I took the 179A express service to NTU t…

I took the 179A express service to NTU today.

It made me wonder why NUS doesn’t have a similar service for the most popular 96 service. Why isn’t 96 serviced by double-decker buses for that matter. 151 double-deckers run the same route as 96 in NUS so it can’t be the inclination.

Well, it could just be how NTU is serviced by a grand total of 2 buses and NUS has more? -shrug-

Another cycle starts again

I’ve got all my modules settled easily for this semester. The core mods were pre-allocated and I just dumped all my points for UE. :) Ahh…the benefits of seniority. This semester is a 4 day week with two 8am lectures. This is the second time I’m having 8am lectures. =x

My hyp has reached a roadblock.


Image via Wikipedia

No results, nothing to improve on. There’s a tinge of regret with “why didn’t I discover this earlier?” I was working of course, too tired and worn out to do any hyp related matters.

My brother bought a wii recently and this has created quite a buzz in the family. The kids are crazy over the games and we’re wii-ing almost every night. It created family bonding time that we never had before.

Wii Games

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

Such an interface have given life to games such as tennis and strengthen the arms the fun way!

Sheer Genuis?

White, male, aging, crooked teeth, messy hair,...

I’m not quite sure what is it about academics. It could be the hours they spend physically in their offices and their minds in their research, resulting in some form of behaviour disorder. Anyway, I want to share my experience with the lecturer of one of the modules I’m taking for special semester.

Firstly, never have I ever taken a course where I need to download 100+mb of notes per week. Let’s just assume the course is accelerated at twice the rate for special semester, that’s still 50+mb of notes per week. In other words, this is the first time ever I have to stare at the download bar of the browser when I’m downloading notes. In terms of volume, it’s about 7-15 files with varying number of slides. I actually attempted to print out the slides for my first week of class. I usually print 6 slide per hand out, by the time I’m done, I’m more than half way through my print quota, which I hardly touch last semester… (I realised there won’t be any open-book assessment so I don’t know why I was even printing them out…)

I wouldn’t mind so much if she is able to make this sheer volume of knowledge information interesting. Unfortunately, she goes through at a rather fast pace, noted by some of my peers who brought it to her attention. What worries me more however, is her frequent usage of “This is not important”, “I don’t know why this is here” and “I’m not sure what this is“.

So if you’ve gotten so this far, I’m gonna go into some of the really amusing things she do.

So, we students are complaining about the speed and volume of the material given to us. The lecturer being so kind decides to help by letting us know which are the parts we can ignore.  Instead of giving us new files with all the essential information, no no… that would be too easy on us, she did exactly what she said she’d do, tell us which parts we can ignore by releasing dozens of new files with slides we can ignore. I assume we’re supposed to look at these slides then cross-reference with our original slides and say “AHAH! I can ignore these ones!” I don’t know how it ever occured to her the best way for her students to ignore information is to look at them twice.

This is serious, I can't make this up

This is serious, I can't make this up

So to save the best for last, I’d share some of her issues with the instructor’s bench in front of the lecture theatre. The PCs at the instructor’s bench is locked inside a cupboard under the bench so what I understand is the cord of the mouse is probably a little strained to be used freely on the bench surface as mouse cords are never that long. What happened once was the mouse probably slid back into the mess of wiring and such from the PC and she got so distraught that her mouse disappeared. After more than 5 minutes of giggling from the class, someone actually went down to help her “find” her mouse; to which she was probably eternally grateful. She did not want to let it go for the rest of the class, in her own words, she was “afraid it would disappear again“.

But all these is nothing compared to her issues with the LT’s lights. For those who are unfamiliar, on our instructor’s benches in the LTs, there is usually a panel to control the lights; on, off, partial dim, etc. She is convinced, believes in it whole-heartedly, I swear, that the operation of the lights is linked to the IP telephone at the bench which is connected to the technical services. According to her, she needs to pick up the receiver, then put it back for the lights to work. Once she picked up the handset and said something like this: “Oh, I didn’t call for anything, I just need to pick up the phone so that the lights in the LT will work“. What she managed to do today, was actually to off the lights when what she wanted was to dim the front lights but never mind that. She claimed she was afraid the lights would not work later so she left the lights off during the break. As a result, we had people walking around in a dark LT with lots of steps.

This wasn’t intended to be a wall of text rant but I guess I had to let out this mix of amusement and frustration. I’m just glad I’d be SUing the module anyway. I’ve met some bad lecturers over the years but this has to be on a different level surely.

PS: no offense to all the normal academics out there but it really scares me because she gives us her office & home addresses and phone numbers

Internship or not?

I have been planning on joining the school’s internship programme for sem 2. After doing some planning for the coming semester, I realised that doing so might cause a delay in my graduation even with special term thrown in. This is because there’s quite a number of modules that are only offered in sem 2. Moreover, hyp seems an easier option than taking up high level mods.

Guess I’ll have to rethink my options and priorities.

Of Leadership

It’s been more than a week since the end of camp and everyone must have talked about it til death yet I’ve been strangely quiet about the whole event. I’m not sure if I’m jaded, detached or for whatever else reason, somehow I just don’t feel the attachment to Xcalibur 08. Someone (I think it’s Isaac) once told me that the 2 camps that’d be most memorable to you will be the one you attended as a freshman and then as a group leader. True indeed, I remember fondly Yo-A-Ke and Chiarimento. Emerga of last year seems like a whiff of a dream, barely conjuring an imagery from my mind.

It’s not that the camp was bad; I am in fact very proud of my guys who broke new grounds, attempted novel ideas and more so for carrying them out well. I will also remember the new faces and names, especially those who came to help in the float sessions, though there’d always be people who wave at me once semester starts, only to get a puzzled look in return.

Over the past several months, I’ve questioned myself on numerous occasions the meaning of being a leader. Having no student leader experience before university and not much of a team to leader when I was the Comms Director, the appointment of Freshment Orientation Projects Director was possibly the first real foray for me in leadership. There were some expectations on my part when I first agreed to oversee the orientation activities but it never prepared me for the amount of work and actuality of it. There are some things I can’t fulfill and time I have to spend away from family and loved ones but this isn’t a new problem to me, is it? Although we’re only roughly half way through the projects, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is no regrets for doing what I’m doing, as with everything else I’ve done in life, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Back to the topic of being a leader, there are times when I feel lonely as a leader; the solitary person in that position, one shared by none yet looked upon by everyone else. I’ve learnt that is doesn’t have to be that way, as I can always turn to the people I work with and the people I have around me. The more I make myself less alone, the more likely the team is able to come together as a family and less likely I’ve seen as the authoratative bad guy. The school sent us on the Dale Carnegie course and it’s all well and good; all of us can pick up any self-help book or read on the Internet to improve people skills and learn how to be a leader. We’re always told to lead by example, to motivate, to set visions, to solve problems, to achieve goals. Something I’ve learnt through the months that I realise isn’t said enough about leaders is the need to inspire people, to dispense confidence and to groom new leaders.

One problem faced every year is probably the seeking of new blood to take the reins of the Management Committee. One year isn’t a long time, neither is it too short for one to learn the ropes to take it to the next level. Have we trully been that busy handling projects and tasks that we couldn’t pass on our knowledge to some new folks, to show them the way? I think not. Are leaders then just selfish and paranoid that they’re unwilling to see someone else take their places, even though it’s inevitable? Even if someone else seats where they are today, the new guy should never outshine the old bird? If this is the way, maybe it’s time for a little change.

I’d like to think of a leader as being an illusion; here I am telling people to do what they already know to do, giving advice which should already be common sense, telling them they can do it when deep down somewhere they should never doubted themselves. Leaders are but humans and shouldn’t be worshipped on a pedestal; one day the follower too will step up and he will think to himself, “Hey, this isn’t that bad afterall.” More often than not, the first step is always the easiest, after that, you just hang on for the ride. Right now, I’m enjoying the ride, knowing that some day it might end but before it does, I hope I can inspire some to take it with me. That is why it never fails to bring a smile to my face when someone steps out of his comfort zone to do something he never thought he could or enjoy doing.

X days to de day

Just finished a very nerve wrecking report. It’s suppose to give us a feel of how it’s like to be a researcher. It was a fun module, the only bad thing is the report writing and tricky test questions. Now that this load’s off, it’s time to get started for the exams.

We got a hair cut yesterday. Mine being quite a drastic one. It looks nice over there…but due to my laziness and
inability to tame my hair, it has become rather rebellious (as usual).

This post got a little sidetracked from the intended title. I believe most people look forward to their “de day” as one which opens up new horizons. I remember pondering on how it’s like to finally reach de day when I was at a single digit. Now that I’m here, it doesn’t seem to be that life changing or whatever it’s suppose to be. It’s just how much change you want. What did come along is shared responsibility. We were protected from it when we were curious and young. It’s uncountable how many times you’ve heard “you’ll know when you grow up”. But now you don’t want to know do you?

So what change do I want?
I should stop looking sixteen. Hmm…that’ll that some time.

Down to the last 3 weeks

It’s the time of the sem when everyone’s busy meeting project and assignment deadlines. I felt that this sem’s modules has been one which require consistancy since my day to day work and submissions contribute a fair share to my final grades. Nonetheless, glad to say that I felt I’ve managed them to the best of my ability and most importantly, I enjoyed the doing the things that were outside of theory lessons.

I attended a bioinformatics conference a few days back. My prof asked us if we would like to attend and majority of the class voted for it. (It was a very small class) It was a rare chance and definitely very interesting to attend a gathering of people of the same interests. It also helped me to merge an understanding of why I have to take certain modules.

Hope I don’t burnt out before the exams. Good luck everyone!