Sunday, August 31, 2008

How competitive are you?

Clearly, to make it on the pitch, one must be good. Even good players get benched. Rooney's definitely one who's never shy of showing his frustration when substituted or left at the bench. He's one who wants to be there to help the team win especially when they're down by a goal or two. He runs around chasing for the ball and falls back to help the team defend even though as a striker, he does not need to do that. That's how competitive he is but how competitive am I?

It's been a long while since i ran. Playing full matches for several teams really did help improve my game. By a lot. The vision. The passes. The running. The confidence. The first touch. And without them, plotting the drop in stamina and form against time since your last run would result in an exponential curve decreasing at a scary rate.

So I better shape up unless i wanna be shipped to Hull City. Heard they're looking at 20 year old Frazier Campbell.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Icebreaker

If all goes well and should i not create too many excuses for myself, i'll be writing something for Project 1: "The Icebreaker" soon. So look out for it.

It's the first of 10 projects should i be so keen in this new 'venture' of mine.
■ To begin speaking before an audience.
■ To help you understand what areas require particular emphasis in your speaking development.
■ To introduce yourself to your fellow Club members.
■ TIME: Four to six minutes.

By the way, two opportunities for me to step out of my comfort zone have passed me by during the Table Topics session. Basically one has 10 seconds to think when shown the question before talking for 1-2mins.

Perhaps i was still testing the water. Or perhaps i was still afraid... afraid of making myself look dumb. Afraid of not meeting the expectation of others. I am my worst critic but i guess it's time to take that leap of faith and show myself what im capable of by doing this first project.

I would love to write impromptu but im not yet as good as someone i know who can cook up something decent within minutes. Perhaps soon enough. =)


Ramadhan's coming and as i imagine the coming days ahead, for some reason, i felt a sudden surge of emotion run through me. And no, i've not reached that stage where i really look forward to it and cry when Ramadhan's coming to and end.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Of great speakers......

Got back home pretty late today. Cant believe that 3 double decker buses simply passed the bus stop i was at coz they were full. And it's like almost 1030pm?

It had been a great session and im weighing all my options before signing up for it. I did mentioned to a guy i met there if money was an issue, he should think about the forgone income of the job that could have gotten. If hours spent on studies was an issue, i'd say that i waste quite a lot of time over the course of a week and being part of it would only tell me that ive got 3 hours less to waste and ive gotta put the rest of my time to good use. And besides, it's like having an extension to effective communication.

I really envy those guys and ladies who spoke pretty well. One day perhaps.

And i realise they have nice teeth too. Always believed that having a nice set would improve a person's confidence but i have got to set aside my plan for the time being and find confidence elsewhere instead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


What is happiness? Ask me and i'll say that ure happy when u are able to smile when u're on your own -- thinking happy thoughts. Its when u go back home and there's food to eat. Its when u go back home and see ur brothers doing their homework instead of playing games or watching tv. It's when i do not hear my mother complaining about my sibling's conduct or her health.

I was surprised that this is part of economics. A microeconomics application: Examining happiness.

So ask an economist what is happiness and he'll tell u it's a long-term average state of feeling good. It is a perception of the overall quality of an individual's life. It's also interchangeable with other terms like life satisfaction or subjective well-being. It is a good that people demand.

So what determines the demand of happiness?

It seems that the professor is doing some sort of research/study and required everyone to complete a 9 page survey as well as bringing a set home for our parents to complete.

Ideas were mentioned. We're left to think about it. Maternal hapiness is more significant than paternal happiness in influencing child happiness. People with religion place less importance on materialistic determinants and more on social relationship. Family not money is perceived as the most important determinant of happiness. Can we inherit happiness?

Sounds so fun! I liked the kinds of questions that were asked and would love to be part of the research/study if allowed to.

Well should anyone still not see the link between happiness and Economics, this should perhaps make things clearer: The higher the income, the more likely for one to be happier. So can we increase happiness? Like say, doubling one's income? In addition, there are good reasons for also fousing on one's well being at the household level.

I had slept early ytd. PM's speech started at 8 and i fell asleep 1 1/2 hours later. Was woken up by an invisible hand at 230, and decided to do some work. Spent the last 45 minutes to exercise my brain, my English and my thinking process.

A quarter to six now and i should perhaps start to spend more, if not as much, time with chemistry and physics so as to learn to love them as much as i love my maths, econs, computing and effective communication.

Rise and shine....!

Egg or tuna sandwich?

On the way back home from school, i was sandwich-ed between 2 middle aged guys.

One was reading 4 pages of computer programs line by line, perhaps looking for either syntax errors or logical errors that could have led to runtime error. The other guy was reading around 5-6 pages of text from wikipedia about the 2004 undersea Indian Ocean earthquake.

My cognitive schemata made me perceive them to be a computer engineer and a student/teacher/ geologist respectively. And i wonder what i'll be reading on a train 20 years from now.

Will i be an engineer? A teacher? A social worker? Or will i just be a kaya sandwich? (I dun mind if this malay word - kaya -refers to wealthy and not its other meaning.)

But then again, will I still be taking the train when i'm 40?

PM's speech

Pm's speech was rather long but it was pretty interesting. But that's the problem with me. I find things interesting and insightful but if you ask me what i liked about it, i cant really answer much in detail.

I liked how he put things in perspective in respect of the ERP. The amount of money drivers are saving now compared to the year 2000 when vehicle related taxes are much higher. Now, vehicle related taxes have reduced significantly and even when you take into the account the number of *beeps* you hear when your car passes thru a gantry, u actually save. He gave the amount as $54. I'm intrested to noe how they derive at the numbers but that would mean ive got to do a degree in Economics instead.

Of course this entry isnt an analysis of his speech. Its just that i simply love how he is able to talk for more than an hour and 30 minutes (coz this was where i fell asleep) without relying too much on his notes.

I like how he's able to talk about 10 different issues at great length without much pause. The speech simply flows like water! Maybe that's why he's the PM, or maybe he rehearsed plenty of time before the speech, who knows. I know that its definitely not because he is a chinese. If only i can speak half as well as him.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Algorithms and pseudocodes

An algorithm is a set of precisely stated, finite sequence of executable steps for solving a problem. It is written using informal English-like statements known as Pseudocode.

There's usually 3 parts to an algorithm -- the input, logic and lastly output.

The algorithm to find the maximum of 3 numbers a, b, c should be written as follows:

INPUT a,b,c //this is the INPUT part

IF (a>b) max=a //this is the LOGIC part
ELSE max=b
IF (max< c) max=c

OUTPUT max //this is the OUTPUT part

And this is just the algorithm...... One still got to translate it into a program. Once im done with all this i'll be able to design my own blog skin!! Anws, this is just the second week. And ive yet to blog about physics and chemistry.... which just goes to show where the two of em stand in my list.

12 more weeks to go till the first of 8 exams. 8 exams provided i clear each exams once. Still managing to remain in pace with time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dear abang.....

I will remember you.

Still remember the day u asked me if i see u as a friend and i said yes. But u said u don't. It wasnt really the answer i wanted to hear but what u said did made sense. Lots of things u did didnt made sense at first. But i guess things have gone a long way since then.

Still remember the day u told me that u'll miss me but i didnt say like wise coz i dun noe why but i just do not say the things they want to hear. But people who noe me can hear my thoughts aloud and i noe ure one of those that could... most of the time. Just like how im able to read u most of the time.

Still remember the day u asked me if i wanted to give u a hug but i didnt coz i dun noe why but i just dont do the things that i want to do. And this is something that im improving on. I'll give u a hug when u come back, insyaallah.

Though we remain close so long as we're in each others prayers and that it's just a temporary seperation of physical time, distance and place, i just cant seem to ignore the fact that it still means ure not here.

Why do you have to be so nice, be so close yet go so far? But i hope that one day i'll get to feel what it's like studying overseas.... You've changed my perception on so many things.

I will miss you. I will remember you. You will always be in my prayers.

My dear Abang.

There is no road

"Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.

Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.

As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.

Traveler, there is no road;
only foam trails on the sea."

... Antonio Machado

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Efficiency is the property of society getting the most it can from its scarce resources. Making the 'pie' bigger so that everyone can have a share.... so that more people can benefit from it.
Equity on the other hand is the property of distributing economic prosperity fairly among the members of society. Everyone gets an equal share. Keyword is fair, equal, share.

I once said that there's no difference in making my Thursday free. Either i come to school early on Thursday or I come to school early on Monday. Freeing thursday simply means making monday busier. I thought i was happy with my timetable.

Then one event leads to another and now im free to plan my thursdays. Its really about efficiency. Didnt make sense then but it does now thanks to Economics. In monetary terms, it saves me $4 being transport fares. In non-monetary terms, the 3 hours that i would travelling to school can now be used to read up notes, relax, give tuition etc.

But it might mean that ive gotta sleep early on Sunday and endure a long day on Monday. But i know these are just one of those tradeoffs involved when making a decision. Influence of others on you alters your perception on various aspects in life.

I was walking around at the cca fair and approached this guy from this club asking him about how the club works, and other relevant questions. The sessions end at 10pm and that would mean i'll reach home at 11plus. Ive got to reschedule one of my tuition slots. Do the benefits of joining the club outweigh the fact that those hours can be used to study, do tutorials etc?

The guy did tell me that if i think im busy, he's doing a double degree, has 10 more aus than me and is involved in other activities as well. Critics would say that that's because he's a smart guy who can afford to juggle so many things and do still able to do so well. He's chinese and chinese are gentically smarter.

So this leads to the last question, do i have such amazing ability?

While emptying the pockets of my pants, i removed the flyer which he passed to me. I was wondering why i wonder too much in this entry and this line answered that thought pretty well,

"Your potential is limited only by how many excuses you have."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cognitive Schemeta

Never had any problem googling anything before ...... until now.

The term "cognitive schemata" came out several times in the tutorial yet its so hard to find a site which tells you what it is. This is unlike googling terms like "market failure", "de Moivre's theorem" and stuffs like that.

The term cognition is used in different ways by different disciplines. In psychology, it refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological functions. A schema (pl. schemata), in psychology and cognitive science, is a mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. This learning theory views organized knowledge as an elaborate network of abstract mental structures which represent one's understanding of the world.

In other words, the behind the scenes of how we think and view things.

Share an experience when someone may have misunderstood something that you said. What may have caused the miscommunication? How might similar misunderstandings be prevented?

When i first read the question, I tried to recall the first thing that comes to mind. And here's how i might answer:

There was once when i told a friend of mine that he reminds me of a girl. He got pretty upset and refused to hear my explanation. Or maybe he's just being childish.

It is very clear to me what may have caused the miscommunication. In fact, I know that any guy will definitely get me wrong if i compared him to a girl. I simply wanted to do an exercise to show the meanings he attached to words. Girl to him might have the following words attached to it: weak, emotional, insecure, likes to cry ....... (ive gotta work on my vocab but u get wat i mean). Guys are generally strong, macho, stable, intelligent, brave and the list just goes on. In other words, he proved my theory right.

Should he look at it a lil more deeply, he would see that a girl is more often than not someone sweet. A girl is usually the nicest people around. And the list goes on. In other words, him reminding me of a girl is a complement rather than an insult. And like i said, i deliberately wanted to cause the misunderstanding but to prevent such misunderstandings from happening, one's got to first NOT assume that the other understands ur cryptic language....ur couple of lines between the lines.

Then, one should tell him all the beautiful words that are associated with the word girl and then tell him that like how wonderful a friend that girl is, he's just as wonderful. Which was why he reminded me of a girl i know. And e fact that i dun really noe any other girls makes him all the more wonderful and special. Explain to him step by step and hopefully, he'll see beyond the literal meaning of the word girl.

Effective communication seems fun!!

On a side note, im so not photogenic. I so hate to take pictures. And i'll be missing someone pretty soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Principle of Economics

Principle #1: People face Tradeoff.

All decisions involce tradeoffs. Example... time and income. One of the terms introduced was efficiency: getting the most out of scarce resources. And getting more of one good requires sacrificing some of the other. This is known as the opportunity cost.

Principle #2: The cost of something is what you give up to get it. By definition, the opportunity cost of an item is what must be given up to obtain it. It is the relevant cost for decision making.

Suppose u were planning to spend the day at the library, but your boss asks you to report for your part-time job. What is the true cost of going to work?

The opportunity cost of going to work is.....
- the money spent on transportation to work
- the time that could have been spent on relaxing urself after a long day at school and completing ur tutorials that hour earlier
- time you would take to understand key Optics concept

The opportunity cost of going to the library would then be........
- the forgone income that would pay for ur transportation fees to school, ur breakfast and lunch at school as well as ur textbooks and laptop.

So how then does one make a decision between the two as both are as important?

Principle #3: Rational People think at the Margin

A person is rational if one systematically and purposefully does the best one can to achieve one's objective. Many decision are not "all or nothing" but involve marginal changes -- incremental adjustments to an existing plan. Ie. starting ur day that couple of hours earlier and ending the day that couple of hours later. (However i realise that the opportunity cost of this is the level of attention u give during lectures!)

I had been thinking about the "all or nothing" idea. That my priority as a student is getting good grades. And as a son, not to burden my mum in terms of finance. And i can achieve these two objective by pushing aside tuition and being efficient: getting the most of scarce resources.

However, i want to think that im one of the rational ones and so will make marginal, not drastic changes, to my existing plan.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

De moivre's theorem

Started on the tutorials already and it's just the first week! I like it how they just write on the website to try the tutorials and eveyone automatically do it. Unlike back in jc where one doesnt do tutorials even when tutors chase for it.

I guess the stakes are higher once ure in a university. Not doing ur tutorials will be like digging your own grave.

Been spending long hours on maths questions and it's really a nice feeling. I no longer feel the frustration of not being able to get the answers. Instead, i try all means and ways to get to the answer, either by doing searches on the internet, looking up my old jc notes, or going to the library to refer to the textbook. And it's truly rewarding when u manage to solve the questions after all that hours.

However I must not forget the chemistry, physics, computing and econs tutorials waiting for me in the files on my study table.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A new Edventure and STARS

im beginning to see stars. One of the things that's good to noe is that u can control of how many days u want to attend school, whether or not to be in the same group as ur friends or to go ur own way and make new friends. Or should u go and find out which tutorial group she is in so that u can be friends with her. What if u changed from 19 to some other group and she ends up in 19? That'll surely affect ur mood for the rest of the semester!

For those worried that ive already been distracted only on my 2nd day, dun worry. The above's in respect of a friend of mine who seems pretty distracted by a girl he saw since day one. My advice to him is, if it's written somewhere that ur paths will cross, it will cross. Just wait for the day to come. And while waiting, revise and complete the tutorials.

No wonder they said school's fun.

First day of school...

This is the morning of my second day of school. Though lecture starts at 230, i decided to start my day early. My day ended slightly prematurely yesterday coz i fell asleep waiting for my notes to be printed.

Lectures didnt seem too bad. Basically, they're just telling us the things we should have already known and if u dun really remember, it's time to start revising. The bulk of first year is a revision of what we've learnt in jc like electricity, magnetism and quantum physics, complex numbers, integration and differention and their applications just to name a few. To know very well what we learnt for 1 year in jc into 4 uni months. On top of that, there are also subjects that are totally brand new like Principles of Economics and Computing.

So i guess it's all about how one manages his time revising the old stuff as well as studying the modules that are fairly alien. And also how much memory the brain has. Hope mine's running on a 4GB RAM.

It helps knowing who are the people u wun want to disappoint as this will drive you to put in just that little bit more effort. I used "just that little bit more effort" coz after all, it's really up to him.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Let me try to verbalise my thoughts

Let me try to verbalise my thoughts.

I'll never forget that line. I believe i can write my thoughts into volumes of books if i wanted to. But i know i struggle trying to convert my thoughts into words that can be heard by the ears of mine and yours. When writing, one can pause and think and backspace and go back to the previous paragraph to add something that one had left out. But the same cant be said about talking.

I told myself that there's definitely something that ive learnt over the past couple of months but i just didnt know how do i put it in words. Im was impressed by how the other students shared their thoughts, views and reflection. But I kept telling myself that there's no way i could come up with something that's got to do with politics or policies or use big big words that i hardly hear. I saw how well the others speak that i was afraid i wun be as brilliant as them and worse, make a fool out of myself.

But the inner struggle i had, to just share made me soo scared that I could literally feel my heart beating faster and faster. I told myself that if i didnt say anything before the end of the class, i've not changed. Im still the guy who dun dare speak up in class. The guy who thinks that those that can speak well are born that way.

The Caliphs were close to God and the sunnah of the Prophet and at the same time, were able to achieve so many things. I hope this course will make me a better Muslim when school starts. To remember that it is possible to achieve so many things while being close to God. In other words, the balance between world and the Hereafter.

It didnt matter to me if what i said was as good as his or hers. All that mattered was that Im really glad that i spoke up. And i was told it sounded quite good(or was it didnt sound bad) by my train buddy. That made me feel better and i hope this is the start of many changes to come.

And perhaps this would mark the start of a change in the way i write my entries. I wouldnt be surprised if i see chunks of text and one liners that dun seem to make sense on this blog of mine. Perhaps even speeches i need to prepare should i join a club like Toastmasters. Well who knows ...... for the joy of the journey is the element of surprise.