Gabriel's shared items

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

argh. cant. sleep.

Cant seem to fall asleep early on the night before the exams. Not an uncommon experience.

Thinking now of all the exciting things installed after the exams. Beginning with the garden party organised by the Commonwealth Trust Funds people. Serene coming over shortly after, as well as Chaikoon gugu. Breakfast with Peterhouse mathmos at Dr Russell's invitation. Packing up my stuff, doing the archims stuff, looking for storage facilities, planing for the italy trip, sorting out Kendice and Lionel's arrival, awaiting more details for the russia trip. Finding out about the physics course, looking for materials to help me prepare for it. CG on friday, farewell events, meeting up with everyone! Archims punt trip, London trip. Some airshow thingie. Sorting out accomodation if I'm going to Russia, and more packing and looking for storage. Finding out about physics course, looking for books.

That's a summery of the comming month! It's gonna be a very eventful June!!!

Oh yes, and how can I forget...
sitting in a darkened corner and rock back and forth quietly muttering to yourself


So it's happening... My exams are really happening tomorrow!!!

What do I need for the exams now? Don't wanna forget anything...
Let's see -

Pencil Box, with:
1) Blue Pen;
2) Mechanical Pencil
3) Eraser
4) Ruler
5) Black Pen
6) Liquid Paper


Water Bottle


0730 - Reveille,
Eat Breakfast,
Do Business,
Prepare tuperware with biscuits.
Pack Bag, Put in Pencil Case, Pack Clock

0830 - Leave for the exam!!!!

Ok... Is that it?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Infomation is Nothing without Organization.

Especially so with my maths notes!

Big Picture

Think I can pin point the main problem with the first year of my academic experience - I didn't see the entire picture of the course when I started it.

Think in order to do well, I needed to see the whole issue before I begun tackling the smaller problems specifically. What happened this year was that I was plunged immidiately into the course without knowing where I was headed towards, myopically trying to make sense of seemingly random bits of infomation, and not knowing how to deal with them, and how it fell in place within the bigger scheme of things.

I had hoped that such a larger insight into the mathematical issues would have been introduced together with the course, but I guess if one doesn't see it for himself in the first place, it would be quite difficult to get the main issue across during lectures and tie it in with the things being taught. Often one needs to phrase the main issue in many different ways in order to get a full grasp of it. This could have been achieved by discussing the issue with a variety of people, and reading up different materials on it, or watching programs about it. Guess that's precisely why the lack of people around me whom I could discuss such issues with had served to make my academic experience here so unfulfilling.

Ah well, a little late for this new insight to help me in my exams now... But it'll be useful to take note of this in the following years. Need to try to see the goal I am headed towards, so that the peripheral problems wouldn't seem so big.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Really love the weekly cf meetings!

Particularly today, during this stressful period.

Beginning with the excellent food, cooked by super experienced lao jiao (like 4th, 5th and 6th year) medics who came together to cook for us, cos they do not have exams like we do...

To the worship,

To the message, delivered by Bautoh, dunno if I got his name correct... We're going through the book of Daniel now, and the thing I really like about studying the Bible over here in Cambridge is that the historical records and references are all kept really close by, and the bible is looked alongside the historical context. Here, the bible isn't read and taken as a story, but is read to understand what exactly happened in a real life historical kingdom, with rational, intelligent kings, very much like todays politicians, and very reasonable practices like astronogy and divinity, with the parallels in today's context being economists who look at past trends to try to predict the future.

Then comes the small group sharing. Really glad to be sharing with Darryl and Chun today. Upon letting them know of my feeling the lack of a credible reassurance that everything would be fine in this uncertain times, they virtually did that through talking things through, and subsequently praying about it. So looking forward to next year when I would be doing physics with Darryl! :P Think I'll really enjoy my life here next year!

And to end things off, the clearing up and casual chats about random, usually academic topics, like chemistry stuff, which I really miss since I stopped taking them in JC.

It's really great to have such company!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mathmos do strange things after the exams...


"sit in a darkened corner and rock back and forth quietly muttering to yourself"

Saturday, May 27, 2006


4 more days to the exams, and I've just lost all motivation!!! I've decided not to get worried, and I'm possibly not, but that is itself beginning to worry me, cos I just haven't done anything the whole of today, or yesterday, and browsing through the questions, I realised that I still cant do any of them for nuts!!! AHHH!!!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Shopping for Pleasure, and Confusing Sainsbury Cashiers

I never thought this would ever occur to me... I find myself making trips to Sainsbury and Asda just for the fun of it... I'm actually deriving enjoyment from shopping, and splashing on goodies just to feel happy.

I'd usually make leisurely trips to Sains or cycle down to Asda after I'm done with the day's supervisions, and buy myself packets of chocolates and low price biscuits, and today I bought some oranges and reduced price sandwiches even though I dont need them... I'm no longer shopping out of neccessity, but out of recreation.

And I found a way to get Sainsbury points at a much better rate than the 1% they are currently giving with their nectar reward points - Giving the cashiers inexact change causes them to get confused, and they often return an excess of the correct change. It's occured twice already - today, with me giving the cashier 5.09 pounds for a 2.99 pound purchase, to get rid of the pennys, and the cashier finding me a 3 pound change! =P

Unfortunately, being the honest anglo-saxon white protestant male cambridge scholar and gentleman student that I am, I corrected the cashier and exchanged the gold coin for a silver one with a tenth of it's value =(

But still, it's quite amusing...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Just had bible study with Nick. Went through the second chapter of Genesis, about God resting... So the bible study topic for the day was about rest.

It's quite interesting how 'rest' has taken so many forms in the bible -
God rested in the seventh day;
He mandated for us to rest on the Sabbath;
He led the Isrealites into Canaan, and granted them rest from their enemies; and in the same way
Jesus is the way through which we can eventually rest in heaven.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
- Matt 11:28

And this passage in Hebrews 4, can easily pull itself off as an article on rest today...

Apt reminder and reassurance to take things easy and trust God, a week before the exams.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Battle Plan - The Review

Looks like I'm getting on quite fine with some topics - Vector Calculus, Differential Equations, Dynamics, and part of Algebra and Geometry.

After speaking with Alex and Omega yesterday, found renewed inspiration to work on the remainding topics - Algebra and Geometry - the group theory part: Mobius Groups, Homomorphism, etc... Analysis, Numbers and Sets.

The last topic I'd need to settle is Probability. I wonder if I'll have the time to do so...

Croquet @ Oxford...

Was Great!

Had great fun punting, and learning to play Croquet.

Great time talking with Alex and Omega, two brilliant mathmos who are also very much into physics!

Interesting to walk around Oxford, and see a Trinity College which Isaac Newton didn't come from, and a Jesus which is hidden along a little alleyway in the middle of the city, instead of being tucked away up north and having it's own huge grass patch.

Also feels quite liberating to have larger roads and canals! Though that meant that the part of the river we punted on was quite forested... Which proved to be quite hazardous.

Gained an insight on what it meant for something like an electron to have a half spin on way there from Alex. Demonstrated it by rotating his hand 360 degrees to find his wrist in the wrong position, and rotated it another 360 degrees to it's original orientation! Also explained it more mathematically - "(Spin half is a result of)An accidental homomorphism between two lower dimension groups". Apparently it has to do with Lie Groups... SO(3), SU(2), U(2) and groups of that like.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some Random Updates

- Snapfish Photo's finally arrived yesterday, after spending an unusually long time (3 weeks) in the hands of the Royal Mail.

- Joining Archims tomorrow for the Annual Croquet at Oxford with the Invariance.

- Had a bout of incredible productiveness last week, on Tuesday after Focus, and it lasted for about 3 days til the weekend. During that period, had the feeling that I could comfortably bag a 2i. But now feeling the tension I felt at the end of the first 4 weeks of the Lent after a similar period of productivity. Better able to cope with it now.

- Just watched 2 hours of Southpark on You Tube.

- Cycled into cardboard boxes along Market Street sometime during the week. Now I have 5 of them lying in my room. Will need to look for storage for my belongings soon.

- Asda Chocolates are very value for money. Especially their dark chocolates! It's cheaper than Sainsbury basics chocolates, and tastes much nicer!

- Sometimes wished that I were in a college with a dos who takes pride in their college doing well.

The Simpsons

Physical Ambitions

Some Cambridge Physics Webpages:
Physics Notes
Physics Handbook
Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Think I'll need to spend some time reflecting on what originally spurred my interest in physics, and see exactly what I had hoped to do the last time I thought that I'd like to solve the "Fundemental Physics Problems".

I've had more practical ambitions since I begun getting acquainted with physicists over here, like ambitions to work on quantum computing and practical sounding stuff; and I've almost forgotten what exactly were the thing I had come across, and wished to understand in the past.
Was just browsing through the course webpages, realise that part of the reason I wanted to do physics in the past was to understand the basis of theories like QCD and string theory, and intriguing concepts like half spins.

Well, I'll have the whole of summer to contemplate this... Think I'd also like to try for the Caltech Research Program at the end of year 2, and the MIT exchange in year 3, when I begin doing physics next year. Guess I should be better prepared to participate in these programs by next year. And find more webpages of physicists to see exactly what they do that I'd be interested in.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

- Isaiah 25:1

Beginning to feel more peaceful now.

Went to focus tonight, reading the book of Isaiah.

It's so great to trust God... Really like this other verse too...

In that day they will say,
"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

- Isaiah 25:9

A glimpse of the day when we will look back at these uncertain times, and see that which has been accomplished, and rejoice that we had put our trust in God.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Boolean Logic, And More Stuff

Got up at 2 am to bath cos i couldnt sleep, and haven't bathed for 2 days...

Came back to my computer to this msn window:

hk says:
still not sleeping?
hk says:
hm if u're awake cos u cant sleep then heh go do sth u like to do
hk says:
if not
hk says:
then i guess i'm talking to a virus which switched on ur comp

lol, nice reasoning hk. XP

Responsibilities I'm Neglecting
Though while turning in my bed, have been going through the many responsibilities I've recently assumed, and thinking of the many which I've been neglecting...

Shepard Sheep
Playing this game in CF now, where we are each assigned a sheep to do nice things for during term... And I haven't done anything for my sheep. Argh!

Archims Registra
I've volunteered for the role, and up til now, haven't even taken over the stuff from my predecessor, and I'm supposed to contact the colleges, and prepare the guide to the maths tripos for the new intake, and I havent done a single thing for this endeavour.

Also have been receiving many mails by random people who are requesting to be members of the society, haven't replied them yet :S Need to learn what are the documents and stuff that are required first.

Admin Nightmare
Argh! I hate administration! All the mediums of communication seem to be going against me. Had to fax a document regarding my change of course to Singapore, paid 10 pounds to use my college fax facility, which never reached Singapore. Now got to think of how to scan the document in to send it through email - prob will try to do it at the faculty, or look for a post office to post it.

Also ordered snapfish photos which never arrived! Argh!

Also need to go submit some forms tomorrow.

Organizing a cell farewell bbq at college. Got to go find out about booking the garden pavillion, and whether we are allowed to bbq there.

Scheduled to play for CF worship next week, and I dont know how to play the songs :(

Going for Archims Croquet at Oxford next Sunday, which will take an entire day.

All this in the midst of trying to do as much revision and past year papers as possible!

Other stuff
On the brighter side, have managed to continually do the past exam papers last week. But I've naturally raised my standards... Like I'll skim through the past year papers and think that I want to try a certain number of questions by a certain time, and I'll fall completely short of my aim.

And I'm able to find friends who can help me. And tame my mood, by engaging in activities like frisbee, and hanging out with people.

Went to Panton Hall today to reminise my first Sunday here. Followed Lisheng, Huixin, Gareth, a mathmo, and another 2 people from their church, to Victor's place for lunch. Which was really nice. Victor's brother was visiting. He was quite elderly, with white hair, and looked shrunken, but the two brothers were behaving more childishly then us! Really funny. Lack the time and will to describe it, but really enjoyed the homely feeling of joining them for lunch.

And had the pei tan chok cookout with hong king and yijin on Saturday. Went quite well... Had quite a good time talking with them. And learnt a few things about making the porridge from the experience, so that my next attempt might be more refined... One would be how to make shalocks by leaving it on the pan on very low heat for indefinite periods of time. And how I should only prepare the porridge within an hour of consumption, otherwise it would get all soggy.

Also browsed google's site tonight. Looks like there're many interesting stuff there, including some job openings at google.

On this topic, there's been some interesting visits picked up by my tracker... Frequent entries from Google, Mountain View, CA. And I'm quite sure it's not a webcrawler, cos he's been selectively visiting my other friend's blogs - that is, he/it only visits the blogs of my friends from Cambridge. So it's either a real person, or a very smart crawler algorithm which seeks out Cambridge blogs. If the googler/google webcrawler is reading and understands this, I'm quite interested to find out just who is responsible for those entries on my tracker. You could tag me, or use your superior googling technique to find out my email address, and email me :P

I've also registered entries from Inktomi Corperation, but this one is the yahoo webcrawler... And it doesn't register so frequent hits.

Ok, just verbally vomitting everything that's been bothering a very cluttered mind.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pei Tan Chok Cookout.

Went to my college buttery today to find that it wasn't serving dinner, cos the president was entertaining some guests. So decided to execute Pei Tan Chok 1.0 for dinner.

Went back to my room and boiled two cups of rice and a century egg in the thermal pot, filled it up to the brim with water, added some fish oil and sesame oil, and left it in the thermal pot while i made my way to sains to get the cod and minced pork. Cod cost 2.35 pounds for 300g, and minced pork cost 1.82 pounds for 500g.

Returned to my room, and opened up the thermal pot to find perfectly cooked rice! A little on the soft side, due to the amount of water. Damn, had i found out earlier how to cook rice like that using my thermal pot, i wouldnt need the rice cooker!

But decided to proceed with making the porridge anyway since I had already bought the pork and cod, and the century egg doesnt go with any other dish. So put all the rice in another bigger pot, and added a few more cups of water, cut up a century egg, and quickly marinated the pork and cod in soya sauce, threw them all into the concoction of cooked rice, water, and century eggs. While doing this, cut up some onions, and left it to simmer on low heat on the frying pan.

While waiting, filled up the pot with more and more water, as it seemed like the rice was soaking up all the water, and there was no medium to cook the pork and fish in. So by the end, found myself with a HUGE pot of porridge! Begun feel like i could feed an army just with 2 cups of rice, and begun to impulsively invite people for Pei Tan Chok this saturday, as i thought of the half packet of pork and cod still left in the freezer, and the amount of left overs from tonight's dinner.

Little did I expect such positive responses to an invitation. It used to be very hard to invite people over for a meal, but i found 3 out of the 4 people i asked replying favourably. Perhaps cos it's early enough for them not to have made any other dining arrangements. So now found myself hosting a respectable 4 persons porridge cookout.

Beginning to wonder now if my initial impression that i could feed an army with my pot of porridge was actually accurate. But anyway, thinking now how I'll execute Pei Tan Chok 1.1 - The Cookout.

It would begin on Saturday morning. I'll
at 11 am:
- Defrost and marinate the meat with soya sauce when I wake up.

at 4 pm:
- cook the around 3 cups of rice with some water, with the salted egg, and not too much water, with some fish oil, and sesame oil.
- cut up the onions, and make the shellots, fry it over low heat, and leave it to stand
- leave for frisbee.
- Go buy some eggs after frisbee

at 6.45 pm:
- Pour the rice, into the pot, add more water, cook with cod, pork and two century eggs, and crack some eggs in, leave to boil for another 20 minutes.
- Make onion omellette.

Ok, the porridge that turned out today didn't taste too fragrant like the what Pei Tan Chok is supposed to taste like. Maybe because I havent boiled it long enough for fear that the rice might eat up more water and turn into paste. So next time I do it, I'll pre-boil the rice in a limited amount of water, and boil it with the ingredients for a longer period of time, 20 to 30 minutes, say.

Have some oranges left, will have that for dessert.

This place is so cold =(

When I've got problems, there's no one nearby I could turn to
So I become troubled
When I am troubled, I strum on my guitar to ease my troubles

Only then do my neighbours turn up at my door step
To tell me to shut up

This place is so cold

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


That's how I'm feeling now... on a midnight less than 4 weeks to the exam, reviewing past exam papers, not being able to do many questions, but gradually getting to grips with some.

bleugh - The feeling of having many things to do, but not accomplishing all of it, and not being happy about it, but not feeling bothered by it at the same time.

- bleugh -

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pei Tan Chok - Corrected Recipe

Recieved this mail hours after my blog entry:

Dear Gabriel,
This is the recipe for the porridge

Salted egg: remove the black substance and wash till very clean
Century egg: remove the husks by knocking the egg against the sink till it breaks slightly then gently remove the shell.DO NOT BOIL IT,it is already cooked.

Rice: put half cup of rice and half thermalpot of water,put in the clean salted egg and put over stove,bring to boiling point. Put in the thermal pot for at least 1 hour.

There are many ways of cooking the pork,fish,chicken.etc.
Just make sure they are fully cooked and add into the porridge/
Or you can put everything in the porridge and bring to boil again.

Shallots: cut and slice some onions,put in small bowl add a little bit of oil,put in microwave and heat stirring every thirty seconds or so till golden brown.

Remove the salted egg from porridge after one hour and cut into 2.
Do not boil with pork,etc.

you can actually keep the salted egg in the fridge and keep for 2 to 3 weeks,century egg can last longer.

God Bless You
Dad and Mum

Will revisit this when i actually look at the nitty gritty of cooking it :P

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pei Tan Chok

Just got a packet of half dozen century eggs, and salted eggs from Dr Timothy, who visited on Saturday, and they expire before the exams begin, so I'll have to use them up quite soon... Thinking of all the ingredients I'd need to cook pei tan chok...

Some fish gotta go look for it...,
Minced meat - beef or pork,
and fried shelocks.

Here's the recipe from my mother:
Boil porridge in thermal pot, for about 2 hours,
marinate meat and fish
throw in fish, minced meat and century eggs, and boil it in the porrige,
Serve with shelocks.

Just an initial draft of the recipe.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Big Issue Salesman Quote

"For anyone who is willing to throw an obscenely large amount of money at me...

or one pound forty...

whichever is convinient."

Poor guy

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Battle Plan

I've got 4 weeks, and 8 alpha's I need to get for the the tripos. That means an average of 2 alpha's a week. Go me!

Monday, May 01, 2006

CK gugu's Visit

CK gugu visited over the weekend, and boy was I in for a treat!

He came bringing with him a camera, a

And we had 3 restaurant meals in 2 days! The first meal was an indian dinner at Curry King, spent 26 pounds - had brani and nun, and a few plates of curry; the second was lunch at Charlie Chan - hor fun, wantan mee, and a few dim sum dishes: 21 pounds; and the third was at pizza hut - Hawaiian pizza, salad, and coke: 16 pounds.

Had eaten at Curry King the first time we visited Cambridge in June last year. Somehow recalled the restarant, but could not remember where it was, so we had to walk around while before finding it. And realised that the food at Charlie Chan is actually comparable with other restaurants like Jinlings. Had the impression that Charlie Chan was more expensive cos we spent an excess of 10 pounds per person when we had dim sum there on easter sunday, but their other dishes are actually comparatively cheap - 6 pounds for a large bowl of hor fun! Then by dinner today, we got sick of all that gluttony, and went for a pizza hut dinner. For the first time over here, I had felt really bloated after a restaurant meal.

Then went to look around town, and inevitably did a bit of shopping. Saw this pair of boots going at a 70% discount, CK gugu thought it was a good buy, thought that I needed a pair of new shoes, and I kinda liked it, so he got it for me! Cost around 20 pounds. Think it's quite a bargain, cos normal sports shoes in Singapore also cost around $100.

Brought him around the colleges this morning, first time I'm entertaining a visitor around here, and I feel really powerful with my university pass! With it I could bypass all the "Closed to Visitor" signs, and whenever I'm stopped by the security officers, or porters, all I need to do is flash the pass, and they cant do anything to me :P

Took a walk round Kings, Clare, Trinity and Johns this morning. Saw little ducklings just outside Clare! Think they must have hatched only within the past week, cos they are so tiny, and I've never seen them before! There was a mother duck, and clumsy little ducklings running all around! Really cute! It's really heart warming to experience the four seasons here, and witness the rejuvination of life in spring!

Visited Trinity, and related how I've been playing ET too much, and about a virtual reconstruction of Trinity college in the game, and how I'd find myself taking a more obscure route after playing that map because it is the route we'll normally traverse in the game, and how I'd have the the tendency to think of setting up a mortar at a certain position, and aim it in a certain direction, when I'm walking through the college.

Walked through Christ and Sidney on the first day, and visited Queens and the mathematical bridge in the afternoon. Sigh, I really need to buck up on my history and stories of Cambridge! Like when was King's College Chapel built, and the story behind the mathematical bridge!

Had a really good time learning of CK gugu's overseas experience, and it really interesting walking around Cambridge with an uncle - makes me aware of things I never took note of before, like what where the art galleries are, what time borders closes, the existance of shops like GAP, and other clothes shops, the prices of property in the area, and the wages of various occupations here.

Also showed me the webcam of his house, and the parrot he has, and this clip!

Argh, did a lot of other things, but too tired now, and I've got lots of work to do now :S Shall end here... *Yawn*