Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wet-Dry Bow

The weather here is giving me more trouble than I initially thought. My nose has been clogged with blood for 3 weeks. But blowing it would cause more bleeding - so now I have to breathe through my mouth. This brings a new set of problems - starting with a dry throat.

Then there is the smell of dried blood, which is very similar to that of rotting meat. Two huge stinky booger-like clumps blocking the air passageway like the magic rock in Ali Baba. (Too bad there is no 'Open sesame!'.) My olfactory sense is now so screwed.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Network

I found out that ScHoLaR's direct supervisor was my BMT platoon mate. (No surprise, I was expecting something like this to happen.) Those who are still wearing (military) uniforms are now 'crabs'.


My supervisor's supervisor is a fellow alum (Grad School, not the JC one like above). If you count in the alumni from my undergrad college, the numbers go up. Like the guy occupying the next cubicle from mine is a also (an animal, pun unintended).

But my numbers pale in comparison to the Wolverines, while the Sun Devils seem to have home ground advantage.


The folks I went to Vegas with couldn't believe I am still single.

"You must be very choosey," despite my protests to the contrary. They first tsked me, then offered to introduce their (single, female) friends to me.

On the other hand, I have no idea why 3 married guys with young kids would want to go to the Sin City to have fun without their families accompanying. Not that I mind. :)


I asked my folks (and my sis) if they would like me to forward them my recently published paper in a reputable academic journal.

They politely declined. The title alone was enough to turn them off.

"Wah, so long one ah." my mum complained.

A friend told me that in order to generate (layman) interest, I have to use as few scientific acronyms and mathematical equations as possible. Plus nice-looking and easy to understand figures and tables.

How many of you readers automatically understand terms like SPM, XPS, XRD, SEM, FE-TEM, NMR, TOF-SIMS, FTIR and CSAM?

He suggested I do something like this in future.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Vegas, Baby!

Leaving town later today for the 6-hour road trip to Las Vegas. Pictures here.

Have a nice Memorial Day long weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

zogang (做工)

Just in case you haven't clicked, I expect to start posting more new entries over at zogang (a shared blog with ScHoLaR).

But I won't be abandoning this one. Do check back on both periodically. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another one closes

Last year, it was Johns Hopkins. I wonder how much money the tax payers have lost this time.

University of New South Wales Singapore campus to shut in June

By Pearl Forss, Channel NewsAsia

Posted: 23 May 2007 1715 hrs

SINGAPORE: The University of New South Wales will close its campus in Singapore next month.

The announcement came less than two months after its grand opening. The school says it is running into financial problems because enrolment was lower than expected.

Its target was 300 students in its first semester. But it only got 148 students, 100 of whom are Singaporeans.

Students have already paid their fees, which range between S$26,000 and S$29,000 a year. UNSW says these students will be offered a place at its home campus in Sydney. There will also be scholarships to help with the cost of travel and accommodation. The decision to shut the campus comes as a shock to many students. The scholarships offered are supposed to be based on needs and not on academic achievements. But most students Channel NewsAsia spoke to were not quite convinced. Many had chosen the Singapore campus because they could not afford to go to Australia.

And though the school is helping out financially with the scholarships, it is not clear at this point in time how much exactly the school is willing to fork out. Still, the university claims that about half its students have indicated that they would like to go to Australia to continue their studies. Most of the local students who enrolled in the university come from the polytechnics. “It’s quite an inappropriate time, with our exams coming as well. If they decide to close down after one semester, they should have done adequate research to see if this whole university was even feasible in the first place,” said a student. “Knowing that the school is a creditable one, it is unbelievable that this thing can happen,” said another.

“I do not know what is the next step I need to do. To transfer to another school or go to Sydney? What is the option for us? Now, they have not known what are the private institutes we can go to to transfer in Singapore,” said a third student.

The school says that it is also in talks with local institutions and other universities in the region to offer these students a place to continue their education. But this is little consolation for the 48 foreign students who wanted an Australian degree and Singapore cost of living. “The school is offering us to go back to Australia to study, but I cannot go back. I end up paying something like $30,000 and I can do nothing. I’ve spent the money and yah, it’s pretty hard for me now,” said a student from Hong Kong. ”I hope not to go back to Indonesia. I’m seeking to go overseas because it’s a better education but now this happens, it’s a bit confusing for me,” said a student from Indonesia. “Before this, I was in Los Angeles. I was going to go to UNSW in Sydney but I ended up coming here because Singapore is also a good place. It’s a good name, it’s a good school, so I thought I’ll give this a try, moved everything from LA, came here….I don’t know what I’m going to do right now,” said a student from the US. UNSW has already invested over S$22 million (AUD$17.5 million) in its Singapore campus. It was invited by Singapore’s Economic Development Board in 2004 to establish what would have been the first private comprehensive university in Singapore.

The EDB refuses to reveal how much it invested in the school. The episode is clearly damaging to Singapore’s aim to be a global schoolhouse. But the EDB, which drives the global schoolhouse initiatives, believes it will still reach its target of attracting 150,000 international students by 2015. There are currently 80,000 foreign students in Singapore.

Aw Kah Peng, EDB’s Assistant Managing Director, said: “The learning point is that we have to continue working very hard. Truly, with every institution, it will be different. With each one, we have to put everything we can to think about all these issues of whether we can make it work, how long it will take for us to make it work, what will it take for us to make it work. We will then have to step forward on that basis.”

UNSW says it would have stayed on in Singapore if it has been allowed to scale down its student enrolment numbers to 2,000 students by 2012. But this would be quite far from the original bargain with the EDB which had set a target of 15,000 UNSW students by 2020.

The UNSW closure does not mean that the EDB will no longer work with the school.

The EDB says there are many areas of cooperation between UNSW and Singapore which are mutually beneficial.

These include foundation schooling for university entry, research collaborations, University of New South Wales school competitions and joint programmes with Singapore institutions.

EDB says it will continue to pursue these areas and strengthen its relationship with UNSW.

Professor Fred Hilmer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, said: "Last year....we actually had much stronger demand in Sydney than we had in the previous four years. I think one of the things we've learnt, and it's really for Singapore to draw its own lesson, is that geography is really important. When a student says he wants an Australian degree, what he really means is, 'I want the experience of living in Sydney', and not just in educational terms but riding a surfboard, doing the other things a lot of students in a campus like ours, do."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hi De Ho - by K7

I spent 30 mins yesterday playing and replaying this song. It was also featured in "The Mask". Brought back happy memories of the silly Mass Dance they subjected the first years to.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My suburban dwelling

The pictures speak for themselves.

Quite different from peishan's. Heh.

Everyday I have to drive 10 miles to work. *Sigh*

Friday, May 11, 2007

Greetings from Arizona (AZ State U)

One word: SCORCHED. Stepping into the outdoors is like getting put into an oven to be roasted alive. The difference between here and Singapore is that the air here is very dry. Only 6% relative humidity.

On the other hand, the desert landscape is amazing and I love ASU's Engineering Library.




Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Air Mobile

Just 3 bags, the equivalent of 2 check-in and 1 carry-on luggage.

A friend said I should have no problems living out of a suitcase. Ready to deploy anywhere in the world on a short notice. Guess this also describes my life for the past 8 years.

Hello, Mountain Time.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder you objectively try to benchmark yourself against the guy she has chosen over you.


"Then why?!", as your head demanded to make sense of it all. "Snobbish prick at times maybe?" offered the heart.

She then gladly delivered the K.O. punch, "Because he makes me laugh. He may not be as accomplished as you are, but he is funny. I feel happy when he is around. On the contrary, I always felt stressed when I was with you. It's not you; it's me."

She made it sound a little like the "Tufts Syndrome", of which you do have a real life connection to.

Related: quitacet's comments.