Showing newest 12 of 37 posts from April 2011. Show older posts
Showing newest 12 of 37 posts from April 2011. Show older posts

Friday, April 29, 2011

I am a Minecraft Miner Now

I am a sucker when it comes to computer games. If I find one game that I like, I could just sit in front of the computer, oblivious to the surroundings and what's happening around me, while immersing myself totally into the game. Having exceptional focus is not a bad thing but when your exceptional focus is on computer games, that's not a really good thing. Especially if you're a student. And especially x2 if you have exams coming.

But sadly, I the exceptionally x2 kind of guy. And I'm currently hooked on to this game called Minecraft.

I first saw my friend Chee Eng playing this game a few days ago. To be honest, I first thought this game was something that was released 10 years ago due to its pixel like graphics and I wondered why would Chee Eng play such an outdated game.

Until he showed me what the game was truly capable of. And I was hooked.

As the people at Wiki put it, Minecraft is "is a sandbox construction game, inspired by Infiniminer, and created by Markus Persson, the founder of Mojang AB. The game involves players creating and destroying various types of blocks in a three dimensional environment. The player takes an avatar that can destroy or create blocks, forming fantastic structures, creations and artwork across the various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes," which of course, does not justice to it due to the really simplistic sentence.

Essentially, from what I experienced after 1 sleepless night of playing it (yes, I'd actually went to the skipping sleep extent), Minecraft is perhaps the most open ended computer game that I have ever played. You spawn in a random LIMITLESS (note the key word limitless, the world go as far as your computer can support), with a distinct landscape and terrain, filled with numerous resources and it is up to you to shape how you want the world to look like.

It's like paying God, except that you have to dig the necessary resources to begin building.

From one day and one night of playing, the things I managed to build was:

Yes that's my house over there. Like the stone age feel?

And also a human made waterfall, proudly constructed by Lukey.

And if you'd noticed, my house is just right behind there.

But of course, my two works shown above are merely a product of a day of playing only. There are loads of people on the internet who are crazier than me when it comes to building. There's this guy who built the awesome castle or something like that:

And there's the fanatic built a life size model of Star Trek's Enterprise in Minecraft. A LIFE SIZE MODEL OF A SPACESHIP. 1:1 SCALE.

Which is why I like the game. The only limit is your imagination, not some stupid plot choices that the game developer want you to follow. You can work, I mean play, at your own pace and decide your own path in the game. Heck, if you're feeling up to it, you can even reconstruct things like the Death Star from Star Wars or the Great Wall Of China.

But of course, if you're the kind of person who prefers to be pointed in a direction, this game is not for you. Because you wouldn't know where to go.

Another interesting thing about this game is the day and night cycle. Not only you get to build the most awesomest stuff ever seen, when the sun sets, monsters also come out to play. Yeap. There are monsters in the game. And they only came out in the dark. Which makes working during the night or mining deep underground a lot more challenging but hey, that's another fun part of the game.

The game currently only costs about 14.95 Euro or 30 SGD or RM 70 to download, which is much more cheaper than many other games and it's on discount because it's still on beta testing. You would still get the game when it releases for free along with the necessary support so it's really a good deal. I had some money left in my Paypal account so in an act of impulse, I bought it. But I didn't regret it.

In case you're wondering how good the game can be, here's 3 videos to illustrate.

 And I'm off to build my castle, I mean study!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Hercules Nostalgia

Found myself listening to Disney's Hercules songs again today. Songs like "I Can Go The Distance", "Zero To Hero", "The Gospel Truth" and "I Won't Say I'm In Love" to name a few. It makes me feel nostalgic listening to them.

Not because the movie made a great impact on my life (it was still a great movie) but it's just that every time them, it kinda takes me back to the time when I first entered Form 6 (A Levels equivalent) back in Malaysia and I had the chance to participate in the annual school play based on the Disney movie Hercules.

That's Hercules, Hades, bunch of gods and Hades's sidekick btw

Life was much simpler and happier back then. When school uniform was still the norm and the biggest concern of the day would be to finish my homework.

Joining the school play was perhaps one of the biggest life changing decision that I made back then. And definitely one of the best.

I was much more of a timid guy back then. Out of the entire school, I had only less than 10 friends that I knew when I first entered Form 6 even though I had been there for 11 years already. So yeah, I'm the typical Disney lonely-friendless-nerd.

When the teacher in charge of the school play called for auditions during one of our orientation days, I remembered feeling excited and part of me really wanted to join. Heck, I even wondered if I could be the main character, which was Hercules for the play too. But then again, growing up hearing people telling you that you can't and you shouldn't do anything crazy or risks being shamed made me think twice. I had half wanted to let the opportunity pass at first. But thankfully, I have crazy friends who would just to anything out of the sake of doing it and before I knew it, I was being dragged up to the stage together for auditions.

What followed... what followed was three months of intense fun and an awesome experience. I came to know a lot of new friends through the play, friends that shaped up my Form 6 life, and we shared a lot of laughs, sweat and even scolding together during the three months. Not forgetting that I also met my first girlfriend there :)

And thanks to this experience, school wasn't that boring because I have something to look forward to everyday.

To put it simply, if given a chance, I would do it all over again. Even though if I get my sidekick role again. Because experience like this is invaluable. It's not often that one would get the chance of performing on stage. And perhaps one day into the future, I will look back and smile at the experience. Except if you become a Broadway actor in the future, but that's a different story.

The experience changed me quite a lot, to be honest. Although half of me is still timid, I am much reluctant to let opportunities like this pass nowadays. Because experiences like this add colors to life and make life so much more meaningful. And who knows, I might find another girlfriend again through stuff like this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Funny Pictures for Pre-Exam DeStress

Sometimes, the teacher makes all the difference when it comes to education. Even though your subject might be boring like the annual budget presentation speech, all it takes is just one good lecturer to make the subject interesting. Or a funny and lame lecturer in my case.

One night before the exam, knowing that all of us would be stressed out (the constant reminder that the exam would not be easy by our lecturer did not really help), our dear lecturer uploaded quite a few files to help the students de-stress.

One was about the divine argument about dogs and the other was about funny signboards all around the world. And since the lecturer sent it, we must read it right?


The Ultimate Divine Dog Debate


Funny signboards from around the world


Now that I'm done laughing and de-stressing, time to resume mug mode. Although I my mind is currently wondering if my Fifi will go to heaven or not?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NTU Girl Suicide? Or something more?

I've been seeing how a case of a NTU girl's suicide attempt is spreading around the internet like a wildfire recently. The fact that no official report has further fueled the fire. Until now, there have been only rumours about how she stabbed her head and how she was creepy, stuff like that, which you know, probably made the entire incident even more juicy for gossip. 

I was interested also, of course, because being a human, I'm just as busybody and kaypoh as everyone else so I decided to do a little digging about the whole incident. What I found was that there's a newspaper today about the incident:

21yo ATB student at NTU was found to be lying down in the NTU hostel room... there ish even a knife pop into her head...

This happened on y'day 1.10pm... at a room in hall1, blk 16 NTU hostel

ATB came from cheena henan, ish a yr2 student...

Her room mate discovered her lying on floor riao den immediately informed school security and call for ambulance...

ATB ish vicim at the time of being sent to NUH for treatment, currently stable and police investigations going on...









P/s: I didn't provide the English translation. Someone from the forum did and I know, the English is just... speechless lol. Too bad I don't know Chinese.
There's a statement from the NTU Hall 1 president, where the incident occurred:


As much as the rumors can spread. Let me provide all an account of what happened.

A resident was found conscious with cuts and an ambulance was called to convey the resident to the hospital for treatment. This case, as in all such cases, was investigated by the Police. As in all such cases, we put in place our internal SOP since we are responsible for the welfare of all residents and students.

No one is asking anyone to remain quiet on the issue. We have not done so. What I am saying is that we should not speculate, sensationalise or spread false information since such action could jeopardise an on-going investigation. I do not know all the facts until the Police have thoroughly investigated the incident.

I understand that people gwark and people spread rumours. People are curious creatures. I believe that we also have the right to factual information. At the moment, many things are hazy to me and to everyone. These are facts.

In case anybody is trying to pass off any other form of false information, please let them know it is not fair to our fellow student who is in the midst of recovery.

No motivational life quotes to share but just treasure the people close to you, because love is what makes everything seems meaningful.

For those who are having their papers or going to have them soon, i wish you all the best for the upcoming papers!



And I even found a note supposedly written by her neighbor:

Okay guys...
this matter has been heavy on my heart..
so i am taking this opportunity to write a note about an incident that has happened this afternoon.
Seeing how social media has allowed "word of mouth" to spread like wildfire, i am not surprise if this piece of news will be on everyone's lips tomorrow. Thus, i write so we will be reminded of how important it is to be conscious about each other despite the busy hectic lifestyle that we student face in this competitive "bell-curve" environment.

You would probably hear or have heard the incident of an attempted suicide case in Block 16, Hall 1.
She is a China student and was found subconscious by her room mate this morning with
her head bleeding profusely.There has been many rumored speculations  from banging of the head to dramatic ones like stabbing, yet the cause is unreleased. I have heard from the Hall Fellows who came to knock on my door that she is now in hospital & thankfully fine.

Apparently, she was a neighbor of mine which i did not meet or get to know since moving to Hall 1 a month ago, perhaps the most common thing we shared was the bathroom connecting both of our rooms.
The bathroom was also where i found a couple of  drips of blood stains last night which i dismissed it for a woman's 'time of the month'. However, this morning after returning from school, i saw 3 polices and a cordon area. I was shock to have found out the news that was close to "home" or should i say "room".

What struck me of this incident was that if she  wasn't my neighbor, i would feel just...oh..sad....and just carry on fixating my face upon the computer screen or lecture notes. Yet, it happening just  a stone throw away  just grabbed my attention to a whole new level..

It reminded me how oblivious i am to my surroundings and perhaps i am ashamed to say,
how indifferent i am to tragedy. I dare say that i am not alone in this... its seems to me..we don't see such tragedy as a gentle reminder of people lives we ought to "care for" not just " care about" and empathy we ought to extend in those who are struggling through hard times...

In such a phase of transition into an adulthood, it is a difficult time of questioning and finding one's place in society...accompanied with stress of having to seat through exams and project deadlines....So i guess with all this things going on for a young adult, i do hope we could be more conscious and understanding to each other's circumstances. Lets be sensitive and not be too quick to judge or dismiss one another weakness.
And in times of hectic living, lets not be too caught up that we loose sight of others..
I guess we ought to also be thankful for those who are ever so willing to extend a listening ear and hand in our times of need...

On that note, i leave you all with this quote:

'Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection -- or compassionate action.' - Daniel Goleman



But I would like to stress that until now, there hasn't been any official statements or the entire story yet of what happened. Police are continuing their investigations, like what the president said.
However, I must say that I find it funny of how no friends of this girl has come out yet to clarify the whole situation. I mean, everyone who is talking about her now, or claims to know her, have limited exposure to her. I mean, the victim must have some friends right? Where are they?

I guess we can only know when the victim decides to speak. Or when there's an official news source. For now, I guess we can only depend on what's happening in the internet. I will be updating if there's any other new updates so stay tuned.

Update #1: A site called Edvantage seems to have a lot of details, even her name, but still no motives or full story behind it. The big question of why is still unanswered:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Glimpse into a Psychology Textbook

Studying in Psychology is FUN. Like Rebecca Black's Friday. Cause it not only teaches you about psychology itself, it teaches you about loads of other meaningful stuff also. Stuff that you can actually apply in real life, on a day to day basis like how to interact with people. So much better than learning how an atom works or how a building should be built. Ops.

So what else does Psychology teaches you? Below are some examples, taken from a Psychology textbook called "The Personality Puzzle" by David C. Funder.


It teaches you that aside from the psychology field, a psychology major can be successful in other career too, despite what others say about being not able to find jobs with a B.A. in Psychology.

"Another example... concerns my old college roommate, Rick. A psychology major long before I was (and now a successful fireman in Idaho -  Who says you can't have a valuable career with a B.A. in Psychology?)..."

For me, I hope to be a successful blogger, so please like my ! Can do promotion some more. LOL.


It teaches you how to mess up people's behavior.

" the crowd gathered to watch Star Trek, he silently selected his victim: that person, he decided, was going to stand by the television with one hand on top, one hand raised straight up in the air and one foot lifted off the floor... As the program began to get interesting, Rick pushed the button and scrambled the picture. Various people leapt up to fix things but the picture cleared only when his victim stood. It scrambled again when she sat down. After she was standing, he raised the criterion. Now she had to stand closer, and then even closer to the television to clear the picture... before 7 PM, Rick's victim was standing by the television with one hand on top, one up in the air and one foot off the floor.

After Star Trek ended, Rick approached his victim and asked, innocently, why she had been standing like that. "Oh, you don't know," she replied, "the human body acts like a natural antenna.""
Ah, the joys of Operant Conditioning. Now I just need to get a pretty girl to say I'm handsome every time she sees me... Just kidding.


It teaches you what kind of pranks you should employ to make fun of your friends.

"A while back, a student... signed up for a Sunday bungee jump. It cost him money and he signed up out of his own free will, so he must have thought it would be fun. As the day approached, however, he became noticeably more nervous (the funeral plans made by his fellow students may not have been helpful)..."
The next time my friend signs up to do something dangerous, I'm gonna arrange a fake funeral plans for him too. Oh wait, this is an Asian society. I will get slapped.


It teaches me the reason why the most handsome and prettiest people are usually single. Something to do with the expectancy value theory by a person called Julian Rotter.

"Its basic assumption is that behavioral decisions are determined not just by the presence or size of reinforcements, but also beliefs about the results of the behavior are likely to be. Even if a reinforcement is very attractive... you are not likely to pursue it if your chances of success seem slim. Conversely, even something that is not particularly desirable might motivate behavior, if the chances of getting it are good enough."

To put it simply, we are most likely to choose an option that seems achievable for us. For example you're at a job interview and there's 2 jobs in which you can only choose one. One is a high paying 10 000 dollars a month job but the other is a mere 5 000 dollars a month job. You're a recent graduate and to get the 10 000 dollars per month job, you'll be fighting with the best from the industry. On the other hand, you're certain that if you choose the 5 000 dollar job, you'll surely passed the interview.

Chances are you will opt for the 5 000 dollars job because it seem more certain as compared to the 10 000 dollars one.

This theory explains why I am still single until now. Because I'm too handsome already.


It teaches me that the human mind, or specifically the short term memory (the memory that we use while thinking and doing stuff; an equivalent example would be the RAM in the computer) is limited and we can only store seven (plus minus two) chunks or information/idea at one time. Not any more and not any less. And one of the reason why I suck at socializing is because of this.

"A danger inherent in the limited capacity of STM (short term memory) is that it might fill up with the wrong things. For example, a shy person might be thinking, "Do I look like an idiot?","I bet she'd rather be somewhere else","Why does nobody like me?","I wish I were home in bed," and "Argh!" all at the same time, which leaves only a couple of chunks left over to actually carry on a conversation. The result will be the shy person may seem distracted and confused and either babble incoherently or be unable to say anything at all."

Which explains the situation that whenever I go and give talk in front of everyone, I tend to go off course and start rambling about how my cat jumped off the roof when I'm supposed to be talking about something else. Too bad the book never talk about how to get rid of the thoughts.

Perhaps a formatting of my brain would work?


It teaches me the correct way of studying. The method of repetition vs elaboration.

"The only way to get information into the long term memory... is not just to repeat it yourself, but to really think about it (a process call elaboration)... This principle of cognitive psychology yields some useful advice about how to study. A common strategy... one that usually fails dismally, is the rote repetition technique. You have all seen college students with their yellow highlighter pens, marking passages in the textbook... To study, they go back through the book and reread everything highlighted; if they have the time, they do it again and even again.

A much better strategy would be to take each of these highlighted passages, pause, and ask yourself several questions. Do I agree with this statement? Why? Does this statement remind me of anything in my life? Is it useful for anything? ...If you can generate an answer to each of these questions, you are more likely to remember the statement you are asking them about. Moreover, you might actually learn something."

Which is why dead memorization is useless. But still many people do that. Which is good news for me, because I happen to employ the elaboration way of studying since young, many thanks to my dad. I just hope other psychology students won't use the elaboration method after reading this. The whole NUS is based on bell curve, after all.

And time to throw away my highlighters!


It teaches me that not every is the same.

"Different kinds of people, with different experiences and outlooks on life, will remember events in a different way."

Which is exactly why we need to learn to look from another person's perspective to better understand them. And stop imposing our standards unto others.


It teaches me to have goals in life because it is by having goals that we have a sense of direction in life. It is our goals that ultimately determine where we go to.

"When a person has few or no general goals, or spends time in activities that do not serve general goals that are important to him or her, then life is chaotic and disorganized, and nothing that really matters seems to get done. Moreover, if you lack general goals or any clear connection between your daily activities and general goals, your life may seem to lack meaning and your general motivation may seem to suffer. Indeed, you may become depressed."

My point exactly. Explains why people who adopt the live for today and enjoy it to the fullest thinking to the extreme end up doing loads of stupid stuff like promiscuous sex, drug abuse and all sort of crazy activities. Because they don't have a future planned.


It teaches that if you want to succeed in life, you are bound to get haters.

"...if you put all your efforts into getting people to like you, you're unlikely to get ahead"

Which means that I'm not successful yet, because I have yet to get any haters. But I have a feeling physic students and engineers will be hating me soon enough.


It teaches me that our life is a product of our choice. We can choose the life that we want to live in.

"Behavior is determined only up to a point, after which choices becomes possible... even an abused child could reasonably conclude either (1) the world is a horrible place full of people who cannot be trusted or (2) I can survive anything, even abuse. Both conclusions are consistent with the child's experience. The secret of psychological success may be recognizing the choice points in life and responsibly making most of them."

Which means that despite no matter how hard we fall, we can choose to make the best out of it. It's all up to whether we want it or not only.


So yeah, those are among the glimpses of what Psychology really is besides all the hyped up myth about mind reading, lying on the couch and having no future. Psychology can in fact be very interesting and insightful. And all the texts I used were only from 2 chapters. Imagine the wealth of knowledge an entire book would have.

But of course, I can't type out the entire book or risk being sued (I have no intention to violate any copyright btw, and I have no money to pay). You'll just have study psychology yourself.

There's another post where I offer another glimpse here:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Glimpses of a Psychology Textbook

 Reading a psychology textbook is fun. Not only do you learn about psychology in general (things that you need for exam for tomorrow), you also get to learn about loads of other life related stuff. You'll get to learn...


You'll learn how to be lame with words. Like how my textbook author did when trying to explain the basis of existentialism to the readers.
"Existential analysis begins with the concrete and specific experience of a single human being existing at a particular moment in time and space. An excellent example is you, right now. I mean, then, back then when you read the words "right now", although that has already passed, so maybe we should concentrate on right now, instead. Too late..."


You'll learn how to be philosophical in the outlook of life. How to think beyond your current situation and focus on something bigger like the purpose of life. And you'll learn to ask fundamental questions about life itself. All while being lame at the same time.

"...a human being is really no more than a pile of lucky mud. After all, the human body is chemically not much different from the dirt on which it walks, plus a lot of water (the body is about 70 percent of water). The only difference is that this mass of mud is up and walking around. More important, it has awareness, so it can look around and experience the world. The other mud, that stuff that under one's feet, does not get to do that. It just lies there, ignorant of all the interesting thing happening above."

"For as long as you are alive and aware mud, and not just regular mud, your obligation is to experience as much as of the world as possible as vividly as possible."

"The tragedy... is that many people never do this. They lead the unexamined life, they never realize how lucky they are... until they eventually lose their awareness, forever, never having realized what a special gift it was."


You'll learn that sometimes it's okay to be normal and not to be a "superman" because not everyone can do that. Sometimes being normal and average isn't that bad after all. At least you're still alive. And superman was probably a crazy guy in the first place.

"Existentialism is not for wimps. It takes moral courage to peer into the void of mortality and meaninglessness. When the existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietszche did this, he decided the only logical response was to rise above it all and become a "superman". This was easier said than done, however: instead of becoming a superman, Nietszche went insance and died in an asylum."


You'll learn how to bash other fields of study. And if you're lucky enough, you'll also learn how to make enemies with the students from those fields because you can't wait to prove how smart you are by telling them how wrong they were for choosing to study in the "wrong" field. Which in this case happens to be the business school.

"There are many other systems of constructs, or paradigms... You probably have developed a systems of belief that affect how in interpret and understand politics, and morality... and many other important matters. These belief systems are useful and even necessary but... other belief systems are equally plausible."

"... example concerns the economic concept of "opportunity costs", which in my opinion is one of the most harmful ideas ever invented... The layperson's answer is that the cost of something is the amount of resources required to get it. A second and different answer... is taught in business school. The cost of something is the difference between what it brings you and what you could have gotten had you spent your resources on something better. The difference between these two figures is... your opportunity cost"

"These two definitions of cost derive from two different construals of the goal of the economic life. The first construes the goal as doing what you want as long as you can pay for it... The second maintains that you must maximize your gain... Both goals are reasonable , but different, and neither is intrinsically right or wrong. Yet business schools often teach that the second goal is sophisticated and correct and the first is hopelessly naive."


You'll learn that watching television is bad according to various psychological reasons. One for example, has to do with the flow. And yes, you have to say the word "flow" in a zen way.

"...the secret of enhancing the quality of your life is to spend as much time in flow as possible. Achieving flow entails finding something you find worthwhile and enjoyable and becoming good at it... (Achieving flow also entails staying away from television... watching television disrupts and prevents flow for long periods of time."

Btw, if you're interested to know what is flow about, it is basically the experience of immersing oneself in an enjoyable activist characterized by tremendous concentration, no distractibility and thoughts focusing on the activity itself. It's like how a blogger enjoys blogging and how fast time passes while one is experiencing flow.


You'll learn how to love.

"To love a person's features (ie good looking, funny) is different from loving the person as a whole."

And to top it all off, you'll learn that your country of origin, which is Malaysia in my case, despite all the rhetoric about it being a developing country, having lots of modern infrastructures and better than some countries in South Africa (the rhetoric mainly comes from the politicians btw), gets labeled as a "less developed" area along with Zimbabwe.

"...these differences were actually larger in so-called developed societies such as Belgium, France and the United States than in less-developed areas such as Zimbabwe and Malaysia."


And people wonder why I study Psychology. It's one of the few subjects where you can read the textbooks and don't fall asleep. Provided that atoms and physics don't make you laugh, that is.

And if I'm still feeling up for it, maybe there's part 2 to this post when I continue to read the book tomorrow. 

Disclaimer: All the excerpts are taken from "The Personality Puzzle" by David C. Funder and I do not own any copyright to the book. The excerpts are merely posted for fun and I do not seek to violate any copyrights issue here.

Part 2 of this post here:

The Lies People Tell During Exam

When exams time come, I noticed that not only do people get all panicky and stressed out, they get into an extreme lie telling mood too. Perhaps it's because of the stress accumulating or it's because everyone wants to do well in the exams. Here are among the 5 Greatest Lie That People Tell During Exams and What They Really Meant:

LIE: "Hey, good luck in your exams."
WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT:  "Hey, good luck failing your exams, because if you do better than me, I'm gonna look bad in comparison with you. And that would really hurt my self esteem and ego. Not only that, I hope everyone else in this examination hall fails too, except me, of course. But hey, since we're friends, I think I'm gonna be polite to you."

LIE: "I have not studied anything at all!"
WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT: "I have memorized every single page of the textbook front to back and back to front 20 times over. I have also done every single past year questions since the time when they first taught this subject. The only thing that I have yet to study is... wait... nothing actually."

LIE: "I am so going to fail this exam."
WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT:  "Even with both of my eyes closed and my hands tied to the back, I'm still gonna get an A+ for this exam just by writing with my mouth."

LIE: "I'm sorry to hear that you could not answer all the questions / do not know how to answer the questions in the exam"
WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT: "Am I glad that I was able to do that question. Fuh. Luckily for me, I don't have to worry about scoring badly for the exam like you right now. But since I'm in a good mood cause I won't be failing the exam, lemme just pretend that I am sympathetic.

LIE: "I couldn't finish the questions!"
WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT: "I have written 10 pages for each essay question and managed to rechecked another 10 times. The only thing that I couldn't finish was to draw a smiley for the person marking my paper."

Face it, whenever it comes to exams, like it or not, a part of us wants ourselves to do good and to score. And to do good in exams, one of the requirements is for your friends and the people to score much more badly than you. We are humans after all who enjoy a good downward social comparison with those that have done worse than us to boost our ego and self esteem. When was the last time that you felt good when your friend scored higher than you in a test anyway?

But of course, we live in a Asian society where it is not good to show off and everyone is encouraged to share the same burdens and to "fit in". Collectivistic culture ma. So if everyone says that the exam is hard, I would say so too. Because I don't want to stand out and to be labeled as a show off. Which is understandable. I would certainly want throw a shoe at anyone who boast that he can finish the exam in 15 minutes time when everyone else took 4 hours to.

However, when someone tries to hard to "fit in", it gets obvious. So much so that you feel that the person is indirectly showing off.

The best option? Just keep quiet. Or stick to the universal answer: Ok la.

Happy exams all NUS student (and there's no hidden meaning behind this, although the bell curve system may compel me to have one).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Osmosis Please

I'm bored, way bored. I know I should be reading and revising since I have an exam tomorrow but my brain is so full with images of Marx fighting with Weber about who's definition of class inequality is better that I'm not sure whether I still can pile anything in. Besides, any further reading would only exaggerate my current half panic mood because I've just realized I had not been able to understand a single thing that I've read since the past 3 days.

I would love to sleep, sleep is good after all to help you get sufficient rest and to be alert when the exam comes but I'm afraid I would wake up too early tomorrow and grow sleepy again by the time my exam start. So I'm waiting for the perfect time where I can go to bed and sleep a full 8 hours so I can be a refreshed handsome man when I wake up tomorrow. And 10pm is definitely too early for me to sleep because my exam is 1pm tomorrow. 

The various laughing sounds of a girl around my hostel is not helping either. I refuse to think of it as a lady in white who would stand outside my window tonight my under the influence of a saturated brain, suddenly everything becomes scary. Maybe it's just a pretty girl who is as stressed out as me because of this stupid exam and perhaps the laughter was to cope with the sudden realization that she is gonna so fail the exam tomorrow. Which is a good thing for me if she's in my class because my uni has this system called the evil bell curve to grade student's performance.

The evil is not part of the official name, mind you, I just put it in because of the considerable misery that this bell curve has caused me.

Or I could cook some supper to eat while waiting for time to pass. Having some food in my stomach will definitely help me to sleep better and a good supper would also help me to save on breakfast tomorrow. And a good supper could work wonders to cheer me up. But then again, looking at my waistline, I better don't. Besides, I am also really lazy to wash all those pots and utensils.

I think I'll just go and put my head unto the book and hope that osmosis would happen where the information from the more saturated book would flow to my less saturated brain.


Of Love and Hate and also Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day where Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind. And before he was crucified, he left a message that will be forever remembered as one of the greatest ever, loving one another. Be it your friends, your neighbors or even your enemies, love them.

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34)

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21)  

I think that no matter whether you are a Christian or not or whether you believe in Jesus or not, this is whole business about loving one another is pretty relevant in our world today because from what I see, all we as humans care about is bombing the hell out of each other just because they're different. In short, we freaking hate each other.

You have people wanting to blow up churches in Indonesia because they're not Muslims, countries attacking each other because some of them are terrorists, someone who is gay killing himself because of all the discrimination against him and people hating each other because of the skin color.

Even after so many years I still can't understand why people would have so much capacity to hate though. Take racism, for example. You could just solely judge someone to be rowdy, rude and unclean just solely based on his skin color even though you have never meet that person before. And based on your judgement, you immediately form a dislike to that person and your subsequent actions and words build on the initial dislike of this person and indirectly shows the person that you dislike him/her. Just imagine interacting with a Bangladeshi worker. I'm sure you would have actions like trying to stay away from him or closing your nose if he comes near to you.

And that's not even the worst of it. On the extreme end, you have people wanting to kill you just because you are of certain race or religion and that you pose certain type of "threat" to their society and life. The problem only problem? Threatening their "society" is the last thing on your mind. Heck, you don't even care about them. But still they want to bomb the hell out of you.

What do we gain by hating each other actually? How does it solve any problem?

Hate only generate more hate. Violence begets violence. It's a never ending vicious cycle. And where do we stop? Until everyone is dead?

Sometimes I wonder why is it so hard to just accept each other for who we are. We are humans after all and we have every right to be different. What's the point of society of if everyone acts and think in the same way? We are not robots you know. And it's our differences that makes us stronger. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and no one is perfect in their own sense. Humans after all, function better together rather than going solo.
 So come this Good Friday, instead of hating each other, why not embrace the diversity that all of us have? Sure, the guy opposite you might not agree with your way of life but what do you have to lose by letting him live out his own life and make his own choice?

From what I learned, loving the other person, accepting him/her for who he/she is the best way to defuse a conflict. And best of all not only can both of you become friends, none of you would be have to be blown up.

Sadly the people holding power doesn't seem to think in that way. They live on fear. They want you to be fearful and to hate the people from the opposite group. It is because of this people that we have so much hate going around. They are the ones that should be blown up.

But oh well... This is the sad reality of our world where hating rules and loving is not. Anyway, since today is Good Friday, I have a video to share! And it's called Follow Jesus on Twitter. The video is about what would have happened if Twitter existed during Jesus time. A very good watch. Ti then.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When Exams Come

When the exams come, there is only one mood that you can have in NUS. And that is being all stressed out and all grumpy. Everywhere I turn, I see people who looked like they have not sleep or bath for a few days thanks to the constant revising that they are doing. You have people camping in the library for 24 hours, people drinking red bull and coffee as if it is water and people who would not touch anything besides their books. It seems like that if they fail this exam, the world would come to an end tomorrow. 
It's as if the exams is EVERYTHING. It's either do or DIE.

Which is kinda scary for a guy like me. When you have people all around you getting stressed out about the exams, you start to think that maybe you should start getting stressed out too. It's part of peer pressure, you see. The problem is that I just couldn't understand the enormous amount of stress that people have right now.

Before I go any further, I would like to clarify that stress before an exam is a normal thing. In fact, we do need a bit of stress sometimes to perform optimally. But the amount of stress that you see in NUS is definitely not the healthy amount. I mean people skipping sleep and downing Red Bull just to study? That is crazy man. Red bull can only carry you so far and when you're sleep deprived, nothing goes in actually so why bother?

I mean, why can't we all be happy, chill and optimistic when exams come? I'm not saying that we shouldn't revise at all, we should, but forsaking food, sleep and everything else in the process is not gonna help your case. It's dangerous. What's the point of studying 48 hours straight before the exam only to end up sick the day of the exam due to the lack of sleep? And if you have been putting enough effort all along, there's no such need to go overdrive in revising.

Well, maybe that all this pre-exam overstress is part of the culture here I guess. Especially when there is a bell curve involved. And also the kiasu spirit. When you see the person next to you studying, you start to panic that he will do better than you and so you try to put in more effort than him. And when the person see you studying harder than him, he starts to panic and redouble his effort and the cycle continues until you both reach the maximum effort that you all can put in, which is 24 hours a day.

Another thing that I have noticed is that we all tend to assume the worst whenever we all go for exam. Everyone is like "Oh shit I have not studied for anything" and "Oh shit I am so gonna fail the exam" and thus leading to the excessive studying behavior to curb the panic. And whaddaya know, they all get an A+ when the results come out.

Little did everyone know that if everyone takes it easy at the same time, the bell curve would come down but then again, we can't afford to take the risk right?

I guess I have to go buy a few cans of red bull now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Singapore Blog Awards 2011, here Lukey comes!

After two years of spamming a post per day in this lovely blog of mine, hoping to get famous one day and retire with loads of money from blogging, I think maybe it's time to take my blog to a whole new level. Something big perhaps. Something like the Singapore Blog Awards 2011.

It's like the Oscars, you know, except it's for blogs. Okay, maybe the Singapore Oscar version but better than nothing right. That is if I win anything of course.

To be honest, I never expect to join this Blog Awards thing in the first place. The competition itself is huge, cutthroat and intense with loads of power bloggers coming from almost everywhere vying for the various category awards given out. And by power bloggers, I mean those who get thousands of people visiting their site per day and commenting "HAHAHA" for every post they write. Heck, how am I gonna fight with them when I can't even get my readers to tick "Nice" for my post down there.

If it was not for Alvin Lim, the person who was in charge for the SDD Blogging Competition who suggested me in taking part in this competition, I think I would have just ignored the whole thing.

But since he suggested, why not right? It's not that my blog is that bad after all, I still have people coming to my blog and all the mumbo jumbo that I have accumulated thanks to my effort in blogging must have meant at least something right? And who knows, maybe the judges will like a handsome blogger like me who has a good sense of humor. Lets just hope that the judges don't have any guys for my handsomeness to work.

Anyway, I have submitted a total of 4 different entries for 4 different categories, namely Best Individual Blog, Best Lifestyle Blog, Best WTH Blog and also the Best Gen Y Blogger.

Yeah, I know, 4 categories is a bit of an overkill but hey, I'm just applying the principles of statistics here. The more you try, the better the chances of you actually winning something. It's all about probability right.

Besides, I don't really aim to win though. As long as I can get Top 10 for any category, I am quite happy already. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Why You Must Sign Up For The 1Malaysia Email

Since the announcement by the government to us Malaysians a common email account under the 1 Malaysia propaganda initiative, many Malaysians have taken on to protest against the initiative citing numerous concerns and cons regarding the email service. There's even one Facebook group () with over 13 thousand supporters to protest against this move by the government.

But hey, not every project by the government is perfect right? There's bound to be at least some disadvantages here and there. And from how I see it, this 1Malaysia email project has actually loads of benefits and plus points if we choose to embrace it. 

I have chosen to list out the top 10 reasons of why you should apply for a 1Malaysia Email acc today!

1. You are saving the future of a company and loads of jobs with it. The company in charge of this project, Tricubes Bhd, was at risk at being de-listed from the Bursa Malaysis stock market for not being able to keep in finances in order and to meet the obligations set by Bursa Securities (source here). If it had not been for the RM50 million dumped into it by the Malaysian government to create email accounts for all of us, many in the company would have lost their jobs, particularly the friends and relatives of our dear PM.

So by signing up as a 1Malaysia email user, you are actually doing the correct thing in helping to save the rice bowl of many important people out there. If not, many workers of Tricubes Bhd would not have been able to go Bali as planned this December.


2. 1Malaysia email will keep your computer spyware and virus free by only giving you the spyware that you're supposed to have, from Malaysia itself. The government knows that by signing up for free email accounts like Hotmail and Gmail, there is a lot of potential of receiving unknown viruses and spywares across the web.

So as an effort to better protect citizens, the email will block off all emails from outside of Malaysia and only allow emails from Malaysia itself to be sent to your email, of course, with our 1Malaysia spyware too. And it's for a good reason too!

1Malaysia spyware will be able to detect any discontent faster and ISA you before you have the chance to post anything to Facebook.


3. An easier and faster way to keep yourself updated with the daily Malaysian "news". The government knows that you do not read official newspapers anymore like Utusan Malaysia and would prefer other sources of news that are "untrustworthy" and do not reflect the "general" view of the ruling party like Malaysian Insider.

In an effort to make citizens read more of what the government has to say, you'll have a daily e-copy of Utusan Malaysia delivered right to your mailbox every morning. And you can't mark those emails as spams because they come from the government.

News article already planned for delivery includes, "Why BN is the best choice for Malaysia" and "If you're a Malaysian, you'll use 1Malaysia email because we're all 1 Malaysia".


4. As an alternative source of income. With the recent dip of profits in other sectors, it is time for the government to find alternative source of income. By making the email mandatory, they can force citizens to pay money later after everyone has grown accustomed to the email. Or better still, they can cut off all email providers and only give you this choice. Pay or you don't get an email account...

Okay, maybe this is not a benefit to us citizens but still...


5. Look trendy and "in". In Malaysia, one of the most important thing is to follow the crowd and keep in the trend. If everyone drives a Proton, so should you. If everyone votes for BN, so should you. And if everyone uses 1Malaysia email, you should too! Or else you would be sent to a correction camp like the 66 "sissies" for failing to behave appropriately.


6. To keep your mind off more important but depressing issues. With RM50 million worth of features in the email, you will bound to spend some time mastering the entire features of the email account alone. Not only that with added social networking and other mumbo jumbo to the 1Malaysia email account, you'll be so busy trying to learn how to use the new 1Malaysia account that you don't have time to bother about the corruption and the spiraling crime rates.
And like they say, ignorance is a bliss. When you're too busy with 1Malaysia account, crime rates and corruption would cease to exist! At least momentarily. Then the government will start another RM50 million initiative to keep you busy again.


7. A chance to meet new people and perhaps your soul mate. With all Malaysians having the same email account, finding someone suitable has never been easier. There's no need to go through layer and layer of friends or stalk her through Facebook anymore as you can directly search for the girl of your choice with the support of the Malaysian government.

Of course, JAKIM will be monitoring you however for any indecent activities. And if you're a politician, you'll be supplied with CCTVs too.


8. Your name might be in the Guinness Book of Records! You might not know this but there has been no country in the world before that has an entire email network especially for its citizens and Malaysia happened to be the first. In fact, if the response has been favorable, the PM would have submitted an application straight away tomorrow as an added surprise.

Too bad it didn't. But who knows, maybe we can still qualify as the first ever failed one country email initiative.


9. Work productivity would go up. With Gmail, you get fast access speed to your email and loads of storage space thus leading to a higher tendency to abuse your email account and to be caught up in it. With 1Malaysia email. we're gonna give you such a slow speed and tiny space that by the end of the day, you'll be so disillusioned with the 1Malaysia email thing that you think that working is actually a lot more fun than getting your email to work.


10. It's 1 Malaysia after all! And anything to do 1 Malaysia is good right? That's why we have 1 Malaysia burger, 1 Malaysia shirt and everything 1 Malaysia now. So who cares if there's Gmail or Yahoo Mail? 1 Malaysia trumps them all!

With so many awesome reasons, what are you still waiting for? Join 1Malaysia email today and be part of yet another Malaysian project that would put us on the world map! As a laughing stock that is, but still, we're being noticed!

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