Gabriel's shared items

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bought a Bike!

Today I spent the most in a single day.

Bought a bike from Alvin for £70.00, paid him £50.00, cos didn't he have change.

Topped up my College card, spent £20.00 on that.

Placed an order for the Matriculation photo for £25.00.

Can't call from my handphone.

Got a mail from my supervisor, and apparently he thinks supervision is tomorrow when I thought it was on wednessday all along.

Those are some of the things disturbing me at the moment.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


A few things I need to do to make my life in my room more comfortable...
  1. Get the MSN of more mathmo's so that I can consult people from my room.
  2. Find a way to cater to meals from my kitchen so that I can survive in this bunker through a nuclear fallout (i.e. when college does not provide my meals.)
  3. Get a bicycle so that I can reduce travelling time between activities. (i.e. Cookout at Kenny's)
I need to be more comfortable in my room. After today's satisfying meal, I was able to experience dwelling in my room for extended periods of time, without having to worry about food. And I was able to consult Shagnik over MSN about some maths questions. Find that quite useful. Think I should get the MSN of more mathmo's so that I'll be able to consult more people from my room... Soon, I'll need a better computer instead of this lousy terminal, so that I can use a proper MSN Messanger.

Will be getting a bike tomorrow from Alvin, it's so miraculous, I was just thinking that I seriously need a bike yesterday, blogged about it today, Alvin read my blog, and will be getting the bike tmr! Turn over time: 2 days!

Now about the only initiative I am not able implement would be the one regarding preperation of meals in my kitchen. Think after I get the bike, places like Chourmae's will be more accessible, and I'd be able to make more regular visits to these places to explore my options. Think I'd need oil, and sauces.

Possible menus:
  1. Sandwiches:
    • Fill - Ham / Chicken / Tuna
    • Vegetable - which one?
    • Salad Cream - Tousand Island / Mayonese.
  2. Pasta:
    • Speghetti
    • Sauce
    • Minced Meat - have yet to find one in Sains. Need to find out.
  3. Chinese Meals:
    • Oil, Sauces - Oyster, etc: go look for them at Chourmae's
    • Vegetable - gotta go find out what kind to get and how exactly to prepare them
    • Chicken - Can always use the Prima Deli curry packets I have. Got experience with cooking those too.
    • Egg - covered in Introduction to Cooking 101 last week.
Ok, so that's my agenda for the week.

Frisbee, Cookout @ Kenny's, Mars Observation, Panton Hall, Chinese Buffet.

That was my weekend... I've been here a whole month already! And I'm halfway through the term!

Frisbee's getting fun, as I get more proficient at tossing that disc around.

Second time I had dinner at Kenny's place, around the 4th time I visited him, visited him twice - once before the Cumsa Formal, another time before the Fresher's Cookout. Always enjoy going to his room. He always has soft music playing in the background, and he cooks very well, and it feels like you're eating healthily. Ate my fill yesterda night.

Decided to visit the observatory after dinner at Kenny's place, as it was relatively close by. Was a long, dark path into the observatory, with a light at the end of the path to aid your navigation. First time seeing Mars through a telescope, and now understand what it is like under those observation domes. It's really low tech, all the movement is manually operated. from openning the dome, to turning the telescope. But it was very cool! It was all connected with gears and ropes, when I first saw it, reminded me of the show Jumanji. Managed to see Mars, it appeared rather dissappointingly as a bright white blob through the telescope. Nevertheless, I could vaguely make out a dark band across half the planet. Though I was quite dissappointed by what I could see, on hindsight, that was an incredible experience. Stayed there til 12 plus, and walked back with a physics PhD student. Had a very enlightening conversation with him on the half hour journey back to town. He taught me how to spot the milky way, and where exactly (i.e. which part of the sky) the pictures of nebula's come from. Also have a better undearstanding of how doing a PhD here works.

I need a bike!

Went to Penton Hall today cos Lisheng was speaking. Followed them to lunch at a Chinese restarurant. Was a buffet charged at £5.00 per person. Basically have a buffet of all the items you can find at the mixed rice stall! Think it was quite worth while. Think what I ate can last me through dinner.

Ah! really need to catch up on my work!

And a few more things I need to do:
  1. Purchase Matric Photo tomorrow,
  2. Top up College Card,
  3. Ask the office if there are any bikes available.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cooking for Cell

Just came back from cell tonight. At Charle's place on Leinsfield road. Was scheduled to prepare dinner with him tonight, second time this week I was partnered with Charles to do dinner. Met him outside Sains at 4:30 to get groceries, almost a dejavu of what happened just this Monday when I met him to help him with the logistics of preparing a meal for 30 odd people, except this time Charles reached Sains earlier than me.
Bought the ingredients from Sains -
  1. 2 packets of Pork, £3.00 each
  2. 4 bunches of vegetables - called hearts of romaine, £0.90 for 2
  3. Garlic, Onion, around £1.00 worth
  4. Ham, £1.50
  5. Mushrooms, £1.00
  6. Eggs, £2.00 for 15
  7. Coke, £1.30
So the meal costed under £15.00 and fed around 10 people.

Helped with chopping up the vegetables, garlics, onions, mushrooms, and was solely responsible for the onion and ham omelette. Basically was reproducing what I saw Hui Xin doing on Monday. Had feedback that it was good, but don't know whether Daryl was being sarcastic and the rest were being nice.

Todays bible study was also very good. On the topic of not worrying, Matthew 6:25-34. Particularly comforted by the verse that says,
33For the pagens run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 34But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Was comforting to be reassured that God knows my needs, and I've had a lot of needs that I had to seek to satisfy on my own since I came. And sometimes I had no other options but to pray about it, and up til now, I've found my needs constantly being met.

Some of my needs here in Cambridge:
  1. Good Breakfast. Realised its importance on the first day when I did not even have a proper breakfast to begin the day.
  2. Good Lecture. I have lectures 6 days a week from 10 to 12. I'd be quite unsettled the rest of the day if I can't follow the lecture, and I'd be quite happy if I did understand the lecture.
  3. Proper Lunch. Preferably something not so costly, or I'd have a nagging feeling that I'm spending too much. And I need a proper meal to feel satisfied.
  4. Progress in my work. I'd usually do work after lunch, usually with the Fitz mathmos in their library. If I do have substancial progress in my work, that would be the icing on the cake. But spending time with mathmo's doing my work feels fulfilling enough, and helps me feel reassured that I am spending enough time doing what I am supposed to do.
  5. Good time with friends/events. I find that I like hanging out with the Singaporeans and people in my cell, like today, so ending the day like this generally feels good. If I am not at cell or some kind of Singaporean cookout, I'd usually find some event to go to e.g. Superstrings lecture, Astronomy lecture, MUN lecture, etc. Or I'd be in my room blogging or surfing the internet.
So, that's a list of things that make my day here in Cambridge.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yesterday was a great day! I think I'm beginning to get the hang of studying here.

Tried sitting at a different place during lectures - at the front. It helps with the concentration, especially if the lecturer is hard to make out. Managed to follow both lectures closely until around the end.

Had problem with my supervision example sheet: put it in the wrong pigeon hole the previous night. Tried looking for it after lectures for my supervision at 3, but in vain. Just when I was gaving up hope of attending my supervision with the work I had done, my example sheet appeared in front of me on my supervision desk! The professor had passed the example sheet to my supervision mate!

The Differential Equations Supervision at the CMS went well, the first supervision I enjoyed, probrably due to the personality of the supervisor. Dr Essex is quite a fun guy to have supervisions with. Went through the example sheet, and some points during the lecture, now I feel more settled on the topic.

Had Algebra and Geometry supervision around 3 hours after my DEq supervision. That went quite well also. My supervision partner was not feeling well, so it was one-on-one. Dr Russell went through all the axioms of a vector space, as well as my example sheet.

So yesterday was quite a fulfilling day academically.

But it was also very enjoyable in other ways. Had some stale bread in the fridge, so decided to carry it along with me in case I have the opportunity to feed the pigeons or something. Saw some ducks on my way from the CMS to Peterhouse, decided to throw some bread at them. The animals were very responsive. Even the squirrels from around 10 metres responded! Attracted ducks, squirrels and even crows. Thought that one duck even quacked at me for food as I changed my position to feed other ducks. Cambridge is such a lovely place!

Went to Sains to get cereal. Started looking around for ingredients I could use for an easy meal. Looked at spaggethi, and the sauce, but couldn't find the minced beef/pork I'd need. Also considered ham, and salad cream, but dont know what kind of vegetables I should use. Need to get that sorted out. Won't have dinner tonight cos of formal hall. Think I'll eat at another college tonight, perhaps Sidney cos there's a MUN lecture happening there at 6:30.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

CCCF Dinner, and Hong King's Birthday

The events that occupied my evening the past two days.

CCCF Dinner
Monday Evening, 241005, Henry Martin Hall, Cambridge.
This week was our cell's duty week, which meant we were in charged of the dinner at CCCF (for 35 people!). Great experience watching a dinner progress from it's conceptualisation stage to clearing up. And the cost of the meal was around a pound per person! The people here are very experienced at organising such events. Followed Charles to get the groceries around 4:30 that afternoon, and by 7:00pm we had the food cooked, by 8:00pm we were washing up, and by the end of the service, around 9:30pm, we were leaving the kitchen in the state it was before we started! Had curry chicken, vegetables, and egg with ham. We had quite a lot of fun preparing the meal too! Maybe it's because that was my first time doing it.

Hong King's Birthday Party
There was an overwhelming response! I think the response surpassed that of any previous freshers events organised. More than 20 freshers came for the event. Initially wondered how they were going to accomodate so many people in a room, but they did! Miraculously. Or simply cos Jia Hui's room is enourmous! There was a wide variety of food, almost like a pot luck. That's the fun thing about this place. Everyone lives around the area, so arrangements can be made to cook the food at various locations, before congregating at central location for the event. The event was meant to be a surprise for Hong King, but I think he kinda susected it. People were already wishing him 'Happy Birthday' throughout the event, and towards the end, the kan choingness of the girls in the kitchen preparing the sainsburry birthday cake, who tried to find excuses for Hong King not to enter the kitchen, was a dead give-away. But it was a fun evening.

Other things...
Money Making Opportunities
Somehow, a grad association email found it's way into my mailbox, and on it was an advertisement for musical experiments. I responded to the email, and I might have a chance to earn £8 for taking an hour's worth of test. It is intended for non-musicians, a profile I perfectly fit. Haven't done it yet, hopefully more such opportunities come my way!

Townsend Lectures. Monday 241005.
Townsend, (refering to a transformation): It's a rhombus
Response: It's a pararellogram.
Townsend: No it's a rhombus, it has equal sides!
Response: No! it's different!
Townsend: Oh yeah, you are right.
Townsend: Which brings me to my next point - Isometries.
Brilliant lecturer.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Frisbee, CF Cell, StAG, Grantchester Walk.

Yup, the events since my last post.

Went for frisbee after saturday lectures. Was a good workout. Had to change sides and start behind the goal everytime there one team scores, so we ran at least 30 laps back and forth the playing field. Cos there were at least 30 goals. It's very pleasent to exercise here in Cambridge, the weather is so cool and dry, you hardly sweat. So I could continue with my day after the straneous exercise without changing my clothes whatsoever. Went back to Darwin with Ben to collect the keyboard from Lesheng for cell after.

CF Cell
Was alright, had a good meal, with curry chicken and lots of vegetables. The portion of vegetables I ate that night was comparable to the kind of portions I have back home. Had songs to the tune of a keyboard, and had bible study. Sharing was good cos it helps to unload whatever concerns are on the mind. Also took up some one off responsibilites: Going to help with preparing dinner tomorrow for CCCF meeting. Gotta meet Charles at 1630 outside Sains. I am quite worried about commiting to responsibilities, so this is a simple one to begin with.

StAG Service
On Romans13 on the subject of subordination to authority, don't feel it is particularly applicable at the moment. Still enjoying the music at church. Gathered for a walk to somewhere supposedly scenic, called Grantchester, after the service. The group broke up and adjourned to the residences various church members for lunch, then met up at parkers piece for the walk. It is so interesting living in a small town, the experience of everyone living within close proximity of each other, and being able to make such arrangements.

Grantchester Walk
Grantchester is along the river Cam, south of the heart of Cambridge. Met a few people along the walk. Chatted for most of the walk with Silva, a 2nd year Physics PhD student from Robinson, from Switzerland. Share a lot of things in common: he was from the swiss army, in charged of communications the equivallent of our signaller, talked about our army experiences, quite interesting to see what common in armies across the globe. Also talked physics. A random fact I took away from the conversation: fractals are of non-interger dimensions, how is that possible??

Also met the people I first saw when I visited in June. Angelia and one other guy, cant remember his name :S. Walked back with him, and since he was a mathmo, I had quite a fulfilling conversation with him. Told me about how run down the math faculty was like before moving to the new location. Also found out that the river Cam flows from South to North, not from 'top' to 'bottom' as seen on the map. And saw one of the floodgates controlling the water level of the river. And learnt of the occurances of the river Cam bursting it's banks.

Returned to room, tried doing some work, but knocked out due to fatigue. Had dinner hosted by Hong King at Queens, now in room and now trying to study, but obviously distracted by blogging.

Friday, October 21, 2005

CUMSA Formal Hall at Churchill

Today was quite a fun evening. Went for my second formal hall at Churchill with all the Singaporeans, the second formal hall in two days! For the first time I was drinking under peer pressure. I don't usually succumb to peer pressure, but this time, I played along cos it was actually quite fun to penny people.
Winning isn't so fun when losing ain't that painful.
Downed 2 glasses of wine cos got pennied twice. My first penny came from Kaiting, who sneakily came up to me pretending to take a photo with me. I saw it coming. Knew that Kaiting couldn't be so nice as to wriggle his way around the chairs just to take a photo with me. But I had no way of guarding my glass =S. So 'plop' went the first penny. That was a Declaration of War. Had a penny on hand ready to get up to mischief, but was only held back by the prospect of people pennying me if I started pennying people. So when the first penny fell into my glass unprovoked, I immidiately stretched reached for my own penny and dropped it into Kenny's drink! So we both downed our glasses together.

The rest of the evening was quite merry, maybe cos of the wine. I was unfortunate enough to be seating at the corner of the table with the people around me itching to penny others, and me being one of the few possible targets. Actually I was the only target, with Royce, Chun Ghee and Kenny all trying to penny my drink. So had to keep up my guard throughout the dinner. Yet despite my preamptive measures, Kenny still managed to deftly penny my drink once. Was fortunate that the college does not provide a free flow of wine, so there were occassions when the wine was short on supply. That probrably saved me from a couple of glasses.

I had my share of pennying too. Actually I only pennied Kenny, and pennied all the useless things, like his water and coffee... Had crossed my mind when they opened a new bottle of wine to penny that, so that there won't be a chance that I would drink any of that wine, but didn't want to raise the stakes, in case it back fired.

As for the dinner itself, it was not as good as my own formal hall yesterday. But I'm experiencing a typical formal hall of normal (immature) colleges. Towards the end, it got rather rowdy, with people singing birthday songs, having the birthday person stand on the chair, and people started throwing bottle cocks at him, cos it was the most handy thing around. I had the urge to pick up a bottle cock myself and join the fun, but was restrained because it is not suppose to be in my character to do that. Chun Ghee on the other hand, started to throw the bottle cocks at a birthday boy near us. Very funny to be throwing the bottle cocks at total strangers who never ever offended you.

The dinner ended with one of the waiters chasing Royce out for throwing a bottle cock at someone across our table. It was blatent racism, and Kaiting was very drunk and upset after we left the hall. We had a group picture outside the college, and then people adjourned to several locations for bops, namely Sidney and Churchill.

Trackback 090106:
Found the pictures of that night on the Cumsa Webpage... Here they are:

The guys itching to penny me:
Kenny on the right, who successfully did so once,
Chun Gee, Nicholas and Royce.

The above mentioned plus Kaiting and Dexter...

The Group Photo

A herd of drunk Singaporeans...
What was I doing standing
at the side? o_O

So much for the dinner tonight. Another thing on my mind now is something I learnt (or could not understand) in lecture today. Goes by a very cool sounding name... Cauchy-Schwarz Inequality. Just searched google and jotting down this site. Hopefully will go through it some other time when I'm more sober.

Ah, beginning to enjoy the life here... Agenda for tomorrow: Frisbee with the Singaporeans and CCCF Cell, after 2 hours of lectures in the morning, that is. Also gotta get hold of some pictures! My blog lacks pictures! Hopefully will be better after I get the laptop when i go home in Dec, might also acquire a good digital cam.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Culinary Experiences.

I've been eating at very varied meals these two days. The last four meals I had were
  1. Lunch at Gonville and Caius with Kez and Alvin
  2. Dinner cookout at Kelvin's place with Jack
  3. Lunch at Fitz with the Fitz Mathmos, I've eaten there quite a number of times already.
  4. Formal Hall here in Hughes Hall.
Each was enjoyable in its own way.

Lunch at Caius
Bumped into the econs people, i.e. Kez and Alvin, while seeking out my targets at Kings. Followed them back for lunch. Good to meet them, and meal at that college was even cheaper than my college! Got a vegetable, meat and carbohydrates for £1.55.

Went on my way to check out my target's dwellings after the lunch, proceeded back to college to catch up on my work. Finally got hold of a book I had been waiting for from my college library. Had supervisions at 6, and went to St Johns for dinner hosted by Kelvin.

Dinner at Kelvin's
Dinner was great! Ate and drank my fill. Gulped down a whole pot of chicken soup boiled with Chinese herbs and dates at the end of the meal. Mmmm... Kelvin cooked generously, we had 10 chicken drumsticks shared among 4 people, and his room is huge! Has his own hall, toilet and bed room!

Mugging at Fitz
Look's like I'm haunting Fitz more than my own college! Quite good to be finally hanging out with mathmos. And Ja always snacks on hand. It's been very fulfilling studying together. Oh yes, everytime we walk up to Fitz, we'll pass a guy trying to sell some magazine outside Sains. It's interesting how he tries to persuade people to buy the magazine by indirectly saying that the magazine is meant for you. Don't think they even read the magazine, therefore their recommendations carry no weight whatsoever. Anyway, I this guy selling the magazine went "(the magazine is) for everybody walking away saying 'no no no I don't want one' for the gazillionth time." Sounded quite amusing the first time I heard it, heard it again today when I walked pass Sains. Smell dispair in that sentance.

Hughes Formal Hall
Was quite a small group. 8 of us. But the food was excellent, as it is known to be. Had quite a interesting discussions over the meal. Topics ranged from tax systems in different countries, to welfare policy, to health epidemics, and what the biologists are trying to do about it. Also had a chat with a fellow of the college doing some financial modelling of the world economy at the business school. And she was a math major. That looks like a possible options for me. Oh yes, I better mention this. I had lots of fruits after the dinner when we adjourned to the holding area for more drinks and chatting. Ate a kiwi, a banana, and a bit of orange.

Will be going for the another formal hall. The CUMSA Formal at Churchill. Think I'm eating too much these few days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Weather is Changing

It's getting colder. And for the first time, I experienced real fog yesterday. Now I understand the notion of 'visibility'. I literally could only see within a sphere of the area around me, and it felt as if the objects were being illuminated and disappeared as i travelled. Felt quite surreal. Somewhat like the experience playing certain first person shooter computer games.

Hung out with the fitz mathmos again today, did some work at their library. Discussed about the 4S5A5S1Ns GU1LD over work today, have a few ideas on what to use as weapons now... Think I'll use the paper I do my rough work on to make 'fei biao's. And since it contains loads of cheem mathematics, I'll name each piece a unique name after certain abscure mathematics constructs we come across in lectures.

Some ideas include:
  • 'Gaussian Elimination Method'
  • 'Kronecker Delta'
  • 'Townsend Lectures'
  • 'Hawking Radiation'
Attended a lecture on string theory at 8.00pm. A good way to inspire me to do my mathematics properly. Sometimes doing something as abstract as math, I lose sight of why i'm doing it in the first place. Attending that lecture reminded me of the importance and definite applications of what i'm learning to the various fields in physics. The lecture was given by a supposedly famous physicist from Cambridge, Dr Micheal Green. I am quite oblivious to all the celebraties I am meeting. Heard that some of the mathematics lecturers are field medalists, but I haven't found out who it was yet... I'm beginning to grasp the magnitude of the people I am meeting.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Good Day

Today was one happening and fulfilling day!

First, visited bursar in the morning, managed to draw out the excess fees I paid.

Then had lectures, and joined Shagnik and Ja at their college for lunch and did the example sheet at their library. Was a fruitful 3 solid hours! Did more in those 3 hours than I've ever done in a day since I came.

Then went for CCCF gathering, nice saw a kitchen in action. Got 2 wooden spetulars and a knife, just the equipment I needed to start cooking, from someone who left Cambridge and wanted to bless CCCF members with the possessions she couldn't carry.

Came back to college. Found Nectar card in my pigeon hole, and a check for the extra maintence fees I paid. Accessed my email, recieved mail from a certain Student Panel which is offering £2 worth of amazon vouchers for every survey completed. Survey was quite time consuming, but ah, I could use any source of income. One catch is that I'd need to accumilate £25 before I get to see any voucher. I think they intend to get away without paying 99% of the people this way.

And got my A5S4S51Ns targets! Muahahahaha... Now gotta think of how to neutralise them... *Evil Laughter*

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dinner at Kenny's, Ham Radio, CCCF CG, StAG.

Those are some of the interesting things that happenned since my last post.

Mathmo Company
Hoping to hang out with the Fitz mathmos more often. Shagnik's an entertaining fellow. Random Shagnik quote from A&G Lecture.
"You take that cone, put a sphere on top, and you get an ice-cream."
All said very matter-of-fact'ly.

StAG today was good. Still on Romans 12. Lunch discussion today visited the reasons we study. Very appropriate topic to be discussing in this academic town. Points from the discussion:
"Studying is a celebration of God's creation. Be Enthusiastic!"

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
- Col 3:23
I need enthusiasm...

Learning to Cook
I seriously need to learn to do some cooking myself! I am currently sitting in my room at 6.20 pm, without the option of affordable dinner at my college, because they are not opened on Sundays. I have some friends arranging dinner at a restaurant somewhere in town, but it's going to cost £10. I'll probrably just join them as we're all going for the cumsa bop later on...

Now that I'm put in this situation, I am seriously thinking of all the parts one needs to put together to get to make a meal. I'm also wondering if cooking myself would translate to substantial savings anyway... Nevertheless, let me try assessing the cost of a possible meal, and list the item's I'd need to get....

  1. Vegetables,
  2. Meat,
  3. Egg.,
  4. Rice.
Sounds like a typical meal from a mixed rice stall.

  1. Vegetable, Chicken, Egg, Rice. (the easy part)
  2. Garlic, Sauces, Oil.
  3. Pots, Pans, Laddles.
  4. Knives, Preperation Equipment
  5. Stolve, Rice Cooker.
  6. Towels, Detergent.
No wonder I haven't cooked yet.

Things I need to do...
  1. Search for an affordable local vegetable. Learnt from previous cookouts that vegetables shrink dramatically when subjected to the extremes of temperature. So need to get more vegetable than what is perceived to be sufficient.
  2. Get Chicken, Egg, Rice.
  3. Get Garlic, Onions. Can ask Lisheng to get them from his church friend with a garden... Which reminds me that I can get vegetables from there too!
  4. Get Oil and Sauce: Soya, oyster, what not... Find out where to buy it.
  5. Get rice cooker from Jack, borrow pots and pans from neighbour. I hope I'll have enough utensils... Assess my options if I realise that I lack essential equipment halfway through the operation.
On second thought, maybe I'll just look for an alternative college to go to for meals.

Maybe I'll try a simple Soya Chicken with rice first. In case I'm stuck in the same situation. In this case,
Ingredients = {Chicken, Soya Sauce, Rice}
Equipment = {Pot, Rice Cooker}
Dinner = HeatPot(Chicken, Soya Sauce) + HeatRiceCooker(Rice)
If only it were that easy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Seeing Deltas and Epsilons

Mathematics gets tough when you stop seeing numbers and start seeing alphabets representing all possible values {1,2,3}.

But it gets fun after you get on top of the initial confusion.

One Week of Lectures

Lectures started exactly one week ago, and one week on, I've clearly taken the plunge.

We were welcomed to the course by Little o, Big O of Differential Eqations,
Then Mobius Transformations of Complex Numbers, Algebra and Geometry.
Today it was Kronecker Delta, Permutation Symbol and Einstein Summation

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, lemme share a secret with you... I have not much clue myself either.

Ah, had my first supervision yesterday. Went ok, though for some reason, when I would have lots of questions and ideas to discuss with my teachers in the past, now I seem to be behaving like a passive learner, having no opinion, and simply taking everything the teacher is saying. Hence I feel that I haven't really benefited as much from this first supervision than I anticipated before I came. I hope this changes, and I hope I start to exert my own opinion and process whatever I'm being taught.

Did learn a bit during the supervision, but compared with what I still don't quite understand, coupled with the fact that I haven't been able to reproduce the answers I saw in the supervision on my own after, I feel that it's quite insuffcient.

A few more frequently used vocab from the lectures:
cor·ol·lar·y (kôr'ə-lĕr'ē, kŏr'-)
n., pl. -ies.
  1. A proposition that follows with little or no proof required from one already proven.
  2. A deduction or an inference.
  3. A natural consequence or effect; a result.

Consequent; resultant.

ad·den·dum (ə-dĕn'dəm)
n., pl. -da (-də).

Something added or to be added, especially a supplement to a book.

[Latin, neuter gerundive of addere, to add. See add.]

So much for lectures. I'll now relate the happenings of the past two days, beginning Tuesday.

Tuesday 111005
Met up with Ja after lectures, introduced to another Mathmo, Shagnick, Ja's collegemate. Followed them back to Fitz. Got Subway along the way, Ja had 2 for the price of 1 coupon, sandwich worked out to £1.40. Shagnick had amusing discussion over lunch about the ethics of interfereing with nature with a medic who just came out of a human disection class. Swanning him, Calling him heartless every now and then. Just the kind of conversation I anticpated to have frequently before coming here. Still over lunch, met very coincidentally a guy I met over MSN, Sun TianJiao. He was sitting just beside us at the table. It still feels very amazing. He was sitting with FinnishGuy from The Student Room. Proceeded out of the buttery, i.e. the hall where fitz people eat, and settled for a session of staircase discussion outside another medic's room. Where Shagnick continued to swan the other medics.Acquianted with "infomation theory" and the notion that "I am the only conciousness in this entire universe". Went to the CMS to study with Ja, got some work done. Proceeded back to hand in work at Peterhouse. Returned to College, had dinner. Deliberated attending Focus at StAG. Decided to go eventually. Studied Luke over dinner. More food. Had small group discussion, like cell. Think I'll frequent this group. Returned to college.

Went to buy foolscape paper at Sainsbury after lecture. Costed £0.99 for 200 sheets. Bumped into Hongking outside Sains. Invited me visit him in the afternoon. Went back to college for lunch and prepared for supervision. Also intended to attend an astronomy lecture at Robinson in the evening, needed to settle dinner, and supervision happens to straddle dinner timings. Solution: Dinner @ Hong King's! On the way from Peterhouse to Robinson, and microwave included. Brought my frozen microwave chicken stew to supervision, went to hong king's after, had dinner, and proceeded to Astronomy talk after, dragging Hong King with me. Astronomy lecture on the Cassini-Huygen's Probe. Got boring in the middle where the lecturer went on and on about the data. But interesting lecture nonetheless, now I have a better picture of what it's like to be working in a space program.Hong King met many ex-RJ people at the lecture, including Sun TianJiao, who turned out to be Hong King's classmate! Walked back to Hughes Hall with another collegemate present. And there was this weird old man present at the lecture who mumbled to us while we were walking back. The old man reminds me of Homer Simpson's father. Old, bearded, holding a cane.

Going to Sidney Sussex later for tea, courtesy of some Commonwealth Society... Wonder if it has anything to do with the Commonwealth Trust fund.

Argh, I need to spend more time doing my Example Sheets and going through my notes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Relatively Fulfilling Day

Today was kinda fulfilling, got round to fulfilling all the resolutions I made myself the day before by mid day... Got Computer Support to fix the computer in my room, now I can access the internet in my pajamas. And got my Library Card done, and borrowed a few books. Now with convinient internet access, and a few math books, I do not feel such a pressing need for math company to stimulate my learning. I think it's a more psychological effect cos I haven't gotten much out of the books or the internet yet.

Also paid up for the air tickets home. Will be travelling with Alvin, departing on 9 Dec from Heathrow Airport, transitting at Frankfurt, and reaching Singapore in the afternoon of 10 Dec, ETA 1715. No KrisFlyer points for this flight cos it's student rate.

Just a passing thought. An aeroplane is more effecient at creating life to remain at the same altitude than a helicoptor because it is more effecient to to create a given amount of force by changing the velocity of a large mass of air by a little, than by changing that of a little mass of air by alot.

Went for the CCCF Squash, good food, nice company of chinese, and some games. Also signed up for the trinity math society. They were halfway through a lecture when I reached, couldn't catch what was happening having missed the first part of the lecture. Arh! I need to be more involved in math! Paid £2.50 for membership fee. Supposed to go for Astronomy Squash, but it was at Robinson, and was getting late, so decided to give it a miss. Maybe I'll join next year.

So here are the Societies/Organisations I've joined and will probrably be active in. It's more academic than I'd intended before coming, but think I'll need such company for the moment.
Cambridge University Science Society
Trinity Maths Society
Cambridge Chinese Christian Fellowship
St Andrews the Great
Cambridge University Wireless Society
Initially hoped to pursue other areas like perhaps learning to play the guitar or something, but looks like I now have my hands full with science stuff. Maybe next year, or hopefully can learn it in church.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another Sunday

Ah, a very unimaginative title, but wattahack... The title is just as boring as i feel today was... Somehow gotten used to life here, so don't feel so excited.
Academically, I've attended 3 days of lectures so far, and I haven't felt the same excitement of learning like I did in JC. I think there are two contributing factors:
  1. I don't really know what i'm in for, and
  2. I don't really have any mathmo friends.
I'm taking a risk here by listing down my problems, cos my biological (as opposed to subject parents and college parents) parents are reading this blog and they will start worrying =S, but I shall try not to let this affect my blogging style yet, until I receive reports of the worrying getting out of hand back home.

Being the only year one undergrad mathmo from my college, I find myself unable to strike a fulfilling conversation with many people from my college, as they are all very mature, and many taking subjects quite different from me. I also feel deprived of mathmo companion as the other mathmos have formed their own cliques according to their colleges. The only people I enjoy and feel comfortable being with are the singaporeans, but it's unhealthy and it wont do me any good academically as there are no year one singapore mathmo's either. I find that it is essential to have someone to discuss the lectures with, I guess most other people do discuss what is learnt to some degree, although I am told that in university, people do not usually study together, and I feel deprived of such company. So, I'm taking steps to remedy this issue. I will make attempts at socialising by joining more academic societies, as well as trying to assimilate into a church. Today I did a bit of both.

Attending StAG
Had a service this morning, surmon was on my favourite verse, Romans 12:1-8! On worship. A points taken from the surmon were that the people who go to church for a good surmon or to look to benefit themselves usually are not as fulfilled as those who go to church with the intention to serve others. I guess this can be applied to my current situation... Perhaps I should not try looking for mathmo company, rather I will be the mathmo company other lonely mathmos. But it's going to be a bit hard to find such lonely mathmos.
Lunch was provided, and it was such that the discussion of the surmon was facilitated on our individual lunch tables, with one church staff at hand on each table to initiate the discussion, and someone on stage to facilitate discussion among the entire congregration. Quite an interesting concept! Table I was on had 5 chinese and 3 ang mohs. Chinese came from Hongkong and malysia, not sure where the ang mohs were from.
I think I'll try to get more involved in church also, maybe attending their cell group on tuesday. Now considering between CCCF and the cell group with StAG.

Here's an interesting quote from the surmon...
To live in love with the saints above,
that will indeed be glory!
to dwell below with saints we know,
that’s quite another story!

CUMSA Squash
Proceeded to St Caths for cumsa squash, lotsa biscuits. Had a chance to catch up with many people whom I haven't seen very often. People like Kaiting, Nic. But nothing really special happened there. Did business with Sheila, sold her some wares.

Science Society Squash
In a deliberate effort to know more people, I visited the Science Society Squash and joined it for life. Paid £7, but I guess it's an investment on my academic life. Struck conversation with some other freshers, one of which introduced me to the assasins guild. Think I'll join it to spice up my life.

Other Societies
Top on my priority is to join the trinity math society, as adviced by my DOS to supplement my need for mathmo company. Squash on Monday. Also joining the Astronomy Club, though not so important. Squash also on Monday. Joining the CCCF, Squash on Monday. Ham Society. Going to "the shed" this saturday after lectures. Something about morse code. Cool.

Academic Initiatives
And to remedy the problem of not anticipating my lectures, I shall go explore my college library and read up on the topic I'm doing. I also need internet connection from my room so that it'll be more convinient to check out the topics I'm doing, will bug the administration to get my computer and plug fixed, shall threaten not to pay the £35 computer charge if they dont get it done soon.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Second Saturday

lectures. alvin called. met alvin at sta travels. found air tickets. came to my room. visited alvin's room. used msn at his room. chatted with samuel and Ja. returned to town for a bite at subway. met cumsa people playing frisbee at queens. got call from josephine about cookout. returned to room with alvin and kenny to get remaining pizza. walked up to churchill, visited kenny's room. contacted Ja. Met Ja at fitz. went for cookout. played cards, first time since coming. had a full mathmo gathering, first year to fourth. adjourned back to college.

Ok, that was how my day went...

Important thing was the air ticket.
Found one transiting in frankfurt. The itenary is here. Going to cost £524, departing on 091205 0600 from Heathrow. Will have to stay at the airport overnight to catch that flight. And flight is with Luthensia.

And finally met Ja today. Quite interesting to see someone you met online previously, and have been attending lectures with but did not know who it was. Looking for mathmo company at the moment. Really sux being the only mathmo from my college. I need discussions with fellow mathmos to reinforce what was learnt during lectures, but apparently in university people don't do that... I'll either have to buck the trend or get used to the norm... I thought Cambridge was supposed to be a place where such discussions abound and ideas are stimulated... argh dunno la... Think I'll join the Trinity Math Society or something to suppliment this need.

Argh, looks like i'm in the habit of blogging in the night when I'm very tired... Yawn...

Friday, October 07, 2005

More Lectures, Links & Lexicons.

Just came back from another day of lecture. Beginning to like it as I'm starting to learn new stuff. I learnt another subtle difference in some abbreviations used here in Cambridge. i.e. != e.g.


An abbreviation for id est, a Latin phrase meaning “that is.” It indicates that an explanation or paraphrase is about to follow: “Many workers expect to put in a forty-hour week — i.e., to work eight hours a day.” (Compare e.g.)


An abbreviation meaning “for example.” It is short for the Latin exempli gratia, “for the sake of example.” A list of examples may be preceded by e.g.: “She loved exotic fruit, e.g., mangoes, passion fruit, and papayas.” (Compare i.e.)
Also, for some reason I did not include WebMSN in my links yesterday. I'll use it quite often so shall add the link here.Web MSN

Erm, mentioned pizza yesterday but had too many things to write so forgot to elaborate... I've found the cheapest meal yet! 2 Pepperonni Pizzas for £2.49! That puts each meal way under the my £2 budget for a normal meal. One catch is that I'll need a conventional oven to properly bake the pizza. Threw the pizza into the microwave for 10 min yesterday, and got pepperonni flavoured biscuits =S. There's no food provided by college today again, so will find a better way to make my pizza. Perhaps on a pan...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Washing, Ironing, Brewing Tea, Making Pizza, Living Life!

Tuesday 4 Oct 2005
Did laundry in the morning. £1.70 - £1.20 washing, £0.50 drying. Clothes not entirely dry after like half an hour of tumbling in dryer. So keeping my lights on in the day, and hanging my damp socks and tower near it to dry. Think I can afford doing laundry once every 2 weeks. Don't need to change very often in this weather. Gotta buy some washing powder. Under £2 for enough washing powder for 10 washes.

Also met my DOSat the CMS. Arranged for supervision. Met Allan too. Academic life not as interesting as I anticipated. Hope it gets better. Haven't been able to mix well with the mathmos cos they already have their college cliques and I'm the only lonely mathmo from hughes hall. Going to have supervisions with the peterhouse mathmos, hopeing I'd be able to click with them... the ang mo's here aren't as friendly as those back home... hm... Probrably as a chinese here, being a minority and requiring company, I tend to be more friendly that I would be back home, an explaination for the discrepancy in the observation.

Consolidating my supervision times:
Friday 1500 @ CMS: N&S with Dr Andrew Plater
Wednessday 1800 @ Peterhouse: DE with erm... gotta find out his name...
K, that's the most important appointment.

Online Haunts
These are some websites I'd have to access on a regular basis. So putting the links here before I find the time to update my webpage...
Cambridge email login page

Just had my first proper lecture today. Algebra and Geometry, and Differential Equations. Was ok, was lost halfway through the proof of chain formula in differential Equations, but in the end was quite relief to see that the conclusion was a formula I am familiar with. Algebra and Geometry was also ok, but somehow I don't seem to be anticipating the lecture or following the professor's train of thought. Could be because there are no lecture notes, or maybe I haven't read up enough. Hopefully my college gets the reccommended text for Algebra and Geometry soon so that I can read up prior to the lecture. Oh yeah, came accross a few lexicons in the math lecture today. These lecturers at Cambridge like to sound cheem. Nevermind, shall their meaning...

An abbreviation for the Latin phrase nota bene, meaning “note well.” It is used to emphasize an important point.

a priori
From what goes before; from cause to effect.

In mathematics, a tuple is a finite sequence of objects (a list of a limited number of objects). (An infinite sequence is a family.) Tuples are used by mathematicians to describe mathematical objects that consist of certain components.

Ham Radio
Just came back from a ham radio meeting at a certain maypole pub. Wat a nerdy bunch! I felt at home immidiately. There are 4 of us freshers, and they own a radio station inconspiciously named "the shed" about 15 min bike ride away. Hopefully would get a chance to visit it one day... Hoping to understand radio transmissions better by joining this club, and perhaps in future, establish free communications back home! Ok, that's a lil far fetched, and communications now is already free anyway... Hope to learn enough to send and receive radio transmissions with home made devices =P

And one last note, finally got msn access! using web msn... Ok, added that to the online haunts... It's so comforting to see everyone on msn... a piece of what i'm used to at home. But it's very laggy. I need a laptop.

Speaking of which, ah no air tickets home to get my laptop! sigh... will search this out another day... getting tired...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Maiden Voyage and First Week in Promise Land.

Ah, finally got access to the internet. Blogging from a library computer now. It's 2120 Cambridge time. I dont know how to narrate the numerous things that has happened since I enbarked on the journey, so I shall adopt an incoherent, descriptive chronological writting style.

Day 1 Survivor Cambridge. Departure Day. Wednessday, 280905.
Entering the immigration gates. Sudden feeling of independence while standing in the queue. Feeling of uncertainty, vulnerability, not knowing what to do, "Now What?". Feeling was short. Went away after meeting Nicholas behind the immigration counters.

Entering waiting area. Tragedy. Put pouch into x-ray machine along with palm and handphone. Tried using palm to take pictures. Mati. Heart pain. That means no more pictures from me, Argh! =S. Guess pen and paper still more reliable. But too many things to think about to be overwhelmed with regret. Met waited with Nic, Royce and Michelle at the waiting area.

Boarding plane. The significance of this moment momentarily dawned on me. Though only lasted a short while. Plane delayed because of something about bags not matching people onboard.

On Plane. Discovered that Nicholas was in the same PES E company as me! Along with Choon Gee! Also met Jack, the other Singaporean undergrad studying at Hughes Hall the next day and discovered that he too was in the same company! That makes 4/200 people in that company now studying in Cambridge! Could not sleep. Watched Spiderman 1 & 2 on the plane. Identified with Peter Parker. Watched Simpsons, Whose Line. Plane ride was quite comfortable.

Day 2 Survivor Cambridge. Arrival at Cambridge. Thursday, 290905.
Arrived at Heathrow. Long Queue. Wait was ok cos lots of people in the queue, so not too boring. Diverted to medical checkup, but had "Advance to Go" cos of x-ray report. Soon out of immigration area. Pick up luggage. Freshers streaming in. Embarked on the adventurous expedition to the coach station. Kinda fun and exciting. Freshers consolidated at the coach station. Went to buy tickets. Took awhile. Trolleys of luggage all in one circle. Took pictures. Waited a long time for the coach, not enough space on coach, so more waiting.

010106: Got pictures taken at Heathrow bus staion from Kez over MSN... Thanks Kez!
The guys: LiSheng, YaoYu, HongKing, Kez, Me, KaiTing, Royce, and Nic.


Coach Ride. Long and painful. 4 hours! Took another coach which made rounds to other cities. First sight of Cambridge was the Central Library and a spire. Alighted at Central Coach Station. Walked to Cambridge. Very managable though ended up carrying the small luggage as it kept toppling sideways.

College. Settled admin. Overwhelmed with the tasks to settle. Explored city a little. Had dinner in hall. Met a physics PhD student working in the center for Quantum Computation, whose boss is Aurthur Erst, the professor I met in Singapore at the Physics Symposium! Incredible! Offered to show me around one day. How Cool is that?!?! First meal and I am already pondering arrangements to visit the Quantum Computing lab!!!! Lotsa people around. Very tired. Turned in early. Met neighbour. 2nd year PhD pharmocology student called Micheal. That makes 2 Arch Angels living together =p. Seems a very nice but busy guy. Never really got to chat with him.

Day 3 Survivor Cambridge. First Dawn in Promise Land. Friday, 300905.
Revellie: 0500. Could not sleep after. Stunned for 1 hour. No food, not settled, no friends, no communication, no utensils, no food, hungry. Feeling of vulnerability and loneliness all over again. Ate cornflakes off plane. Unpacked a little. Changed out of clothes. Took walk around Cam hoping to bump into people. 0600? What was I thinking? Never met anyone. Stunning view nevertheless! Occured to me that I would be very familiar with this place in a while, will be my life for the next 3 years! Will be here for next 10 weeks! Incredibly beautiful! Saw joggers with very obedient dogs following them. One scene was particularly cute. Dog following master with a ball in mouth. Dog runs pass a burger wrapper thrown on side of road. Dog turns back to investigate object, placing ball down to free nose to examine sample. Master continues running oblivious to dog. Dog satisfied with inquiry, picks up ball, and catches up with owner. Walked up to Jesus, thinking along the way that the people I know were a few meters in the vacinity of where I was walking.

Returned to College to settle admin. Saw Bursar. 0900. Went out to city to settle bank. Met Agnes, Yi Fan, Audery, Hongking at HSBC. Quite a relief. Opened account. Cashed draft. Went round with Audery, Hongking and Gladys. Bought T-Mobile Sim Card. Bought laundry basket and returned to college. Met Jack. Ate at college. Went shopping for groceries with Jack. Met more freshers. Agnes, Yifan, Huixin, Shuangning. Bought bread, butter, peanut butter, hot chocolate for breakfast. Returned for dinner. Went exploring the college with Jack. Met a Cantonese Christian Cell meeting. Joined cell meeting. Quite fun. Got personal interperator to translate Cantonese to Mandrin! Amazingly, I actually could follow the bible study with the mandrin interperation! Retired to room after. Bop in MCR. Nice music playing while I went to sleep.

Day 4 Survivor Cambridge. Settling in. Saturday, 011005.
Woke up at 0600. First proper attempt at breakfast. Toasted bread. Turned out burnt on the outside, hard on the inside. Lousy bread, hmph. No cutlery, no plates, ate from tuperware, borrowed cutlery from neighbour. Went out at 0830. Bought cutlery, mug, hangers, dish washing detergent. Went back to city. Met Kez, Royce, Mich, Jiahui Returned for matriculation. Buffet lunch in college. Buffet of sandwiches. Cheap (in more than one sense). Took Matriculation pic. Met Sze Kim, PhD Engineering student from Singapore. Went to bus station to meet seniors taking us to chourmae's (a chinese grocer). Only met Lisheng. Intermittent showers. Before going to bus station realised the could eat the apples off the trees on the courtyard of our compound! Heavenly! God provides indeed! Went to chourmae's. Met Huixin. Nic and Kaiting left prior to our arrival. Left Lisheng. Walked to town from chourmae's. Bought dinner set from Argos. Proceeded to Darwin, where Lisheng was. Had cookout with groceries from Courmaes. Delicious. Delightful. Nostelgic. Interesting experience cooking. And it was very good chinese food! Kailan, beef egg omellette, fried egg toufu with beef and shrimps. Lisheng sure is experienced! Adjourned back to college, dragging the dinnerset behind me.

Day 5 Survivor Cambridge. The Lords Day. Sunday, 021005.
Woke up 0645. Made breakfast without the toasting this time. Unpacked dinner set. Had kaya and peanut butter bread with hot chocolate served on fine china. Perfect. Strolled round the city after. Met Lisheng at 0955 outside the chemistry department for church near Lensfield. Small church. One hour of spirit led worship. another hour of family service, sunday school for the whole family! Very fun. Went home with a retired couple for lunch, went with Lisheng and Huixin. Nice little home, home had a garden. Victor proudly showed us the produce. cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions, crynsenthemum flowers, roses, garlic, and other weird vegetables. Husband and wife quarrel the same way we quarrel at home. Families are the same all over the world! Fetched us back to town from the suburbs. Beautiful scenery. Rolling hills, endless expense of blue cloudy sky.

Visited StAG. Met some Singaporeans playing frisbee on the way. Powerful surmon. But did not know anyone there. So left imidiately. Roamed around. Bumbed into other Singaporeans. Dexter, Mark, Xiayi. Followed them for dinner. Met Kaiting and Nic (finally!). Also met philo and jac in real life. Most expensive meal since. £7.50! Free flow of coke, which I haven't touch since arrival, so it was ok...

Day 6 Survivor Cambridge. Freshers Fair. Monday, 031005.
Woke up at 0645. Decided to try jogging. Wore track pants and t-shirt. Jogged to Grafton and turned back. Hands too cold, short of breath. Hazardous. Made breakfast. Getting the hang of it. Went out to buy some luxury items - Biscuits! Came back for lunch, and to settle some admin so that could access the internet. Registered with doctor. Went for fresher's fair with Jack and Yvonne. Chocolate buffet, feebies galore! So many things to do! And a few opportunities to make ££!! Signed up for those. Something about performing tasks and scanning brain. Like showing you a picture of a cat and you have to say "Cat" and they will scan which part of the brain lights up. £20 just like that! Think I'd be thinking of Schrodinger's equation when I see a cat, so might add to their experimental anomaly, Ah, we'll see how that goes... So fun! Also got so many other clubs! Cumsa, CCF, Cycling, Science society, Astronomy society, and a few organisations that are involved in the education of science to children. Jazz, Weiqi, and a Ham society! That was my best catch of the night! Think I'll have a go at Hamming... Went back for dinner, and now blogging away.

Ok, so there's the account of the first week in Cambridge. On the third day it felt like I've done a lot since I came, but now it seems like each day is getting shorter. But still, the fun has just begun! So many things to do, so many ways to develope! Wow! Will be starting lectures soon! Seeing my DOS tmr. Having matriculation dinner, and so many events! I hope I am able to keep my life organised!