044 It is generally bad humour when...

Ooo... how two weeks can pass so fast, time's fun when you're having flies, wait, what's wrong with this? Anyway, I was having fun, if you consider Block Test to be fun and of course, studying fun, (do I?). So, yes, I was busy travelling to and fro from Singapore-Seremban and other places and also preparing for exams, I didn't let my anxiety spill over to my blog during the exam week, in case I start becoming incoherent and yak about Organic Chemistry or something like that. And the weekend and the beginning of this week was spent relaxing and nothing else, not even blogging, which was apparent. Now that I've regained my composure, let's get back to business. As the title hinted, this entry is about bad humour, and I will attempt to make a list of things which are pieces of bad humour. Here goes....

It is generally bad humour when...
- Someone sticks CCA promotion posters in the washroom
- You get potato curry and chicken curry in the same hostel meal
- The only other thing other than curry are soggy vegetables
- People are beginning to literally "run" for Council, as in down the red clay track, you know that "run"
- The budget is praised by practically every MP because there is an increase in GST (tax-lah)
- The environmental issue that concerns the Indonesians are sand exports and not the haze
- Wikipedia's featured articles on Malaysia includes "Ketuanan Melayu"
- Dogs finally learn how to sniff out pirated DVDs
- 84 is considered not-so-good mark for Maths
- Singapore actually does quite well in real estate marketing
- anyone believes that tax increase is actually good for you
- your Physics paper gets held back through no apparent fault of your own until the end of the week
- Timetables are said to be made in ways more complex than rocket science and still clash
- A food strike to protest against potato and chicken curry actually sounds logical
- 70 sounds too good to be true for KI
- you actually have to treat people to food when you do well in the exams
- You find yourself smirking at people when they have one more core subject than you
- to have an H3 test a week after the Block Test
- you are told that elephants can't jump as a random fact

and lastly, it is generally bad humour when you poke fun at everyone that upsets you by calling it bad humour. Hugs from Singapore and please support the free hugs campaign...

043 Winds - The Opening of the Homecoming Series.

This will be a short post, because I have a particular erroneous Physics Tutorial Paper to correct by tomorrow, and I have to start studying for Block Test 1 already, so fast, but holidays is approaching and looking forward to those quiet days in the room, and in the canteen messing around with my papers and books, trying to finally sort out all that has been lost in the past few weeks. Heck, those are for later, and so here is the opening poem of the Homecoming Series 2007, the poem series written in the days before, during and after Chinese New Year, and its timeline coincides with the North Coast poem series, but this one's more important, because it would be inappropriate to post this series any more later than March, and the post from today onwards may be significantly shorter because I'm studying unless something interesting crops up between now and Block Test, which is unlikely if I sit in the hostel all day, studying, but then again, anything can happen. So presenting "The Homecoming Winds"...

The Homecoming Winds

Trolley bags roll down the platform,
Smiles, lips and laughter, euphoria,
Of the homecoming crowd,
Carrying hues of scarlet, maroon and orange,
Floating through the thick atmosphere,
Perfume, sweat and recently permed hair,
On weary sweaters and jackets,
Within the dense fog of people,
There is a gateway home,
A source of hope for the tired figures,
A wind blows forward and for me,
The better place lies to the north,
Every shadow, every silhouette follows it,
Holding its guiding hands strongly,
Like mother and child in a silent place,
The port-of-call is home,
All these wonders of the homecoming crowd,
Amazes me still, as I embrace it too.

042 Warm, Warm Wednesday - Part 2

Where were we? Yes, the SPA. Today, I had my Chemistry SPA, which an enjoyable warm water bath in a big wooden tub, filled with hydrogen peroxide, which is supposed to help oxidise your skin in the Chemistry Lab. It came with a nice thermostatic water bath, a few burettes and pipettes to help pour the liquid onto yourself, and a good helping of sodium hydroxide, an iron compound and a mysterious FA 4 which is supposed to be SAJC's secret ingredient to keep users from shiveling up and dying in the lab. This is spa...

No, it's not that SPA. SPA stands for Science Practical Assessment, which is a practical test to see how well you know the differences between a burette and a pipette, how well you use them and how well you can memorise pre-prepared sources of error in the experiment, their effects and ways to improve the results. Sounds fun, doesn't it? It's fun until you find that the FA 4 (as mentioned above) is not that secret after all, and you are going to shrivel up and die in the lab anyway. That's depressing, after you find this wonderful fact out from plotting the same graph twice, once using a known compound and second using the wonderful and most secret FA 4. But, in the end, who cares if you shrivel up and die in the lab, because it's contributing to your A-levels, and one is in no position to protest that he/she has been tricked by the Chemistry Department in believing the incredible healing powers of the FA 4, but as a consolation, the hydrogen peroxide does look pretty bubbling in the conical flask, forming oxygen and collecting it in a burette, and producing enough oxygen to keep the class alive for a few minutes.

That is all for today, and soon enough I will be publishing the second Poem Series, the Homecoming Series 2007. So, watch for that, and goodbye for now...

041 Warm, Warm Wednesday

Yes, it is in fact extremely hot now, and I'm wondering how the J1's having their second orientation can actually take the heat, I mean, all that running around is sure to make you sweaty and hot, combined with all that cheering and playing games.

I'm in a short break now, between lesson time and CCA time. I was just told there's a meeting at 2.30 p.m. at 2.08 p.m., which is an amazingly short notice for something THAT important, I'm not complaining, i still rather stay indoors than to go back in this weather. So, now I'm going to attempt to write a moderately long entry in the 15 minutes I have.

I had PE today and we did the 2.4 km trial run, which is a wonderfully lond distance in less than 12.5 minutes, which is managable, but at about the fourth lap you will like you are going to kill yourself doing this. Of course, I just took my glasses of and ran with only the red clay visible in front of me, so as to avoid demoralising myself and having to adjust the spectacles which will slip off the sweaty bridge of my nose. 6 gruelling rounds later, which seem to have taken forever, I clocked a time of 12.10 minutes, which made me quite happy, although no one could see it then. Also, we played floorball after convincing ourselves that there is in fact nothing more strenous than what we just gone through or touch rugby for that matter.

10 minutes to go, and let's see what else I can say...

Ah, yes, the SPA. The most entertaining part of the day other than trying to figure out the current, potential difference and resistance of a direct current circuit using Kirchoff's two laws. Oh, let me tell you, there is nothing better that the gratification you experience for a long dead physicist for discovering some laws that, we, the Physics students of the modern era get to apply countless times to get an A for A-levels. Those resistors are still running around somewhere, attaching itself to some neurons in my brain and creating parallel circuits, heh, the things I would give for someone to prove that the fundamental laws of physics are incorrect.

3 minutes left and I have to go now, maybe more about the SPA later, if I have the time...

040 Shaken, not stirred... Part 2

More news from around the internet regarding the Padang Earthquakes...

Latest from www.channelnewsasia.com, which includes an excerpt on SAJC...

Singaporeans experienced two rounds of tremors in the space of two hours on Tuesday, following two earthquakes on Indonesia's island of Sumatra that killed at least 82 people there. Singapore's Meteorological Services Division said the first tremors were felt at about 11.50am after an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale struck Padang in Sumatra. The epicentre was 50 kilometres north-northeast of Padang and some 430 kilometres south-west of Singapore. The second round of tremors occurred around 1.50pm after another earthquake, also measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, struck Padang. The Police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received nearly 1,000 calls from the public reporting tremors after the two quakes. The tremors were felt in many parts of Singapore and in some 236 buildings. Most of the buildings were in Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, Serangoon, Sengkang and CBD areas like Robinson Road, Shenton Way and Suntec Singapore. Callers to the MediaCorp News Hotline reported tremors were also felt at Beach Road and Choa Chu Kang. Of those affected, 131 were HDB buildings, 95 commercial buildings and 10 private residences. Witnesses said some tall buildings in the central business district swayed slightly. Several buildings, like the Concourse at Beach Road, Capital Square and Centennial Tower in the city, and even Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Clementi, were evacuated. But the eastern parts were also not excluded as residents in Bedok and Pasir Ris reported that buildings in their areas also shook. Police said there were no reports of injuries from the tremors in Singapore. Office worker Nicholas Wong said he and his colleagues were at their office shortly before lunchtime when they felt the building shaking. "We grabbed our bags and just evacuated," he told 93.8 Live radio station. "Everyone was panicking. One of my colleagues was crying because she had never felt such an effect before. We were all rushing out of the building." But public relations executive Gavin Liow, 23, said he and his colleagues took it calmly. "I thought, what the hell was it? You don't expect such things to happen," he told AFP. Danny Tan Ming Xiong, 24, said he and his colleagues also felt the tremors. "We were kind of freaked (the) first time. My colleagues and I thought we were giddy. Everyone started asking each other if we felt it, then realised the building was shaking," he told AFP. "My company made the decision to get out of the building. We went down 40 storeys by stairs." A spokesman for Saint Andrews Junior College said the first tremor disrupted lessons and students were dismissed after the second one "to pre-empt further interruptions, and in the students' interests and safety." Another office worker told Channel NewsAsia he saw people screaming as they went out. Others felt no tremors at all but got swept along by the general reaction. "I didn't feel anything when one of my colleagues called me to evacuate," said South African Bulelwa Makina, 24. "This is my first time feeling a tremor in Singapore but because I have been here for a while, I do know that Singapore does get tremors from other countries so I wasn't shocked," she told AFP.

And the situation in Indonesia from The Star Online...

The deathtoll from two earthquakes that hit Sumatra on Tuesday has risen to 30 people.
Rescuers are searching for victims trapped under the rubble of flattened buildings.
Tremors were felt in parts of peninsular Malaysia and Singapore after the first earthquake struck southern Sumatra at 11.50am.
The earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
The second earthquake, measuring 5.9 on the scale, struck at 1.49pm, it said.
There is no threat of a tsunami.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports from Jakarta:
A powerful earthquake flattened hundreds of buildings in western Indonesia on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and leaving hospitals grappling with scores of injured, officials and media reports said.
The magnitude 6.3 quake on Sumatra island was felt hundreds of kilometers (miles) away in Singapore, where some office buildings were evacuated, and in neighboring Malaysia.
Local TV station SCTV reported that 26 people had been killed, citing correspondents in the area.
Authorities were not able to confirm that figure, but Yunir, a regional search and rescue official, said at least 25 people were killed in Batusangkar and Solok, a bustling town close to the epicenter of the quake on Sumatra's western coast.
At least two of the dead were young children along with their teacher, who died when a two-story building crashed onto a playground.
Another woman died at a market, said police spokesman Supriadi, who goes by only one name. Town Mayor Samsu Rahim told el-Shinta radio three other people were burned alive when their collapsed home burst into flames.
"Women were crying out in terror. We all just fled as quickly as we could,'' said Alpion, a welder in the seaside town of Padang.
Along with thousands of others, he was fleeing to higher ground, fearing a possible tsunami. Authorities said the quake did not cause any tidal activity.
A witness in the town of Payahkumbuh said several two-story shops in the main street had collapsed and police and soldiers were digging for survivors.
Hospitals in Solok were overflowing with patients, many of them with broken bones and cuts, Supriadi said.
At least one hospital in nearby Padang was evacuated, sending panicked doctors and nurses fleeing with startled patients limping behind, according to Metro TV.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor struck 33 kilometers (20 miles) below Solok. It was followed by several strong aftershocks.
The tremor and at least one of the aftershocks was felt in Singapore, 430 kilometers (265 miles) from the epicenter, forcing the evacuation of several older office buildings, TV station Channel NewsAsia reported.
In Malaysia's southern coastal city of Johor, citizens fled offices, buildings and shopping centers, eyewitnesses said.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire,'' an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people, including 131,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province alone.
A tsunami off Java island last year killed nearly 5,000.
Tuesday's quake hit about 900 kilometers (660 miles) west of the country's capital Jakarta.

That's all for today, I wish you all good night...

039 Shaken, not stirred... The Padang Earthquakes

11.50 a.m. It was a normal KI (Knowledge and Inquiry) class (wait...are KI classes normal? Anyway...), we were discussing about political issues and how some of the ideologies we have learnt can be related to it, and suddenly there were tremors, I didn't think it was an earthquake at first, the room was shaking and I thought I was dizzy or something, my neighbour thought I was shaking, and about a few seconds later, we finally realised that it was an earthquake, my estimates put it at about 3 on the richter scale, and so after discussing about the earthquake, we settled down again.

11.55 a.m., we were told that there was an emergency evacuation and we packed our stuff up and we left quickly. We headed to the field and into the blazing hot afternoon sun, while the rest of the college joined us in the heat.

12.00 p.m. We lined up at our usual assembly spot and we had our attendence taken while we chatted excitedly about the earthquake and how it felt, the principal came out and informed us that there were unconfirmed reports that there had been an earthquake in Indonesia. However, no one was available to confirm the report and we were told to wait for another 10 minutes until the safety of the building and the intensity of the quake can be confirmed.

12.18 p.m. We were told to go back to normal classes and we all left. KI continued and so it was...

1.50 p.m. It was Maths tutorial and we just got our Vectors Test Paper back. The teacher was writing the solutions on the whiteboard when a second wave of tremors hit us. We ran out of the classroom again, nothing unfamiliar, we knew and so we headed once again to the field and waited for further instructions. On the way to the field, we noticed that the Channel News Asia reporters had come and they were filming us. Not getting overly excited about it, we walked to the muddy field, and waited, and to take our attendance again.

2.20 p.m. We were dismissed from college while the people had to check to see if there are any structural damage to the building. We all went back to the hostel, wondering whether another tremor is coming...

The chronology of events stated above is a brief recollection of the incidents that happened today in college when two waves of tremors hit Singapore, there was mass evacuation, and very much confusion. The epicentre of the earthquake was at Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia where a 6.6 Magnitude earthquke struck this southern Sumatran Province, Singapore and Malaysia which are about 430 km north-east of the epicentre experienced mild tremors , which shook building and disrupted businesses. The following is the full report taken from channelnewsasia.com

Singapore's Meteorological Services Division said an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale struck Padang, Indonesia at about 11.50am on Tuesday. A second round of tremors was felt in Singapore at around 1.50pm. The epicentre of the quake was 50 kilometres north-northeast of Padang, on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and some 430 kilometres south-west of Singapore. Tremors were felt in many parts of Singapore. Callers to the MediaCorp News Hotline said they felt tremors in areas such as Beach Road, Jalan Besar, Robinson Road, Shunfu and Toa Payoh. Some buildings, like the Concourse at Beach Road, Capital Square and Centennial Tower in the city, and even Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Clementi, were evacuated. Witnesses said several tall buildings in the central business district swayed slightly. Traders said there was little or no impact on financial markets trading.

A second round of tremors have been felt in Singapore.
Callers to the MediaCorp News hotline said they felt the tremors again at around 1.50pm.
This came just two hours after the first tremors were reported at about 11.50am.
The calls had come from various parts of the island including Ang Mo Kio, Aljunied, Circuit Rd, Choa Chu Kang, Serangoon, Admiralty, Woodlands and Whampoa.
One caller from Aljunied area reported feeling the tremors twice - once on 11.48am and another one at 1.53pm.

And the following shows the positon of the epicentre realtive to Singapore and Malaysia...

That 's all for now, other than unconfirmed reports that at least 9 people have died in Sumatra. We pray for all those people who have lost a loved one or their belongings in the quake, in this solemn note, i shall pen off...

038 Some Politically Correct Scribbles

So, I went to the Singapore Parliament today on a guided tour and listened to some debate on the Singaporean Defence which wasn't the most exciting thing to do in the later part of the evening, especially after a long day of school, but it was nevertheless interesting because now I know how MPs look after a large number of people have spoken about something that 99.9 % of Singaporean are not concerned about other than the fact that it's their money that is being spent. To be overly politically correct, the lady who gave the guided tour had more enthusiasm than the entire house of Parliament put together. It was comforting to know, though, that Malaysia is one of the top 5 Asian importers of weapons, at least we know Malaysia is not that harmless, and the NS debate is still ongoing about reducing the stint and making it more interesting, whatever that means. The best part about all that is the gahment is still interesting in attracting more foreign talent (for more info on foreign talent, please read the Misdictionary Series), that includes err..... a lot of people I know, and convincing them to become PR.

While we try to figure out why the intake of PRs is equal to the Singaporean birth rate, let's look at some other more persistent issues like the exciting prospects of the IR (intergrated resort) and the fact that it is the only reason why Singaporeans go to watch Parliament Sessions, also the fact that Genting is competing with its exciting theme park at Genting Highlands. Looking on the bright side, at least Singaporeans won't be motivated to speed on PLUS to Genting Highlands and back, breaking the speed limit at about every kilometre marker along the road and killing somehing in the process, like a tree or some Malaysian cow ("lembu") drivers.

Ah yes, the fate of all those lembu drivers...

We'll leave that to the gahment across the straits to clean these carcasses up, for the safety of all other Malaysian drivers. This ends another attempt at being Politically Correct which I often fail miserably to my delight. Now, stop laughing... if you actually did.

037 A Whole New Title, and A Whole New Look

Yes, there has finally been some fresh changes in my blog, a new template and a new name. Yes, this is a new start and I have just wrapped up the build up to the BIG Change, with the New Year Poem series. Next on the list of things to look out for is that long delayed end to the Story From the Heart, which sounds more like some cantonese drama after rereading it. Also, more random stuff like interesting news from the newspapers, internet etc., and the few Poem Series I have completed so far this year which are the Homecoming 2007 Series, and the North Coast Poems Series, and not forgetting the Unquestioned Answer Series which is currently in the pipeline. In addition, there will be some new photos if I ever get around to downloading them into the computer from my handphone. That's all for the trailer to the upcoming events in the blog and I hope you will stay tuned. Thank you for your kind attention so far.

036 The New Year Series Finale

Here lies the last poem in the New Year Poem Series, which celebrates my return to Singapore and the lifestyle associated with it. Of course, these were the special moments that contain the elements that I cherish the most when I am here, that are, in order of the poems, my bed, the lonely walks home and in this last one, the days when it rains (not heavily, just drizzles) Now that this series in fully published online, it will not suffer the fate of the other poems I have written which disappeared when my laptop crashed last year, one of them was the NDP series, which was themed on Singapore, and a few loose poems that were written every once in a while, including my favourite, What Is Lost and Never Found in Toa Payoh, a most poignant composition.

So, presenting the last poem of the New Year Series, That Drizzly Day...

That Drizzly Day

Soft threads of water, falling,
A line of footprints walks swiftly away,
On hard concrete, the unforgiving gravel,
Holds small puddles on cold stone.

A solitary figure walked slowly in the rain,
Treading through water, mud and clay,
Cleansing herself, dirtying her shoes,
Her distance eyes looked at the heavens.

An easy breeze winds through the leaves,
And her hair, black, looked like grass,
Diamond drops run down her face,
To fall into the rough of the puddles.

Drops of water fall off the roof,
Into little mirrors on the floor,
Her reflection lights up every single one,
Of the broken shards that dot the landscape.

035 Scribbles - The second installment of the series

Hello, I'm quite busy here trying the figure out whether the world is a better place if the men didn't rule the countries, or at least most countries. So, I will quickly go through the events of the last 24 hours, nothing overly exciting, just that I was really close to a lightning strike that I could not see anything for a second, it's been raining a lot and the weather is really scary. Also, went for a book trip to kinokuniya today, bought a few books on random stuff, basically anything that looks nice, while this old chinese man was trying to sell some sudoku book called "think outside the block" which is the sudoku term for the 3 x 3 box that should contain all nine digits. It sounded like something that one hears in a pasar malam, quite unorthodox marketing in a bookstore i think. Brought back a silver helium balloon which somehow fitted into a crowded mrt and reached the hostel without bursting. To wrap things up, here's the second part of the New Year series, Potong Pasir - A Scribble, which is a story of what I did on the way back from school one day...

A dark shadow walks past a bench,
A scribbler, scrabbling on a scrap of paper,
A pen in hand, and a mind in a land,
Of forms, functions, figures and facades.

A town of individual images and inspiration,
A quick stroke records them down,
A picture, plant or person coalesce,
Into a child’s world of scribbles and sketches.

A weak wind whips wisps of woks,
A solitary housewife cooks at her nook,
A lonely person walks by her window,
Lending the scent a line or two.

A passer-by picks pieces of Potong Pasir,
A picture constructed pixel by pixel,
A goal, which was to walk and wander,
And place everything into a wonder

The end for now..

034 Curious Incident of the Scholar in the Web World...

The only thing curious about the blog is the title, and perhaps my two month hiatus, or even the fact that the rain is still falling, and the some girl stopped hiccupping after 5 weeks (Time) and the hottest chilli in the world is 10-20 times hotter than cili padi.

So, in between trying to find x in my maths homework, wait.... just found it...

And making sure that the answers in my H3 Physics homework are not moving faster than the speed of light and are in fact relativistic i.e. has something to do with my aunts, uncles and cousins, I wrote a few poems to amuse myself because the only thing amusing about chemistry is the Arhhenius equation, which is not interesting at all. They are grouped in series, and the first series for this year is the aptly named New Year Series, not Chinese New Year, that one will come later. Here's the first one...

(My) Little Spot of Heaven

A plain sheet, crumpled;
The blue linen, wrinkled;
The mattress, slept on;
A small place, dreams were born.

A narrow space, a quiet place,
No silk cloth, no pretty lace,
To me, it’s a place up high,
For me, there’s no reason to sigh.

At a glance, nothing really impresses,
Another glance, nothing really depresses,
Here, a calm, cool feeling does fall,
Here, a soothing feeling when angels call.

A small paradise, a little spot of heaven,
A humble abode, a lovely spot for haven,
As I tuck myself in every night,
The little spot goes out of sight.

The poem refers to my bed, a not particularly large place, in the room, which suffers from the effects of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the universe tends to a state of disorderliness. They call it a mess, I call it entropy, heh! This should end this entry, which is rather scientific because there is an exam in three weeks time.