Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hiring Illegals; School branding again

A friend was moving house today. He and his wife had boxes of stuffs and many were heavy, although the honor (of being the heaviest) went to the living room's sofa. We needed additional manpower, so we drove out to this strip mall area where there were many amigos (or 老墨) available for hire. We spoke to two guys and did one of these 'chicken-and-duck-talk' bargaining before agreeing on a price amenable to both sides. All payments were to be in cash.

It was an interesting experience, to say the least. The police knew the place well but no raids (as far as I know) were conducted to round these folks up for deportation. There is a demand for their services. We wouldn't know where to hire help otherwise. This is the kind of jobs that few (if any) Americans are willing to do. Some locals blame them for depressing the wages of American manual laborers. Sounds a lot like the arguments back home in Singapore.

It is a global phenomenon, a product of globalisation.


At the other extreme end of the economic/educational spectrum, there is this. The poster (sakky) has a PhD from MIT.

Prestige, prestige, prestige.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I am attracted to articulate Sg bitches women

I went to the movies last evening with two ladies from Singapore (and three other friends whose presence I we largely ignored).

While heading home after the show:

tk: Why are we walking so slowly?
girl A: We are strolling.
girl B: We are ambulating.

Sometime later, and still on the way home we ended up talking about this head at one of A*star's institutes:

girl B: She's a micro-manager who wants her PIs to present their research to her (and everyone else) at weekly group meetings. She's infamous as this neurotic/psycho bitch who goes nuclear if you attempt to answer back when she's shouting at you. It doesn't matter whether you are a senior post-doc/junior faculty-level researcher or someone fresh out from college. She will just scream at you regardless of whether there are other people in the room. It's kinda humiliating if your position is a senior one and there are college interns or people fresh out of JCs waiting for their school term to start watching you get run over by her. The whole atmosphere in the room would be very tense and silent except for her shrieks; you could almost certainly hear a pin drop. At one of those sessions, I realized that I had neckache after that. I was so afraid of even relaxing my neck muscles; everyone else froze too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

'Allo Wolfpack! And some random walks...

Greetings from the Tar Heel State!

One of the most pressing issues facing mankind now. Also aptly the background theme of many presentations.


Nagging questions on my mind:

Is there any difference between chemical physics and physical chemistry?

What do you call someone dabbling simultaneously in research in physics, chemistry and biology?

Physical chemical biologist? Chemical Biophysicist? Biochemical physicist? Biophysical chemist?


I am leaning towards turning down the offer from Berkeley. I hope it is the right choice even though I have been given some time to think about it. Then there is an offer for me to go to NYU. Hmm...California or New York? Or neither?

Regardless of my choice, the path ahead is exciting. But the social life is extremely lacking / quite non-existent. Just got to know that my granny's friend is trying to matchmake introduce her granddaughter to me. I find it very funny. Is highly educated single guys a rare species? Why do I feel irritated during conference trips when my peers excused themselves to make calls to their spouses?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Building trust and relationships in business in E Asia

I am surprised this was only reported on WSJ recently. I thought it is an open secret.

...Karaoke in East Asia is serious, and its practitioners are far more earnest in their art than a group of giggling Americans belting out "Sloop John B" might seem.

For the unseasoned American doing business in East Asia, there is occasionally a darker and somewhat confusing side to a night of karaoke. First-time travelers could be in for a shock when they find themselves in a private room in a karaoke club -- common in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and mainland China -- being asked to choose from a lineup of young women brought in to serve them. A visitor's first thought might be that the women are sex workers. They are young, often dressed in revealing clothes and ready to finger-feed customers fruit or whatever else they may be eating. In some low-end clubs, the women may indeed be sex workers, but foreign business travelers are unlikely to be taken to these places. At most places business guests end up, the women are simply club hostesses whose presence conveys luxury.

In some cases, it is considered rude to turn down invitations and you risk getting ostracized if you do so.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Science Comedian - Brian Malow

This guy rocks! Three of his classic jokes:

a. Some helium gas drifts into a bar. The bartender says, 'We don't serve noble gases here.' Pause. The helium doesn't react.

b. Says the bartender to a superconductor that walks in: 'We don't serve superconductors here.' The superconductor then leaves the bar, putting up no resistance.

c. Women have passed through my life like exotic particles through a cloud chamber, leaving only vapor trails for me to study for clues to their nature.

There's more in youtube where you can watch his performances.


Unrelated: Chemical Party by EU. (via lancerlord)

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Intelligences

The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with
You scored as Logical/Mathematical

You like to work with numbers and ask questions. You learn best by classifying information, engaging in abstract thinking and looking for common basic principles. People like you include mathematicians, biologists, medical technicians, geologists, engineers, physicists, researchers and other scientists.















This is like so...duh.