseball was cool! Yes, the reason I signed up softball was as simple as that, haha! Then, only I realized how rare it was to have girls to sign up, haha! However, one semester into the sports, I realized I like the sports and also the team it will give me. Just like that, I was stuck in Softball for three years.

This year, I took a photo of what happened to my legs. This is one week after playing on the field and the rashes were drying up, but still visible. The blue-blacks were injuries being banged by all those sliding players, which also had one small abrasion on my chin.


Yes, this is what I went through. Surfacing of rashes, itchiness that cannot be stopped, scratching and waking up every morning to find your hands covered with blood because I had been scratching whole night without conscious… And you, healthy people, were worrying about sunny day that will burn your skin or sweat that smells? Some of you, were too lucky, to even realize how much people wished to walk on grass field without any health risk.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Making of Modern Europe Simulation Brief

Wow, it had been months and it was actually last semester when I took this course and did the simulation for Congress of Vienna (1815). However, since it had been in my hard drive and it won’t be of any use in near future, I decided to upload it up to share with you, in case any of you would like to take a look as reference. Plus, this uploaded section was part of the whole project, so do mind the limitation of this document. The biggest flaw of this work is the footnoting was not done properly, I apologize for that. And, please be reminded this document is copyrighted to me and my groupmates, hence the material and work is strictly for reference purposes. I had removed certain sections to protect the privacy and identity of anyone involved in the project.


Here is the link to the document.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Days passed and here I am, back in school. Chinese New Year was a great one with family and friends. I know it was said for time obliterated but as I say that, it left me something as precious as the event – the memory of the event. The last day before I came back to school, I was really feeling so homesick when I was actually at home. I wished I could stay longer but I know I had been taking away enough school time and I must be pragmatic at times and not lurking back in time that did not exist anymore. However, it would be a great joy for me to write down my Chinese New Year as to mark these as another important thing to remember in my life Sourire.

Chinese New Year Eve involved a really nice dinner in a restaurant with halal food Tire la langue. However, I did get my hands on some cheap red wine, which were really not some special wine. However, it was the event that made us all merry, you see. The dishes were a bit slow but no doubt we had Lou Sang, shark-fin soup, usual dishes like fish, chicken and vegetables which were of Chinese New Year style and also Loh Mai Kai. The desesrt was red bean soup with geng geng Sourire. We invited two of our cousins and our meemaw to the dinner as well (of course, meemaw can’t drink). After that, we went back to make the last minute preparations and bathed before prayers at 3am. To kill time, we had mahjong, HUAT AH! This was accompanied by exploding Chinese New Year songs and also all those ‘as though free’ firecrackers being played outside!

After prayer, I was so sleepy that we went off to sleep before waking up to the first day of CNY. We went our way for Vegetarian dishes as it had been years when we decided to set this special day to be a vegan. Yes, we ate and after that visited the usual temple for prayer and visited my cousin’s house. That’s because my father’s side relative will be there. This includes my 1st uncle and his wife and his sons and all his granddaughter and grandchildren. In fact, I was actually facebooking with my nephew the day before since my age were closer to these nephews and a niece. Ah, my Dad’s relative side children were largely boys. In between, we were served with vegetarian home cooked lunch which were superb! After that we were informed of the 2nd cousin’s wife was pregnant and was expecting fraternal twins, whoah! And we revised back our family’s root which involved my grandfather or his father being the head of ‘Hong Men’ and brought a ship of people by the surname Seow/Siow (or any that sounds like that) to Malaysia. My first question was, isn’t the Hong Men thing a kungfu stuff… But apparently it was not but a group that goes against the Qing Dynasty and were ‘wanted’ by the government, haha! Comparing this to Mum’s side which was of Qing’s Officials which were to travel Southwards when Qing collapse, looks like these two families were absurdly contrasting huh? Anyway, after that was the praying spree again.

The second day of cny went to my Mum’s side relative. We visited meemaw and then 1st Aunt’s house where I witnessed a real life change of a delivering lady (I am amazed how much a woman can ‘transform’ after labour – that’s quite scary). Anyway, I get extra angpaus due to so many cousins who were married, haha! Third day of CNY went to a morning meet with my high school friends and a lunch in Rasa Sayang. At night, I had a gathering with KRS friends (which we set 3rd day of CNY every year as our gathering). The fourth day of CNY, relatives were to come to my house but everyone were quite busy. So, after sending Pleasure off to school, we went to visit my 2nd Uncle. He was battling with brain cancer. So, the day went by like that with me having a little tantrum so that my Mum gave me more time to ‘nua’ with her, how bad am I, haha! Yea, basically a bit of homesickness which made me so sad that day because I am leaving on Monday. So, my Mum tried to cheered me up using McDonald’s, which is not the main point because the twister fries were out of stock and we went there because the mall were simply too crowded.

Basically, these few days were well spent, though not really very personally with my immediate family only. I do wish to go back whenever I have the chance. But this new year is quite an eventful ones… Sourire!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Home! For Chinese New Year

Shrieking “Run Home!” that day during IHG had meant something now, as I am really home now! Delayed Air Asia flight left me leaving Singapore late at night on Tuesday at a supposedly 11pm. To prevent traffic jam or last minute rushing, I decided to leave hall early and the truth proved my right instinct as there are no taxi available for booking, nor did there any free taxi around. In the end, I boarded a bus and travelled all the way to Changi by MRT, which includes episodes of standing and holding the handrail to defy inertia. Anyway, my evening at the airport was quite a pleasant and slow-paced ones. I had myself a cup of regular White Chocolate Latte (which Christina was not fond of) and had my bucket of dinner from the usual Chinese stall in Terminal 1. After that, I sat quietly on the bench and read “Europe since 1945” and kept noticing some interesting people walking around. When the time came, I checked in my bag and decided to pass through the custom and was legally out of Singapore for the next few ten minutes. In between, I went over to the Time’s Travel shop to browse through the pages and find myself liking most of them. I guess I am a shopaholic when it comes to books. Anyway, when I saw books which were familiar, I remembered they were actually what Pleasure bought for me and I started to feel guilty, haha! Therefore, I decided to pick three books back for him and this is a real tough task for me. I don’t feel like buying things that I don’t like for others and yet when it is something I like, I feel so attached to give it away. I think this is one of those times when I really need to learn how to give. I treat it as though I am buying for myself and got Pleasure three books: 1000 Years to Annoy the French, Home Rules by Jodi Picoult and a book about brain (I will post in the photos next time). I felt so much in reading them hence told Pleasure I may take them for a read in future, haha, that’s so me! Anyway, I do find one book that might be a good reading for myself, The Crusade. This is because my symposium work will be titled ‘Is Islamic Europe an Oxymoron?’ and this might be connected somehow… And yes, I did spent one hour just for that and went to my gate just in time to chat on the net for some time before entering the gate.

The flight took off late due to some baggage problem, letting us snoozing on the plane for several minutes. And just like loads of other time, I was sitting by the window and this time, I get to see other planes taking off. This is due to too many flight on that night and the planes were somehow queuing up for take off. Looking at the small lights on the runway track, I knew I left the ground of Singapore and in one hour’s time, I was landing safely on Penang airport, with my family outside. We drove back and thought we would go to sleep straight but I was welcomed by a mahjong table in the living room! So, around a few hours were spent on mahjong before we decided to doze off for tomorrow’s hectic schedule… And henceforth, my journey back home for Chinese New Year 2011!

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