Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday Madness

Doesn't matter which state you are in, everyone's crazy. International shoppers contributed too.

I will be bringing home more gifts for my family. I had asked my folks what they want for X'mas, and I think they will be happy at my selection.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Perks of being in Academia

Congratulations on landing a tenure-track faculty position in one of America's finest research universities! Maybe one day we will be colleagues in rival schools.

You can also start thinking about this soon. After all, it is good to hear that your (future) employer is one of those that provides tuition assistance and preferential admissions consideration to the Other Legacies: Fac Brats.

Imagine offering this carrot to your prospective bride: "I may not be as rich as my peers in Wall Street, but I can guarantee our kids a higher chance of getting admitted to this super-elite university and paying no college tuition for 4 years."

College towns are also islands of (economic) stability, and regularly rank amongst the best places to raise a family in the US.


I think there are many advantages for exposing children to an academic environment early in their lives. They get *easy access* to some of the best facilities available - well-equipped libraries, sports complexes etc. If you are a faculty member in the engineering/physical/biological sciences, your children may get to see some of the most sophisticated (read: expensive) equipment and view for themselves what happens when you add X to Y, or how a yeast cell is like under the Atomic Force Microscope before and after budding, or how the fourth state of matter can be used to completely remove organic residues from a Si wafer.

For those who are more inclined towards the Arts, it doesn't hurt too to have them know your colleagues in the humanities departments.

They might get that edge when it comes to college applications time. What better than to be able to see what your child is up to in college? :)

(Note: This is NOT helicopter parenting.)


I come from a family of teachers. There has always been an emphasis towards excelling in school. It's not just about getting an A, but about doing the best you can. If your best means being able to top the cohort and you failed, it doesn't matter even if you get a distinction for the subject. You would have disappointed the family. Conversely, if your predicted grade is a C but you get a B, it is considered an achievement worthy of praise.

That said, I always felt I was subject to a higher standard than my peers simply because my mum is a teacher. I am expected to do well.


Does Steven Chu's family history sound very similar to the typical high-achieving Asian American family?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Winter Party 2007

The company will be holding its Winter Formal tonight. We were strongly encouraged to bring along a partner, but I have nobody to invite. She has already left. The current blog header picture is a penthouse view of the resort (where the Ball will be held).

The stuff of fairy tales.

I guess I will be one of those standing by the sides watching others dance.


In college I remember getting emails and paper notices from the student government inviting us for the Winter Formal. "A chance to ask your date out for a dance!" The flyers screamed. But I was in a long distance relationship.

So while the Formal was held in the Union Hall, I would trudge up the steps of the Capitol to see the Holiday Tree alone.

Outside the Union Hall

View of the Holiday Tree

Tree Lighted up

Current music: Pachelbel's canon in D major

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test

My results and the website's comments (not surprising):

Your Score: Pure Nerd

78 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 43% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


A pity really. I prefer to give my next SO this T-shirt for her birthday. Ha!


The Ultimate Nerd

It’s le-vi-O-sa, not le-vi-o-SA.

*I spent 8 hours two Saturdays ago reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from start-to-finish. On Halloween, I wanted to dress up like Harry, and ended up exchanging charms, jinxes, curses and hexes with my co-worker, who is also a HP fan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Can anyone say 'Boxer'?

This guy got pwned. Get ready for the newspeak from MinDeath sometime soon.

*I never have a good impression of SAF's Army regulars. I despise (most of) them.

Nov 6, 2007
Warrant officer asked to retire 5 years earlier

I WAS a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). I served a total of 32 years, comprising full-time national service, reservist and regular service, from 1974-2006.

I was one of more than 200 regular servicemen and women in the Army who were notified in May last year that we would be given Special Early Transition. Some of the reasons cited included difficulty in offering us 'suitable jobs' in the long run, restructuring and possible 'stagnation'. We were given only six months to transit.

Having attained the rank of a warrant officer in 2001, it meant that I was able to serve till the compulsory retirement age (CRA) of 55. I transitted last November after just turning 50, five years short of the CRA.

The Control of Personnel Centre announced that we were not under-performers. I was still PES 'B' and I received my performance bonuses annually without fail. I had also met all other requirements, i.e., Individual Physical Proficiency Tests, Annual Trainfire Programme, Body Mass Index, and Annual Proficiency Knowledge Test.

I also did not have any discipline or medical problems. The latter meant that I was still combat fit and still deployable. There are some who have not conformed to one or more of these requirements and yet are still serving in the organisation.

Till today, I am still somewhat in a state of depression at how the organisation had overlooked all my years of loyal and dedicated service.

The SAF Management Philosophy states:

'The SAF is concerned with the well-being of its people and their families, the SAF values its people, looks after them and their families so that they can give wholehearted attention to their assigned duties.'

The Defence Minister himself said last year:

'Every soldier is precious to us. Every national serviceman, every operationally ready national serviceman, every regular who serves with us is a precious and valuable person.'

The organisation failed to honour its word to allow me and many others to serve till the CRA of 55. I have a wife and two young children still attending school.

Second Warrant Officer (Retired)
Henry Minjoot

Edit (8 Nov): Too old to work, too young to retire?