First week[month] of school
Monday, January 30, 2017

-- Edit --
Well I wrote this post on the first week of school but I totally forgot about it.

Blink of an eye and I'm back to school. The anticipated mad rush of projects and tests will be chewing my ass out again.

This trimester is a little different because some profs allowed us to choose our own teammates. It's awesome that you get to work with your clique but it's also a toxic process where you can see the weird people get outcasted. Some even kicked* out of their own groups.
*kicked may be too harsh of a word

Anyway, I visited the Art Science museum with my girlfriend at MBS for the future world exhibition last month (December). Took some nice shots but the exhibition is kind of underwhelming to be honest. It's just a lot of pretty lights and some motion tracking stuffs.

Maybe I'm not that impressed as I'm in the IT industry.

The lights are really pretty though, and you can see tons of people spending long periods of time trying to get that perfect shot to go on their social media. We lingered awhile to soak in the feels before leaving this alternate universe.

This month we visited the Art Science Museum again, for the NASA exhibition. It would be awesome if we're both equally as hyped about it but this is definitely a treat for me. I've always been attracted space since young, pretty much borrowed every space book in my primary school library.

huge ass engine (replica)

It's a little bit disappointing in the sense that most of the stuffs there are replicas and not the real shit, but still, I have not seen any of the rockets to scale before so this was an eye opener.

The moon rover!

The inside of the space shuttle cockpit

There quite a lot of rocket parts on display, but a lot of them are rather boring like spacesuits and all. I think that this kind of exhibitions requires a guide to actually explain what everything is about. Because there wasn't any, I ended up taking the role of the guide for her.

Well, the first week has been fun, let's hope that the next few will be as smooth sailing.

To end it off, I made gif of the fireworks I shot during the New Year Countdown over at Waterway Point. My friend suddenly asked me to go cycle with him, and we so happened to cycle to that area, and just so happened to see a crowd and we poked our nose in. I guess we're pretty lucky to have caught this sight!

yup, we were standing THAT close

-- Update --
Since it's the end of January I might as well finish writing about the remainder of the month

Firstly, school ain't as easy as I hope it to be. The projects are piling on and there are many things to submit each week. Thankfully I've managed to be grouped with some great teammates and it definitely eased some of the pressure.

There are 4 active projects currently.

1. Create an android app that uses sensors/network to improve the user's health.
2. A community story writing web application, where each chapter could possibly be written by a different author.
3. Create an online lesson regarding foley work. (sound design)
4. Create a prototype for a job scheduling system.

And I heard that there's going to be another project coming soon this week, fuck.

Thankfully, not everything is as bad as it seems. The work given has been manageable thus far and can mostly be finished within a couple of hours. My friends and I also started to play badminton more frequently and I finally bought my own racket. Haven't owned one since I was a kid.

I've also just bought a new monitor yesterday, it was on a crazy offer of $250 and it's too irresistible to me.

Dell SE2717H
It's a 27" monitor that would replace my god-knows-how-many years old 23" Phillips monitor. Had a really hard time deciding if I would get a higher quality 24" for $350, or this lower quality 27" for $250. The dilemma was real and I wouldn't want to bore you with the details.

In summary, I finally have a big monitor on my desk, flanked by my awesome Dell U2414H. 

OH but the first thing I used it for is to do some crazy internship programming test that lasted 3 hours. There was only 3 questions but god it was rather mindfucking. Okay that's all I can think of, till the next post!

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3 tips for easing jams on travelator
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This topic is always on my mind whenever I see a travelator in a crowded area. Finally decided to write about it probably because of the videos I've watched recently regarding traffic jams where they described something called the ripple effect.

This video does a good explanation of the problem with traffic and the idea is similar to what I'm going to talk about.

A little background information
I take the train to school everyday and there's a rather long travelator on the connector between the purple and yellow line (which I take). Whenever either train line arrives, a good portion of the commuters will alight and make a beeline for the connector. Unless I'm ahead of the pack, the travelator will always end up being jammed with humans and no one can walk freely on it.

The amount of people ain't the main reason for the jam, but the amount of people who don't know how traffic works causes it.

Here's an image I've drawn to illustrate the problem.

the moving speed is just an example

As you can see, the travelator is moving at 3 meters per second. Some people will to stand on the left hand side to facilitate people who want to move faster on the right hand side.

Person A and B is walking on the travelator at 4m/s, adding on to the 3m/s that the travelator is moving at, their net movement speed is 7m/s. When person B exits the travelator, he should walk at 7m/s so that person A would not bang into him. But since a typical person would not walk at nearly twice his speed, B continues walking at 4m/s.
Hence B exits the travelator at 4m/s.

Can you see the problem here?

Because B is only effectively +1m/s faster than the speed of the travelator, anybody who is walking more than 1m/s will eventually have to slow down, and by slowing down way too quickly, the people behind him have to slow down even faster and some even comes to a stop. The exact same ripple effect observed in vehicle traffic.

Even if B exits the travelator at 6m/s, it still means that the maximum available move speed of person A behind him is only 3m/s.

Of course this is only a problem when the amount of people on the travelator hits above a certain sweet spot; as long as the commuters are spread out it should not cause a jam. But during peak hours, do yourself and your friends a favour, follow these 3 simple tips to ease the jam on travelators!

1. Exit the travelator as fast as you can (faster than the net speed of your walking + travelator speed) or just clear out of the way.
2. If there's a jam infront, walk slowly. Don't walk fast and then get stuck and stand there, it makes the jam worse.
3. If you're a slow walker, just walk/stand on the left hand side it's not going to take that much longer.

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Disparity between mental image and real life
Friday, December 09, 2016

I've been inspired by real life and what I've been studying intensively for these couple of days. (mental vs. conceptual model)

Feelings are a terribly illogical thing.

We get frustrated at some thing, or someone even though it is not their fault. We just have the wrong idea (mental image) of how things are supposed to work. The larger the difference between our mental image and real life, the more frustrated we (or at least I) seem to get.

Let's take for example, I wanted to turn on a TV. Pressing the red button on the remote is what I think will turn it on, but for this weird-ass model, the steps for turning it on requires entering a pin, twisting the remote left twice and pressing a green button to turn it on. It's by no means the fault of the TV, but because it is so different from what I had in mind, it ended up causing some immense level of frustration.

Even though I seem to be aware of this phenomenon, I can't seem to control how I feel towards things; hence the "illogical-lity" of it.

My mental image of someone, does not shape who that person is. He/she is who he/she is and that's fine, but by projecting my ideas of how you are like and finding out that there is a difference in that; that kinda sucks. It is not the fault of that person nor the viewer (a.k.a me), sometimes our perspective on reality just don't line up perfectly.

p.s. If you're reading this, I'm sorry.

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Challenge me
Thursday, November 10, 2016

The title ended up sounding more aggressive than it really is but that's what I want. Lately I've been getting pretty frustrated over discussions with my group mates. It's not that they are always wrong, in fact, they often have better ideas than me; but they are not willing to argue about it.

They either just let me have my way, or ignore my protests thinking that I'm wrong. Neither of which really helps us get things done effectively. I really don't know if I'm overly aggressive when it comes to arguing points, but I hate it when people think I'm wrong but are unwilling to step up and tell it to my face. Just convince me and the rest that you are right, and we can change course immediately.

It's really not that hard is it?

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M Company Field Camp Part 1
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Field Camp is the key milestone every Singaporean soldier will go through before passing out of BMT. I looked through my blogging draft folder and found this nearly 2 year old post sitting there, begging me to relive those wretched memories.

note: the events that occurred during this field camp don’t feel as dramatic to me anymore in hindsight after going outfield countless times, but it was memorable as the first I’ve ever experienced.

See we had this system of booking in camp every Sunday, however the ones in control of our lives decided to toy with us by ordering us to book in on a Saturday and starting the Field Camp on a Sunday. The reason given was because the FC was 6 days long, so by starting early we can book out on Friday as usual. I call bullshit on this.

Falling asleep that Saturday night proved to be a tougher task than usual; after all, everything we have trained up for will be tested here, both physically and psychologically.
Plit plat, plittery fucking plat
We woke up to the melodious tune of rain falling outside our bunks. I thought: “Great, now everything’s going to be postponed because of lightning risk”.

Haha nice try brain.

The truth hits me dead smack in the face as we hear the dreaded words, “Everything on!”. Marching 8KM into the forest with full combat gear in the rain, how bad could it get? Oh damn I jinxed it.

At the 5KM mark, we got to take a short break by putting down our field packs that felt like it has been steadily getting heavier. If not for fatigue then it has to be all the rain it has been soaking up. As I watch my buddies remove the load off their backs, a strange phenomenon happened that I have never before seen in Singapore.

Their bodies (including mine) started smoking. There was a proper, visible steam coming off our heated bodies. That should give you a pretty good idea of how much heat we were producing, as well as how cold the weather was. A short rest got us through to the destination that felt way longer than it’s supposed to, thanks to the rain that just kept falling on our helmets. “plittery fucking plat

If god exists then he must’ve been playing us like a video game; as the moment we reached our destination, the rain magically stopped. Looking on the bright side, this has softened up the ground for our camp site so getting all the poles and pins down securely was noticeably easier. The location actually feels rather calming, with rows of big trees that seemed to provide some form of natural shelter from elements.

We then proceeded to do some soldier-y stuffs, after ensuring that we are drained, the SGTs released us to rest for the night. Night time in a forest is really dark, 伸手不见五指 kind of dark. We can rest easy knowing that the made-up horrors of our over-imaginative mind will accompany us to sleep in total darkness.

Plittery fucking plat

Sleep is of course conditional, if we can even get any as it started pouring in the middle of the night. Rain has this annoying ability of finding it’s way into any open space and splatter all around us. It gave me a free foot bath at 2AM that I did not request for, along with it a free industrial grade air-conditioner. I kept myself warm by hugging my wife. Remember the big trees I just mentioned? Man were they pretty standing there doing absolutely nothing.

Day eventually came, we owe that knowledge to our incredibly accurate watches that rang some time before 6am. After stumbling around to get ready for another day of exciting adventures and free showers, everyone was rounded up for some adrenaline pumping rifle PT.

The rest of the day proceeded with soldier-y stuffs of practicing movement and firing blank rounds. It was a hot, tedious day where we cultivated a very close relationship with nature, until my SGT messed up big time and made all of our days.

While my platoon was taking turns for some activity, a civilian looking car came into view and parked some distance away from us. Who the hell drives a car into a jungle?! I didn’t have to wonder for long, an old man in uniform stepped out of the car with 3 crests on his chest.

The only Colonel on this island, the highest ranked, and also the commanding officer of BMTC.

Back then we were recruits, scrubs worse than maggots; I haven’t even fully understood the ranking system yet. None of us knew what to expect from this encounter.

My SGT followed procedure and saluted the higher ranked officer. It was at this moment that everyone realized, he fucked up. He was holding a document on his right hand; because of that, he unconsciously saluted with his left hand.

“Sergeant, are you sure you are supposed to salute with this hand?” - Col

He did a quick switcheroo, but the damage was already done. We had to slap each other (not on the face) to stifle our laughter. We did not see him for about 3 hours after that, I’m sure he was just watering the plants with his tears. The other SGT told us not to broach the topic to him. Rest in peace Jordan, I will always remember your name because of that you did.

After a long day of activities, night eventually fell. We cleaned ourselves, then finally lay our backs against this plastic sheet that totally shielded us from rocks underneath. Fatigue started setting in and my eyes closed for a good night’s rest.

“Plittery fucking plat”

to be continued in part 2

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FFT: Feeling good for not doing a bad thing
Friday, August 26, 2016

I had this conversation with my girlfriend recently, she was telling me about her work and how there's this bitch who hasn't been doing her work properly and she has to cover up for her all the time. (gross generalisation but let's just roll with it)

Her boss is aware of the situation so she prompted her about it and she is finally able to give some feedback about her colleague's poor work conduct. She mostly agreed with her boss's opinion without adding too much fuel to the flame, leaving out the incriminating parts that will probaly set her boss on a witch-hunt.

As she told me about it, I realized that she is actually proud that she held back; happy that she is the bigger person.

The thing is, why are we always happy when we stopped ourselves from doing a bad thing? It's like, we thought of it in the first place, just one step away from fulfilling it.

Stay with me here, I thought of this because of a book I read sometime back called, "hyperbole and a half". The book is more or less a compilation of all the posts on it's website.

Near the end of the book there's this chapter where the author explores him/herself, and found out that "I'm a shittier person than I thought I am".

One of the examples quoted loosely is when you see an annoying kid making a ruckus and just wouldn't shut up for the love of god. I would feel an urge to carass his face, violently, with a brick. Of course I wouldn't do that, not for many reasons other than the law. I would then feel "good" about myself for being the bigger man and not venting my angst upon that little devil.

Or a more random situation like, being at a sandy playground and having the urge to hurl sand at someone, just for the fun of it. I don't know why there's even such an urge but I surpressed it, then I feel good that I did not do a bad thing. But the fact that the thought even cross my mind isn't anything "good" don't you think? A proper good person shouldn't be thinking of random shit like that to do.

Which is the point of such a lengthy post, that we are all shittier than what we perceive ourselves to be*
*for most people anyway, unless you're a born saint. 

I was just amused that what the author described happened exactly in real life, and I was able to witness it from a 3rd person point of view. If it was me behaving that way, I would definitely not been able to spot it out.

In conclusion, not committing to a bad thing you've thought of isn't exactly something worth feeling good about.

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Singapore Night Festival 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016

There's an annual night festival that takes place in Town around Bras Basah area each year. I went for the first time last year with my girlfriend and it was hot and crowded as hell.

Great Bad news, it's still the same this year. Here's a shot I took last year and it looks almost the same.

The food is vastly overpriced but at least it tastes good. The route they provide is kind of weird as it takes you a long way round before getting into the heart of where all the buzz is going on. I do suggest looking at the event map before heading down though to avoid getting swept away by the insane crowd.

We queued for >1 hour for this exhibition called #showerthoughts and it was extremely underwhelming when we first entered, but the dazzling light show made it feels like the ache is barely worth it.

The last 2 days of the Night Fest is this weekend, 26 & 27 August (Fri and Sat). So if you enjoy sweating in crowded places then it's the perfect place to be in!

Jokes aside, there are really quite a lot of art exhibitions that will prove to be interesting, even though we didn't walk around THAT much this year as we're feeling pretty lazy. I think we'll probably head on down next year, just to see what's up in Singapore.

Oh and if you haven't seen light projections before, they have it too! I've seen it a couple of times and gotten pretty jaded about it I guess, but it's definitely an eye opener for any first timer!

This picture on the right is taken while inside the room of changing lights and in the right perspective it feels like you're floating in space. It may feel a little disorientating if we stay in it for too long.

"Thankfully", they only let us stay a grand total of 3 mins inside after queuing for so damn long. I would really prefer my #showers to be longer than 3 mins man.

ending it off with a pretty shot

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