Monday, September 24, 2007

Columbia hosts Ahmadinejad

This is probably one of the best speeches I have heard so far from a University president.

Succinct and biting.

Unfortunately, his guest came out a dud. With remarks like:

“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country.”

Maybe he's right; maybe he has killed or imprisoned them all.


On a side note, do you know of Singapore's academic linkages with Persia?

Sunday, September 23, 2007


How many of you actually fell for this? If you did, you are really an idiot. The website was quite nicely done though - looked convincing enough for a layperson of science.

Read more about the background to this hoax here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Same story, repeated

A friend of mine (in grad school) has just ended her relationship with her SO. He is now working in Sg, as part of his scholarship bond. Their last 3 years together were in the form of a LDR.

They had met while as undergrads in one of the Ivy schools.


She is leaving AZ (most likely for good) on Friday. There goes my 2007 夏天之恋.



My sis' poly GPA is really uncompetitive, even for that *state school* (granted, it is a flagship and a football rival) down the road. I am not referring to AZ ones. On the other hand, most Aussie universities' GPA cut off for poly grads seem really low. Guess where my dad is pushing her to go to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What a Chinese Department in Singapore...

should or should not be.

*Quah Sy Ren is an Associate Prof and the deputy Head of NTU's Division of Chinese.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Foreign talents, foreign workers...

From Post War; A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt (pp 757):

To one side stood a sophisticated elite of Europeans: men and women, typically young, widely traveled and well-educated, who might have studied in two or even three different universities across the continent. Their qualifications and professions allowed them to find work anywhere across the European Union: from Copenhagen to Dublin, from Barcelona to Frankfurt. High incomes, low airfares, open frontiers and an integrated rail network favored easy and frequent mobility. For the purposes of consumption, leisure and entertainment as well as employment this new class of Europeans traveled with confident ease across their continent - communicating, like medieval clercs wandering between Bologna, Salamanca and Oxford, in a cosmopolitan lingua franca: then Latin, now English.

On the other side of the divide were to be found those - still the overwhelming majority - who could not be part of this brave new continent or else did not (yet?) choose to join: millions of Europeans whose lack of skills, education, training, opportunity or means kept them firmly rooted where they were. These men and women, the villeins in Europe's new medieval landscape, could not so readily benefit from the EU's single market in goods, services and labor. Instead they remain bound to their country or their local community, constrained by unfamiliarity with distant possibilities and foreign tongues and often far more hostile to 'Europe' than their cosmopolitan fellow citizens.

One notable exception - migrant (low-wage) labor.

...There had always been men (and mostly men) who traveled to distant countries to find work: ignorant of foreign languages, regarded with hostile suspicion by their hosts and in any case intent upon returning home with their carefully earned savings. (They) were not likely to be found dining out in Brussels, vacationing in Italy or shopping in London...

Just like we have our own Cosmopolitans vs heartlanders, foreign talents vs foreign workers...

Related entry.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


她: 哈哈......吃到蛋糕了真開心~ 谢谢你!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Social networking sites have their use

I spent quite a bit of time these past nights going through my friends-list in friendster, facebook and linkedin. I got to know (or was reminded) of where they did their college (and graduate work for some), what jobs they have now, their marital status and kids (if any).

I have also reconnected with a few I had lost contact - including one (a crush from Dunman) for almost 15 years.

I must say I am impressed.

Beautiful Libraries of the Western World

Found this from -ben.

I love going to libraries. The joy of being surrounded by shelves of books, of various genres, and modifying Forrest's quote: "Life is like a box of chocolates library of books; you never know what you gonna get". The surprise and exhilaration of randomly picking up one which you like; thumbing your fingers through each and every page, savoring the words in your mind as one would to a glass of vintage wine as they bring you to another world...

One could spend a lifetime in these hallowed halls. -ben

I love Georgetown's Rigg library. I did a double take when I visited the campus during one spring break, literally gawking through the door window.

Riggs of Georgetown

My favorite is the Library of Congress though.

Don't you find the smell of musty books, erm, orgasmic?


Imagine a cold wintry night on campus - the ground outside is frozen stiff and you can hear the wind howling and pounding at the glass windows. Here you are sitting snugly next to the electric heater with a cup of warm cocoa in one hand and your favorite book on the other. There are other students around you, but the place is quiet. Everyone is engrossed in his/her book.
- My idea of how I would spend my winter months in college. (When I was in my first year.)

The reality was of course, quite different since I took a brutal undergrad courseload. Reading (outside of class work) was a luxury I could not afford.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I was labelled a nerd....:(

Friends from the company came over to my place for dinner and (board) games last night. We played 'Taboo' and 'Cranium'.


When it was my turn, one of the words I picked was 'saddle'. I couldn't say 'horse' or 'riding', and so I tried to lead my group by saying..."When you have y = x^3, what is the point at (0,0) called? Or the valley between two peaks in a 3D plot?"

They looked at me blankly. Then the time was up.

"It's a saddle point!"

"OMG, you are such a nerd!"

This came from a group of fellow engineers. Everyone started laughing.



My group rolled 'red', aka 'data head/fun facts'. The question was "So what two countries fought the War of 1812?"

Me: "US and UK."

"Do you memorize history books or something?"

Another question: "Which country is Timbuktu located in?"

Me: "Mali"

"Do you memorize the World Map?"

I suck big time for "Star Performer" though. I can't act, and I can't sing.


So what did you think of my responses to the games? Good right? I wonder why the others looked at me like I was nuts

S says:'s good..but usually people don't think like that.

S says:
hehe..I know! Go read this book "the know-it-all"

tk says:
and what about it?

S says:
the author attempted to read the entire encyclopedia britannica

tk says:

S says:
yah. Then you'll know why explaining facts like this is unorthodox

tk says:

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Congratulations for your upcoming special day. I still keep your photos; not because I feel for you but because they are also a part of my life's history.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Free Trade versus Protectionism

Saw this pic on the MOB's blog.

I am actually ambivalent in this 'local' vs 'foreign' debate. I believe free trade works for the benefit of all, although some of the poorer/low-skilled segments of society are made worse off with globalization and the free movement of goods/services and labor across borders.

Some jobs may be lost, but new ones will be created. It is not a zero-sum game.

Then again what do I know. I am just a beneficiary of the present system - without which I would not be able to 'export' myself, my skill-sets and become a 'foreign-born' professional in the USA. (I might also add - as well as a significant proportion of my readers now working outside of Singapore. You know I know who you are.)

A related old post by Greg Mankiw. What he said: "I thought the readers of this blog--an elite group--might enjoy it." sounds so wrong. Heh.